National Famine Memorial Day, Part 2

On arrival at Clones, Liam Logan, Ruairi O'Bleine and I were welcomed by Mr Jimmy Deenihan and his Secretary General Mr Joe Hamill. We then had refreshments in the Clones Credit Union Building. There we met the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure of the Northern Ireland Executive, Carál Ní Chuilín and Barry McGuigan and his wife Sandra. Barry took out British citizenship so that he could compete for British domestic titlesand has been a non-sectarian sporting ambassador for Northern Ireland, even though he was from the Republic of Ireland. Barry drew on the experience of George Best and would later be emulated by Eddie Irvine. He and his wife are both active patrons for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent. I explained that I was Eddie's first sponsor, through my Pretani Press publishing company. Barry and Sandra said they were delighted that Eddie had now joined his board on CLIC Sargent. They showed me Barry's home in the Clones Diamond and the place where he trained as a boxer.

It was now time for the Ceremony itself, which proceded as follows:

14.40 – Arrival of the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese accompanied by her husband, Senator Martin McAleese
15.00 – Inspection of Guard of Honour, 2 Eastern Brigade
Ceremony Begins
15.05 – Announcements by Protocol Officer
– Welcome by Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee
– Music: Tiarnán Ó Duinchinn, Uilleann Piper
– Reading by Mr. Eugene McCabe:
An extract from the ‘Famine Reporter’, 6th May, 1847
– Reading by Mrs. Kathleen Ftizpatrick:
An extract from ‘Scéalta Ó Theach na mBocht’ by Mr. Eugene McCabe
– Music: Clones Sacred Heart Church Senior Choir
– Prayers for the victims of the Great Famine led by:
Fr Owen Gorman Roman Catholic Church
The Venerable Cecil T. Pringle Church of Ireland
Reverend Dr. Donald Watts Presbyterian Church
Reverend Sam McGuffin Methodist Church
Felicity McCartney Religious Society of Friends
Imam Sheikh Hussein Halawa Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland
– Presentation of tokens by representatives of the local community in memory of all those who suffered and perished during the Great Famine and those who are suffering today
– Reflection by Mr. Peter O’Hara of the Humanist Association of Ireland
– Music: Mr. Michael Rooney, Harpist
– Address by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese
– Announcement by Potocol Officer that the first part of the official commemoration has concluded. He will ask the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, to plant a tree and unveil a commemorative plaque.
15.50 – Announcement by the Protocol Officer that the formal State commemoration will now begin
– Prayer by Monsignor Eoin Thynne
– Piper played lament
– Wreath laying ceremony
– Minute of silence observed for all those who died
– Last Post
– National Flag raised to full mast
– Reveille
– National Anthem
16.15 – Ceremony concluded

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