TO once again recognise The Great Hunger, Celtic will be wearing the National Famine Memorial Day logo on the Hoops when they take to the field this afternoon for the match against Hearts.
Unquestionably, the Great Hunger was a transforming event in Ireland, which changed the demographic and cultural landscape forever.
Indeed, there is nothing else in the history of the Irish people that can be likened to the Great Hunger, either for its immediate impact, or its legacy of emigration, cultural loss and decline of the Irish language.
The Irish arts minister, Heather Humphreys has confirmed that the annual commemoration of the Famine, where one million people died, will take place this year in Newry, County Down, also on Saturday.
The Minister said the Famine affected all of the island of Ireland, and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in the Republic of Ireland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland have been working with the council and other stakeholders to stage this memorial event.
Ms Humphreys said: “The annual Famine commemoration is a solemn tribute to those who suffered in the most appalling circumstances that prevailed during the Great Famine.
“While the scale of suffering was greater in some parts of Ireland than in others, all parts of the island suffered great loss of life and the destruction of families and communities through emigration.
“In this commemoration, we remember all those who suffered, those who died, those who survived but who lost family members, those who were forced to emigrate and those who remained in Ireland but suffered other forms of loss because of the Great Famine.”
Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell added: “The origins of Celtic Football Club are inextricably linked to the Great Famine and it is right that we once again join in this commemoration.
“Celtic was formed by immigrants and to help people in real need, many whose families had escaped the devastation of the Great Famine.
“We should never forget the devastating impact this event had on the lives of so many millions of people and we are pleased again to play our part in this year’s memorial.”
Celtic FC Foundation have confirmed that the unique match issue shirts, to be signed by each player, will be auctioned in the coming days for charitable purposes, providing supporters with the opportunity to own a wonderful collectors’ item.
An announcement will be made next week, providing full details of the online auction.