On Saturday November 12th at the Famine graveyard in Manorhamilton there were calls on government leaders attending COP 27 in Egypt to take urgent action to tackle climate change.
The Famine graveyard has been chosen for the gathering, making the connection between Ireland’s historical experience of famine and those people today living with extreme hunger, famine, flooding and displacement as a result of the climate crisis. A similar event also took place in Dublin on the same day at the Famine Memorial.
There were various contributors to the event from a range of organisations including Love Leitrim, The Organic Centre, AFRI and the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network.
Addressing those present, Love Leitrim Chairperson Jamie Murphy described the importance of the historical connections between Ireland’s experience of famine and displacement with those across the world going through similar traumatic hardships today. Much of this he explained was due to climate change induced events such as extreme weather, drought and crop failure. He also discussed the fact that those who have contributed least to cause the climate crisis are the one who suffer the most.
Dr Carroll O Dolan, a Blacklion GP and Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network campaigner emphasised the need to remain positive in terms of tackling the climate crisis while also making the point that sustainable development was the only pathway to a future for people. He concluded by advising people to use their vote wisely in future elections.
Long time AFRI campaigner, actor and playwright Donal O’Kelly talked about the annual Famine walk between Louisburgh and Doolough and the plight of today’s climate refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands due to the “deliberate, imposed climate catastrophe that is caused by mainly rich countries including the EU.” Describing the similarities of the victims of the Irish Famine and today’s refugees he said that the only difference is that people today travel on “rubber rafts rather than coffin ships”.
As part of the event there was also a very poignant musical recital by some of the younger members of the local Smith family.