Robert ballagh

Tribunal to shed light on Famine

By Ray O'Hanlon

A fundraiser in support of the upcoming "Famine Tribunal" at Fordham Law School is set for this coming Saturday, September 29, at Harbour Lights at the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan.

As it happens, the venue, overlooking the East River, would have been a landing place for refugees from starvation and poverty in Ireland in the 1840s and 50s.

The event is a forerunner to a tribunal, a trial of the case if you will, that will seek to decide the degree of British culpability for the Great Hunger.

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"Even to this day, the Irish Famine, also known as the Great Hunger, remains one of the most lethal famines in modern history in terms of deaths and dislocation of population," said organizers in reference to the historical underpinning for the tribunal.

"On October 20, a Famine Tribunal will be held at Fordham Law School. The object

of the tribunal is to assess the impact of the Irish Famine on the Irish population, and to examine its political, economic, cultural and physiological legacies, all within a legal framework," the statement from the organizers added.

It said that concerned Irish Americans, members of the Irish diaspora and legal and human rights advocates were all invited to attend.

Guest speakers will include artist Robert Ballagh, who will speak on the significance of the tribunal from in International perspective, Bernie Brophy of the Brehon Law Society of Australia, who will speak on the famine orphans who were sent to Australia, Christine Kinealy and Niall Mac Giollabhui.

More information is available at

Meanwhile, this Friday, Sept. 28, will see the opening of the new Irish Famine Museum at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

Irish government minister, Leo Varadkar, will be officiating at the widely anticipated unveiling of the new facility which will be home to an extraordinary Great Hunger-related historical collection that has been pieced together by Quinnipiac over a number of years.