Dublin taxi driver Michael Blanch first held a commemoration in central Dublin in 2003 when only he and his wife Betty attended.
Later the courageous couple gathered enough support to set up The Committee for the Commemoration of Irish Famine Victims.
The Committee has since held an annual procession from the capital’s Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square to the Famine sculptures on the
banks of the River Liffey.
It was the petition and other pioneering activities organised by these two members of the class known as the "common people of Ireland" which
eventually persuaded their government to establish the National Famine Memorial Day.
The candle that Michael and Betty lit in 2003 has begun to shine all over Ireland and wherever Irish people have set down roots.
The government of Ireland, recognising the important link between awareness of ‘The Great Hunger’ and the work of
Ireland’s NGOs among some of the most deprived people on earth, has apponted Brian Hanratty, the CEO of ‘Gorta’,
to the National Famine Memorial Committee.
Note: ‘Gorta’ is the Irish word for ‘hunger’ in its most extreme and terrible form.