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Park maze plan to mark Irish Famine

A MAZE in a city park and a permanent museum memorial are among plans under development for a commemoration to those who fled to Glasgow during the 19th-century Irish Famine.

Almost 18 months after being agreed by the city council, concrete ideas are emerging as to the form of Glasgow's Famine Memorial.

Student proposals for the memorial to An Gorta Mor (The Great Famine) are being considered for an exhibition to coincide with the Commonwealth Games.

It has also emerged several outside organisations have offered to help fund the memorial, with the council investigating the potential of a contribution from its own funds.

In 2012, Glasgow City Council unanimously voted in favour of a permanent memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Irish settlers and also those who arrived in the city from the Highlands and islands during the 1840s Potato Blight that ravaged much of northern Europe.

In recent months the Memorials' Group has had representations from a variety of groups and individuals ranging from Irish heritage groups to the Orange Order and Ulster-Scots cultural supporters. Some less orthodox ideas have included a water/light projection and a tapestry.

The most likely location will be Glasgow Green, and the People's Palace, which is within the city centre historic park.

Minutes of the city council's Memorials' Working Group said: "A maze would begin outside in the form of a timeline/journey of the people of Ireland/Scottish Highlands during An Gorta Mor/Potato Famine.

"This would lead to an area inside which would incorporate the positive message of migration now to Glasgow and the aspiration that this would continue to be an open, inclusive, and welcoming society. The preferred location is the People's Palace."

SNP councillor Feargal Dalton, who is behind the plans, said the surge in the use of food banks in Glasgow was a stark reminder of the continuation of hunger.

Matt Kerr, chairman of the Memorials Working Group, said: "We will be looking for feedback on the designs from the public and that will be factored into the final decision of the working group."

During the Irish Famine of the 1840s, one million people died and another million fled their homeland, with huge numbers settling in Scotland. Tens of thousands also fled the Highlands and islands, which was ravaged by the potato blight, for Scotland's industrial heartlands.

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