Bri­tish Army’s role in the Famine

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Letters -

Sir – At­tempt­ing to deny Ire­land’s 1845-1850 Holo­caust, Ruth Ed­wards wrote (Sun­day In­de­pen­dent, Oc­to­ber 4): “The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment han­dled the catas­tro­phe in­com­pe­tently, and for doc­tri­naire but not ill-in­ten­tioned rea­sons changed pol­icy to non-in­ter­fer­ence af­ter two years, but there was no de­lib­er­ate cru­elty and no in­ten­tion to kill any­one.”

The catas­tro­phe was cre­ated by de­ploy­ing army reg­i­ments to Ire­land where it com­pe­tently re­moved, at gun­point, the abun­dant agri­cul­tural out­put for ex­port while its pro­duc­ers starved. More than half of Bri­tain’s army par­tic­i­pated. Ire­land’s land­lords were largely English, Protes­tant, and so pow­er­ful in Bri­tain’s Lords and Com­mons they were able to con­trol de­ploy­ment of the army and leave hun­dreds if not thou­sands of mass graves across Ire­land. On what ba­sis does Ms Ed­wards claim Bri­tain had “no in­ten­tion to kill any­one?” How can star­va­tion be “un­in­ten­tional” if food is re­moved by vi­o­lence?

Christo­pher Fog­a­rty; au­thor of Ire­land 1845-1850; the Per­fect Holo­caust, and Who Kept it “Per­fect”, Chicago,


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