Friday 28 October 2016

Inaction of British during the Famine can be termed genocide

Published 12/10/2015 | 02:30

Statues commemorating the Great Famine by the River Liffey in Dublin
Statues commemorating the Great Famine by the River Liffey in Dublin

In her long-standing ambition to persuade the naive Irish public that its memory and interpretation of our history is inherently incorrect, Ruth Dudley Edwards is adamant that we have no grounds for suspecting genocidal ill-will towards the Irish race in the minds of the Westminster government at the time of the Great Famine.

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Sir Charles Trevelyan, assistant secretary to HM Treasury, was a key spokesman in Ireland for that government as well as being the official responsible for organising relief.

In Trevelyan's words, the Irish famine was an "effective mechanism for reducing surplus population" as well as "the judgment of God".

Trevelyan (yes, he of the ballad, 'The Fields of Athenry') in a letter to an Irish peer wrote: "The greatest evil we have to face is not the physical evil of the famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the Irish people."

One can only interpret his statements as meaning that the deaths of a million of these morally perverse Irish peasants from famine was divinely ordained and a good thing.

Retrospectively I would propose that the word genocide can be correctly applied to the philosophy and inaction of a government, which deliberately decided not to be proactive; instead the government made matters infinitely worse at the height of the famine with the Poor Law Amendment Act.

Eileen McGough

Kinsale, Co Cork

Lack of coverage of Irish soccer

There has much press coverage in recent months debating the quality and success of soccer leagues in this country.

The lack of world-class players in our national team is another often-discussed topic.

It is fair to say that everyone who is in a position to do so, whether it is via the media or FAI, has a duty to promote the Irish game.

So I'm often left scratching my head when two Irish broadcasters, RTÉ and TV3, don't deem results in the Airtricity Division 1 worthy of a mention in the sports section of their programmes, despite extensive coverage of other international events.

It is also disappointing to note that the Irish Independent is also guilty of ignoring the First Division completely.

There is never a match report or a photograph to be seen, and last weekend, when the magnificent achievements of the Wexford Youths should have made headlines, the celebrations were restricted to our excellent local newspapers.

John Redmond

Ferns, Co Wexford

Pylon pressure pays off

"The decision to abandon the pylons raises questions about the State's ability to anticipate and embrace changes."

Your Editorial (Irish Independent October 9) identifies a key flaw in most of the major statutory 'initiatives'.

The number of semi-state executives who shift seamlessly from mammoth State projects such as energy provision or water management into self-advantageous 'nationalised-private' projects is to say the least, surprising.

Of course, there will be consultants for this, consultants for that, plus any number of PR agencies, print companies and promotional extravaganzas to beat the band. All this is designed to cod politicians and citizens alike into a pig-in-a-poke scenario, which will make great demands from the public purse.

Arrogant U-turns are de rigeur. But, what the hell, the purse is bottomless, isn't it?

The amount of wastage in many of these projects is a concern.

The citizens have to suffer the consequences. That is, unless they rise up against the injustice of it all.

Sometimes (but only sometimes) the populace wins out against the 'big boys', and some precious monies can be saved. Perhaps such 'savings' can be used to rescue the homeless, the impoverished, the struggling and the real needy in our midst.

Pylon pressure has paid off this time. Let's hope we all can learn from it.

Jim Cosgrove

Lismore, Co Waterford

You can't change laws of nature

David Quinn's recent article on gender issues (Irish Independent, October 9) demonstrates how dangerous human 'rights' have become without considering human responsibilities in tandem.

From the scientific viewpoint, the vast majority of human beings are either physically male or female. There are individuals who exhibit genetic characteristics that require investigation on a case-by-case basis but their numbers are tiny and are not at a level that would justify the identification of a third gender.

This is a scientifically proven truth which cannot be disregarded members of society.

Human beings must live according to the laws and limitations of our physical environment and condition. We have neither the right nor the ability to change these laws.

It would be wrong to allow people who exhibit signs of having a poorly understood psychological or physiological condition to be segregated into 'third gender' environments.

The fact they claim to be different does not necessarily mean they should be treated as so. Their claims may be incorrect and it may end up doing them more harm than good.

Tom O'Brien

Dungannon, Co Tyrone

Disturbing welfare changes

I am disturbed by the welfare changes flagged by Enda Kenny as a key election policy, which propose to lift families out of poverty.

For example, the cuts in lone parents incomes, which were supposedly going to ameliorate this group's financial woes, in the absence of affordable childcare and housing, will amount to nothing more than a further vandalising of our social safety net, and the continued evisceration of the most vulnerable in our society.

Come the imminent General Election, I, for one, will not be a turkey voting for Christmas.

Eileen O'Sullivan

Bray, Co Wicklow

Howe brought down Thatcher

Sadly, the former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Geoffrey Howe, who died on Friday, will be chiefly remembered for bringing down Britain's greatest post-war prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

At least Michael Heseltine stabbed her in the front.

Dominic Shelmerdine

London SW3, UK

Irish Independent

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