Tuesday 24 January 2017

Mr Myers echoes Victorian beliefs

Published 19/02/2010 | 05:00

IN his article (Irish Independent, February 17) Kevin Myers writes: ". . what on earth were we doing allowing such people to come here? What possible benefit could we derive from having some of the pleasures of downtown Lagos being relocated to west Dublin? And how could we have allowed this to happen, without Dail Eireann ever discussing it even once?"

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As Mr Myers was born to an Irish emigrant family in England, he would do well to take note of the long history of anti-Irish racism in 19th and 20th century Britain. The British education Mr Myers enjoyed in (Catholic) Ratcliffe College in the UK was only possible from the painful and gradual assimilation of Irish emigrants into Britain throughout the 1800s and 1900s.

In Victorian times in particular, Irish were often stereotyped as alcoholics, and through necessity tended to work in low-paying jobs. In much of the pseudo-scientific literature of the day the Irish were said to be inferior -- an example of a lower evolutionary form and closer to the apes than their "superiors", the Anglo-Saxon British.

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