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Britannica errors spark unholy row

THAT most scholarly of tomes, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, offers a farcically inaccurate version of the Irish Civil War, describing it as a conflict between Catholics in the south and Protestants in the North.

The spectacularly incorrect version of the Civil War, which took place between supporters and opponents of the Treaty, is now being made available to 4,000 primary and secondary schools in an online version as part of an e-Learning initiative.

Fine Gael last night accused the Department of Education of endorsing a garbled version of the country's history because it pays a fee of €450,000 a year to Encyclopaedia Britannica and World Books for schools to access online material.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames (FG) said: "This screwy version of events is a gross insult to our people and our history. That it is being used to educate our children is even more ridiculous."

A spokesman for the department said: "We would be disappointed if the Encyclopaedia Britannica had misrepresented any aspect of Irish history."

The spokesman said the Education Department would ask the National Centre for Technology in Education to review any inaccuracies.

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