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US 'over-reacted' after 9/11, says Irish academic


Louise Richardson

Louise Richardson

Alan Richardson Pix-AR.co.uk

Louise Richardson

The new Irish vice-chancellor of Oxford University has said the US 'over-reacted' in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Waterford native Prof Louise Richardson says Britons would have been better equipped to deal with the disaster following years of unrest in Northern Ireland.

The Tramore woman, who is a terrorism studies expert, claims Brits are more resilient than their American cousins because they are used to terrorist attacks during the times of The Troubles.

Taking part in a panel discussion about radicalisation in universities in London, she said that central to any campaign against terrorism should be a resilient population.

"The British population in the course of the Troubles and violence in Northern Ireland proved really quite resilient; I think far more so than the US," she said.

"And the scale of the over-reaction in the US to the 9/11 atrocity was reflective of the fact that it was such a new experience in the US."

A number of notorious foreign extremists and weapons experts have boasted of learning their skillsĀ  at UK universities in recent online posts.

However, Prof Richardson has dismissed the claims stating that any terrorist that she had ever met had a "highly over- simplified view of the world which they saw in black and white terms".

"If there is one thing that education does, it robs you of that simplification and certitude.

"The great value of universities is that we have people with the time and expertise to explore these issues."

Prof Richardson has led prestigious Scottish University St Andrews for more than six years.

The mother-of-three, holds a Ph.D. in government from Harvard and an MA in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

She is also known for her stand against the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which until recently did not allow women to be members.

Online Editors