Why Irish America needs to get on board with modern Ireland, or get out of the way.

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Reading the memoirs of Ken Bloomfield and Tony Blair for me give two very telling insights into the politics of Irish America and their priorities in viewing the homeland. I begin with Tony Blair who noted the contradiction of certain American politicians idolising Margaret Thatcher while having an ambivalent attitude towards groups like the IRA who made it their business to kill her. This contradictory attitude is in my experience typical of some Irish Americans who while in the states typically have centre-right economic interests but the moment they touch back in the motherland become latter day lefties supporting the cause of their brothers fighting the good fight back home.

Then, we have the other problem and that is a near obsession with partition which seems to relegate any other issues to the distant background as former civil servant Ken Bloomfeld recalled in his memoirs the despair of friends he had within the Irish government of the attitude of Irish American’s;

When I myself served in New York from 1960 to 1963 I had made some good friends amongst the Irish governments representatives there. They would sometimes speak with near despair of efforts to inform and interest Irish-Americans in the problems of modern Ireland on the social and economic fronts. But no, this product was not saleable to that particular market.

So, why is any of this relevant? I have close relatives that live in the United States, mingling with their friends who are like them from Ireland and debating the issues of the day with them when I visit one thing that strikes me is that their political views literally stopped evolving the minute they left Ireland’s shores. On my last trip, I debated issues such as policing that had been resolved 7 years ago. Moreover, when I put the case that for many Catholics Irish unity had become an unfashionable idea, I was looked at with dis belief. There was literally no comprehension that anything had changed politically from the moment they had left.

Now, I don’t wish to generalise and say that this is the way all Irish Americans think but actually mixing with and having relatives that live there gives you some insight into how sections of this diaspora think about issues.

This year, the St Patricks Day parade in New York City hit the headlines for all of the wrong reasons with rumours of rescinding invites for the PSNI and the exclusion of LGBT groups from the parade. The exodus of sponsors like Guinness and pressure from politicians in Ireland simply illustrates how out of touch sections of this community are from modern Ireland.

I have always thought that the diaspora is real strength for this island and am a supporter of giving them some form of representation in the Seanad in future elections. But, I am also of the view that there needs to be much more of a concerted effort of those who are leaders within this community to educate themselves and properly challenge old attitudes. The simple fact is that most people living here do not concern themselves with partition on a daily basis, and that gay pride is one of the biggest parades in our yearly calendar. We also have overwhelmingly rejected dissident groups who have no role in any official parades that represent this country.

Anybody who resists this view of Ireland, needs to accept that modern Ireland has moved on and if you cannot accept this, then please get on board or get out of the way.

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  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    David…its more about Culture than Politics.
    I blame Maureen O’Hara and “The Quiet Man”….but until 30 years ago the Irish and Irish-American parades were very different things.
    Whether my Uncle could be described as “a man of his time” or a “bit of a racist” (Id go with both) …after his first experience of the New York City parade, he could not get over the fact that the main flagbearer “wasnt Irish to look at”
    There might have been a brief period when the two parades were in tandem…but its rather obvious now that the Irish parades are more “inclusive” than the American parades.

    Oddly the parade that mirrors the NYC parade most is in Belfast.
    For some…it is a religious day, a day for Irish ethnicity or the Irish National day.
    Indeed all of those elements are important.
    NYC organisers seem to want to include the elements that fit their narrative.
    The same could be said of Belfast.
    Necessarily some elements of a National Day are problematic in terms of inclusivity.
    But cinquo de mayo cant be celebrated without the Mexican flag.

    And some of the Great and the Good clutching invitations to Independence Day and Bastille Day wine and cheese at US and French consulates will have less problem with the American and French flags than they would with the National Flag of the (what people might regard as) the largest ethnic minority in Norn Iron.

  • Coll Ciotach

    The issue of reunification is the most important as it will affect all other issues, perhaps I should be an Irish American. Perhaps you are projecting yourself as modern Ireland David?

  • New Yorker

    It is estimated that there are about 40 million Americans of Irish ancestry. Some of you seem to have “my uncle in the Bronx” syndrome, ie, making sweeping generalizations based on a tiny segment of the whole and who may be first generation immigrants. Thoughtful Americans of Irish descent who follow current events in Ireland, and frankly there are not many who care about the place, know very well about policing and the non-issue of unity. They also know government in the Republic is often corrupt and government in NI is a joke.

    There are many young Irish immigrants who are professionals in NY and other cities. They seem off your radar as well as the millions of non-immigrant Irish Americans. Next time have a conversation with members of both those groups as well as “your uncle in the Bronx”.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Trina Vargo and Niall Stanage have their spake:

    “Vargo also notes, as have many others in Irish America, that as of last week the Obama administration had not nominated a new ambassador to Ireland. The previous incumbent, Dan Rooney, left in December 2012. The post may be largely ceremonial – no one believes the embassy is in disarray simply because there is no ambassador -but the sheer length of the delay is another troubling sign.” .. Stanage

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    New Yorker,
    I cant speak for anybody elses “Uncle in the Bronx” but my own lived in Beechmount.
    His trip to New York probably lasted no longer than two weeks but he talked about it every St Patricks Day until he died.
    He was always a bit confused about the (two) Americans at the 1976 Olympics who had our family name and bore little family resemblance to us.
    But the point “New Yorker” makes is a valid one.
    Since coming online in 1998, I have discovered that my affection for aspects of USA….history, culture etc …is matched by the affection that many Americans have for Ireland.
    True…some are horribly misinformed.
    True…some are remarkably well informed…especially those who know me.
    I have had the privelege of talking Conflict Resolution to post-grads there.
    Those familiar with the song “Body of an American” by the Pogues…will be familiar with the line
    “There was uncles giving lectures on ancient Irish History”
    I guess that was me.
    Cos thats what we do…Ive done it in International House of Pancakes, Cracker Barrel and other informal settings.
    And got to come home…just like my Uncle in Beechmount.

  • mr x

    Suspect the parade in New York is a bit working-class for modern Ireland.

  • sergiogiorgio

    This is an emotional/romanticised version of the homeland and has little to do with modern politics. Oirish Americans wrap themselves in the flag only a few times a year and dream of distant shores. The rest of the time they are bringing home the bacon, getting their kids educated, their parents treated in hospitals. The stuff we should be worrying about rather than flegs.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “It is estimated that there are about 40 million Americans of Irish ancestry.”

    @New Yorker,

    A great many of those 40 million are really Scotch-Irish: descendants of Ulster Scots who migrated between the colonial period in American history and the American Civil War, about a century, and settled initially from what is today Pennsylvania to Georgia and then, especially in the South, migrated inwards. The Irish Catholic migration began starting during the Irish famine in the mid-1840s and has lasted in various waves until the present period–or at least until the 1990s. This second wave settled in the northeast. They are basically two separate groups with only a few things in common such as music. In the American Civil War Scotch-Irish fought in large numbers on both sides. Catholic Irish fought mainly on the Northern side in units from New York and Massachusetts. The Catholic Irish have long been a stable constituency of the Democratic Party, particularly in large cities. Scotch-Irish are split between the two parties, but more are probably Republicans today.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “But cinquo [sic] de mayo cant be celebrated without the Mexican flag.”

    @fjh,

    Cinco de mayo is a Mexican-American holiday that isn’t celebrated at all in Mexico. It commemorates a battle from the Mexican revolution against French rule in the 1860s (Puebla, 1862). It is celebrated largely in the American Southwest and in cities elsewhere in the U.S. with large Mexican or Mexican-American populations.. So it is similar to the American version of St. Patrick’s Day, except that the latter is celebrated back in the old sod.

  • tacapall

    Nice one tmitch57 your ability to gloss over the fact that almost all of those first so called Irish migrants were in fact seen as useful monkeys who were taken from Ireland against their will by Cromwell and others and used as slaves by those investors who financed the plantation of Ulster. Those peace loving people who with bible in one hand and sword in the other exported their unique form of human compassion and values throughout the world. Its interesting you call the deliberate starvation of citizens of one country by another as famine others would just call it genocide.

  • Charles_Gould

    New Yorker

    My uncle went to MIT in Boston to do a PhD and the went to San Fransisco to further his career. He is as appalled as anyone else by IRA atrocities.

  • clarks

    Why only IRA atrocities Charles?

  • Charles_Gould

    clarks
    Because those are the people towards whom American Irish are often hypothesized to offer support.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    1/ I thought most people refer to it as ‘the famine’?

    2/ Do you per chance read books by Tim Pat Coogan?

  • Kevsterino

    Ok, I’m done with my annual plastic paddywhackery and have sufficiently detoxified to attempt to contribute something worthwhile regarding Irish Americanism.

    I don’t think anyone should find it surprising that for many of us, our knowledge of Ireland starts with talk around the dinner table with the story of the circumstances of some forbear’s egress from Ireland. Bear in mind, that when someone has determined the circumstances warrant them pulling up stakes and sailing against the wind across the Atlantic in floating coffins, the tale they tell of the old country is not a pleasant story. Depending what particular era the migration occurred, for that particular family, Ireland is sort of stuck in the spot in the space-time continuum. Bits of my family came over from different areas at different times, so I’m all mixed up as far as that goes.

    These days, most of the Irish crowd I ran with in my misspent youth are old guys now. The young ones, most of them, don’t read the news any more than any other age cohort even about their own local areas, let alone on a global scale. Furthermore, news from Ireland hasn’t exactly been the sort to capture their imaginations. “Politicians Disagree Over Flags and Parades” comes across as almost funny, if it weren’t so pathetic. But we’re not much better with the bitching about banners for buggerers in a St. Patrick’s Parade. Jesus wept.

    But still, the music recitals and the dancing classes are always full.

    I think it shows something that those who left those emerald shores knew so long ago. We can be Irish with or without Ireland.

  • Ruarai

    Some suggestions for readers who want to spend even a few minutes researching modern Irish America:

    1. Review the Congressional hearings on Ireland, including NI. (Zero debates about partition.)
    2. Review the American Ireland Funds’ work.
    3. Don’t rely on the notes of dead long retired civil servants from Belfast to get a read on anything modern whether in Ireland, America, or much anything anywhere else
    4. Try not to draw sweeping conclusions about “Irish America” based on conversations you may have had with Irish expats over drinks in American bars.

  • tacapall

    Am Ghobsmacht no I dont read his books but obviously you believe what you read or hear on the BBC. If you can prove what I said in the post above above was wrong then please enlighten me.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “…obviously you believe what you read or hear on the BBC…”

    Why do you say that?

    Just because I don’t swallow the confusing speel of “we-Irish-are-a-proud-warrior-race-but-somehow-have-been-oppressed-for-800-years” doesn’t mean I believe everything Auntie tells me.

    What you said is no more incorrect than what Tmitch wrote.

    Yet somehow you both have very different spins on the same subject matter.

    What he said was pretty much true (from what I understand) yet you just got stuck into him as if it was straight from the department of propaganda.

    As for the famine-genocide debate, what I struggle with is IF it was a deliberate genocide by the most powerful empire on earth then why did it fail so badly?

    The island is still crawling with Irish people.

    Millions of them.

    How did they f**k it up so badly?

    1 million out of 8-9 million is not very impressive for a concerted genocidal effort from an empire with such resources.

    I mean, surely if they wanted to wipe the Irish off the map then could they not have maybe shot a few more people? Stopped a few more imports?

    Stalin wouldn’t have been impressed at all.

    In fact, as far as genocides go I’d say it was a pretty poor attempt all things considered.

    Well, I suppose there are all the crazy conspiracy theories that perhaps the death toll of the famine was down to a multitude of factors including incompetence.
    But that’s for the tinfoil hat wearers amongst us.

  • tacapall

    Am Ghobsmacht until you have recorded evidence other than conjecture and man playing to back up what you say then keep reading up on historical facts. Maybe you should have focused on what I actually said rather than jump to the defense of someone with similar views and a similar lack of knowledge as yourself. The Irish population was 1.5 million during the 1600s, Cromwell massacred or sent into slavery almost 3/4s of the population of Ireland bringing that number down to around 600 000 and those 600 000 must have done some copulating to bring that number up to 9 million in under two hundred years. Remind me who introduced the potato to Ireland and during what you call the famine were there not 100s of tons of grain crops along with livestock etc exported out of Ireland almost every day during that period that could have fed those starving people. Money it seems was more important than people.

  • Niccolo

    tacapall,

    “those 600 000 must have done some copulating to bring that number up to 9 million in under two hundred years”?

    Well, I have just, by way of example, looked at the Wikipedia page on “the Great Famine” and the graph for the population of Ireland does indeed look to be over the 8 million mark just before that period.

    Do you disagree with this figure?

    “1 million out of 8-9 million is not very impressive for a concerted genocidal effort from an empire with such resources”

    I tend to agree…..has anyone advanced credible evidence to substantiate such a premeditated effort?

    I think the original bone of contention was the definition of famine or genocide….

    “Remind me who introduced the potato to Ireland and during what you call the famine were there not 100s of tons of grain crops along with livestock etc exported out of Ireland almost every day during that period that could have fed those starving people. Money it seems was more important than people.”

    There’s nothing in your last sentence to convince me of a concerted attempt at genocide.

    I mean, what point are you really trying to make?

    That there was some evil plan to introduce the potato into Ireland, foster a dependancy, and then pull the rug out once a blight took hold?

  • Niccolo

    tacapal,

    According to the Census of Ireland 1841, the total population was 8,175,124.

    Perhaps you were a little ‘premature’ with your copulation remark?

  • tacapall

    Niccolo your using Wikipedia as a source ! Please…. and I note you only take issue with my choice of word to describe the starvation of a million people. Perhaps you missed this bit on that Wikipedia site –

    “Although the potato crop failed, the country was still producing and exporting more than enough grain crops to feed the population. Records show during the period Ireland was exporting approximately thirty to fifty shiploads per day of food produce. As a consequence of these exports and a number of other factors such as land acquisition, absentee landlords and the effect of the 1690 penal laws, the Great Famine today is viewed by a number of historical academics as a form of either direct or indirect genocide.[8]”

    As regards to your numbers above. – Are you sure those 8.175,124 people were actually Irish.

  • between the bridges

    tmitch57 re ‘Catholic Irish fought mainly on the Northern side’

    ”Over 40,000 Irish fought for the Southern cause. They were the largest immigrant group in the army, and they made up about 10% of all Confederate combatants. In contrast, there was less enthusiasm among Irish immigrants to the North, and they were underrepresented in its military.”

    http://www.sligoheritage.com/archconfedirish.htm

  • Niccolo

    tacapal,

    Does that mean the Wikipedia figure, which tallies with the 1841 census, is wrong?

    People starved, there is no doubt about that….however, that’s not the issue – your choice of word is….and there is a big difference between famine and genocide.

    Also as you seem convinced of the latter, I was rather hoping you’d elaborate on my point about credible evidence to substantiate the argument….instead, you cut and paste from a source you’ve already dismissed.

    “Are you sure those 8.175,124 people were actually Irish”?

    You’ve lost me with that….please explain.

    Finally, would you please answer my question concerning the link you seem to suggest between the introduction of the potato to Ireland (I’m guessing during the late 1500s) and the exports from the country during “the Great Famine”?

  • tacapall

    Niccolo how can the tally be all Irish citizens when Cromwell culled three quarters of the population of Ireland during the 1600s when it was 1.5 million to 600,000. Add in the last little ice age and the great starvation of 1740 in Ireland plus slavery or as you would probably call it, using indentured servants, lasted for almost 200 years and Ireland was during that period the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white and Irish this practice ended around 1839. So how do you work out where all those Irish people came from on your tally.

    I cut and pasted from the source you supplied simply pointing out that you were cherry picking what bits suited your narrative, maybe you should read White Cargo or read up a little on Irish history -

    In 1652 the 2nd Complete Conquest of Ireland completed. Division of spoils: the Government itself, the “adventurers” who had lent £360,000 for the 11 years of war, the officers and soldiers, by the Acts of the English Parliament, 12 August, 1652, and 26 September, l653. Try looking up the Act of Settlement or the Act of Satisfaction.

    After you read up on those perhaps you’ll understand my reluctance to accept your tally of 8,175,124 as being an accurate reflection of the Irish population at that time.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    “Between 1600 and 1845 , Ireland’s population surged from one million to eight and a half million…” – Kevin Whelan, ‘Pre and Post-Famine Landscape Change’ from the Thomas Davis Lecture Series as recorded in the compilation ‘The Great Irish Famine’.

    Numbers and casualty rates from 17th century Ireland are all a bit dodgy, a classic example is the cooked figures of the 1641 rebellion when the ludicrous figure of 100 000 Protestant deaths is bandied about. More like 3 or 4k.

    As for my conjecture, well, it’s a simple enough question that no one addresses: if it was a case of genocide then why the failure?

    This from a country which ruled a quarter of the globe? All ideas welcome.

    “Maybe you should have focused on what I actually said rather than jump to the defense of someone with similar views and a similar lack of knowledge as yourself”

    I did focus on what you said and in fact conceded that it wasn’t wrong, just like Tmitch’s comments.

    “Remind me who introduced the potato to Ireland”

    Well, discounting the theory of the Spanish Armada I would say it was Walter Raleigh.

    Why? What’s your point?

    ” during what you call the famine were there not 100s of tons of grain crops along with livestock etc exported out of Ireland almost every day during that period that could have fed those starving people”

    In theory yes.

    At least as far as our modern post-Live Aid ‘charity is a fashion choice’ culture is concerned.

    I’m not sure how one requisitions the assets of Victorian era businessmen during the reign of a very ‘capitalist’ government but no doubt you’ll enlighten me.

    On that note, does that mean that every country in the world that does not seize the agricultural resources of their country’s elite is guilty of genocide?

    In which case all I can say is DON’T buy tulips from the Netherlands cos you’ll be assisting in the genocidin’ of the poor people of Uganda as the capitalist pig-dogs should obviously be digging deep into their own pockets and growing crops for poor people instead.

    “Money it seems was more important than people.”

    Correct Tac. Then, now and evermore.

  • Niccolo

    tacapal,

    Contrasting your view with a figure quoted on a Wikipedia page is not “cherry picking”.

    Also, I didn’t think I had a “narrative”….I thought I was just asking questions.

    Am I to understand that you do not accept the British Government’s 1841 Census of Ireland figure based on, I assume, figures sources from an earlier English/British Government from the 1650s – which, presumably, you do accept?

    You do not believe that the population could have reached over 8 million in 200 years? Not possible in your opinion?

    Why then is the 1841 Census figure at over 8 million if that was not the case?

    “In 1652 the 2nd Complete Conquest of Ireland completed. Division of spoils: the Government itself, the “adventurers” who had lent £360,000 for the 11 years of war, the officers and soldiers, by the Acts of the English Parliament, 12 August, 1652, and 26 September, l653.”

    I don’t see how that paragraph adds any value or advances your contention that “the Great Hunger” was genocide rather than a famine.

    According to the UN declaration on genocide the crucial element is intent to destroy and, so far, you have urged no proof of this.

    Thanks for the reading list, but I did not choose the word, you did. Now, perhaps you can use that list to help you substantiate it?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    Speaking of nasty Dutch people, I just found this interesting passage from the same book in the chapter written by Cormac O Grada

    “…some of those who peddled this kind of (economic*) ideology may also have heartily despised the Irish poor, and may have been religious bigots.
    But in the Netherlands in the 1840s, many died too, and the attitude of the government officials towards the starving poor was just as mean and doctrinaire as Chancellor Charles Wood’s or undersecretary Charles Trevelyan’s.

    There it was a case of Dutchman against Dutchman.

    Thus attitudes sometimes described as racist were really as much about class as race….”

    *my addition

  • irishmoderate

    Tac
    you have a very blinkered view of history, you don’t seem to have a grasp of; who where the Irish, who died in the famine, where was affected by the potato blight, you also seem to be unaware of expansionism, and business of the time.
    As far as believing what we see on the bbc or read in books, every one is guilty of that even you, unless you claim to have seen it with your own eyes we are all dependant on history books.
    i can try and point you in the right direction;

    the people that inhabited Ireland first where vikings, then french and then British, and with in those where a mixture of others, there was never an indigenous race of people,

    During the Famine a large cross section of poor died Catholic, Protestant, and British settlers

    The Potatoe blight was a european problem, there was a European famine,, but Scotland and Ireland where affected worse

    15,16,17th century’s lots of countries where looking to increase their share of the land around the world, and it wasn’t pleasant for any nation when they arrived, this wasn’t unique to Ireland, look at America, the native americans where virtually wiped out, that was worse than anything that happened in Ireland.

    Philanthropy is a very recent victorian concept, before that it was hard business, and yes people came way down the list of priorities.

    so you can read some books and find out more about world affairs of the time and it might help you understand history more, rather than focusing on one wee island in the Atlantic which you think all history spins around

  • tacapall

    Niccolo you can bring a horse to the trough but you cant make it drink. You obviously never read anything at all about the Act of Settlement or the Act of Satisfaction or the plantation of Ireland.

    So tell me just what was the plantation of Ireland really about ?

    ““Between 1600 and 1845 , Ireland’s population surged from one million to eight and a half million…”

    I wouldn’t agree with that exact figure but if you could separate the native Irish from the planter within those figures it would be helpful.

    “On that note, does that mean that every country in the world that does not seize the agricultural resources of their country’s elite is guilty of genocide”

    Their country’s elite ! – Please your starting to make me cringe maybe you should read up on the 1740 great starvation, when they done the Irish version of the Boston Tea party sort of thing.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    ““Between 1600 and 1845 , Ireland’s population surged from one million to eight and a half million…”

    I wouldn’t agree with that exact figure but if you could separate the native Irish from the planter within those figures it would be helpful.”

    Eh? In 1841 what’s the difference? Who’s a planter in 1841?

    “Their country’s elite ! – Please your starting to make me cringe maybe you should read up on the 1740 great starvation, when they done the Irish version of the Boston Tea party sort of thing.”

    I see, well, use whatever term you please; powers that be, captains of industry, heavyhitters of commerce.

    Either way, you’ve just ducked that one. You’ve applied a modern attitude to charity to a mid nineteenth century disaster, as if there was some sepia coloured photo of a Bob Geldof type figure kicking around.

    Thankyou for you 1740 advice.

    As such I just read a lecture by a David Dickson (a senior lecturer in the dept of modern history and fellow of Trinity college Dublin) entitled ‘The Other Great Irish Famine’ which compares 1740 to the 1840′s.

    He mentions how the humble spud acted as a safety net for some previous famines, the horrid winters of that time, the ‘year of Slaughter’ (blaidhain an air), the voluntary food networks and charitable enterprises as well as a comparison with the death toll in the Scandinavian famine and the odd bit about the British grain reserves being stressed thanks to war.

    It mentions nothing about your Boston Tea party-esque adventure.

    Was this another ‘genocide’?

    If so, why did that one fail too?

    Also, why did the 1840′s ‘genocide’ fail?

  • tacapall

    “the people that inhabited Ireland first where vikings, then french and then British, and with in those where a mixture of others, there was never an indigenous race of people”

    I see and according to you there was an indigenous race called the British ?

    I have no doubt the first settlers in Ireland came from Europe and they passed through Britain to get to Ireland and im quite aware of what you call expansionism and business. Its just that murder, subjugation and eviction of those who were there before them would be more of an apt description of what you say. What are native Irish, well the children born of those first settlers can be called the first native Irish.

    “15,16,17th century’s lots of countries where looking to increase their share of the land around the world, and it wasn’t pleasant for any nation when they arrived, this wasn’t unique to Ireland, look at America, the native americans where virtually wiped out, that was worse than anything that happened in Ireland”

    And who were these people who were looking to increase their share of the land and how were those native Americans or should I say first settlers in America virtually wiped out. Who by ? Was it the same country that invaded Ireland and tried to do the same thing to the Irish people ? Ireland might be just a small wee island in Atlantic but it has one of the richest histories in the Western world.

    “Eh? In 1841 what’s the difference? Who’s a planter in 1841″

    AG if you cant work what a planter is in Ireland then whats the point of going on with this debate.

    “Either way, you’ve just ducked that one. You’ve applied a modern attitude to charity to a mid nineteenth century disaster, as if there was some sepia coloured photo of a Bob Geldof type figure kicking around”

    Haven’t a Mary Lou what your talking about above but if your referring to the local population boarding ships laden with grain and stopping them being exported to other countries watched and unhindered by Corporation officials as Bob Geldof stuff then so be it. The difference between the 1740 starvation and the 1840 was British rule -

    To the Earl of Lucan famine horrors were so many convincing demonstrations of the urgent necessity of clearing the land. The land could not support the people, could never support the people; so the people must go. He did not consider it was his responsibility, any more than the English Government considered it was their responsibility, to arrange how the people should go and where. He was getting nothing from his estates, all his rents and a great deal more were being put back into the land, and on one farm alone he spent £8,000; he was doing his share, and more than his share. To bolster up a hopelessly false economy, to pour out money, badly needed to improve the land, on paupers who could never be anything but paupers, was criminal sentimentality. A large part of the population of Ireland must disappear.

    Evictions became wholesale on the Earl of Lucan’s estates. Ten thousand people were ejected from the neighbourhood of Ballinrobe, and 15,000 acres cleared and put in charge of Scotsmen. A relieving officer told Sir Francis Head, an English observer, that the destitution caused by Lord Lucan was ‘immense’. Pointing to an eminence enclosed by a capital wall and in a good state of cultivation, he said, ‘That was a densely populated hill called Staball. All the houses were thrown down’. Several populous villages in the neighbourhood of Castlebar completely disappeared, farms being established on the sites. Behind Castlebar House the Earl of Lucan established a large dairy farm; the yard and buildings of this farm, which covered three acres, were cleared in the town of Castlebar itself — whole streets were demolished and the stones from the walls used to build barns and boundary walls.

    Terror seized Mayo. The people, ignorant, starving and terrified, clung desperately to the land. They could not be got rid of — turned out of their cabins they took refuge with neighbours, or crept back in the night and hid in ditches. It was necessary to forbid any tenant to receive the evicted, on pain of being evicted himself; it was necessary to drive them out of the ditches; finally it was necessary to organise gangs, known as ‘crow-bar brigades’, to pull down cabins over the heads of people who refused to leave them. The Bishop of Meath saw a cabin being pulled down over the heads of people dying of cholera: a winnowing sheet was placed over their bodies as they lay on the ground, and the cabin was demolished over their heads. He administered the Sacrament for the dying in the open air, and since it was during the equinoctial gales, in torrents of rain.

    Sick and aged, little children, and women with child were alike thrust forth into the cold snows of winter, [writes Josephine Butler], for the winters of 1846 and 1847 were exceptionally severe and to prevent their return their cabins were levelled to the ground … the few remaining tenants were forbidden to receive the outcasts … The majority rendered penniless by the years of famine, wandered aimlessly about the roads and bogs till they found refuge in the workhouse or the grave.

    In addition to the crowbar brigade, a ‘machine of ropes and pulleys’ was devised for the destruction of more solid houses. It consisted of massive iron levers, hooks and a chain to which horses were yoked.

    By fixing the hooks and levers at proper points, at one crack of the whip and pull of the horses the roof was brought in. By similar gripping of the coign stone the house walls were torn to pieces. It was found that two of these machines enabled a sheriff to evict as many families in a day as could be got through by a crowbar brigade of fifty men. It was not an unusual occurrence to see forty or fifty houses levelled in one day, and orders given that no tenant or occupier should give them even a night’s shelter.

    Imprecations and curses were hurled at the Earl of Lucan as village after village was blotted out. He was called the ‘Exterminator’. It was said that he regarded his tenants as vermin to be cleared off his land. But he held relentlessly to his view. There was only one solution for Ireland — a large part of the population must disappear.

  • zep

    “AG if you cant work what a planter is in Ireland then whats the point of going on with this debate.”

    I can’t. Tell me please.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    You’ll have to pardon Mr Thickie Ghobsmacht, I’m afraid I don’t know what constitutes a planter in 1841 (the year in question).

    I still don’t know what constitutes genocide either seemingly.

    And despite all your fine words, I still am no closer to knowing why this ‘genocide’ failed so badly.

    There’s no point in recounting tales of horror of the time for even an ignorant miscreant such as myself as I (like every Irishman) have heard numerous tales.

    Working in Africa has helped me further picture what horror starvation and disease can inflict.

    So, back to the points if you please.

    “Haven’t a Mary Lou what your talking about above but if your referring to the local population boarding ships laden with grain and stopping them being exported to other countries watched and unhindered by Corporation officials as Bob Geldof stuff then so be it. ”

    Well, I’m referring to the modern naive view of “people needed food. We had food. Why not give food to people. Simples”

    Same reason many other governments didn’t dish out free food willy-nilly during the same European wide potato blight.

    Or maybe the British government did dish out some food.

    But that f**ks up the genocide theory, so lets just ignore it…

    BTW, have you considered working for the ‘yes’ campaign in Scotland?

    A few glances at a history book and you’ll be able to draw parallels of religious discrimination, famine, gaelic annihilation and slavery and rob Scottish people of their pride and replace it with Anglo-phobic indignation…

  • tacapall

    Here ya go Zeb -

    http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/center-study-genocide-conflict-resolution-and-human-rights/16th-17th-century-plantation-ireland

    The 16th-17th Century Plantation of Ireland

    “During the 16th and 17th Century, the English Monarchy and Parliament attained effective dominion over the island of Ireland through a series of confiscations of Irish Catholic-owned land, and the subsequent colonization of this land by settlers from England and Scotland. These ‘plantations’ were to cause extreme demographic and political changes, led at least in part to the irreparable decline of the Irish language, and effectively amounted to a policy of genocide against the Irish Catholic population”

  • zep

    At what point do you stop being ‘planted’? After a single generation? After 20?

    PS Interesting to know that the decline of the Irish language was ‘irreparable’, I would argue that most certainly isn’t the case.

  • tacapall

    AG Ireland has an abundance of water just like it had an abundance of food exported out of the country during the 1840s. Now if some country decided to invade killing and enslaving 3/4 of the population then started exported all our drinking water out of the country and millions died of thirst would that be called genocide or drought.

    I understand full well citizens from other nations starved during the same period but no country suffered as much as Ireland because of indifferent politicians who cared nothing about the sufferings of others.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    I see.

    So, Wolfe-tone was a planter?

    Roger Casement?

    Countess Markiweic?

    WB Yeats?

    Oscar Wilde?

    CS Lewis?

    Cecil Day-Lewis?

    In Derry there’s a SF Campbell and a DUP Campbell. Which ‘twisted mouth’ is a planter and why is the other one not?

    Does that mean that Protestants/Unionists called Kelly or O’Neill are ‘natives’?

    Is there a chance that they’re all Irish, only of varying ancestry?

    You know, like many other countries…

    What about people of Norman ancestry? And if they are still ‘foreign’ does that mean that Scottish heroes such as the De Brus’s, Stewarts and Walllaces are in fact ‘not Scottish’?

    Now, back to this genocide thingy, any ideas as to why the genocide of the 1840′s failed?

    You mention the word a lot but don’t really back it up.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “indifferent politicians who cared nothing about the sufferings of others.”

    Surely that constitutes negligence, not genocide?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    (sorry, hit the submit button too early)

    “indifferent politicians who cared nothing about the sufferings of others.”

    Surely that constitutes negligence, not genocide?

    Which brings us back to modern African nations.

    As far as you’re concerned many countries are then embarking on a policy of genocide against their own populations?

  • tacapall

    Zep we were talking about the policy of plantation during that period and whether the then population figures were a true reflection of the Irish people. Any child born in Ireland is Irish as far as Im concerned and as for the Irish language well I agree with you its all down to a matter of choice.

  • Republic of Connaught

    zep

    “At what point do you stop being ‘planted’? After a single generation? After 20?”

    A majority of Protestants in NI ticked “British only” in the recent census. So perhaps the question should be directed to them.

  • tacapall

    AG why dont you just answer a question for me for a change.

    AG Ireland has an abundance of water just like it had an abundance of food exported out of the country during the 1840s. Now if some country decided to invade killing and enslaving 3/4 of the population then started exported all our drinking water out of the country and millions died of thirst would that be called genocide or drought .

    Yes or No. And if truth be told when you peel away the layers of ambiguity around words like negligence or indifference the above is exactly what happened in Ireland.

  • zep

    Interesting link to make between having a British identity and being ‘planted’. Does this put the lie to notions of equality of identity for citizens in this part of Ireland? ‘You can self-identify as you choose, however if you tick ‘Brit’ then you’re as good as a foreigner in your country of birth’. I would guess that you don’t actually subscribe to that view.

  • Republic of Connaught

    They deliberately ticked ‘British only’. Not British and Irish or British and Northern Irish. They declined any identity directly related to Ireland.

    I respect that choice if that’s how they feel. However, anyone in Ulster who ticks ‘British only’ when they can trace their lineage back hundreds of years in Ireland is invariably of planter stock. That doesn’t make them a foreigner in Ireland if they’re born and raised in Ulster. But it does make them a small minority on the island.

  • zep

    Bit of a difference between ‘of planter stock’ and ‘a planter’ isn’t there.

    Glad to hear you don’t consider any British people in Northern Ireland to be foreigners though :-D

  • Republic of Connaught

    “Glad to hear you don’t consider any British people in Northern Ireland to be foreigners though”

    As long as they have an Ulster brogue I’ll always have some love for them. Crazy as all Ulster people are. :)

  • Niccolo

    tacapall,

    Firstly, let’s be clear….the issue is your contention that “the Great Hunger” of 1845 to 1852 was genocide rather than a famine.

    “Niccolo you can bring a horse to the trough but you cant make it drink. You obviously never read anything at all about the Act of Settlement or the Act of Satisfaction or the plantation of Ireland.”

    “So tell me just what was the plantation of Ireland really about?”

    What has any of that got to do with whether the famine of 1845 to 1852 was genocide?

    Neither this nor your cut-and-paste story about the Earl of Lucan, shameful though it is, answers the question posed.

    I repeat…. according to the UN declaration on genocide the crucial element is intent to destroy and, still, you have urged no proof of this.

    “Between 1600 and 1845 , Ireland’s population surged from one million to eight and a half million…”

    “I wouldn’t agree with that exact figure but if you could separate the native Irish from the planter within those figures it would be helpful.”

    Really, what figure would you agree with then?

    Why would it be “helpful” to segregate the “planter” figures?

    Why do you accept the figures from the 1650s and not those from 1841?

    Also, please answer the question….why then is the 1841 Census figure at over 8 million if that was not the case?

    As for the issue of exports from Ireland during the 1845 to 1852 period, unless you know different, records simply weren’t kept or have since been lost. It is certainly true that some food was exported, but there is no way of knowing how much or if it would have prevented the Famine. Food was also imported, though again, it is unknown whether this outweighed the food that was exported. The starving Irish had little money so merchants sold it abroad where they could get a better price.

    As you put it and I agree, “Money it seems was more important than people”.

  • tacapall

    Niccolo Im not the only person in the world who believes what I believe why dont you try my 1.03 post or even read the whole way through that Wikipedia article you fist used as a reference to your figures. I think the lord lucan bit sums up British thinking when it came to all those starving people and if you want me to jump through hoops for you maybe you can jump through a few of mine and answer my questions to you with a little bit more than another question.

  • Niccolo

    tacapall,

    “Niccolo Im not the only person in the world who believes what I believe”

    So what?

    “….why dont you try my 1.03 post or even read the whole way through that Wikipedia article you fist used as a reference to your figures”

    I have done. I’ve also posed a number of clear and pertinent questions in response….why won’t you attempt answers?

    “I think the lord lucan bit sums up British thinking when it came to all those starving people”

    It may sum up Lucan’s thinking, but does it prove the crucial element of intent to destroy as stipulated in the UN declaration on genocide? For me, certainly not.

    “if you want me to jump through hoops for you maybe you can jump through a few of mine and answer my questions to you with a little bit more than another question”

    Perhaps when you ask a relevant question, then I will answer.

    I state again, you contended that “the Great Hunger” of 1845 to 1852 was genocide rather than a famine.

    I have simply challenged that assertion.

    I will wait patiently for you to make your case.

  • tacapall

    Niccolo im not going to waste my time on you anymore, believe what you like I dont care but I’ll do one more post

    The UN definition of genocide -

    “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its destruction in whole or part.”

    “It is difficult to refute the indictment made by one humanitarian English observer in the later stages of the Famine, that amidst ‘an abundance of cheap food…very many have been done to death by pure tyranny’. The charge of culpable neglect of the consequences of policies leading to mass starvation is indisputable. That a conscious choice to pursue moral or economic objectives at the expense of human life was made by several ministers is also demonstrable.” Peter Gray

    “The famine was the culmination of generations of neglect, misrule and repression. It was an epic of English colonial cruelty and inadequacy. For the landless cabin dwellers it meant emigration or extinction…

    The dimensions of the calamity can hardly be delineated by simple statistics. England had presided over an epochal disaster too monstrous and too impersonal to be a mere product of individual ill-will or the fiendish outcome of a well-planned conspiracy. It was something worse: the cumulative antagonism and corruption of the English ruling class was visited with crushing intensity upon a long-enfeebled foe. It was as close to genocide as colonialism would come in the nineteenth century.

    About the 50,000 evictions that took place during the Famine, Clark wrote: “The British government’s insistence on ‘the absolute rights of landlords’” to evict farmers and their families so they could raise cattle and sheep, was a process “as close to ‘ethnic cleansing’ as any Balkan war ever enacted.” Dennis Clark

    “I would draw the following broad conclusion: at a fairly early stage of the Great Famine the government’s abject failure to stop or even slow down the clearnaces (evictions) contributed in a major way to enshrining the idea of English state-sponsored genocide in Irish popular mind. Or perhaps one should say in the Irish mind, for this was a notion that appealed to many educated and discriminating men and women, and not only to the revolutionary minority…” Professor James S. Donnelly Jr

    “In 1849 Law Commissioner, Edward Twisleton testified that “comparatively trifling sums were required for Britain to spare itself the deep disgrace of permitting its miserable fellow subjects to die of starvation.” According to Gray, the British spent 7 million Pounds for relief in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, “representing less than half of one percent of the British gross national product over five years. Contemporaries noted the sharp contrast with the 20 million Pounds compensation given to West Indian slave-owners in the 1830s.”

    “He (Twisleton) thinks that the destitution here [in Ireland] is so horrible, and the indifference of the House of Commons is so manifest, that he is an unfit agent for a policy that must be one of extermination.” The Earl of Clarendon

    “I do not think there is another legislature in Europe that would disregard such suffering as now exists in the west of Ireland, or coldly persist in a policy of extermination.” The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Earl of Clarendon

    “I have called it an artificial famine: that is to say, it was a famine which desolated a rich and fertile island, that produced every year abundance and superabundance to sustain all her people and many more. The English, indeed, call the famine a “dispensation of Providence;” and ascribe it entirely to the blight on potatoes. But potatoes failed in like manner all over Europe; yet there was no famine save in Ireland. The British account of the matter, then, is first, a fraud – second, a blasphemy. The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the famine.” John Mitchel, leader of the Young Ireland Movement 1860

    If the above observations dont fit your definition of genocide, some from people who were around at that time and who were servants of the Crown then what hope have I an Irishman of convincing someone who believes there were indigenous British but not indigenous Irish.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    “AG why dont you just answer a question for me for a change.”

    I have answered your questions and foolishly taken the bait that you have laid to act as a distraction.

    I asked you why the ‘genocide’ failed.

    No answer, just a bunch of quotes from people regarding the nasty British.

    You were offered quotes, sources and figures regarding the 8 – 9 million population.

    Your reaction? Disbelief and an attempt at ‘de-irishing’ people and then ignoring my list of noteworthy Irish people.

    You come across as one of the most biased and blinkered contributors I’ve ever seen on this site.

    You take great comfort in knowing that there are other people who believe in the genocide bollox but have yet to produce any academic of any pedigree.

    I’m sure there may be one or two kicking about but from what I’ve seen they’re out numbered by those academics with a more rational way of looking at things.

    In fact, here’s a serious academic getting stuck into Tim Pat Coogan and the MOPE ‘industry’ as he calls it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YTOXoyhXvY

    And as for this desperate attempt:

    “AG Ireland has an abundance of water just like it had an abundance of food exported out of the country during the 1840s. Now if some country decided to invade killing and enslaving 3/4 of the population then started exported all our drinking water out of the country and millions died of thirst would that be called genocide or drought .”

    1/ If that’s how you see things then “Wow!”

    2/ The invasion that you’re pertaining to as nasty as it was, wasn’t just something out of the blue was it?

    You’re wording it as if everyone was just laying around doing nothing and then old Noll just appeared out of nowhere.

    3/ The Great famine, as you know happened 2 centuries later, not the next week as your summary suggests.

    4/ Back to your flexible version of genocide: If the intention was that the nasty Brits wanted them to die of thirst and forbade them access to water then you’d have a point.

    But when the nasty Brits start importing (cheap) water, setting up poor houses (with water), public works, charitable foundations etc all with a view to providing water or passage to a place that has lots of water then your genocide theory fails.

    However inept and cruel they may have been it wasn’t deliberate.

    If it was, then, as I’ve asked in nearly every post, “why are we still here?”

    Why did the ‘genocide’ fail?

    You obviously read on the matter a lot so please use the resources that you have at your disposal to tell me why the genocide failed.

  • Niccolo

    tacapall,

    Still not even an attempt to answer one of my questions?

    Sad….

    “One of the great problems of this whole area is that it generates all kinds of conspiracy theories, websites – there is a kind of Famine commemoration industry out there”
    – Liam Kennedy, emeritus professor of economic history at The Queen’s University of Belfast.

    Not my definition of genocide, the UN’s….

    “Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

    Once again, the crucial element is intentionality and you still have not proved this. Despite all the text, I see no ‘smoking gun’.

    “The charge of culpable neglect of the consequences of policies leading to mass starvation is indisputable. That a conscious choice to pursue moral or economic objectives at the expense of human life was made by several ministers is also demonstrable.”

    For me, the available evidence supports this statement but neglect and laissez-faire economics are not murder or genocide.

    Oh, before you run off, to whom are you referring with your phrase, “someone who believes there were indigenous British but not indigenous Irish”?

    If you mean me, where/when did I write that?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Niccolo

    Ah, I stand corrected, as you say:

    “One of the great problems of this whole area is that it generates all kinds of conspiracy theories, websites – there is a kind of Famine commemoration industry out there”
    – Liam Kennedy, emeritus professor of economic history at The Queen’s University of Belfast.

    I should have said that instead of MOPE industry. But the two do cross over on occasion…

  • tacapall

    “Ideoloqy and the Famine”, Belfast-born and Cambridge-educated historian Peter Gray

    Dennis Clark, an Irish-American historian

    Professor James S. Donnelly Jr., a historian at the University of Wisconsin.

    Oh I see AG genocide is only genocide if everyone is killed. Right I better revise my thoughts about the Jews then there are still millions of them around. Mopes too I suppose, no thats right that genocide was nothing at all to do with Britain except she let that happen too. The ends justifying the means an all.

    You believe im biased because I dont believe the British version of events or that 600,000 people could turn into 9 million in two hundred years especially considering they had no land, no money and landlords like lord lucan were running about but who am I to argue with such a learned person as yourself who has furnished me with all sorts of academic evidence like Wikipedia to discard the opinions of Crown servants who were around at the time. The thing is AG if you dont agree or dont like what people say then dont respond, your under no obligation. You can believe what you like and I’ll do the same its called freedom of opinion.

    Ireland is not the only country that suffered from starvation under British rule, Boars, Indians ( millions died numerous times even though there was an abundance of food) and even Americans maybe you should read up about the “Horrible Hulks”

    You should also know, in Ireland even though there is no smoking gun you can still assume, on the balance of probabilities that you can still point the finger and accuse others of being complicit in firing one.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    1/ I never inferred that it’s only genocide if everyone gets killed, I, like the others you’ve been arguing with focus on the ‘intent’ aspect.

    Something that you’ve been careful (and wise) to avoid.

    2/ I simply asked WHY the ‘genocide’ failed if it was indeed a deliberate act.
    No answer from you.

    3/ I never once mentioned wikipedia. All my quotes and references are mainly from Irish academics.

    Including, oddly enough, Peter Gray.

    So, I went downstairs, read the article you quoted and started jotting down some notes.

    I need not have bothered as the final sentence of that paper (which you submit as evidence that it WAS a deliberate genocide) reads thusly:

    “What these led to WAS NOT A POLICY OF DELIBERATE GENOCIDE, but a dogmatic refusal to recognise that measures intended ‘to encourage industry, to do battle with sloth and dispair; to awake a manly feeling of inward confidence and reliance on the justice of Heaven’, were based on false premises, and in the Irish conditions of the later 1840′s amounted to a sentence of death on many thousands.”

    i.e. NOT genocide but a series of colossal f**k ups.

    Also, the final sentence in an essay by Professor James S. Donnelly Jr,’Mass Eviction and the Great Famine: The Clearances Revisited’;

    “And it is also my contention that WHILE GENOCIDE WAS NOT IN FACT COMMITED, what happened during and as a result of the clearances had the look of genocide to a great many Irish contemporaries”

    Tac,
    TWO of your chosen exhibits to defend your case states quite clearly NOT GENOCIDE. i.e. the OPPOSITE of what you are saying.

    Gray also uses the words “dogmatic refusal” which seems quite fitting in this argument…

  • Niccolo

    tacapall,

    “Oh I see AG genocide is only genocide if everyone is killed. Right I better revise my thoughts about the Jews then there are still millions of them around. Mopes too I suppose, no thats right that genocide was nothing at all to do with Britain except she let that happen too. The ends justifying the means an all.”

    No, it is only genocide if the element of intentionality can be proven….and clearly you seem incapable of doing so. That paragraph only serves to underline this.

    “You believe im biased because I dont believe the British version of events or that 600,000 people could turn into 9 million in two hundred years especially considering they had no land, no money and landlords like lord lucan were running about but who am I to argue with such a learned person as yourself who has furnished me with all sorts of academic evidence like Wikipedia to discard the opinions of Crown servants who were around at the time.”

    However, you accept British figures from the 1650s though not British figures from 1841….an inconsistency you have yet to explain.

    Also, and for the third time of asking….why is the 1841 Census figure at over 8 million if that was not the case?

    “Ireland is not the only country that suffered from starvation under British rule, Boars, Indians ( millions died numerous times even though there was an abundance of food) and even Americans maybe you should read up about the “Horrible Hulks””

    This paragraph again adds no value and advances not a jot your genocide contention.

    I asked you to make a case and in response I get words like, “assume”, “balance of probabilities”, “point the finger”?

    I had hoped for better.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Niccolo

    Not only that, but TWO of the academics that Tac quotes in an effort to support the genocide theory state quite clearly that they DON’T believe it was a genocide!

    Really Tac, if you are to be ever taken seriously on this site ever again, just drop it.

  • tacapall

    AG the day I give a flying …. whether anyone takes me seriously or not on this site is the day I give up. Do you think I worry that I posted up a source that although agreeing with my observations about the inhumanity of both the British government and the British establishment nevertheless concluded it was unintentional. The point was their studies highlighted actions that can be classed as genocidal. If its ok for you to ignore the conclusions like “the Great Famine today is viewed by a number of historical academics as a form of either direct or indirect genocide” from the same source (Wikipedia) that you got your facts and figures from then why am I not allowed to ignore the conclusions of any of my sources yet still use the source as a pointer to reinforce my argument that it was genocide.
    Regardless what conclusions any historian comes to concerning the reasons behind factual events, it usually always revolves around money but that in no way invalidates the possibility or the probability if one concludes his or her own opinions based on other factors like similar happenings and the historical trail of death and destruction by the same British establishment and British government that just like today events were manufactured and manipulated by greedy uncaring parasites who exploited Ireland and its citizens in every financial and physical way.

    I wont be jumping through any hoops for you AG by dropping anything, what actual evidence have you produced that could convince me that it was not intentional genocide even though tons of food was being exported out of Ireland the government sat back and allowed one and a half million people die of starvation and disease because they did not want to interfere with the natural order of things.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    Do you hear yourself?

    You quote to me academics and their papers in a hope to convince me that it is a genocide even though the same academics state quite clearly that it is NOT a deliberate act of genocide.

    That makes no sense whatsoever.

    The awful suffering of the people is not is question, the assertion that it was a deliberate genocide is.

    And you have not supported it at all (quite the opposite in fact).

    If you don’t believe the authors of the sources that you quote then what’s the point.

    You keep saying that I’ve nicked stuff of wikipedia, I haven’t. Every morsel I’ve presented comes from a series of essays by academics called ‘The Great Irish Famine’, published by Mercier and edited by Cathal Poirteir.

    NOT Wiki-frickin-pedia or the BBC.

    So you can’t apply the argument “If its ok for you to ignore the conclusions like “the Great Famine today is viewed by a number of historical academics as a form of either direct or indirect genocide” from the same source (Wikipedia) that you got your facts and figures from then why am I not allowed to ignore the conclusions of any of my sources yet still use the source as a pointer to reinforce my argument that it was genocide.” to me as I did not regurgitate one nugget of Wiki info.

    If it appears on wiki then they obviously cherry picked it from this book.

    The book is very ‘warts and all’ in that it covers all angles, from suffering to flawed economic ideology.

    Said book also contains the essays that you referenced in your ‘defence’ which incidentally categorically discard the opinion that it was a genocide.

    I’ve never seen such a flawed defence in all the time I’ve been on SoT, this surpasses anything Unionist Press Centre came out with.

    And as for the ‘hoop jumping’ well, bearing in mind that I read the essays you referenced and answered your questions it’s pretty rude of you to palm off my (as yet unanswered) questions as ‘hoops’.

    I stepped up, you ducked out.

    Furthermore, you never answered any of Niccolo’s questions either.

    We’re still waiting for you to show evidence of intent or why the 1841 census is inadequate.

    Funnily enough, it was inadequate for Arch-MOPE Tim Pat Coogan too, he bumped the figures up even further and boasted of it being down to the sensual and amorous nature of the Irish.

    At least he saw a silver lining…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    One last time:

    I did NOT use any snippets from Wikipedia.

  • Son of Strongbow

    AG you have such a pleasant and restrained way of nailing fools. Do you use a rubber hammer?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    SoS

    It feels more like a stapler…

  • Niccolo

    tacapall,

    “the day I give a flying …. whether anyone takes me seriously or not on this site is the day I give up”

    Clearly.

    “what actual evidence have you produced that could convince me that it was not intentional genocide”

    Having failed to make a credible case for intentionality….so it ends as it always seems to end, with the all too predictable and lamentable request to prove the negative – the familiar last resort and ‘white flag’.

    To paraphrase Denzel Washington’s character from the movie “Training Day”….

    ….”it’s not what you want to be true, it’s what you can prove”.

  • Greenflag

    @ tmitch57 (profile) 18 March 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Your post above includes some inaccuracies and partial truths .

    ‘A great many of 40 million are really Scotch-Irish’

    Some are /were possibly a quarter to a third nobody knows for sure .

    ‘. The Irish Catholic migration began starting during the Irish famine in the mid-1840s ”

    Charles Carroll one of the wealthiest men in the USA was of Irish Catholic ancestry and was the only Catholic to have signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 .Irish Catholics seem to have made it to the USA long before 1776 and some may have crossed over with their Scotch Irish neighbours . I’m sure ship captains and indentured servant traders were heedless of their cargo’s religions as long as the quota was filled . I’ve seen cemetaries in the Blue Ridge in Virginia with gravestones from the late 1700′s with Irish names such as Fitzpatrick , Burke , Barrett and others I can’t now recall mixed in with the Bairds , Blairs etc . These very early Irish catholic immigrants would have in most cases changed their religious denomination given local conditions and the absence of any RC organisation in the Appalachian boondocks of the time .

    General Sullivan fought with George Washington during the Revolution and there were of course thousands of Irish Catholics in British redcoat regiments who fought with such distinction against the Americans that Lord Cornwallis supported their desire for ‘freedom of religion ‘ in their own country . Cornwallis ended his career in India as King George was anti Catholic and completely opposed to Catholic Emancipation .

    Many ‘redcoats ‘ remained in the USA after 1786 and many would have been Irish catholics .

    Heres a little history of St Patrick’s Day parades in the USA . http://history1800s.about.com/od/entertainmentsport/a/stpatparade.htm

    “These are basically two separate groups with only a few things in common such as music.”

    And a love of fighting apparently . The earlier English and Germans could’nt abide the early Ulster immigrants who hd a reputation for drinking and fighting with their neighbours if they could’nt find any to fight with among their own .

    The best land had already been parceled out to earlier English and German settlers so the Scotch Irish were dispatched to the Appalachians not exactly to Hell or to Connaught but at least they could abide there in relative isolation amid rural beauty but alas economic underdevelopment .

    ‘ In the American Civil War Scotch-Irish fought in large numbers on both sides. Catholic Irish fought mainly on the Northern side in units from New York and Massachusetts. ‘

    It’s hard to find exact numbers but it has been estimated that for every two Irish who fought for the Union one fought for the Confederacy . Some suggest this is one of the main reasons the North won and the Confederacy took second place . What is true is that next to those of American born dead the Irish took second place among the fallen on the battlefields

    ‘ ‘The Catholic Irish have long been a stable constituency of the Democratic Party, particularly in large cities.’

    That was more true of the 1960′s and 70′s than in recent decades . Whatever is left of a purely American born Catholic Irish vote is split between both parties . Reagan I believe was the President who broke the Democratic party dominance of that vote .

    The main cities are overwhelmingly democrat regardless of ancestral ethnicities .

  • tacapall

    AG hopefully after congratulating yourself you’ll come back down to earth. Once again what actual evidence have you posted that proves what I believe to be wrong other than continuously asking me to produce evidence to prove what I believe. I have already stated that my beliefs are my own opinions based on what evidence I read. You ignore the fact that 100s of tons of food was exported out of the country while thousands starved, that the same absentee landlords who evicted 1000s of starving tenants on to the streets were the same politicians and investors in Britain who refused to intervene citing ignorance or reluctance to interfere in the free markets until public opinion forced them to. What they did was too little too late yet these same politicians were able to control an empire that spanned the globe an empire that showed no mercy to the native inhabitants of all the other countries they invaded and plundered you ignore the fact that they strangely enough made the same mistakes in Bengal as they did in Ireland resulting in the loss of millions of lives.

    You dont have to answer but if you could – If its fact that Cromwell disposed of three quarters of the Irish population leaving around 600,000, how did this Irish population grow to 9 million in two hundred years considering they were homeless, penniless and considered as outlaws and beggars in their own country by an invading army who colonised the country with their own people.

    You claim Im biased but I can say the same thing to you as obviously you see the British role in the misfortunes of Ireland as misunderstood and the Irish opinion of Britain as unjust and in your words moping, look around the world at the trail of death and destruction Britain have left in its quest for world domination, even today has anything changed in the British mindset regarding caring about the loss of life or the well being of other nations when it comes to furthering British interests.

  • Greenflag

    @ tacapall ,

    ‘I dont believe the British version of events’

    Thats fair enough especially in relation to Irish history or interprettions of the same and in particular in relation to British policy as administered in Ireland . At least up to more recent times .

    ‘ or that 600,000 people could turn into 9 million in two hundred years’

    I tend to agree with AG’s comment that it was more negligence and indifference than genocide per se . There had been of course earlier smaller famines in Ireland some of which indirectly gave rise to mass emigration from Ulster in the 1720′s and 1740′s . The efforts of the local Irish Parliament an Ascendancy only Institution in the mid 18th century were commendable in relieving distress among the rural poor in the north and north west of the island and were more effective than the 1840′s debacle . Of course the latter was a much greater disaster by any standard .The climatic impact of whats called the Little Ice Age (1600- 1850 ) is also a factor which rarely gets mentioned.

    Ireland in the 1840′s was the most densely populated country in Europe . Despite the loss of one third of it’s population some 686,000 during the Wars of Religion and Rebellions 1585 -1690 and despite the to Hell or to Connaught diktat somehow the Island’s population had recovered to 4 millions by the 1750′s and quadrupled between 1700 and 1840. The main reason being the introduction and widespread adoption of the potato as the main staple . Contrary to the Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the potato to Ireland some historians believe the humble potato made it’s way via South America and Spain to the west coast of Ireland decades earlier .

    While it’s true that food was exported from Ireland during the Famine to feed the Satanic mill workers of emergent industrialised Britain it’s also true that Ireland was a Malthusian disaster in the offing with the people’s only protection being a ‘laissez faire ‘ government ideology in the far off London of the time . British imperial interests and commercial returns on investments were far greater in the East and Caribbean and Africa than they could ever be in Ireland .

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    I don’t even know what ‘the British version of events’ is.

    We may have covered it a bit in my history class but I remember nothing other than the massive haunting eviction scene picture that the history teacher had permanently hung in the class.

    Anything I’ve learnt has been from that series of lectures and essays, the contributors being mainly Irish with the odd American and Brit here and there.

    So forget the British brainwashing.

    In fact, I know more about the famine from reading Tim Pat-Coogan’s stuff than from the BBC. (Yes, I cringe at his bias but have read 4 of his books).

    “You ignore the fact that 100s of tons of food was exported out of the country while thousands starved, that the same absentee landlords who evicted 1000s of starving tenants on to the streets were the same politicians and investors in Britain who refused to intervene citing ignorance or reluctance to interfere in the free markets until public opinion forced them to”

    I don’t ignore it at all, it is in fact the crux of the matter.

    It is also covered in that Peter Gray essay that you referenced.

    The first few pages discuss the various economic schools of thought on the topic of MAKING IRELAND BETTER and more prosperous for the population.

    Yes, exporting food while people starve was a lousy thing to do.

    It was lousy in Ireland just as it was in Scotland and other countries, but of course the effects were amplified in Ireland due to this huge population.

    You may not wish to believe the 8 million figure, but you’re on your own, everyone else does.

    Academics, officials, teachers and even MOPEs like Tim Pat Coogan.

    Some MOPEs like to bump the figure up even more so they can accuse the British of even more slaughter but each to their own.

    Common sense would suggest to me that the peace time administration practices of Britain and Ireland would be much more efficient and accurate than those of 200 years prior.

    I ignored no fact of starvation across various parts of the empire.
    They’re facts, starvation happened.
    What happened in Bengal I don’t know.
    I don’t really know where Bengal is/was (Calcutta direction methinks?).
    Maybe they did create some sort of Holodmor or maybe they once again coldly stuck to economic ‘principles’.
    Maybe they f**ked up.

    All I know about it is that I’ve met a few people from Calcutta and never once heard them take about a genocide being waged on them.

    As for not mentioning the landlords, well, do I really have to? It’s like talking about a war and feeling compelled to mention hand guns.

    Sure they were another contributing factor and off course many got their comeuppance of sorts (was it 3000 or 5000 bankrupt/seized estates?).

    As for the incredible population explosion:

    You’re using 17th century wartime infrastructure-less statistics as your pivot and extrapolating them.

    Given what you’ve told me of the population trend of the time then the population of Ireland by 1841 should be two people.

    However, everyone else uses either census records or perhaps even parish records.

    In either case, the peacetime administration machine of this period suggests over 8 million people.

    So, a few options:

    1/ Your war torn statistics of 17th century Ireland are a bit off (other figures from the time show 100 000 Protestant deaths in 1641 – clearly propaganda bollix but a sign of the times)

    2/ The population of the land did indeed get it on like rabbits

    3/ Even more immigration than we had thought, which would account for why so many people in places like the Arran islands have English blood.

    4/ All of the above

    Finally, I think you misunderstand me when I deploy the word MOPE:

    Airing grievances and injustices is fine.

    Why should we sweep everything under the carpet?

    What I don’t like is when said discussions are at the expense of rational debate and are replaced by exaggeration and hysteria.

    MOPEry implies that everything was a one way st in Irish history.

    A sign of a true MOPE is when they’re more angry at what the British DIDN’T do to them as to what they perceive the British did to them.

    Some MOPEs are crushed when they find out that one not TWO million people starved.

    For me both the statistics and the mindset are tragic.

  • tacapall

    “It was lousy in Ireland just as it was in Scotland and other countries, but of course the effects were amplified in Ireland due to this huge population”

    AG the population per sq mile using the figures you supplied ie, 9 million were no different than Scotland or anywhere else yet no-where else did so many people die. The truth of the matter is the indifference and callousness and lack of early response by the British government and MPs in relation to the Irish crisis was the biggest factor that was responsible for such a high death factor. A hundred years previous when a similar catastrophe occurred but in a time when Ireland controlled its own affairs the ports were shut down exports were halted, actions that other governments carried out during similar crises which in turn resulted in lower food prices and in turn although less profit for the rich nevertheless resulted in a much lower death rate.

    “You may not wish to believe the 8 million figure, but you’re on your own, everyone else does”

    Its not that I dispute those figures AG but for me its back to Cromwell and those last 600,000 Irish that were left alive in the last cull. Are we to believe these 600,000 bred like rabbits in fields and bogs with no food or shelter or are the majority of those 8 or 9 million the descendants of those who were planted in Ireland. How many of that 8 or 9 million were descendants of those 600,000 or how many of those descendants starved to death.

    Fair enough on the mope bit.

  • IrelandNorth

    The old catch cry that “Irish nationalism is dead and gone and with O’Leary in the grave!” could be edited to read: “Irish nationalism isn’t dead or gone but with Irish-America in the States!” There are many Irish-American who might argue, and not with a little justification, that modern Ireland has become so “modernised” (sic) that it’s no longer Irishness at all but some undicernable cross blend of Europeanism. Political correctionists will read this as racism. The less culturally conditioned will see it as ethnocide in everything but name. Irish-Americanism may be the genuine article.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    “AG the population per sq mile using the figures you supplied ie, 9 million were no different than Scotland”

    Are you sure about that?

    Scotland’s population was much smaller than Ireland’s at the time, less than half if memory serves me right.

    “The truth of the matter is the indifference and callousness and lack of early response by the British government and MPs in relation to the Irish crisis was the biggest factor that was responsible for such a high death factor”

    Well, that’s a lot more reasoned than the deliberate genocide idea, so, fair enough.

    There were other factors too but threre’s no point in hashing them out here (I’m too hungover to read that series of essays again….).

    “Are we to believe these 600,000 bred like rabbits in fields and bogs with no food or shelter or are the majority of those 8 or 9 million the descendants of those who were planted in Ireland”

    I don’t know how it came to be but a combination of the factors I mentioned earlier may have contributed.

    “How many of that 8 or 9 million were descendants of those 600,000 or how many of those descendants starved to death”

    Hard to say Tac, the mixing of the population is a big question, for example like I mentioned earlier, (I am given to understand) blood tests were carried out on people in the Arran Islands and found out that a fair whack of them descended from Cromwell’s East Anglican troops that were stationed in the area.

    So, it’s a head scratcher Tac

  • Reader

    tacapall: Are we to believe these 600,000 bred like rabbits in fields and bogs with no food or shelter or are the majority of those 8 or 9 million the descendants of those who were planted in Ireland.
    Even accepting the figures at face value, an increase of that amount over 8 generations is only a factor of 1.38 per generation. I’ve managed more than that myself, and I’m no rabbit. In any case, we know that Ireland could – just about – feed 8 million on potatoes, because it *did*. Until the crop failed.