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BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found

Jim Carroll 15 Apr 14 - 08:36 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Apr 14 - 06:48 PM
Thompson 14 Apr 14 - 06:10 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 14 - 09:08 AM
Keith A of Hertford 14 Apr 14 - 08:01 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 14 - 07:56 AM
Keith A of Hertford 14 Apr 14 - 07:15 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 14 - 07:13 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 14 - 07:01 AM
Keith A of Hertford 14 Apr 14 - 06:49 AM
Keith A of Hertford 14 Apr 14 - 06:30 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 14 - 05:58 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Apr 14 - 05:55 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 14 - 05:43 AM
Keith A of Hertford 14 Apr 14 - 05:14 AM
Keith A of Hertford 14 Apr 14 - 05:06 AM
Keith A of Hertford 14 Apr 14 - 05:03 AM
Keith A of Hertford 13 Apr 14 - 03:59 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 14 - 02:47 PM
Greg F. 13 Apr 14 - 01:27 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 14 - 01:21 PM
pdq 13 Apr 14 - 12:53 PM
Keith A of Hertford 13 Apr 14 - 12:35 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 14 - 12:29 PM
pdq 13 Apr 14 - 12:17 PM
Keith A of Hertford 13 Apr 14 - 12:01 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 14 - 11:50 AM
Greg F. 13 Apr 14 - 11:48 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 14 - 11:37 AM
pdq 13 Apr 14 - 11:04 AM
Keith A of Hertford 13 Apr 14 - 11:03 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 14 - 10:53 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 14 - 08:22 AM
Greg F. 12 Apr 14 - 08:30 PM
Thompson 12 Apr 14 - 07:41 PM
pdq 12 Apr 14 - 07:27 PM
Thompson 12 Apr 14 - 06:51 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Apr 14 - 01:07 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Apr 14 - 04:03 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Apr 14 - 03:41 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Apr 14 - 06:21 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Apr 14 - 06:19 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Apr 14 - 06:15 PM
beardedbruce 11 Apr 14 - 03:39 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Apr 14 - 03:23 PM
Greg F. 11 Apr 14 - 12:16 PM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Apr 14 - 11:58 AM
beardedbruce 11 Apr 14 - 11:39 AM
pdq 11 Apr 14 - 11:29 AM
beardedbruce 11 Apr 14 - 11:25 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Apr 14 - 08:36 AM

"Stupidity is often fatal."
Don't confuse ignorance with stupidity Richard - not the same thing.
The people being fed this stuff were in a desperate condition; some of them living in holes in the ground, others crammed into overcrowded workhouses.
They were reported to have resorted to eating grass from the side of the road because there was nothing else available.
The horrific case I put up earlier bears repeating, to show just how desperate some of them were.   
Jim Carroll

"From the 'Cork Examiner' of March 19th, 1847 reporting on a court case in which a man had been charged with stealing food.
He said he was driven to it by what had happened to his wife. The court was told: The starving woman lay in her hovel next to her dead three year old son, waiting for her husband to return from begging food. When night fell and his failure to return led her to imagine him dead in a ditch, she lay there in the faint fire's dying embers, caressing with her eyes her dead son's face and his tiny fists.
With death searching her and now with her own fists clenched, she made one last effort to remain alive. Crawling as far away from her son's face as she could, as if to preserve his personality or at least her memory of it, she came to his bare feet and proceeded to eat them.
When her husband returned and saw what had happened, he buried the child, went out, and was caught trying to steal food. At his trial the magistrate from his immediate district intervened on his behalf, citing the wife's act as a circumstance deserving special consideration. The baby's body was exhumed, the flesh of both its feet and legs found to have been gnawed to the bone, and the husband released and allowed to return to his wife."


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 06:48 PM

Stupidity is often fatal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Thompson
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 06:10 PM

Not joining in this, but I thought I'd better qualify something I said; realised it sounded ambiguous.

I didn't intend to mean that "Peel's Brimstone", the corn supplied by the British Government which was so fatal to starving Irish people was *deliberately* meant to have ill effects. I think its suppliers thought they were buying nutritious, cheap, good food, and didn't realise that it needed extra processing to be edible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 09:08 AM

Go away
You have been asked to qualify your arguments by addressing the facts - you refuse
Why oh why do you insist on lying abbout statements you have posted
Are you insane?
Not surprising when generations of school children have been brainwashed to believe Britain should be blamed, KEEPING HATE ALIVE
Irish schools at least since 1922 and NY State schools since 1996 by decree.
Massachusetts?
jIM cARROLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 08:01 AM

You described the Irish as hating Britain

I never have because it is not true.


Kinealy says that the revisionists, who "deny culpability" and "rehabilitate the government," are the dominant view.
That contradicts all the stuff you just posted Jim.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 07:56 AM

"The Irish do not hate the English or anyone else, but for most of the 20th Century kids were taught that Britain was to blame."
You described the Irish as hating Britain and you have always described those who criticise British policy as "ant-British", even to the extent of saying that because I have chosen to live in Ireland I have no right to comment on what happens in Britain - do not compound all the lies yo have tld with yet another.
"deny culpability" and "rehabilitate the government," are the dominant view"
She says no such thing as you would find out if you read what she has written
No-one has disputed Britain's culpability - you have not even addressed it other than to deny it
Go away you nasty little man
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 07:15 AM

The Irish do not hate the English or anyone else, but for most of the 20th Century kids were taught that Britain was to blame.
They were also taught that Catholicism is the one true faith.
Luckily they also learned to think for themselves.

Kinealy says that the revisionists, who "deny culpability" and "rehabilitate the government," are the dominant view.
That contradicts all the stuff you just posted Jim.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 07:13 AM

The most distasteful thing about all this is that you and your mates are well aware of Britain's culpability in the Famine, otherwise you would have taken the causes I have listed, disproved them and thrown them out of the window, vindicating your arguments and humiliating me and those who disagree with you
You have ignored them totally, Termite has blustered his way past them Brucie has denied their existence - and pdq - "you cannot be serious".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 07:01 AM

"Up until the late 60s, Irish school text books taught kids that England was to blame"
That would be nearly half a century ago then.
Historians still say England is to blame - up to the late sixties history books were suggesting that British policy may have been deliberate.
In the mid-sixties, educationalists abandoned the practice of apportioning blame and concentrated on the effects of the Famine - that remains the case and that is what Kinealy and her colleagues are now returning to the question of whether British action was deliberate or just bloody minded stupidity coupled with racist inspired neglect
The question that British policy was to blame has never been disputed.
The term 'Irish Holocaust' and the comparison to the Jewish annihilation was minted by an English Historian, the evidence of the lethal consequences of the Famine was first brought to the public notice by English Historian Mrs Cecil Woodham Smith and repeated by the English Expert on Irish History, Robert Kee; this account has been reiterated by both English and Irish historians ever since.
Britain has always been know to have been guilt as charged for the results of the Famine.
Whether it was pre-meditated murder or just manslaughter is what is under dispute - nothing else.
One of the historians in the forefront of of that dispute is Christine Kinealy who, as you rightly say, "knows more than all of us"" - she has come to the conclusion that it probably was deliberate.
It remains to be seen whether she was right.
One of the points you have totally ignored in your "brainwashing to hate" racist slur, is that, if there is evidence that the Irish hate the English, if has nothing to do with the Famine, but rather, what has happened between the two countries since Independence - we'll see some more of that as 'The Glorious Twelfth' gets under way and the bowler-hatted "No Surrender" merchants take to the streets to declare their superiority.
There is no evidence of Anti-English feeling in Ireland today among the general population of "hate-filled and brainwashed" morons, as you choose to present them - if there is - where is it?
Are you sure you didn't contribute to 'Punch Magazine' in a previous existence.
You are a xenophobic hate-filled moron
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 06:49 AM

This passage makes it clear that Irish education moved away from the nationalist teaching of history to a position of discussing the famine in terms of blame in the 1940s

Try again Jim.
It was the "nationalist teaching" that presented it in terms of blame.

The historians moved away from that after about 1930, and the textbooks finally caught up after late 60s.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 06:30 AM

Up until the late 60s, Irish school text books taught kids that England was to blame.
Later text books are more honest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 05:58 AM

I suggest you Google Anti British sentiment in Ireland if you want to show us that the Irish hate the British
Mine keeps coming up with the opposite - masses and masses of Anti Irish links
Maybe I need an engineer to come in and look at my computer
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 05:55 AM

I find that extraordinarily charitable to the Roman Catholic church.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 05:43 AM

From your link
It is exactly new revisionism, as outlined below, that modern historians like Kinealy are seeking to set right.
This passage makes it clear that Irish education moved away from the nationalist teaching of history to a position of discussing the famine in terms of blame in the 1940s that is exactly what I said earlier and what Kinealy wrote in the book I have recently read.
She and her colleagues have now returned to the question of the cause of the consequences of the famine - she believes that it is Britain's fault and possibly deliberate; others accept it is Britain's fault, but question whether it is policy or just incompetence and malicious neglect
What is covered in your link is exactly in line with what I posted in my account of what is being taught in Irish schools and has been for the last half century
The only hatred comes from you - and that now includes a hatred for the British by blaming the British government for tolerating racism like yours
Read your own links before you post them - you ignorant pratt
Jim Carroll

Developing since the 1940s, this 'revisionist' historiography exposed various popular accounts of key historical events as nationalist myths and endorsed the view that Irish history should be seen as 'a complex and ambivalent process rather than a morality tale'.   Also the teaching of national history changed as contacts with colleagues and professionals abroad, enabled by the formation of the Irish branch of the European Association of Teachers in 1961, brought Irish history teachers in touch with new views on pedagogical objectives and historical narratives. According to Magee, these international exchanges played a key role in raising the awareness among Irish history teachers that other countries had progressed further in removing from school textbooks 'the distorted judgements and prejudices engendered by recent rivalries'. The changes in history education mirrored wider transformations in education and society. Motivated by a desire to leave the era of economic stagnation and excessive emigration decidedly behind and meet the needs of Ireland's industrialising economy, the Fianna Fail governments of the 1960s introduced sweeping educational reforms geared towards greater provision of education at all levels, more equality of opportunity, more emphasis on vocational, technical and scientific training, and the establishment of a comprehensive curriculum.
Educational reform also had a profound effect on history education and textbooks. A study group set up by the Department of Education on the teaching of history in schools issued a report which marked a turning point in Irish education. The report highlighted the need for new textbooks 'attractively produced and illustrated, and free from the chauvinism and the selective treatment that had disfigured school histories from the establishment of the Irish Free State'.   More generally, the reforms heralded a sharp increase of state and parental involvement in education at the expense of the hitherto almighty Catholic Church. The church itself changed as well, moving from a conservative bastion strictly following the orders from the Vatican to an institution primarily concerned with the spiritual and psychological well-being of its adherents. Hence, Ireland was far from immune to the social processes and movements that would so profoundly change the character of Western societies from the end of the 1960s onwards.
The new history textbooks of the late 1960s and early 1970s all echo the changes called for by the report. They differ from the older textbooks in a number of ways. The most notable difference concerns the initial response of the British government. In contrast to their predecessors, the new books state that the British government, headed by prime minister Sir Robert Peel in 1845, did take immediate action after the outbreak of the disease: 'Peel's relief measures (…) were prompt, skilful, and on the whole successful'. Yet, a new Whig government, the books argue, exchanged the interventionist course for a hands-off policy, in line with the prevailing laissez faire ideology. The state refrained from the purchase and distribution of food, leaving these activities entirely to private enterprise and charity. It would only engage in public works, which were intended to give the poor and hungry an opportunity to work for the state and earn a modest salary. This new policy, the books explain, allowed matters to grow from bad to worse so that in the end the government 'admitted defeat' by abandoning public works and extending direct relief. Thus, much more so than their precursors, the books draw attention to the political processes operating in the imperial centre and try to make it understandable why the British government, the main 'other' from an Irish perspective, pursued the policies it did.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 05:14 AM

"The end of the 1960s witnessed a major change in history education as a new generation of textbooks appeared which incorporated the tenets of a critical academic historiography. Developing since the 1940s, this 'revisionist' historiography exposed various popular accounts of key historical events as nationalist myths and endorsed the view that Irish history should be seen as 'a complex and ambivalent process rather than a morality tale'.   "

"Pursuing this argument, the new books contend that the famine was not caused by a single factor but by many. Contrary to the old books, they highlight the role of domestic circumstances. Thus, the habit of early marriage, the creation of large families, the subdivision of holdings into ever smaller patches of land and the lack of opportunities outside agriculture are all seen as having contributed to a growing population pressure on the land and to an excessive reliance on the potato as the primary food crop, thus preparing the way for the devastating impact of the potato blight in 1845 and the years thereafter. Perhaps because of the importance they attach to other than political factors, the books recoil from claiming that the famine would not have occurred if Ireland had had its own government.
        In another and related contrast to their forerunners, the new books devote much more attention to the social, economic and cultural characteristics of Irish society during the famine, enabling the student to have a more inside look at the events of the time. "

germjanmaat.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/historyofeducation.doc‎


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 05:06 AM

"Yet, the book also concedes 'no native government could have prevented famine from following a loss of the potato crop'.   Another noteworthy detail is the identification of the British government as 'the other': both Gwynn and Hayden and Moonan refer to it as the 'English' government led by the 'English' prime minister Lord John Russell. "


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Apr 14 - 05:03 AM

" However, the lack of state involvement did not mean that (Irish) textbooks presented accounts of history that were at odds with official views. To the contrary, according to Foster, the first generation of textbooks dutifully 'memorialized' the institutionalized view of history, a generation moreover that would continue to be used for the next forty years.         
Comparing these books on their representation of the Irish Famine it can first of all be noted that all five are highly critical of the response of the British government to the failure of the 1845 potato crop. "

From a study of textbooks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 03:59 PM

I told you on the other thread I had found what you pasted.
It is not a school text book.
It tells us nothing about how the famine has been taught for the last 70 years.
Up until the late 60s, Irish school text books taught kids that England was to blame.
Later text books are more honest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 02:47 PM

Wot - no Keith!!!
Must have got a nasty dose of Beri-beri whan I gave him something to read on the other thread
Great day - calloo- callay
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Greg F.
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 01:27 PM

That is why I coined the term Irish Bad Years....

No, PeeDee, you coined the term either out of ignorance, flippancy, disregard of the facts, or as a transparent attempt to exonerate the British government from any responsibility whatsoever.

But keep at it- its quite amusing, compared to T-Bird, BB & FWK's nonsense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 01:21 PM

"Who says it is Jim?"
I do - do you have another?
It's scanned down from an Irish school text book which belonged to a family member.
If you care to search out Do Chara.com a guide for young visitors to Irelan - I think you'll find it is repeated there, more or less word for word.
Are you suggesting I made it up?
"Now you can go back to posting Blood Libel against the Brits. The moderators seen to like that."
The pills, Pee, the pills; you haven't been taking them again , have you?
Shit
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: pdq
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 12:53 PM

In my last post,

"With a life expectancy of just 40 years, a populaion will lose about 205,000 people per from various causes." should read

"With a life expectancy of just 40 years, a population of 8.2 million, as Ireland had in 1844 will lose about 205,000 people per year from various causes.


Now you can go back to posting Blood Libel against the Brits. The moderators seen to like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 12:35 PM

The account I have just put up is exactly the version of history that was being taught in schools right to the present day

Who says it is Jim?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 12:29 PM

"Up until the late 60s, Irish school text books taught kids that England was to blame."
The account I have just put up is exactly the version of history that was being taught in schools right to the present day and is exactly what has been established as the facts fully accepted by all historians up to the 150th anniversary, when they began discussion whether culpability was deliberate or not.
If you have an alternative "more honest" account, please give it, otherwise, you are shown up as a racist liar - again
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: pdq
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 12:17 PM

With a life expectancy of just 40 years, a populaion will lose about 205,000 people per from various causes.

Deaths in Ireland in 1847 were 242,000. About 37,000 more than would be expected.

Official records show about 6000 died that year of starvation, which leaves about 31,000 who died from epidemic diseases. Typhus, cholera and relapsing fever are to blame for most of the daths, not the Brits.

Again, about 80% of the excess deaths do to epidemic diseases, 20% from the food shortage.

That is why I coined the term Irish Bad Years to replace the various ones blaming Brits or potato blight.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 12:01 PM

Up until the late 60s, Irish school text books taught kids that England was to blame.
Later text books are more honest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 11:50 AM

Ony more try Keith
What exactly do you dispute of what was/is being taught in Irish schools?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Greg F.
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 11:48 AM

PeeDee, what drugs are you on?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 11:37 AM

"So the "brainwashing" only lasted from 1922 to 1995."
So you are claiming that that summary is 'Republican lies"
Now there's something nobody has thought of so far.
Which bit exactly do you dispute?
"Perhaps Christmas Cactus will post some of the lovely material that Muslim schools teach their little darlings"
Why - what has it got to do wit the Potato Famine
"Too bad Mudcat's moderation staff allows this type of carefully-contrived hatemongering "
Totally ree - after all, how would you like to have your family called "brainwashed morons" or have your people described as "implanted" potential Pedophiles"
" does the same thing to Jews"
Oh Christ - not another anti-Semite blaming the Jews for Israeli crimes
This is getting more and more like a Nuremberg Rally
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: pdq
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 11:04 AM

This is a summary of what was being taught in Irish schools regarding the Famine up to relatively recently - as far as I know, this is still what is being taught.


That is the problem.

Perhaps Christmas Cactus will post some of the lovely material that Muslim schools teach their little darlings. You know, about how Jews are to blame for all death and disease, poverty and unhappiness in a the whole Arab World.

Too bad Mudcat's moderation staff allows this type of carefully-contrived hatemongering to be posted at allm much less as fact.

Oh, and Christmas Cactus does the same thing to Jews on every thread the even mentions Islam, Arabs or Jews.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 11:03 AM

So the "brainwashing" only lasted from 1922 to 1995.
That is encouraging, as is your concession that "the jury is still out" on culpability.
Yes it is.
It is disputed as I have been trying get through to you for months.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 10:53 AM

Keith's "brainwashing"
This is a summary of what was being taught in Irish schools regarding the Famine up to relatively recently - as far as I know, this is still what is being taught.
Since 1995, the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the blight, a great deal of discussion has taken place on whether British culpability was deliberate or just vindictive neglect.
The jury is still out on that one.
Big post again, I'm afraid lads
Jim Carroll

THE IRISH POTATO FAMINE 1846-1850
PRELUDE TO FAMINE
While the potato had seemed like the answer to a growing population's prayers when it first arrived in Ireland, by the early 1800′s warnings began to grow about over reliance on a single source of food. A significant proportion of the Irish population ate little other than potatoes, lived in close to total poverty and were rarely far from hunger.
A typical tenant farmer had barely half an acre on which to grow all the food for a family. Potatoes were the only viable option with such a small landholding. At least those with tenancies, small as they were, had the certainty of shelter and some food. Homelessness was common, many people lived in makeshift mud cabins or slept outdoors in ditches. Work was in short supply forcing labourers to travel the country in search of employment, surviving on what they could forage, get by way of charity or steal.
Life expectancy was short, just 40 years for men, and families were large, with many mouths to feed. The gap between living and dying, even in a good year, was perilously narrow.
In 1836 a report from the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Irish Poor concluded that more than 2.5 million Irish people, more than a quarter of the population, lived in such poverty as to need some kind of welfare scheme. Poor law unions were established to provide work houses where the most impoverished would be fed but these were wholly inadequate even before famine stuck and completely overwhelmed when it did.
THE POTATO CROP FAILS
The disaster began in earnest in 1845 when the potato crop was destroyed by infestation with the fungal disease Phytophthora Infestans, better known as Potato Blight.
This devastating disease rotted the potatoes in the ground, rendering entire crops inedible and obliterating the primary food source for millions of people.
William Trench, a Co Cork land agent wrote:
"The leaves of the potatoes on many fields I passed were quite withered, and a strange stench, such as I had never smelt before, but which became a well-known feature in "the blight" for years after, filled the atmosphere adjoining each field of potatoes. The crop of all crops, on which they depended for food, had suddenly melted away"
There was effectively no potato crop in 1845 and 1846 and although there was little blight in 1847 there had been too few potatoes planted for the harvest to be of any use. Crops failed again in 1848.
There was now nothing for the poor to eat. Although many had enough land to grow crops other than potatoes, they were caught in an impossible bind – they had to sell these crops to pay rent or face eviction.
WIDESPREAD EVICTION & DESTITUTION
While some landlords allowed their tenants to retain grain crops for food and reduced their tenants' rents or even waived them, others were remorseless.
This bailiff's remark as quoted in the Freeman's Journal in April 1846 was typical:
"What the devil do we care about you or your black potatoes? It was not us that made them black. You will get two days to pay the rent, and if you don't you know the consequences."
Other landlords could have done little even if they had wished to, as they too lost everything. Their tenants could neither pay rent nor work, thus the output of their land plummeted and their income dried up. Many were forced to sell their land for what little money they could get and leave the country.
More than a quarter of a million labourers and tenant farmers were evicted between 1845 and 1854 and more than that number simply walked away from their homes, never to return, rather than face certain starvation. Thousands of evicted families roamed the country in search of food.
William Bennett, a member of the Society of Friends, visited Co Mayo in 1847 and sent a report of what he found:
"We entered a cabin. Stretched in one dark corner, scarcely visible from the smoke and rags that covered them, were three children huddled together, lying there because they were too weak to rise, pale and ghastly; their little limbs, on removing a portion of the filthy covering, perfectly emaciated, eyes sunk, voice gone, and evidently in the last stage of actual starvation.
We entered upwards of fifty of these tenements. The scene was invariably the same."
More than 1 million people died of starvation or disease – to put that in context, an equivalent loss in the US today be almost 40 million people. More than 2 million others emigrated over a six year period, whole families, even whole villages, left en masse.
Those who could afford to leave were considered to be the lucky ones, though they may not have felt particularly fortunate – many of them travelled on dangerous and overcrowded ships on which considerable numbers died.
"STARVING IN THE MIDST OF PLENTY"
The famine was not really a famine at all.
Ireland, then as now, was a country capable of producing large quantities of food, and continued to do so throughout the famine years.
Only a single crop, the potato, failed. No other crops were affected and there were oats and barley being produced in Ireland throughout these years. But these were considered 'cash crops', produced for export and owned not by those who worked in the fields but by large landowners. Food exports continued virtually unabated even as people starved.
William Smith-O'Brien, a wealthy land owner from Dromoland Castle who was sympathetic to the plight of the poor, observed in 1846:
"The circumstances which appeared most aggravating was that the people were starving in the midst of plenty, and that every tide carried from the Irish ports corn sufficient for the maintenance of thousands of the Irish people."
In Cork in 1846, a coastguard officer, Robert Mann, travelled the county and reported seeing innumerable starving and desperate people and then…:
"We were literally stopped by carts laden with grain, butter, bacon, etc. being taken to the vessels loading from the quay. It was a strange anomaly"
OFFICIAL FAMINE RELIEF & AID
Instead of retaining crops and other food which was already being produced in Ireland, cheaper Indian corn was imported in various efforts at relief.
This corn was regarded with suspicion by the Irish who looked on it as animal feed and had no idea how to prepare and cook it properly. Being accustomed to a diet of potatoes, they had great difficulty digesting this tough grain. Many who tried it suffered terrible pain – some even died – though eventually they learned how it should be prepared in order to be more digestible.
However official attempts to provide relief, in the form of imported corn or in any other form, were sporadic, short lived and inadequate for the numbers who were in need. Of the effective help that was provided during the famine little came from the government in London.
Although some efforts were made in 1945 by the English prime minister Robert Peel to both reduce exports of grain and increase imports of cheaper American corn, these were not continued by Lord John Russell, who succeeded him in 1846.
Russell was an enthusiastic supporter of the prevailing economic doctrine, that of 'laissez-faire' – the belief that government must not interfere in the economy. Charles Trevelyn, who was secretary of the Treasury in England and had responsibility for famine relief, had an even less sympathetic attitude to the starving Irish:
"The only way to prevent the people from becoming habitually dependent on Government is to bring the food depots to a close. The uncertainty about the new crop only makes this more necessary".
There were some government relief efforts: workhouses were given additional resources, though nothing approaching what they needed.
Work schemes were established, designed to give employment to the poor and thus enable them to buy food. The work schemes in particular were singularly unsuccessful for the most part - payments made were small, food prices rising rapidly (when any was available), and those who most needed help were far too weak from lack of food to avail of any work.
Some started work but died before the week was over and they could collect their pay.
CHARITABLE ORGANISATIONS & FAMINE AID
In spite of the inaction of their government there were some efforts by private charities and religious organisations in England to send help or provide food.
Famine Relief Committees were also set up throughout America, raising large amounts of money and sending food on 'relief ships' which made the return journey with passengers on board, allowing people who could not otherwise afford the passage to America to emigrate.
The Society of Friends
The people who provided the most effective help to the Irish were members of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, from America who provided food, mostly American flour, rice, biscuits and Indian meal.
They also provided funds to assist farmers to replant their fields and to support fishermen in coastal towns, measures which not only provided additional food but helped many people to get back on their feet as things improved after the famine. In all they gave approximately £200,000 for relief in Ireland, the equivalent of more than £30 million in today's terms.
Their efforts were widely supported in America:
"The railroads carried, free of charge, all packages marked 'Ireland'. Public carriers undertook the gratuitous delivery of any package intended for the relief of the destitute Irish. Ships of war approached our shores, eagerly seeking not to destroy life but to preserve it, their guns being taken out in order to afford more room for stowage."
The Quakers efforts are well remembered and they are held still in high regard in Ireland, although their numbers are few. It is not uncommon to hear someone remark of them 'They fed us during the famine'.
Soup Kitchens
The most successful relief measure of all was soup kitchens, which were originally set up by the Quakers and later also funded by various charitable organisations in England and America. However even they were too few to meet the incessant and ever increasing demand.
Of one Cork soup kitchen, the London Illustrated News reported:
"The average number supplied every day at this establishment for the past week has been 1300 and many hundreds more apply, whom it is impossible at present to accommodate."
"Soupers"
Some of the Protestant charities running soup kitchens demanded that people convert from Catholicism before receiving help. For many of the Irish, clinging to their faith when all else seemed lost, this was a dreadful proposition. The connection between saving lives and proselytising led to much bitterness and was denounced by many Anglicans. Those who did convert, probably without much conviction, were derided and referred to as 'soupers'.
The term persisted long after the famine and for generations whole families would be known in a locality as 'soupers'. It is still occasionally used to describe a person who 'sells out' on their beliefs and is considered a gross insult.
The Choctaw Donation
A well remembered donation to famine relief was that made by the Choctaw tribe of American Indians who in 1847 sent a donation of $710, the equivalent of more than $100,000 today. They had a special affinity with the hungry and those who had lost their homes, since it was only 16 years since their tribe had been made homeless and walked the "Trail of Tears" from Oklahoma to Mississippi, along which many of them died.
This extraordinary gift from a people who were themselves impoverished has never been forgotten. In 1997, the 150th anniversary of that generous gesture, a group of Irish people walked alongside members of the Choktaw Nation along the 500 mile Trail of Tears in reverse, back to the Choctaw homeland. In so doing they raised together over $100,000 which was donated to Famine relief in Somalia.
BLACK '47
In spite of the various relief efforts, the numbers of dead and the numbers leaving continued to rise throughout 1847 (a year which is still referred to as 'black '47′) and in subsequent years up to 1856.
People living in the cities of Dublin, Cork and Belfast and in the larger towns were less dependent than the rural population on the potato and had been relatively unaffected by events prior to 1847. But as the famine wore on towns became crowded with those fleeing the countryside and in search of food. They gathered in tenement areas but without money or work they found little refuge or escape and were ill equipped for life in a town.
They brought with them diseases, mainly Typhus, Dysentery and Cholera, which few, in their weakened state, could withstand. Disease rather than hunger now became the primary killer, and disease took its toll in urban as well as rural areas. Even the wealthy were vulnerable to infection and many people died without ever knowing lack of food.
THE FAMINE COMES TO AN END
By 1852 the famine had largely come to an end other than in a few isolated areas. This was not due to any massive relief effort – it was partly because the potato crop recovered but mainly it was because a huge proportion of the population had by then either died or left.
During the years of the famine, between 1841 and 1851 the Irish population fell from over 8 million to about 6.5 million, and with mass emigration continuing in the subsequent decades it was down to 4.5 million by the turn of the century.
This rapid and dramatic loss of population is still taking its toll right up to the present time and Ireland is certainly the only country in Europe and possibly the only one in the world with a smaller population today than it had in 1840. It set in train a pattern of emigration that persists to this day and is the reason why there are vastly more people of Irish decent living outside Ireland that in it.
Not everyone viewed the loss of so many lives as a calamity, as the preface to the Irish Census of 1851 makes clear:
"…we feel it will be gratifying to your Excellency to find that the population has been diminished in so remarkable a manner by famine, disease and emigration between 1841 and 1851, and has been since decreasing, the results of the Irish census of 1851 are, on the whole, satisfactory, demonstrating as they do the general advancement of the country."


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 08:22 AM

" I haven't read every post in this long, long thread:"
I suggest you do - there's a great deal of information in it.
There has never been any question of the cause of the Famine
Think in terms of Governments insisting that Famine relief supplies must be sold to starving Biafrans, Somalis or Nigerians at market prices and you have the picture of what happened in Ireland.
Think in terms of the feller being put in charge of distributing that Famine relief to people he considered an inferior race and a nuisance to his countries economic and political interests, as believing that the Famine was, on the one hand, a convenient solution to his country's problems, and on the other, "God's punishment" for the Famine victims' sins and misdemeanors - there you have the Irish Famine.
All you need to work out is whether the outcome was due to maliciously, racist-inspired neglect, or a deliberate policy to solve "the Irish Question" - the jury is still out on that one.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Greg F.
Date: 12 Apr 14 - 08:30 PM

Good for you, Thompson, to not become embroiled.

You're not going to change the minds[sic] of PeeDee and FW Kevin and BS Bruce with facts in any case.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Thompson
Date: 12 Apr 14 - 07:41 PM

I'm not going to get involved in this unpleasant row; I'd suggest that those interested in researching the deaths and emigration of those long-ago millions go to original sources.
By the way, I should make it clear that The Landlord's Friend was published in 1813, so it preceded the famine of the 1840s/50s by 30 years; however, the attitudes of the landlords was accurately expressed by its author, Quaker postmistress and journal-keeper Mary Leadbeater, and it gives a clear picture of the inequality that was the norm of the time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: pdq
Date: 12 Apr 14 - 07:27 PM

"Peel's Brimstone" was rough cornmeal, made of the grain that's used to make hominy...and the result was scouring diarrhoea and vomiting, which often killed people already weakened from hunger.

Oh, please, save us all from this propaganda.

Only about 2% of corn grown now in the US is called "sweet corn" and it is sold quickly to local markets to be boiled or baked and eaten as "corn on the cob".

All other corn is called "field corn" and it is quite cheap. Kernels are mature and will grow into new plants if planted. Sweet corn usually is picked immature and will spoil quickly which is why they Brits would not even consider importing it during the Bad Years of 1845-1851. Usually too young to be viable even if dried and planted.

The corn shipped need to be ground into meal or flour and there were not enough mills to do so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Thompson
Date: 12 Apr 14 - 06:51 PM

Forgive me if this has been said; I haven't read every post in this long, long thread:

The principal cause of famine - in Ireland in the 1840/50s and again in 1879, in China, India and Africa throughout the 20th century, and in Burma and North Korea today - is poverty. Dirty politics don't help.

"Peel's Brimstone" was rough cornmeal, made of the grain that's used to make hominy; apparently - homesteaders will be able to explain this - it needs to be treated with lye to be edible by humans. This was (and is) unknown to Irish people. They tried to boil it and eat it untreated, and the result was scouring diarrhoea and vomiting, which often killed people already weakened from hunger.

Lumpers, the commonest breed of potato grown in 1840s Ireland, grew well and easily; however, they were very susceptible to blight. Friends of mine grew a couple of rows of Lumpers among their other varieties, and when nothing else was blighted, Lumpers were, even when sprayed with Bordeaux Mixture. Incidentally, Marks & Spencer, the English chain, sells lumpers as a novelty in season; I keep meaning to buy some and try them but have never got around to it.

Irish potato cultivation was and is the most expert in the world. The so-called 'lazy bed' system (in fact very intensive and not exactly labour-saving!) provides the growing crop with rich nutrients and perfect drainage.

Someone was asking how the land came into Irish ownership, when vast swathes were owned by absentee landlords (an ironic Irish joke is "the Devil is an absentee landlord" - think about it!) That would be a series of Land Acts, including the Wyndham Land Act, which broke up the ranches and distributed land to tenant farmers. The economic war imposed by Britain from the 1930s was caused by Ireland refusing to continue to pay compensation to the former landlords.

If anyone would like to get an idea of how Irish people lived then, read The Landlord's Friend (an ebook free to download), an 18th-century pamphlet of advice that gives a clear picture.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Apr 14 - 01:07 PM

A further point Richard
Tim Pat Coogan's book, 'The Famine Plot' included a 10 page letter from Sir Charles Trevelyan, written anonymously to The Irish Chronicle, railing against the Irish people for their stubborn stupidity and their political intransigence in following leaders like O'Connell and their opposition to British rule.
It was published two years before the outbreak of the Famine.
It finishes with a proverb "Roast an Irishman on a spit and you will get him to turn".
Trevelyan was known to have been the author of the letter, yet he was still given the role of feeding the people he despised.
That fact went a long way towards convincing me that the outcome of the Famine was a little more than stupidity
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Apr 14 - 04:03 AM

I have always put Britain's behaviour during the famine to stupidity coupled with an inbuilt racism towards the Irish and an awareness to the convenience of having Ireland as part of the Empire.
The appointment of Trevelyan - holding the views he did and and occupying the influential position he did, went some way towards my beginning to believe that Britain's policy was more than that.
The evictions during the Famine and the fifty years following, when arable Irish land was place firmly in the hands of absentee Irish landlords has convinced me that, if it wasn't deliberate, it was incredibly convenient stupidity.
Pat and I spent yesterday evening with a 95 year old North Clare farmer (with half a dozen rare Child ballads in his repertoire b.t.w.) and were regaled with family stories of the Evictions, the Land Wars and the behaviour of the absentee landlords - (County Clare was one of the hardest hit places for evictions in Ireland)
Not a shred of hatred or bitterness, just gentle family reminiscences.
We hope to be spending the next few months recording him.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Apr 14 - 03:41 AM

I did actually make a very long and considered post pointing out the cockups and the ambiguities - but the post eater got it.

There is an ambiguity about "culpability". I am not yet convinced that there was genocidal intent. As to negligence liability, hindsight is not a proper test, but in the light of what we now know some things were stupid.

Cancelling the soup kitchen programme was stupid.
Failing to control profiteering was stupid.
Providing intervention food at the market price was stupid.
Failure to control evictions was stupid - an obvious cause of the deaths from disease.
Rigid adherence to free market theory was stupid.
Failure to control rents and interest rates was stupid.
The detail of the public works programme was stupid.
Trevelyan's god-bothering rantings were stupid.
Providing uneatable food was stupid.
Failure to assist fishing was stupid.
Pretence the UK government did not know was stupid. Either they did or they should.
Pretence that a senior enough civil servant cannot affect government policy was stupid. It happens all the time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 06:21 PM

This is fun, isn't it?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 06:19 PM

Now - which of them do you dispute and why
Every single fact here has been linked to by either documented evidence contemporary to the Famine
They are all available on this thread
Where is your evidence for your accusations - what, more denials - thought so
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 06:15 PM

"You have had the chance to provide FACTS, and not done so."
Denying the facts I have presented won't make them go away -
You have had the statements of the Governments intentions
You have had the food situation as it existed at the time
You have had the fact that The British Empire was the richest and most powerful entity on the planet at the time.
You have repeated contently statements affirming that the evictions (assisted by the British forces of law and order and the military( were enforced by the Government's insistence that all failure to pay rents should be acted upon, and that this policy was continued log after the Famine was over
The Fact that there was another famine could be described as an act of God (if you believe that sort of thing)
The results of the 1845-1850 Famine were down purely to not only the inaction of the British Government, but on their (at best) indifferent, and probably deliberate actions in dismantling what the previous put in place and enforcing a policy of emigrate or starve.
Every single statement here is backed up with acres of information
Help yourself
You are a silly little man
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: beardedbruce
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 03:39 PM

Wrong again, Jim.

You have had the chance to provide FACTS, and not done so. A reasonable person has to assume that you have none to present.


There WAS more food IMPORTED into Ireland than was EXPORTED.

FACT- your LIES cannot change that.


You say that England "should have done more" yet fail to give one concrete example of what they could have done.

You claim the workhouses were closed, when the number was INCREASED over the time in question.



Your statements are in conflict with reality.

YOU are the one in denial of the facts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 03:23 PM

"You have yet to provide any basis for this statement"
Been there - done that
The rest is denial bullshit - from you and yours
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Greg F.
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 12:16 PM

The Irish Bad Years

Amusing, PeeDee.

Reminds me of Southerners referring to the U.S. Civil War as "The Late Unpleasantness".


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 11:58 AM

There really is no question regarding Britain's culpability

I know nothing about the famine, but I know that is bollocks.
I know that because Jim pasted in an essay by a historian who DOES think Britain culpable, who states unequivocally that the dominant view among historians is that Britain was not!

Also I have quoted historians disputing culpability, so when Jim says there is no question of it, he is talking bollocks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: beardedbruce
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 11:39 AM

The Brits were NOT going to get food from Europe.

"By the time the Communist Manifesto was published, Europe was on the verge of a political explosion. Independent of the labor of socialist theoreticians, capitalism was in the throes of a major economic crisis that had a devastating impact on broad sections of the working population. The years 1846-47 witnessed human suffering on a scale greater than during any previous period in the nineteenth century. The economic crisis was compounded by a crop failure that produced widespread famine. In Ireland more than 21,000 people died of starvation, and hundreds of thousands fell victim to such diseases as typhus and cholera. People were reduced to living off the carcasses of dead animals. In Belgium, 700,000 people lived on public relief, and there were thousands more who were dependent on charity. In Berlin and Vienna the desperate conditions led to clashes between the people and the armed authorities. In France, bread prices rose dramatically and those of potatoes doubled. The unemployment rate skyrocketed."


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: pdq
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 11:29 AM

The only hatred shown on this thread is from an IRA supporter who copies and pastes the IRA talking points. They are put out to cause resentment and hatred thus empowering the anti-British activists. Revisionist history is politically motivated and is not based on fact.

The Irish Bad Years were caused by poverty, potato crop failure and disease, the latter killed huge numbers of people all over the world, not just Ireland.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Potato Blight- Cause found
From: beardedbruce
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 11:25 AM

"There really is no question regarding Britain's culpability "



You have yet to provide any basis for this statement. Your saying it does not give it factual value.

What would you have had the Brits do?
    Butcher the starving Scots and salt the meat for shipment to Ireland?
    Ship in tons (MORE) of food from America, by stealing it since the money was not available? Look at the Bank collapse of 1847. Look at the AVAILABLE food stocks from other nations.


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