Food for thought by Antaine de Brún

Why do the British know so little about Irish history?

The question is posed in History Today Vol 69 Issue 1 2019.  Perhaps some answers may be found in the following statements:

Divided countries are not successful countries.”

  •  Chancellor of the Exchequer 5 December 2018

“The northern Ireland backstop shows the predatory nature of the EU’s claim to the country.”

  • Boris Johnson 5 December 2018.
  • Professor John Bew and Professor Paul Bew In History Today appear to endorse the view:

The famine was not, as some would later claim, a genocide.”

Article 2, of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide states that genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious 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;

Potato blight did not cause famine in Ireland, Ireland did not starve for potatoes, Ireland starved for food, given shiploads of food sailed under armed guard from Ireland to England on a daily basis in 1845.

  • Dr C. P. Scherrer (April 2003) wrote about genocide in the modern world and made the comment:

“Genocide and colonization were always closely linked.”

This would appear to be the case given the pantomime that passes for politics in the House of Commons.  In 2019, the partition of Ireland remains a contentious issue and as Gemma Clarke states in History Today, represents:

…blindness to the legacies of Ireland’s colonization.”

  • Professor Jane Ohlmeyer stated:

“…the ‘Irish Question’ never goes away.

  • Perhaps, Professor Ohlmeyer is correct when she says,

“The Irish never forget their history, and the English never remember it.”

It would appear some have no knowledge of Anglo/Irish history.

On 7 December 2018, Ms Priti Patel suggested that the UK should use the potential of food shortages in Ireland as leverage against the backstop. 

Perhaps Ms Patel chooses to avoid the reality of poverty and food shortages nearer home.  According to the Trussell Trust, 560.000 people availed of food banks 2016/2017 and  it is suggested that the figure does not accurately reflect the total number of people who depend on this particular service.

We don’t need to have nurses going to food banks any more.”

  • Emily Thornberry MP 11 May 2017
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