Imperfect Explanations

Christopher Fogarty; author of Ireland 1845-1850; the Perfect Holocaust, and Who Kept it “Perfect” challenges Ruth Dudley Edwards for denying an ill-intent on the part of the British authorities in the 1840s.

Attempting to deny Ireland’s 1845-1850 Holocaust, Ruth Edwards wrote (Sunday Independent, 4Oct15): The British government handled the catastrophe incompetently, and for doctrinaire but not ill-intentioned reasons changed policy to non-interference after two years, but there was no deliberate cruelty and no intention to kill anyone. 

National Archives records indicate that Britain handled the catastrophe very competently. The catastrophe was created by deploying army regiments to Ireland whence it competently removed, at-gunpoint, the abundant agricultural output to the ports for export while its producers starved. More than half of Britain’s army participated; sixty-seven of its total of 130 regiments. Ireland’s land-Lords were largely English, Protestant, and so powerful in Britain’s Lords and Commons as to be able to control deployment of the army and leave hundreds if not thousands of mass graves across Ireland. They were repatriated to England, nearly all between 1900 and 1910. 

Does Edwards possess evidence that the perpetrating regiments were disobeying orders, mutinying, during those years? On what basis does she claim that Britain had “no intention to kill anyone?” On what basis can deployment of the army be construed as “non-interference?” How can starvation be “unintentional” if food is removed by violence?


  1. There was a meeting at the British Cabinet.
    Where I think Trevelyan who said " "the sharp but effectual remedy by which the cure is likely to be effected. God grant that the generation to which this opportunity has been offered may rightly perform its part..."

    That there is the Brit-scum Wanasee conference.
    Ruth Farrah Hockey Viscount brown nose Edwards
    Should be ashamed.
    except I gave up taking her serious yonks ago Her and Eofhan Harris Can I wrtite a Speech for you Bertie The Bankrupter.
    Shower of shyte all of 'em.

  2. Ozzy,

    often a good point is lost in the hyperbole to get it over the line.

  3. "while its producers starved"

    The people who starved were those who depended on the potatoes grown on their own hopelessly divided farms for survival. The middle class Irish Catholics who produced the wheat etc for export did very well out of the famine and they most certainly did not starve.

    The great paradox of the famine in my eyes is that the Conservatives made every effort to help the starving and it was the later Liberal government which instituted the laissez faire policy which turned that on its head. Yet within a generation Irish nationalism was firmly in bed with the Liberals.

    It's also worth pointing out that being a protestant does not make someone born in Ireland an Englishman.