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?