The native Irish were impoverished and driven from the land

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

On Saturday (August 6), the historian Gordon Lucy wrote an interesting piece on the economic state of Ireland at the time of the rebellion in 1916.

In the article he outlines the various government interventions and schemes introduced during the nineteenth century.

While this was all very commendable it came after a long century in which the native Irish were driven from large swathes of land and reduced to penury as a result of Landlordism and a rack-rent culture of extortion.

Indeed this scenario remained largely the case and was only confronted in an organised manner by the land league established in 1879.

It took decades to reform.

I wonder how Mr Lucy would explain to a starving family in the 1840s how the agricultural policies pursued by the British government after the Act of Union of 1800 was to their benefit.

Curiously, he doesn’t mention the famine in which millions were starved or displaced, despite the fact that there is incontrovertible documentation that Ireland was exporting, not just tons of grain, but meat and livestock even during the worst of this period.

He also declines to mention the injustices which gave rise to the land war in the early 1880s.

Of course time moves on and things change but the right of any nation to self-determination must rest with the people themselves.

It is not something to be granted or removed by any other.

Paul Shore, Dublin 15