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They completely ignored the hate creation of the English press and the landlords who despised the human misery along the roadsides and in the filthy workhouses. The admission by Prime Minister Tony Blair of the failure of the English government to support a country that was part of the richest and most powerful nation in the world has set a good beginning to get at the truth.


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The Irish grew up with tales of the Great Hunger, but the full story is just now unfolding. This book is a great start. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again.

The Famine Plot

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Author: Tim Pat Coogan.

The Great Famine - Part 1 of 2 (BBC 1995)

Binding: Paperback. Pages: Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan. This issued not one but three comprehensive reports in On the very eve of the Famine itself the prestigious Devon Commission sat gathering evidence on the failings of the Irish land system. The public hearings were attended by knowledgeable people from all over the country, and anyone reading their findings can have been left in no doubt as to what the problems of Ireland were and how they should be addressed.

However, Ireland instead went on the back burner for most of the pre-Famine decade. With the growth of English industrialization sizeable areas of urban poverty were created as people flooded into the towns. The traditional dispensers of poor relief, the aristocracy, found their pockets increasingly under pressure. Social welfare, or poor relief as it was known at the time, became the topic du jour.

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Throughout the s, there was a major theoretical debate among political economists, but this involved Ireland only in a peripheral and ultimately extremely harmful fashion. The major focus of controversy centered on how the English poor should be dealt with.


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  5. Once a solution to English welfare problems had been decided on, attention then turned to Ireland, where a variation of the English system of welfare was applied. The finding that was decided on was irrelevant to the land situation and, when the Famine did strike, the introduction of what was known as the Poor Law to Ireland helped to worsen the horrors of famine.

    The English debate discussed not merely how or whether to assist the poor but laissez-faire, the prevailing doctrine of non-interference with trade. The debate was influenced by widespread Victorian attitudes that poverty was a self-inflicted wound, incurred through bad habits. Political economists debated earnestly on the morality of aiding the poor because of the consequent risk of stultifying initiative and self-help among the lower orders.

    The famine plot : England's role in Ireland's… — Kalamazoo Public Library

    The real problem of course was cost, but the protagonists couched their arguments in moralistic terms. More and more as the debate progressed, one finds that the authorities cited by protagonists tended to lace their arguments with a dose of providentialism. Providence, the divine will, was declared to have a large bearing on the subject, as it generally does when the rich debate the poor, or the strong con- front the weak. A central figure in the debate was a classical economist.