Letter: Irish "obsession"

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The letter about Oliver Cromwell (5 February) illustrates exactly why there is still an "Irish problem". With respect, the Irish are still so obsessed by the "evils" of British colonialism that it seems to prevent them from moving on.

Contrast their attitude with that of India which had British rule for a similar length of time but where all but a tiny minority have long since given up blaming the British for anything perceived to be wrong in their country.

This obsession with the admitted wrongs done to Ireland 300 odd years ago blinds many, but not all Irish people to other issued and the constant fomenting of this old wound largely accounts for the ambivalent attitude of too many to terrorist activities carried out in the name of Irish patriotism.

Your correspondent cannot be allowed to get away with his statement that we "honour the butcher" as if we were happily celebrating Cromwell's massacres in Ireland. When we honour the memory of Cromwell, we are looking at the way he became a symbol of the end of absolute monarchy and laid the foundations for a stronger nation. We clearly tend to overlook his excesses, particularly those in Ireland, but we must not judge the killings by 20th century standards but rather look at the age when they occurred. I do not seek to minimise these wrongdoings, merely to put them into context.

If we British had the same blinkered approach as your correspondent we would be constantly harassing the Italians for the activities of the Ancient Romans - indeed, the Welsh might like to make their own case against the Irish raiders after the departure of the Romans.

ADRIAN SIMMONDS

Enfield, Middlesex

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