Letter: Irish famine lessons still to be learnt

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The Independent Online
Sir: Ruth Dudley Edwards is too complacent about the causes of the Irish famine.

Famine is often the result not of an absence of food but of the inability of many people to buy what is available. That was so in Ireland's case: only one crop, the potato, failed; and during the famine, food was being exported from Ireland.

It has been said that there has never been a famine in a democracy. The famine in Ireland was not caused by "desperately bad luck", nor even by a fungus, but by a political system that kept a large majority of its inhabitants desperately poor. That political system was largely the creation of Englishmen.

MARTIN SMITH

Oxford

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