Letter: Irish famine's legacy of bitterness

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The Independent Online
Letter: Irish famine's legacy of bitterness

Sir: The easiest way to kill debate on the Irish tragedy is to raise the apology question. It induces the simplistic response that this generation of British people cannot apologise for the sins of their fathers.

No one should confuse personal apologies with an admission by state authorities that its predecessors were responsible for a past wrong. No one is suggesting that Tony Blair or the Labour Party bear the slightest responsibility for what happened. Helmut Kohl had nothing to do with the evils of the Nazi regime, but his government continues to this day to pay war reparations for its victims.

The time has come for the British government to admit that the policies of its predecessor caused the virtual annihilation of the Irish people. Only good can come from that. Ruth Dudley Edwards ("No need to apologise for the potato famine", 3 June) fans the flames of racial hatred by her apologia for the rulers of the day. From that, evil will certainly flow.