Letter: The truth about the Irish potato famine could help peace

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The Independent Online
I WAS heartened to see Cal McCrystal's article on the Irish potato famine ("Buried in the tide of history", Sunday Review, 14 May). Those of us involved in the BBC television series The Hanging Gale were always aware of the limits of drama; namely that it must entertain as it informs. If the events of the famine were ever to be honestly discussed, then such discussion should take place calmly and dispassionately through political and journalistic media. Mr McCrystal is clearly equal to this task.

As he points out, there are some who fear that open discussion of the famine at a delicate stage in the peace process will somehow provide "ideological bullets" to extremist Republicans. I believe the reverse is true. The failure to give this subject a proper place in British and Irish history has allowed half-truths and propaganda to flourish in terrorist hands. Honesty can surely only heal. I like to think we live in a country with the courage to face its past, not one that believes the truth to be a potential weapon.

Stephen McGann

London W6

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