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Ireland


  • Originally published 01/10/2014

    WW1 Irish remembered

    Memorial Records go digital with list of all those from island of Ireland who died during war or as result of injuries sustained in battle in Belgium.

  • Originally published 08/03/2013

    Confidential files give insight into Margaret Thatcher's view of Northern Ireland

    Previously confidential files from 1983 released on Thursday by the National Archives in Kew shed new light on the ongoing attempts by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to deal with the political and security situations in Northern Ireland and, in particular, the threat by Sinn Féin to overtake the SDLP as the voice of Northern nationalism.Sinn Féin's record 13.4% of the regional vote in the June 1983 election and the return of its President, Gerry Adams, as MP for West Belfast came as a shattering blow to Mrs Thatcher, who had returned to power with a renewed mandate after the Falklands war.Ministers believed that up to a quarter of the Sinn Féin vote was down to impersonation and intimidation.At a cabinet meeting in June that year, Northern Ireland Secretary Jim Prior warned colleagues that the republicans' success could lead to the destruction of John Hume's SDLP....

  • Originally published 07/31/2013

    Diarmaid Ferriter: Axing upper house of Irish parliament a 'grubby power grab'

    THE abolition of the Seanad is a "grubby power grab" by a Government that already keeps major economic decision-making within a powerful inner circle, historian Diarmaid Ferriter has claimed.In strident criticisms of the Coalition, Prof Ferriter also said the Economic Management Council (EMC) – the powerful four-member committee that decides all major economic decisions – showed "centralisation and unaccountable elites still dominate" even more than ever.His comments come after Emily O'Reilly, who will soon leave her Ombudsman post to become EU Ombudsman, criticised the Dail for not taking itself seriously, saying it spends its time "ducking and diving"....

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Ireland considers making history non-compulsory

    UCD history professor Diarmaid Ferriter said plans to remove history as a compulsory subject under the new junior cycle programme were “very worrying for the future”.Would the student “be equipped to analyse effectively the present?”, he said as part of a History Teachers’ Association of Ireland delegation speaking to the Oireachtas education committee today.The Association expressed “grave concern” at the removal of their subject as compulsory under the new junior cycle programme. History “may not be offered” at junior level and “does not have to be offered under the statements of learning,” Association president Gerard Hanlon said referring to the criteria to be met under the planned junior cycle programme which is to change history from 2017.

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Is distinctive DNA marker proof of Irish genocide?

    Did you know Ireland has the highest concentration of men with the R1b DNA marker? No fewer than 84 per cent of all Irish men carry this on their Y chromosome....“The high prevalence rates have always perplexed Irish geneticists and historians,” says Alastair Moffat of IrelandsDNA. The firm’s research proposes a new hypothesis. There is already established evidence suggesting that the first farmers, (carrying the Y chromosome lineage of ‘G’, which can be found across Europe) arrived in Kerry about 4,350BC.According to IrelandsDNA, the so called ‘G-Men’ may have established farming in Ireland “but their successful culture was almost obliterated by what amounted to an invasion, even a genocide, some time around 2,500BC” (the frequency of G in Ireland is now only 1.5 per cent). “There’s a cemetery in Treille [France], where ancient DNA testing has been carried out and almost all men carry the ‘G’ marker but the women don’t,” says Moffat. They carry native/indigenous markers. This strongly suggests incoming groups of men. Because the R1b marker is still so prevalent in Ireland and is also frequently found in places like France and northern Spain we believed that around 2,500 BC, the R1b marker arrived in Ireland from the south.”...

  • Originally published 06/07/2013

    Why the Boston College Oral History Ruling Isn't a Victory

    Boston College motto: "Ever to Excel," engraved on the Bapst Library on campus. Credit: Wiki Commons.The journalists are mostly wrong. A federal appeals court decision in Boston this week is a victory, of sorts, but not for oral history. Neither is it much of a victory for Boston College, which filed the appeal. In the end, the university merely protected confidential archival material that its own curious negligence put at risk. (Read the First Circuit's complete opinion here.)

  • Originally published 05/21/2013

    Potato famine mystery solved

    An international team of scientists has finally solved one of history’s greatest mysteries: What caused the devastating Irish potato famine of 1845? The research team, which published its findings in the journal eLife this week, used DNA sequencing of plant specimens dating from the mid-19th century to identify the pathogen that led to the death of nearly 1 million people and the mass emigration of another 2 million from Ireland by 1855. The discovery marks the first time scientists have successfully sequenced a plant’s genome from preserved samples and opens the door for further research into the evolution of pathogens and the spread of plant disease around the world.

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    Virtual Irish history newspaper goes live

    A virtual newspaper bringing the most momentous period of Irish history to life has gone live.Ten years of news from 1913 will be published by Century Ireland every fortnight over the next decade in real-time.Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said the digitalised material will catalogue the major events that shaped modern Ireland from the Home Rule debate to the Civil War in a balanced and fair way....

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    Ireland pardons wartime deserter "heroes"

    LONDON — The Irish government is to reverse what has been described as a historic injustice by granting a pardon to soldiers who deserted their units to fight the Nazis in World War II.An amnesty and immunity bill, scheduled to be enacted on Tuesday, includes an apology to some 5,000 men who faced post-war sanctions and ostracism after they quit the defense forces of neutral Ireland to join the allied war effort against Hitler.The measure comes too late for most of the deserters — only about 100 are believed to be still alive — but it was welcomed by their families and supporters....

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams testifies against brother over charges he raped own daughter

    DUBLIN — The leader of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein testified Monday in a Belfast court against his own brother, who faces criminal charges of raping his daughter — an alleged crime that Adams himself admitted he’d kept secret within the family.Gerry Adams, a reputed longtime commander of the outlawed Irish Republican Army and party leader for 30 years, insisted under cross-examination that he didn’t delay telling police to preserve his own political career atop Irish republicanism....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    GM-potatoes criticized in Ireland

    Carlow, Ireland — Ewen Mullins is the face of modern Ireland: Young, cosmopolitan, highly educated, he is a plant scientist whose work on a genetically modified potato inherently looks to the future. But Mullins also must think back to one of Ireland’s darkest chapters, the Great Famine of the 1840s.“It’s always there,” he said. “It’s not something we forget or something we should be allowed to forget.”From his laboratory and greenhouse in a research farm outside Carlow, 42-year-old Mullins deals daily with a disease that not only afflicts his native land but haunts it: the potato blight, a pernicious rot caused by a fungus that still thrives in Ireland’s wet, cold climate....

  • Originally published 02/21/2013

    Ireland apologizes to women of Catholic laundries

    DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland ignored the mistreatment of thousands of women who were incarcerated within Catholic nun-operated laundries and must pay the survivors compensation, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Tuesday in an emotional state apology for the decades of abuses in the so-called Magdalene Laundries."By any standards it was a cruel, pitiless Ireland, distinctly lacking in a quality of mercy," Kenny said, as dozens of former Magdalenes watched tearfully from parliament's public gallery overhead.Kenny told lawmakers his government has appointed a senior judge to recommend an aid program for the approximately 1,000 women still living from the residential workhouses, the last of which closed in 1996. He also pledged government funding for the erection of a national memorial "to remind us all of this dark part of our history."...

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    Renowned English historian of Ireland dies at 102

    Robert Kee, Born: October 5th, 1919 Died: January 11th, 2013 In February 2005 the then British prime minister Tony Blair made a long-awaited public apology to the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven when he met members of the Conlon and Maguire families, victims of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British history.During an emotional meeting Blair signed a copy of Robert Kee’s book, Trial and Error: the Maguires, the Guildford pub bombings and British Justice, belonging to Patrick Maguire (13 when he was arrested) with the inscription “I am sorry it took so long.”Many people believe it would have taken a lot longer but for the campaigning work of Kee, the British historian and journalist who died on January 11th aged 93.

  • Originally published 09/07/2014

    Of Irish Famines, Slavery, and the libeling of laissez-faire

    In a recent column for the Washington Post, political scientist Henry Farrell attempted to lay part of the blame of two notorious historical events on what he sees as a “laissez faire” mentality that operates at the expense of human suffering. The occasion for Farrell’s claim is a curious one. He employed an ill-worded and somewhat tactless review of a recent book about slavery in the Economist magazine to remind readers that the same magazine had made similarly callous remarks about the victims of the Irish famine.While his observation might carry some weight if it illustrated a standing pattern, his particular offense in the second case comes from a much older column – as in something that was published in 1847.If taking modern publications to task for the uncouth musings of long-dead editors sounds slightly odd, it might be similarly observed that the Washington Post is far from immune from an ignominious publication record as this racially charged 1902 headline attests:Turning specifically to the famine, a studious reader might also notice that Mr. Farrell seems to have a strange affinity  for flogging this 167 year old hobgoblin whenever the Economist’s masthead comes up for discussion. More problematic from a historical perspective though is the argument he attempts to extract from the episode:In both instances, The Economist’s deep-rooted fondness of laissez faire slipped into a shameful tendency to minimize the human costs of those at the wrong end of the system, whether it was those who suffered and were murdered beneath the whip of slavery or those who starved to death, in part thanks to The Economist’s own vigorous advocacy.A damning indictment of laissez faire capitalism, one might conclude, if only it were true! Unfortunately for Mr. Farrell, he has his 19th century politics confused, and confused badly at that.Consider the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. This hallmark of the very same 19th century “laissez faire” philosophy he derides as callous was actually carried to fruition as part of a conscious effort to relieve famine-plagued Ireland from the artificially onerous food prices that came about under Britain’s agricultural protective tariff regime. Now consider Farrell’s harsh depiction of free markets against the open humanitarian appeal of the following passage from an 1845 free trade speech by Richard Cobden, the chief architect of the Corn Law repeal:

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