New book: Was Irish Potato Famine Genocide by British Lords?

Alex James tony at
Mon Feb 6 19:17:20 GMT 2012

New Book Reveals The Irish Potato Famine Was A Genocide

During the past three decades, Francis Boyle has 
dealt with some of themost difficult problems 
created by Britain's continued military 
occupation of six northeast counties in Ireland: 
* Proving that the "Potato Famine" was really 
British genocide againstthe Irish;* Britain's 
obligation to decolonize Northern Ireland;* 
I.R.A. resistance and Joe Doherty;* the 
anti-Irish U.S.-U.K. Supplementary Extradition 
Treaty (1986) andU.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty 
(2006); and* the MacBride Principles on Northern 
Ireland; the Great Grandson ofMajor John 
MacBride; etc. The book concludes with a legal 
and human rights framework forestablishing a 
United Ireland where all Irish can live in peace 
with justicefor all irrespective of their 
differences. This book is required reading for 
Irish Americans, people living in Ireland, and 
the Irish Diaspora around the world.

By Mike Morley & Prof. Francis Boyle

03 January, 2012

I visited iBAM! November 12 and had the great 
fortune to meet an old friend, world renowned 
legal expert, Francis Boyle, Professor of 
International Law at the University of Illinois, 
and to talk with him about his new book United 
Ireland, Human Rights and International Law.

Francis, tell us a bit about your new book:

“Mike, as you know, the two leading issues going 
on now are a United Ireland and the Potato 
Famine. And I decided to bring this book out now to address both those issues.
I have a chapter in here in which I design a 
united Ireland; what it should look like and how 
to do it. As you know, Sinn Fein has said the 
British government and the Irish government 
should produce a white paper on united Ireland. 
With all due respect, I don’t think the two 
governments are going to do it. I think they are 
the problem and not the solution. So I decided to 
take the bull by the horns myself and do a 
preliminary vision of what a united Ireland would 
look like. As for the Potato Famine, the second 
big issue, I’ve attempted to develop for the 
first time ever the legal case for why the Potato 
Famine was, in fact and in law, British genocide against the Irish.

The historians who addressed this matter before 
were of course excellent: Woodham- Smith and 
Christine Kinealy, but they did not express a 
legal opinion, because their training obviously 
is not in the law. Well, I’m a professor of 
international law and have actually argued 
genocide at the International Court of Justice in 
the Hague where I won two World Court orders for 
Bosnia on the basis of the Genocide Convention. 
And indeed then, acting pursuant to my advice, 
President Izetbegoviæof Bosnia instructed me to
sue Britain for aiding and abetting genocide 
against Bosnia. So as of now I’m the only lawyer 
in the world with actual experience of trying to sue Britain for genocide. So I
thought the time had come, after me doing all 
this work for the Bosnians, for me to set forth 
the case as to why Britain fully intended to 
commit genocide against the Irish. And I have 40 
pages in here developing that argument.”

(Note: Prof. Boyle sued Britain on behalf of 
Bosnia after they embargoed arms shipments 
intended to provide the Bosnians protection 
against ongoing genocide. But then Bosnian 
foreign minister, Ljubijankic, was told that if 
his government was to continue with the lawsuit, 
the humanitarian assistance to the Bosnian people 
would be cut. Britain also threatened to withdraw its Coldstream Guards.)

You developed the case for Bosnia. How is that 
similar to British actions in “The Famine”?

“I took that same expertise developed there and 
applied it to the British genocide against the 
Irish over the Potato Famine. The facts are not 
in dispute: that they starved to
death one million Irish and forced another two 
million to leave Ireland. The critical point here 
is the intent by Britain to exterminate Irish. 
Now historically they have always argued, and 
even today they have argued that they did not 
have the intent to eliminate Irish; that in fact 
this was simply a case of laissez-faire economics 
gone awry. And what I do here is go back through 
the historical archives and pull out all the 
statements where the highest level officials of 
the British government at that time, from 
Russell, the Prime Minister, on down, and I list 
them all here by name and office and 
statements­prove, state specifically, that they 
intended to reduce and eliminate the number of 
Irish living in Ireland, either because they were 
Irish or because they were Catholic, or both.”

Was it very hard finding these records?

“No, I basically started with the books by 
Woodham-Smith and Christine Kinealy. They had 
already done the archival research. I also had 
two research assistants of my own at the College 
of Law who went out and did additional work. So, 
all the sources that I cite here as to the 
British intent to commit genocide against the 
Irish are documented from the British archives or 
the British press, media, at the time. And it’s 
very important Mike to keep in mind the 
distinction between motive and intent, which is 
well recognized under common law that applies 
both in Britain at the time and here in the 
United States. They might have said that the 
motive was laissez faire economics, but the 
intent clearly was to reduce and eliminate the 
number of Irish living in Ireland at that time; 
because basically the British deemed us to be an 
inferior race of people, pretty much like the 
idea, philosophy the Nazis had toward the Jewish 
 However you want to define it legally, it 
was definitely genocide as defined by 
international law
 outright genocide. And we, the 
Irish in Ireland and in America and throughout 
the Diaspora must understand that, and hold the 
British government to account for it.”

Professor Boyle also outlines his fascinating 
vision for a united Ireland in his new book.

So, be a part of that effort, Order a copy of 
Professor Boyle’s book, United Ireland, Human 
Rights, And International Law. Give it a good 
read, and get back to him with your thoughts on 
his vision for A united Ireland.

See the expanded version of this article at (Columns, Mick)

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, Illinois 61820
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