This site includes the postings from the Irish Aires email list. This includes a listing of Irish/Celtic events in the Houston area and other information that the Irish Aires radio program posts.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

FW: St Patrick's Day: Potato "Famine" Was British Genocide



Francis A. Boyle

Law Building

504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.

Champaign, IL 61820 USA

217-333-7954 (voice)

217-244-1478 (fax)

(personal comments only)


From: Boyle, Francis A
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2012 4:56 PM
To: Killeacle
Subject: St Patrick's Day: Potato "Famine" Was British Genocide



    Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Boyle is author of "United Ireland, Human Rights and International Law."


    He said today: "Some controversy has surrounded the use of the word 'genocide' with regard to the Great Irish Famine. But this controversy has its source in an apparent misunderstanding of the meaning of genocide. No, the British government did not inflict on the Irish the abject horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. But the definition of 'genocide' reaches beyond such ghastly behavior to encompass other reprehensible acts designed to destroy a people." Boyle wrote "The Irish Famine was Genocide."



Did the Irish Famine Constitute Genocide With Dr Francis Boyle ...
United Ireland, Human Rights and International Law Dr Francis A. Boyle Professor of International Law, University of Illinois During the past three decades, ...


December 2011 Irish American News “We’ve Always Been Green!” 23

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

Izetbegovićof 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 statements—prove, 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 laissezfaire

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 people…

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.

“I thought someone had to take the first

draft… Read it for yourself. It’s a work in

progress, and certainly I’d appreciate any

feedback, comments, criticisms. We can move

forward with a second draft, something with more detail, when I hear from others.”


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)




Chicago cable-CAN-TV, Channel 19: Monday

7pm, Tuesday 2pm

Comcast-(Skokie system) 24 North suburbs – Ch.

19 (or 35): Tuesday, 6pm

Comcast-(Elmhurst system) 41 West suburbs –

Ch. 19: Tuesday 7:30pm

© Mike Morley 2011







Francis A. Boyle


 ISBN: 978-0-9833539-2-8  202 pp.   $16.95

Available in North America and UK/Europe 

and from Clarity Press, Inc. 





During the past three decades, international legal expert Francis A.Boyle has dealt with some of the most difficult problems created byBritain’s continued military occupation of six northeast counties inIreland. In so doing, he along with other Irish Americans engaged the formidable Irish American domestic lobby in support of the Irish resistance.

This book addresses some of the most important aspects of their historic campaigns—the struggle to prevent deportation of Irish freedom-fighter,Joe Doherty, the protest against the U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty of 2006, the effort to engage U.S. multinationals in implementing the MacBride Principles to roll back discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland.

But most significantly, Boyle makes the legal case for viewing the horrific Irish “Potato Famine”—the Irish Hecatomb—as a result, not of laissez-faire economic policy, but of intentional British genocide.

This is the definitive book on all legal/political/human rights aspects of the Irish conflict, including Britain’s international legal obligation to decolonize Northern Ireland and going forward, a legal and human rights framework for establishing a United Ireland where all Irish can live in peace with justice for all irrespective of their differences.

United Ireland, Human Rights, and International Law is required reading for Irish Americans, people living in Ireland, and the Irish Diaspora around the world.


Dedication Irish America
Chapter 1.
The Irish Hecatomb: The Legal Case for the
Potato Famine as British Genocide / 19
Chapter 2
The Decolonization of Northern Ireland / 64
Chapter 3.
Putting Britain’s Colonial War in Ireland
on Trial in the USA / 89
Chapter 4.
The Struggle to Free Joe Doherty / 99
Chapter 5.
Opposing the U.S.—U.K. Extradition Treaty / 123
Chapter 6.
Advocating the MacBride Principles for
Northern Ireland / 154
Chapter 7.
Sparing Robert John MacBride / 184
Chapter 8.
Designing United Ireland / 188



Available directly from Clarity Press,,

or our distributors in the USA, UK/Europe/ Middle East,

Malaysia/Singapore, World

Clarity Press, Inc.

You are presently listed as a Clarity Press subscriber.

To unsubscribe, press





Dual National FRANCIS BOYLE (right)


Foreign Minister for the Republic of Ireland

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and

Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army    

FRANCIS A. BOYLE is a leading American
expert in international law. He was
responsible for drafting the Biological
Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the
American implementing legislation for the
1972 Biological Weapons Convention. He
served on the Board of Directors of
Amnesty International (1988-1992), and
represented Bosnia-Herzegovina at the
World Court. He served as legal adviser to
the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle
East peace negotiations from 1991 to
1993. In 2007, he delivered the Bertrand
Russell Peace Lectures. Professor Boyle
teaches international law at the University
of Illinois, Champaign and is author of,
inter alia, The Future of International Law
and American Foreign Policy, Foundations
of World Order, The Criminality of Nuclear
Palestine, Palestinians and
International Law
, Destroying World Order,
Biowarfare & Terrorism, Tackling America’s
Toughest Questions, The Tamil
Genocide by Sri Lanka
and The
Palestinian Right of Return Under
International Law
. He holds a Doctor of
Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D.
in Political Science, both from Harvard


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?