#Civil Rights
U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, President of the United States
United States of America

Whereas the United States (U.S.) honors a United Nations (UN) recognized day of each year, Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day to reflect upon the hardships of the holocaust, let the U.S. also recognize a “Gael/Irish Grievance Day.” The Gael/Irish Grievance Day stands in recognition of the dehumanization and genocide of Irish populace in the years 1845 through 1850. A nationally recognized day for Irish descendants in the U.S. to memorialize the atrocities inflicted upon their ancestors. A day the U.S. promotes to educate the facts of the famine and the grievances of the Irish. This day honored as a testimonial to the grievances of the Irish.

History: Between the years 1845 and 1850, known as the “Great Famine” or “Irish Potato Famine”, over one Million Irish died from the affects of famine (malnutrition, malnutrition disease or diseases associated with blighted potato). The cause of the famine was said to be blighted potatoes; however potatoes were not the only food source in Ireland. Additionally discrimination against the Irish population was condoned and incited by those that governed in Britain. British Government controlled Ireland in its entirety until the year 1921.

Facts known today of the “Great Famine” evident its infliction on the Irish population and not of natural causation:
1. The fungus, Phytophthora Infestans, the cause of the potato blight, only affected potatoes, tomatoes and plants in the potato family;
2. Phytophthora Infestans was cause of potato blight in England and Scotland in the year 1844 (one year before it struck Ireland) and was without famine or casualty;
3. Shipping records show, between 1845 and 1850:
• (a)Daily shipments of live stock, dairy, wheat, grains and other vegetables continued to leave Ireland bound for England in 1840 – 1850, the highest export years 1844 and 1845;
• (b) The total shipments leaving Ireland amounted to enough food to sustain approximately 18 Million people for the period of time, almost twice the number of people as the census recorded population of Ireland between years 1841 and 1851;
4. Food was left behind for British use;
5. Approximately 200,000 armed Constables and British Military escorted the food from mainland Ireland to the Irish docks for shipment to England.

Evidence of British government intent to reduce the Irish population exists with an 1846 publication by Charles Edward Trevelyan, Assistant Secretary to the Treasury in London 1840 – 1859. His position placed him in direct charge of the administration of Government relief to the victims of the Irish Famine. Charles Trevelyan cited in his publication of the Famine as “a mechanism for reducing surplus population”. He added “the judgment of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson, that calamity must not be too much mitigated. The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people”. Charles Edward Trevelyan’s ideals and discriminations of Irish were realized with the Laissez-Fair policy of Lord John Russell (British Prime Minister 1846 – 1852) during the famine.

The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide Article II defines genocide as the following:

Article II.
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such:
• (a) Killing members of the group;
• (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
• (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
• (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
• (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

It is a reasonable articulation in accordance with the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide Article II; those that governed in Britain were responsible for genocide of the Irish population of 1845 – 1850. The continued exportation of food was the cause of the famine and not the blighted potatoes. The removal of the food was deliberate (evidenced by the military escorts). The removal of food created conditions of life (the famine) that brought about the destruction in part (approximately 1,500,000 of 8,000,000) of the Irish (Article II (c). Additionally, the inhumane treatment towards the Irish population by British Government surmounts to violations under the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles 2, 5, 22, 23 (1) and 25 (1).

Article III
The following acts shall be punishable:
• (a) Genocide;
• (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
• (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
• (d) Attempt to commit genocide;
• (e) Complicity in genocide.

The U.S. recognizes historic events that occurred throughout the world. It creates laws and honors day’s of remembrance, promotes the education on facts, and promotes building museums and monuments. Among the recognized topics, the Holocaust is taught in schools, memorialized with monuments, museums in almost every major city in the U.S and a day of recognition. The U.S. memorializes the genocide of European-Jewish at the hands of Nazi-Germans in Europe.

In the 50 States of the United States of America (USA), Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the Jewish Virtual Library, a Division of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, there are approximately 6,453,880 Jews living in the USA and its territories, or approximately 2.2% of the U.S. population. There are Holocaust Museums and Monuments in cities throughout the U.S. and the world. The events of the Holocaust are taught in schools and state education systems have in place a lesson plan for holocaust education. The Holocaust day of remembrance created by the United Nations (UN) is observed in the U.S. each year. The U.S. has passed laws authorizing federal funds for Holocaust survivors. A commission exists including members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on the Holocaust. A Presidential Holocaust Advisory Committee was established.

In the 50 States of the United States of America (USA), Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories, according to the 2009 U.S. Census American Community Survey, approximately 36,915,155 Americans Identify as Irish-American/Irish ancestry (12% of the U.S. population). Little has been done to honor the grievances of the Irish population. Some monuments have been built in cities of the North East states, Ohio and Illinois. Still no recognition of the true causes of the famine of 1845 – 1850 has been taught in schools nor a day honored for the genocide of Irish populace.

Additionally, in 1997 by Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair made a partial acknowledgement of the wrongs bestowed the Irish population in a letter about the Great Famine. He wrote “those who governed in London at the time failed their people by standing by while a crop failure turned into massive human tragedy. We must not forget such a dreadful event.”

Irish immigrants and descendents have a long standing history in the United States. During the time of the famine, those Irish that survived the trip to the United States on coffin ships, many enlisted in the Union Army and fought in the Civil War (ie NY 69th). These same Irish-American U.S. Civil War vets returned to Ireland during uprisings to fight for its independence.

We the undersigned, call on the U.S. Congress to:

1. To bring recognition in the United States of America (USA) on a day of each year, as a remembrance of the “Gael/Irish – Grievance” in the years 1845 through 1850, for the genocide of the Irish as defined by the UN “1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide” article 2. To:
• (a) Observe the death of approximately 1,500,000 (greater than one eighth of the population) of Irish in the years 1845 through 1850;
• (b) Observe more than 100,000 Irish immigrant deaths attributed to poor conditions of shipping vessels (known as coffin ships) while in transit to the USA, Canada and Australia in the years 1845 through 1850;
• (c) Acknowledge the famine of 1845 through 1850 Ireland was inflicted upon the population and not natural causation;
• (d) To bring national recognition of a “Gael/Irish – Grievance” in place of “Irish Potato Famine”;

2. Establish a day acknowledging the hardships and dehumanization of the Irish relative to the Holocaust.

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The Gael/Irish Day of Rememberance U.S. petition to U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, President of the United States was written by Sean O'Donovan and is in the category Civil Rights at GoPetition.