Niall O’Dowd tries but falls at the first hurdle…..
A couple of days ago, Niall O’Dowd published a reply to those academics who put their name to Liam Hogan’s open letter criticising him for an article on IrishCentral which supports the idea that the seventeenth-century Irish were victims of enslavement and pointing out that the word slave is an emotive one with a specific meaning. You can find the reply here: http://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/niallodowd/why-the-irish-were-both-slaves-and-indentured-servants-in-colonial-america These Irish people were indentured servants or bonded labourers. Their plight was bad, the circumstances of their kidnap and deportation distressing. But Liam Hogan and others are at pains to point out that they were not chattel slaves the way generations of African-Americans were.
O’Dowd pretty much admits this and claims to deplore the way that the slave label has been used by right-wing groups to play down the legacy of slavery among African Americans.
The controversy has arisen because some far-right groups have claimed that the…
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Sorry, no cigar. O’Dowd is trying to have it both ways by saying “some” Irish had it as bad as Africans (all Africans had it worse than all the Irish), and continues to use the term “Irish slaves” fairly freely. If he wants to cite an an actual historian on this subject, then use the right Martyn. http://adrianmartyn.ie/