Sunday, February 28, 2010

Irish Famine isn't funny

Brunswick, Ohio. As the Ohio State Board President of the largest Irish American organization in the United States, I am writing to demand that Denny's immediately cease airing their advertisement concerning the promotion for foods referencing the "Irish Famine".

The "Potato Famine", as it is sometimes called, was actually a forced hunger which took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. It killed over one and a half million of its people and forced millions of others to immigrate. This starvation, or as it is called in Ireland, "An Gorta Mor", which means the "Great Hunger", was man made by English absentee landlords who, with very few exceptions, did nothing to alleviate the suffering of the people.

It is well-documented history that while the Irish people starved for lack of their staple crop, mutton, beef, vegetables, corn and other foods were raised or harvested and exported to England under guard where they were sold for profit. Interestingly, Ireland was not the only country where fungus destroyed the potato crop. It began in N. America and spread to Europe yet no other country had a famine.

Denny's has the audacity to make fun of the those who died of starvation and disease that was much worse than any genocide ever recorded in history so they can sell their product on the back of our dead ancestors. We are appalled at their ad, as are all Irish and Irish Americans. We are not the only Irish American organization in the United States who have ready to let Denny's know how we feel about our
ancestors' defamation so they can sell a product and make a profit.

We ask that they immediately cease and desist from airing this vile and disrespectful advertisement.

Joseph Casey
President, Ohio State Board

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The actual copy from the ad is this:

"This year marks the 158th anniversary of the end of the Irish Potato Famine and to celebrate for a limited time, Denny's id offering Endless Fries... and Pancakes. I'm not aware of any great historic pancake shortage, that said, there's a lot we don't know about the Aztecs. Thank you and good morning."

It didn't strike me that this ad is making light of the famine or the tremendous loss of life.

I understand the impact this must have on all Irish descendants here in the US and all over the world but it is surprising to me that so many have taken such offense to the mere mention of the famine, given the actual verbiage of the spot.