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There has been considerable debate among historians and public commentators about whether or not the Great Irish Famine (1845–1851) could be considered as genocide. Recently, controversial journalist Tim Pat Coogan has argued that England's treatment of Ireland in this period can be considered genocide. Historical evidence suggests otherwise. There was considerable blame for the perpetration of Ireland misery beyond the ill conceived and poorly executed policies of successive British governments. At the root of the famine tragedy was an outmoded and poorly functioning landholding system and over-dependence of an impoverished rural underclass on the potato staple. Anglo-Irish landlords, merchants, businessmen of all denominations, large landholding farmers, nationalist politicians, clergy, ineffective implementation of poor relief by local gentry, and unscrupulous port officials and ship's captains must also bear some responsibility in contributing to this calamity in modern Irish history.