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Tony Blair’s apology for Irish famine written by aides, papers reveal

Former UK prime minister could not be reached to sign off 1997 speech seen as ‘significant moment’ in Anglo-Irish relations

Tony Blair’s “apology” for the Irish famine on its 150th anniversary, greeted with plaudits and hailed as a significant moment in Anglo-Irish relations at the time, was hastily written by aides because they could not reach him to approve it, newly released classified documents reveal.

The prime minister’s words, read out by actor Gabriel Byrne at a televised commemoration event in County Cork, were damning in proclaiming: “Those who governed in London at the time failed their people through standing by while a crop failure turned into a massive human tragedy.”

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