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The Social, Economic And Political Differences Between Catholics And Protestants

3788 words - 15 pages

The Social, Economic and Political Differences Between Catholics and Protestants

Protestant politicians tried to explain the differences between
Catholics and Protestants in terms of political, religious and
cultural differences. Politicians like Ian Paisley had very extreme
views on why these differences existed. Whilst others, like Terence
O’Neill, who was a Protestant, were willing to improve things for the
Catholics.

Many Protestant politicians thought that local elections were carried
out fairly, and that the Catholics did not face any political
discrimination, which was hardly thetrue situation. The fact that some
Nationalist councillors were elected was used as proof of this. Ian
Paisley thought differently, he thought that Catholics were not
interested in the politics as their loyalty was with Rome and with
their Head of Church, the Pope. He thought therefore that they could
never be loyal to the government of Ulster; he therefore labelled them
as ‘traitors’. Gerrymandering was done to stop these so-called
traitors from entering local councils where they would probably betray
the people of Ulster. It was also believed that if Catholics had a
greater voice in politics they would make their own laws similar to
those in the Republic. This had happened before in the South when for
example, divorce was banned in 1925. A source tells us how much the
Catholic Church interfered. The source is that of Stanley Mawhiinney,
in Darkest Ireland, European Missionary Fellowship and it states that
“the Roman Catholic Church is undoubtedly the government force in Eire
today..” Not all politicians felt this way, Terrence O’Neill, for
example, even being a Protestant realised that the political
differences was not simply about their supposed allegiance to Rome. He
admitted that the elections system were in favour of the Protestants
and that it was unfair to the majority of Catholics. This is why he
later introduced amendments to change it.

Politicians like Ian Paisley assumed that the RUC, the courts and the
B’Specials did not treat the Catholics unfairly. They claimed that the
Catholics were treated more severely because they committed more
serious crimes. Because of the Catholics loyalty to the South and the
Catholic Church, the Protestants had to be vigilant and cautious. They
claimed that there were more Protestant judges and magistrates because
when the Catholics were offered these jobs they had just refused.
Basil Brooke, the Unionist Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
1943-1963, believed that the Catholics posed a threat to the security
of Ulster. This is what he said about the country “Our country is in
danger. No surrender. We are king’s men” and he also said “97% of
Catholics are disloyal and disruptive”. This was his opinion about the
Catholics.

Most Protestants believed...

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