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Describe the disadvantages faced by Catholics in Northern Ireland in the mid-1960s.

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Introduction

The Northern Ireland Coursework assignment Describe the disadvantages faced by Catholics in Northern Ireland in the mid-1960s: Ever since the plantation of Northern Ireland in the early 17th Century, the Catholics were looked upon by the Protestants as being inferior and 'backward' people. Hence, the Protestants did everything in their power to make the Catholics unequal in social and political status. The three main areas where the state discriminated against Catholics were in 'housing, jobs, and political representation.'(A) The 'Orange Order' (A) ensured that these injustices were carried out by demonstrating their power and superiority over Catholics by 'marching through Catholic areas,'(A) while at the same time protecting the Protestants well being. In Ulster all Catholics suffered from the very beginning, as 'children were educated separately.'(A) This in turn led to 'distrust and prejudice between communities.'(A) This resulted in all 'top' (B) jobs being 'filled by Protestants.'(B) Even in areas like Fermanagh where the population was 'more than half Catholic' (B) only a tiny percentage were given their desired job. In the private sector Catholics were employed in 'the lower end of the job market,'(B) probably due to their unsatisfactory education, thus showing how the 'vicious cycle' worked. The Catholics were unable to enjoy worthwhile jobs due to 'anti-Catholic prejudice' (B) and thus were usually employed in 'unskilled and lower-paying jobs,'(B) meaning they lived in great poverty due to lack of money. ...read more.

Middle

to protect the 'British crown' (B) and the 'Union Jack,' (B) and were therefore entitled to go to any extreme to carry out their 'duties'. (B) Clearly both Sources feared being submerged by Catholics. But a loyalist then pointed out that 'we were all poor,' (C) but the Catholics seemed poorer because they had 'huge families' (C) and 'drank heavily' (C) and so he believed that the Catholics 'did not help themselves' (C) and that it was there own fault that they suffered due to their choice of lifestyle. This view can be compared with Source I where Lord Dunleath believed that the community was 'essentially at peace with itself.' (I) This was ironically true although it would be na�ve to suggest that there was no violence whatsoever. Both Sources claim that the 'vast majority' (I) of Protestants had a 'moderate outlook' (I) and not a discriminatory one, which the Catholics soon came to believe. These Sources also bare a certain similarity with Source G, where O'Neill effectively denies that there is a major difference caused by prejudice and claimed that 'our system is fair' (G) and that no 'gerrymandering' took place. This was not an accurate representation as even though a 'smaller number of electors' (G) were voted for, this was usually because the Catholic community had their 'voting rights restricted' and were unable to elect their chosen MP's. ...read more.

Conclusion

and the 'Battle of the Bogside' (E) acted as the catalyst that had been brewing for a long time. It was the 'final straw' for Britain and confirmed their view to send troops in to Northern Ireland, especially as Stormont admitted that it was 'losing its grip' and required urgent assistance. The British had to act quickly as 'riots erupted in Belfast,' (F) thus suggesting that they were spreading like fire. The 'troops deployed' (F) were 'too few in number' (F) to have 'any effect,' (F) and thus it was a matter of 'using the army properly' (F) or succumb to 'anarchy.'(F) In order to prevent 'a pogrom' (F) the forces had to be 'deployed' (D) or there was the possibility of a 'full-scale civil war' (F) commencing. Subsequently the army came in 'en masse,' (F) so as to prevent the IRA rejuvenating and to seize vital control. We can now see that it was essential that the British forces 'gained control' over Northern Ireland as the '3000 strong RUC' (G) was too insignificant and 'biased' (G) to soothe the 'Catholic community.' (G) Stormont was unable to gain control of the 'growing violence' (G) and it could not 'deliver reforms' (G) that were 'sufficient for Catholics,' (G) without 'provoking' (G) a 'huge Protestant backlash.' (G) Stormont was clearly caught between the 'devil and the deep blue sea' and only the British army had the 'manpower and training,' (G) together with 'relative even-handedness' (G) to succeed in the prevention of 'total sectarian chaos.' (611 words) Total word count: 1592 Tom Owens Set 2 ...read more.

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