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How did Protestant politicians explain the social, economic and political differences between Catholics and Protestants?

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Introduction

How did Protestant politicians explain 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. ...read more.

Middle

British troops quickly suppressed the rebels and gained control again. This event became known as the Easter Rising. It was a major turning point in Irish history, even though it failed, as it gathered more support for Home Rule, partly because of how the leaders of the Easter Rising were treated. Many of the leaders were found guilty of treason as they were fighting against British forces while the First World War was taking place, meaning that the British troops could not fight in the war. In the 1918 elections many members of Sinn Fein won seats in Parliament, in Westminster, but they knew that their ideas of Home Rule would not be listened to and immidetly rejected. All of Sinn Fein's M.P.'s refused to sit in Parliament. Instead they set up their own Parliament in Dublin. The British banned this, but Sinn Fein still managed to work with success. This meant that the Irish Nationalists had a voice to speak up for their wants. By 1919 the Irish Volunteer Force (IVF) had become known as the Irish Republican Army (IRA), many members of the IRA were also members of Sinn Fein. The IRA was prepared to use force to overpower the British, and carried out many attacks. By the 1920's IRA attacks were common. British troops could not use their strength or number of troops against the IRA, but they kept reinforcing the troops. In 1921 Ireland was partitioned into two areas, The Republic of Ireland (The Free State), for the mainly Catholic Nationalists, and Northern Ireland, for the mainly Protestant Unionists. Both areas of the partition had their own government, politicians thought that giving both sides a compromise would resolve the problems. ...read more.

Conclusion

Things were so bad that the Republic was threatening to send in their own soldiers to calm down the situation and regain control. However as Northern Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom the British government did not want the Republic's army 'invading' part of their country. So the British had to step in and get control of the North, before others did. British troops were sent in to Northern Ireland in 1969 because of many causes, some long term and some shorter-term events and causes. However all of these causes can be traced back to one thing, probably the most important factor in this. The partition of Ireland. If the partition did not take place then the Protestants would not have discriminated against the Catholics as much, as they would not have had as much power and control. The second most important factor in this was the actual discrimination against the Catholics, as if the Catholics had not been discriminated against, and treated so badly, there would not have been the Civil Rights protests, which often led to, and ended in violence. Violence was a major reason why troops were sent in. Thirdly are the Civil Rights marches, which led to the violence, and were the final, main, contributing factor to why the troops were sent in. The British troops were sent in because of all the factors in this essay, but most of these factors would not have existed if Ireland had not been partitioned in 1921, which led to both sides fighting each other to try and get what they wanted. The partition also allowed for there to be discrimination by the Protestants against the Catholics in Northern Ireland as the Catholics were in the minority and could easily be controlled by the large number of Protestants. ...read more.

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