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How did Protestants 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? Many of the differences faced by Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland were due to official laws, so Protestant politicians had to explain them. These explanations varied, depending on how extreme a politician was; however all of them were based on facts, about either the Republic of Ireland, or about Catholic attitudes in Northern Ireland. One reason, used by moderate Unionists, was that the differences were due to Catholics segregating themselves. Many Catholics living in Northern Ireland wanted to protect their heritage, so sent their children to summer schools to learn Irish Gaelic and Irish traditions; continued to play Irish sports; and attended Catholic schools. ...read more.

Middle

An alternative explanation, also used by moderate Unionists, was that discrimination was not occurring. They argued that the depression of the 1960s meant everyone in Northern Ireland was experiencing difficulties. The economic situation was also used by extremist Unionists, who said that, as Northern Ireland was experiencing a period of depression, jobs should be given to "loyal workers," (Protestants) over Catholics. Another justification used by extreme Unionist politicians, for example Paisley, was the Catholic Church's special position in the Republic of Ireland's constitution. They claimed it meant that the Republic of Ireland was not a free state, because there was too much religious interference in their citizens' lives; and, in order to prevent a similar situation in Northern Ireland, Catholic citizens had to be controlled. ...read more.

Conclusion

The support that "Republicanism" received in Northern Ireland also contributed to the Protestant's fear, because they were afraid that if Catholics were given too much freedom, they might elect Republican councillors; threatening the British way of life in Northern Ireland. Some Unionist politicians claimed that these factors showed the threat that Northern Ireland was under from Republicans, and the Catholics in Northern Ireland had to be controlled for protection. In conclusion, the explanations for the differences between Catholics and Protestants ranged from; there being no differences or Catholics segregating themselves; to the Catholics needing special treatment, either due to the depression, or to protect Northern Ireland from the influence of the Catholic Church and the Republicans who wanted the reunification of Ireland. Word Count: 448 ...read more.

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