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Northern Ireland Source based work.

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Introduction

Northern Ireland Coursework 1. Source A indicates the problems Catholics in Northern Ireland had finding jobs in the 1960's. It says, "The big employers were privately run companies" who could easily be "anti-Catholic" and gives the example of the Belfast shipyard which was the biggest source of employment in the city which out of 10,000 workers only employed 400 Catholics. This shows even the biggest companies were anti-Catholic. Source A also gives the example of Fermanagh, a County with more Catholics than Protestants, whose council filled 322 out of 370 posts with Protestants. Which shows that anti-catholic prejudice was not only true in privately owned companies but also in government jobs. In fact, one of the "most sought after jobs" in Fermanagh, being a school bus driver was taken up by 68 Protestants and just 7 Catholics. 2. Sources B, C and D go very far to suggest there was anti-Catholic prejudice in Northern Ireland. Source B, which is a reliable source as it is based upon the census, states "unemployment is experienced at a much higher level by Roman Catholics than by Protestants" and "industries which had the highest weekly wage in 1971" were "predominantly Protestant". This is clear evidence of anti-Catholic prejudice. ...read more.

Middle

5. Sources H, I and J refer to Londonderry, the second city of Northern Ireland. Source I shows that in Londonderry, the Catholic population, represented in source I as Nationalist votes, outnumbered the Protestant or Unionist population by a factor of 2:1. Source I shows that this Catholic majority was grossly under-represented in the election process due to gerrymandering. Londonderry was an extreme example of gerrymandering at work, the electoral ward boundaries were set up so that Unionists would control the city council, despite being a minority in terms of voter numbers. This is shown in source J, where North Ward is able to elect the same number of councillors as South Ward, despite having only about half the number of voters. South Ward is a predominantly Catholic area. There was a system of discrimination against Catholics in the political process, and also in housing and jobs, so that Catholics were generally worse off and living in poorer conditions. Control of local councils was very important as local councils built and allocated housing, as well as a lot of jobs. Housing conditions in Northern Ireland were generally quite poor , and source H shows an example of this. Although the picture shows a Catholic family's home in the 1960s, conditions are more like the 1930s or 1940s, as clearly the house lacks a bathroom and inside toilet. ...read more.

Conclusion

Most importantly, however, all of the sources are to do with religion, as are the problems in Northern Ireland (the priest). I agree with the cartoon because I think it cleverly summarises the complexity of the troubles in Northern Ireland and refers in a brief way to the long history of political and economic conflict. As the reference to the battle of the Boyne shows we need to go back several hundred years to understand the historical causes of the modern conflict. The British government in the 17th century took land away from native Irish Catholics to give to loyal Scottish and English settlers. Catholics in rural Ireland became poor tenant farmers and many died in the great famine of 1845-9. The British government remained in control of Ireland despite the resistance of Nationalist organisations. After the partition of Ireland in 1921 the British remained in control of the North and the Unionist politicians discriminated against Catholics who continued to resist leading to the crisis in 1968-72. Attempts by the British Government to resolve the crisis by imposing power sharing in 1974 and by tough military action against the IRA failed due to the entrenched positions on both sides. The long history of enmity which had become inbuilt in the Irish through separate education, social organisations and political parties could not be overcome by short-term solutions imposed by Britain. ...read more.

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