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Why did violence erupt in Northern Ireland in October 1968?

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Why did violence erupt in Northern Ireland in October 1968? English involvement can be traced back to the Norman English invading in the 12th century. Although there was some conflict by 1500 nearly all the people in Ireland shared a common culture, spoke the same language (Gaelic) and were all Catholics. During the reformation in the 16th century England became a protestant country while Ireland remained Catholic. The English government decided to "plant" colonies of loyal Protestants and give land to them in order to keep control. This policy is known as Plantation. The Catholics were not happy with the plantation and rebelled against the protestant settlers in Ulster, which was brutally stopped by Oliver Cromwell. Land was taken from the Catholic protestors and given to the loyal Protestants. This angered the Catholics. In 1960 Catholic James II was defeated by the Protestant William of Orange at the battle of Boyne, from this point onwards Catholics were discriminated against and were given second class status. In1845-49 a potato famine occurred. This caused widespread starvation. Many Irish emigrated to America and Australia, the English government was blamed and criticised for not doing more to help. During the 19th century there were attempts to achieve independence of some form to Ireland. These nationalists' struggles culminated in the demand for Home Rule towards the end of the 19th century. ...read more.


To further my case more another piece of evidence that holds deep significance is from the Sunday Times. It reads, In Derry in 1966 the heads of all city council departments were Protestant. Of 177 salaried employees, 145 earning �124,424 were Protestant and only 32 earning �20,420 were Catholic. Of 10,000 workers in the Belfast shipyard- the biggest source of employment in the city- just 400 were Catholic. This source along with the two above clearly show discrimination against Catholics in employment. Statistics show that 36% of male Catholics were unemployed, compared to 14% of male Protestants. As I have mentioned in the source above the vast majority of council city workers were Protestant, this fact leads me into my next topic of discussion Council houses. The discrimination of Catholic employment left many local city councils Protestant as shown above. This gave the local councils power to further discriminate against Catholics. There are several ways in which Protestant councils have discriminated against Catholics. One has been to put Protestants in better homes than Catholics, but charge the same rent. In Dungannon for an identical rate, you got 42 square feet of space less on the mainly Catholic Ballymurphy Estate than you got on the exclusively Protestant Cunningham Lane Estate. Another way has simply been to house more Protestants than Catholics. ...read more.


he thought this could only be achieved if there was no bible instruction and if Roman Catholic and Protestant children mixed in the same schools. But these statements were strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. As a result the education act of 1930 conceded that "It shall be the duty of the education authority to provide bible instruction should the parents of not less than 10 children who are in regular attendance at such school make application to the education authority for that purpose". It was clear that no compromise could be made with regards to educating the two religions together. This therefor meant that separate schools were used. However the Protestant schools were funded by the state and peoples taxes, including Catholics taxes. Catholic children attended their own school set up by the church. These schools were very under equipped in comparison to the Protestant State schools. The fact that Catholic families sent their children to a Catholic only, under equipped school, and paid for Protestants to have their education would certainly have angered them greatly. It is this anger that would have certainly contributed to the eruption of violence in October 1968. The next topic that I am going to discuss is that of the city of Craigavon. Craigavon was to replace Londonderry as Northern Irelands second city. After the closer of the rail link to Derry through the ...read more.

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