The Social, Economic and Political Differences Between Catholics and Protestants

Powerful Essays
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


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


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... 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.
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