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Northern Ireland in 1970Argumentative

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  • Pages: 9
  • Word count: 2029
  • Category: Ireland

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Problems began in Ireland long before 1969’s troubles and continue today. The dilemmas are a consequence of an ongoing reason, which is the opinion of some people in Northern Ireland that those of the opposite religion are attempting to overpower and enforce a certain way of life upon the rest of Northern Ireland’s civilisation. This problem stems back along way to similar events when King Henry VIII changed the religion of England from Roman Catholic to Protestant, he tried to enforce this in Ireland too but met strong opposition, as most of the Irish remained loyal to the Catholic Church so there was danger of an Irish rebellion.

Continuing into the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) the worry was that Ireland would become allies with England’s catholic enemies because many Irish Catholic lords rebelled against English rule and Protestantism. They received harsh treatment and the Elizabethan attempt to conquer Ireland ended in 1601,when, to reward her Protestant supporters, Elizabeth gave them lands taken from the Catholic Irish rebel leaders. This type of treatment was the start of many exchanged acts of aggression between the Catholics and Protestants that still go on today in Northern Ireland.

Both Protestants and Roman Catholics feel it is essential to teach a different version of history to make their enemy appear more in the wrong. Conflicts between the opposing religions are portrayed in different ways to children of the two religions, to try to shift the blame to the other group. Source D demonstrates that a very Irish view of history was taught within the Roman Catholic Schools well into the 20th century.

This is proof of that particular faith’s followers feeling a need to teach a certain education to the children of that religion so that they would see the opposite religion as the ones in the wrong. It also shows that the view was not really B. Devlin’s own, instead one that was naturally forced upon her in her childhood. The issue of education, that this source uncovers, is quite an imperative factor in the troubles between the two religions. As the source implies, each religions schools have always been severely sectarian and Source D somewhat proves that

Another example of this is Source G which shows protestants putting Catholics in a bad light by portraying protestants being humiliated and degraded by being stripped naked and chased into the snowy mountains by Catholics with swords. Source G is similar to source D, because the fact that it is taken from a Protestant textbook, proves the biased education the children of Ireland receive and that each religion attempts to put all the blame on the other religion and illustrate them in a worse light than their own religion. It also shows that Catholics wanted to punish the Protestants.

This is understandable if the history of protestant dominance and power of Ireland is mentioned but instead the Protestants are shown as the victims and the Roman Catholics as the evil enemy, which is not completely true. For instance, in contrast to this the Protestants too have unfairly attacked or punished Catholics on numerous occasions for the underlying reasons of religion and clashes to do with power over Ireland. The subsequent source (H) is very similar in that it shows an act of violence from one group to the other.

The people in Northern Ireland felt at this time that they could not put their trust in the police to protect them from the opposing religion. Though they should not have, policemen had a biased opinion based on their religion, and due to the fact that the majority of the police force in Northern Ireland was Protestant because of the unfair allocation of jobs, the Catholics were vulnerable to overpowering of the Protestants. Source H shows evidence that the RUC officers, Protestants, are attacking g a civil rights marcher, a Roman Catholic.

In both sources G and H, weapons are used to show aggression to the other religion. This not only puts forward that both sides seem to be as bad as each other but also, that the police were not doing their jobs properly. They were allowing their religion to affect their duties, which is not professional. This is very important reason, contributing to the troubles of 1969, as it proves that the police cannot control conflict fairly, as they cannot do their jobs without being inclined to support their own religions people.

In 1969’s Northern Ireland, despite the government’s improvements of the 1950’s and 60’s, there was still evident inequality and discrimination. Police weren’t supposed to take sides and religion wasn’t supposed to affect their responsibilities, but it did. For instance at Burntollet Bridge in 1969, a key event in the history of conflict in Ireland between the two religion took place to which many onlookers said that the police did nothing to stop violence to their opposing religion except stood by and let it happen.

Source I is an example of this since it shows further violence from loyalists, who are Protestants, in an ambush against civil rights marchers, the majority of whom were Roman Catholic. It does not show any policemen trying to stop or calm the situation. Although the civil rights marchers were mainly Roman Catholic, source (I) fails to put forward any reasons for why that was so, or to how the civil rights association came about. Houses, jobs, and votes being unmistakably unfairly allocated, lead to the setting up of the CRA.

Protestants were kept in employment in times of depression in preference to fellow Catholic workers. For instance in 1961, 68/75 bus drivers in the city of Fermanagh were Protestant. The unfair election system called “The Gerrymander” supplied the majority of votes to Protestants. 25’000 adults were therefore disenfranchised for local elections, nearly all of them being Catholics. Source F is an example of the issue of unfair voting within Northern Ireland.

The map shows that in one ward the Catholic voters had 10’047 of the 11’185 votes, which is evidently unfair. On the other hand, the other two wards shown on the map have a Protestant domination of votes. Overall, the source shows that there was unfair distribution of votes, which is another significant reason in the build-up to Ireland’s troubles of 1969. Still, although this appears to suggest that Protestants were being unnecessarily harsh to Catholics, another factor not portrayed in the sources is the Protestants reasons for fearing a United Ireland.

Since they regarded Catholics as their enemies, they did not want to give them higher positions because they felt the Catholics would destroy them. Justification of this fear comes from the IRA (Irish Republic Army), which acts as evidence that the Catholics could, and would want to destroy Northern Ireland because since their formation they have mounted terrorist attacks on police and soldiers working for the British and started a war of independence.

Consequently there are logical grounds on which to fear them. Sometimes as a result of such biased education, many Catholic young men feel obliged to join illegal armies such as the IRA (Irish Republic army). Irish people of the protestant religion take the view that the catholic Vatican holds its followers under unwarranted control in respects to issues such as birth control that the Catholic religion does not allow its followers to obtain.

Source E puts forward the Protestant view that the catholic Vatican has the catholic people under its complete control. The woman tied up who symbolises Ireland represents that apparent restriction. It also conveys the Pope’s control, and whilst the woman is looking humble the man, presumably a Priest, could be seen as telling her off or giving her orders but either way supporting the idea of dominance over the Catholic people.

The fact that the cartoon was drawn by a Protestant, but portrays a Roman Catholic priest, suggests that the Protestants wanted to put the catholic religion in a bad light. Significant history of opposition between the Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, which built up reason for the conflicts of 1969 in Northern Ireland to happen is put forward is Sources D to I however they fail to make certain points about the history of Northern Ireland. Firstly further acts of violence, such as the Siege of Londonderry in 1689, are not mentioned.

King James II had lost the throne of England for wanting to restore the Roman Catholic religion and after turning to Ireland for support war broke out and King James’ army trapped 35’000 Protestants in the city in Ulster, who weren’t rescued by British ships until fifteen weeks later. Following this, another example missed out is the Battle of the Boyne. In 1690, the new Protestant King of England, William of Orange took his army to Ireland to fight James and his Catholic allies.

William won great victories against the Catholics, whose armies surrendered the following year. After William of Orange’s victories against the catholic armies, Protestants gained even more power in Ireland but there was still danger of a Catholic rebellion. In Ulster, there were fights at government elections between rival gangs and after one of these disputes, in 1795; the Protestants formed the Orange order, named after King William of Orange.

They remained loyal to Britain and their aim was to protect Anglican Protestants from attack and keep them in power. The events of the past continue to play a large part in forming the ideas of both Catholics and Protestants. Protestants see William of Orange as their hero, and continue to remind Catholics of his victories in the late seventeenth century. Similarly Catholic’s remember the rebellion of their own religion’s “heroes” which is an example of why they too feel obliged to stay loyal to their ancestors, and some do this by assisting the IRA.

Encounters like these happened long before 1969 but are still present in the minds of Roman Catholics and Protestants who cannot and do not want to forget the slaughter of their ancestors and as a result of these unforgotten and not forgiven events, the Catholics and Protestants continue to feel hatred against the other religion for the events of the past. Both these events are examples of acts of aggression between the two religions that show why the people of Northern Ireland insist on giving their children a Roman Catholic or Protestant education.

Since they have both been taught by their families and schools their own religions version of Irish history, the effect is that they still want reprisal for the events of Ireland’s past. These religious beliefs are the underlying cause of the hatred in Northern Ireland today, and were the central cause of conflict in 1969. In 1920, the British Prime minister, Lloyd George, decided that the only way to stop the conflict was to pass the Government of Ireland act.

This aimed to restore peace in Ireland by a temporary partition, effectively dividing Ireland into two countries. The six North Eastern countries of Ulster formed one country and the other consisted of the remaining twenty-six counties. Though not entirely happy, the Unionists, who wanted Ireland to remain closely linked with Britain, accepted Home Rule (Britain’s control) in just the six counties of Ulster. However, the Nationalists continued to fight for a United Independent Ireland.

Catholics and Protestants live in both the two divided countries. Therefore partition has been ineffective in bringing peace to Ireland. Instead friction continued to cause major issues between the two religions but this is not mentioned in any of the supplied sources and so fails to contribute to a listing of foundations on which Ireland’s troubles have developed. This is yet another example of further causes that built up to 1969’s trouble.

However without these mentioned in Sources D to I, there is not sufficient information to generate a fairly decided conclusion to why troubles broke out in Northern Ireland in 1969. The Sources are well selected and show a diverse collection of important aspects that contributed to the troubles of 1969. They give a reasonable idea of some causes of Irelands problems. On the other hand many events of greater importance are not mentioned. Therefore I do not think there is sufficient evidence in them to fully and fairly explain why the troubles broke out in Northern Ireland in 1969.

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