Discrimination was defensiveness

Stormont's welfare impasse has seen tough penalties levied against Northern Ireland by Westminster
Stormont's welfare impasse has seen tough penalties levied against Northern Ireland by Westminster

To state that “Catholics were oppressed” in Northern Ireland, as Roy Fisher does in an otherwise commendable article (Comment, August 13, ‘Now we all belong to a minority community’), is like repeating the oft quoted statement of Craigavon “a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people” without reference to what it was a response to: de Valera’s “Ireland is a Catholic nation” in defending legislation acceptable to “Catholics”.

Repeating the one without the other, as separatist nationalists were wont to, was a distortion of the past. Similarly to single out ‘Catholics’ as oppressed. The reality was NI was dominated by a pervasive defensiveness. In politics all discriminated in favour of their supporters. To have done otherwise was seen as tantamount to a community committing suicide. Discrimination was seen as of that defensiveness, not bigotry. It was not peculiar to NI. It was similarly seen as a defence of the faith and way of life as in 1957 in the schooling of children of a ‘mixed’ marriage (the children sent to a Protestant school) in the clerically organised Roman Catholic boycott of Protestants in Fethard-on-Sea, in the Republic.

Letters

Letters

W A Miller, Belfast