Paul Doran of Dublin writes (March 22) that he was “reared” in Co Down and heard from his parents – and if that was not enough to prove his claim he himself further witnessed – the bullying by the “British government” and its unionist henchmen and women, whom we might assume were Protestant.
Martin McGuinness, he avers, fought against this. And for this he is grateful.
But is it not odd for someone, if reared in Co Down, as he says he was, to be unaware of discrimination by nationalist henchmen and women, who presumably were Roman Catholic, in the southern part of Co Down, and the dictum that went along with it not to give business or employment to Protestants?
Both communities were guilty of these practices and an awareness of that may have come to have had some effect on Martin Mc Guinness.
Discriminating for one was protecting for the other as with the boycott of Protestant shops in Fethard-on-Sea in 1957 or the earlier boycott of Hubert Butler, the refusal of local shops to supply him with goods, for having the effrontery to question the “authoritative” account of events in wartime Yugoslavia given by the Papal Nuncio in Dublin at a public meeting.
As for Northern Ireland, nationalist controlled councils were as adept at discriminating, and perhaps even more, as any Unionist when it came to housing and jobs.
In Newry in 1968 although Protestants made up 19% of the population 18 teachers out of 20 at the Technical College and all employees of the Port and Harbour Trust were Roman Catholics.
Paul Doran’s claim about what he heard says more about the family from which he came, and maybe also more about the effect of educational segregation in what he witnessed, than it says about life in the Co Down from which he escaped.
W A Miller, Belfast BT13