The destruction of Ireland Essay

The destruction of Ireland started long before the 1900’s. Catholics and Protestants have continuously terrorised each other. Unfortunately Ireland is not equal, the Protestants have the upper hand as shown in an article from The Times. This article shows the hatres between Catholics and Protestants and that children are getting caught up in it all.

It explains how Catholic children are being victimized even though there not old enough to really know what it is all about. The article by Oliver Wright explains the terror that the children, some as young as 4 are experiencing. As Loyalists vowed to prevent Catholic children walking to school, Nationalists refuse to take another route and prevent such vicousness.

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The Catholics are refusing to take another route because they feel that Protestants have power over them so they are trying to make a point. They are saying that they should not be victimized and should be free to take there children to school freely and without any fuss. This cannot be the case though as Catholics are trying to make a point , so are Protestants. They are saying that if Catholics do not like the way they’re treated, then leave. This is what is causing all the commotion. Catholics are over populated by Protestants so everytime they try to be heard the Protestants become louder which over rules the Catholics.

In 1985 James II became King, which was a drastic disappointment for Protestants. They knew they had to do something and fast, otherwise they would loose all control. In 1688 Protestants decided that they had to take action, they managed to overthrow James II but they weren’t out of danger yet as there was more up the Catholics sleeve.

In 1690 when the Catholics lost their rights because Protestants were just over powering them which meant that Ireland would no longer be a fair country. Protestants took over Ireland despite Cromwell’s victory. Protestants started to feel threatened when Cromwell won, they thought that they would have to be under Catholics command. This lead to arguments and battles, which finally resulted with Protestants winning and having power over Ireland which obviously included Catholics.

On the 11th July 1690 the Battle of the Boyne took place. William or Orange(Protestant) followed James II(Catholic) to Ireland and defeated him in this battle. Ulster Protestants still celebrate the Battle of the Boyne today. Politically this was a disaster driving an even bigger wedge between Protestants and Catholics. James II wanted the throne back but William or Orange was determined that Protestants would retain power. This off course caused sectarian conflict, and had a drastic effect on Catholics who had lost control of their country. Protestants prevented any further attempts to regain power and more and more of their land was confiscated so that by 1703 Catholics held only 14% of the land in Ireland.

Between 1697 and 1727 the Irish parliment passed special laws called the Penal Laws. These laws remained in force until the 18th century. The Penal Laws included one saying that:

‘No Catholics shall be allowed to vote or become a member of Parliament or a town councillor

No Catholics shall join the Civil Service.

No Catholics may be a solicitor or lawyer.’

This off course caused more problems between Catholics and Protestants as the reason was based on religion. Catholics started complaining. For example, one family and many others said ‘We have lost ownership of our land. Now we are only tenants.’ Also Catholics were not allowed to recieve higher education or take professional jobs.

This meant they had little money and what money they did have would be used solely for putting food in to the mouths of their families. They couldn’t socialise because there was no money left over after they had paid the rent for the poor quality accommodation they lived in. The Penal Laws which took away Catholics rights, left them no other choice than to use Revolutionary tactics for example ‘Wolfe Tone.’

Wolfe Tone believed in a United Ireland even though he was a Protestant, the British felt threatened by this. In 1794 Wolfe Tone fled to France, got support and returned in 1798 with a total of 15,000 people. Due to bad weather Wolfe Tone could not land which led to him being captured and imprisoned. He commited suicide in prison because he found prison so unbarable. Wolfe Tones actions caused the Act of Union placing Ireland under direct British rule. Protestants now feel suerior, leading Catholics to split into Political and Violent groups as they are now ‘lower class’ citizens.

In 1845-49 there was the potato famine which led to bitter feelings from Catholics. This was because thousands of Catholics were left to starve. Due to that 2.5 million Irish emigrated most of them went to America. This meant that 2 Nationalist groups grew as a response the IRB was formed in 1858 which stood for Irish Republican Brotherhood

Then there was Charles Parnell joined force with fenians he led an Irish Nationalists Party. He demanded Home Rule bill was defeated 2 times. In 1900 John Redmond took over third Home Rule, bill bought before house of commons in 1912. In 1914 World War I broke out which meant Irishmen were prepared to join forces. It was in 1916 when the IRB staged an armed uprising against the British declairing Ireland as an independant state.

In 1918 the War ended which meant a general election was held, the overall winners were Sinn Fein wanted complete independance in Britain. This was an important turning point in Irish history. Sinn Fein MP’s refused to go to London and set up there own Parliament, the Dail in Dublin. Shortly afterwards the Irish volunteers were renamed the Irish Republican Army (IRA). In 1919 the IRA killed 2 policemen this started a 2 year guerrilla war against British forces in Ireland. In the end neither side got what it wanted and the British government decided to divide Ireland into 2 parts (Partition).

After Partition Catholics continued to have substandered accommodation. The only chance Catholics would have of getting ownership on decent living accommodation would be to inherit it. Unemployment was still high and Catholics were much more likely to be out of work than a Protestant. They also felt they were being treated unfairly by the police, especially when a new part time police force known as the ‘B’ specials was set up. These police were all Protestants and soon gained a reputation for being anti-Catholic.

In 1967-68 Catholics started to get a little impatient because Terrance O’Neil promised equality but the reform was taking to long so the Protestants started to try and get rid of him. In 1967 a group of young Catholics got together and set up a Civil Rights Association. This organisation demanded immediate reforms in the way Northern Ireland was run. From October 1968, they organised a series of Protest marches.

In 1968 Catholics decided to stand up for themselves, they decided to fight back. It was between October 1968 and July 1969 that a fight broke out on Civil Rights Marches between Protestants and Catholics. It was almost over night where Belfast had become a war zone. The fight caused destruction, there was extreme tension between Protestants and Catholics they started street marches and confrentations.

In August 1969 British troops were sent in to keep the peace. They were suppose to act fairly and equally towards Protestants and Catholics. The Catholics started of treating the British with respect and generosity. Catholics would bring tea and snacks out for the British. This was until the British started to side with Protestants.

Also in 1969 the Unionist Government brought in changes to the police, housing, elections and jobs. It was in November 1969 when the IRA Provos started their fight against the British and Unionists.

In 1987 the IRA bombed a Rememberance Day service at Enniskillen. This act killed eleven people. The IRA later admitted that the bombing had been a mistake. At this time unemployement for Catholics was still very high, in fact Catholics in Northern Ireland were two and a half times more likely to be unemployed than their Protestant counterparts. This differential had not improved since 1971. The Unionist MP’s decided to lift their boycott of Westminster. The boycott had started the previous year.

On the 24th March 1972 the British Government began to rule Ulster direct from London. This marked the end of 50 years of Protestant control. British leaders have tried to find a system which would satisfy Catholics and Protestants.

In 1972 the IRA extended their bombing campaign to mainland England. London being the main target but in 1974 bombs in Guildford and Birmingham caused a substantial number of fatalities . In 1984 a bomb exploded in the Grand Hotel in Brighton where the Conservative Party were holding their Party Conference. Five people were killed. In August 1994 the IRA announced a cessation of military activities and in October of the same year the Protestant Paramilitary declared a cease-fire for as long as the IRA kept their word. However in 1996 the peace process was disrupted by another IRA campaign in London. On August 15th 1998 a massive 500lb car bomb killed 29 and injured 220 in Omagh, Co Tyrone. Tony Blair told Parliament that this had failed to break the Good Friday consensus for peace in Northern Ireland. In July 2002 the families of the Omagh victims began civil action against two men suspected of being responsible for the bombing.

There was an extract from an IRA statement which said ‘while it was not our intention to injure or kill non-combatants, the reality is that on this and on a number of occasions, that was the consequences of our actions.’ It went on to apologise to all the families which suffered from the IRA’s actions. It was not just the IRA though that was causing bother the Loyalist terrorists are behind the worst of the violence in Belfast’s sectarian flashpoint areas, Northern Ireland police chief admitted yesterday. This extract is from a newspapaer article which was published in 2002.

I believe that from the information I have read and been given the IRA are publicised more than the UDF and UVF. This makes the IRA sound vicious when really both Catholics and Protestants are just as bad as each other. We had a lady come into our lesson who was from Northern Ireland and she is a Catholic, she talked about her religion and how she went to a strict Catholic school but most of her friends ironically were Protestant. Her friends did not have a problem with her being a Catholic but unfortunately the parents were narrow minded and would not accept a Catholic into there home. Although she was not really terrorised as much as the children you hear about in the newspapers she was once spat at and called a Fenian Bastard.

Where she lived there was mostly Protestants and Catholics were out numbered. Her Granfather also bought a piece of land from a Protestant family because they thought he was Protestant, it was only after they had sold it to him where they realised he was Catholic. She told us how people use to know what religion you were by asking your last name. Morrow happened to be her last name which was Protestant but her first name was Catholic. From the talk with the teacher I learnt a lot about influences I found out that a lot of people just follow the crowd and will pick on people from the opposite religion just because their mates do. In my opinion it seems that adults/parents have the most influences on children because if a Catholic child met a Protestants child i guarentee they wouldn’t start calling each other hertful things or start fighting. If the parents are there though it is a different story.

My Nan moved to Ireland so when we go to visit her we are amazed at when we went passed a Catholic area the lines on the street would be green, white and orange and would have Tricolour flags up. When we went into a Protestant area it would all change it would be red, white and blue lines on the street and Union Jack flags up. It was obvious which areas were Catholic and which were Protestant.

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