Divided Loyalties Was the Most Important Factor That Led to the Tension in Northern Ireland

Topics: Discrimination, Protestantism, Voting Pages: 2 (621 words) Published: June 26, 2010
Do you agree that divided loyalties was the most important factor that led to the tension in Northern Ireland? Explain your answer.

I agree that divided loyalties was an important factor that led to the tension in Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland, most Protestants regard themselves as British whereas Catholics see themselves as Irish. This difference in beliefs and loyalties is the basis that leads to the tension as the people do not regard themselves as people of the same country. Most Protestants do not want a union with Ireland as they are afraid that a Catholic government would not be tolerant of their beliefs. On the other hand, the Catholics resent the brutal killings and harsh treatment by the Protestants in the Battle of Boyne whereas the Protestants celebrate the Protestant victory in the battle. These senses of loyalty towards different countries make the Protestants and Catholics intolerant of each other, leading to the tension and hostility of the two religious groups.

Apart from the divided loyalties, there are other important factors like voting rights and unequal employment opportunities which explains the tension between the Protestants and the Catholics. Before1969, the entitlement to vote was based on one’s ownership of houses and businesses. Each household is entitled two votes whereas businesses were entitled to votes based on their size. The bigger the business, the more votes they had. As many of these big companies and businesses were owned by the richer Protestants, the Protestants ended up with more votes than the poorer Catholics population. The Protestants are not keen on the idea of having a Catholic government and thus created such an unequal voting system to ensure that the Protestant government would be elected, because they imagine the Catholics being intolerant of their Protestant beliefs and loyalty towards British instead of the Republic of Ireland. In addition, the Catholics were most unhappy that voting districts...
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