Essay Question: Is the Conflict Best Understood as the Result of Northern Ireland’s Internal Religious, Cultural and Economic Differences?

Topics: Northern Ireland, The Troubles, Belfast Pages: 8 (3094 words) Published: October 25, 2012
Conflict in Northern IrelandRebecca O’Keeffe10326985 Essay Question: Is the conflict best understood as the result of Northern Ireland’s internal religious, cultural and economic differences? According to Ruane and Todd, the conflict in Northern Ireland was based on “overlapping, over layered and interlocking sets of binary differences”.The conflict in Northern Ireland is a complex one. The exact date in which it began is uncertain. The nationalist narrative refers to the Plantation of Ulster as the origin of the conflict, and some would say that it was not until Bloody Sunday 1972 that the conflict truly got underway. However the date the conflict began is not the issue at hand, but the reasons behind the conflict. For hundreds of years there have been tensions in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants. This essay will argue that the conflict in Northern Ireland is best to be understood through the internal differences of the Northern people. The conflict in Northern Ireland is based on religious, cultural and economic differences. In relation to religion, tension has always been intense. The Protestants and the Catholics of Northern Ireland have been in disagreement for years. The Protestants have always feared the Catholics and have seen them as a threat to their society. This has led to mass discrimination against the Catholic community in Northern Ireland, resulting in conflict. The issue of religious identity became an obvious way to understand how the Northern Irish conflict came about. Cultural differences are also to be examined if one is to understand the conflict in Northern Ireland. The Catholics and the Protestants have different cultures and this has led to conflict in the past. The Catholics have traditionally identified themselves as Irish whereas the Protestants have viewed themselves as English. This cultural clash resulted in the Northern conflict. Economically in Northern Ireland in the twentieth century there were a lot of issues regarding unemployment and housing, where Catholics were being denied basic rights and were being treated like second class citizens in relation to jobs and housing selection. The conflict in Northern Ireland can be understood as an internal issue based on differences. For the Northern Ireland conflict, religion was the single most important difference in understanding the conflict. It became a socially and politically important factor when attempting to comprehend the conflict and understand it fully. The division between the Catholics and the Protestants became a critical one when examining the conflict in Northern Ireland conflict. Conflict between Protestants and Catholics was centred on questions of doctrine and religious organisation. The intensity of the conflict in Northern Ireland changed with time, but there was a continuity regarding the issues that separated the two religions. Protestants viewed Catholics as people that were steeped in superstition and that were kept ignorant by the word of God. Catholics saw Protestants as a group of heresies that were destined for eternal damnation. Doctrinal differences also became a source of conflict for the two religions of Northern Ireland. The conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics in Northern Ireland has always had a clear theological basis, but it has also always led to further intensity because of its relationship with political differences and social structure. If we examine the Northern Ireland conflict through religious differences on a social and a political level, it can allow for a better understanding of the conflict. Distinctively in Northern Ireland, Catholics have always belonged to the poorest groups of society. Protestants have always belonged to the middle class. The Catholic population of Northern Ireland have traditionally always been marginalised and denied basic civil rights such as a right to vote and a right to fair employment. The two denominations have also differed...
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