Social Studies Revision Resource - Causes of Conflict in Northern Ireland
Factors: Causes of Conflict in Northern Ireland
• Divided Loyalties
• Unequal Allocation of Housing
• Unequal Employment Opportunities
• Lack of Voting Rights
• Lack of Opportunities for Social Interaction (Education & Housing)
• The difference in political beliefs between the Protestants and Catholics also contributed to the conflict in Northern Ireland. • The Protestants see themselves as British and want Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK. They are afraid that a union with the Republic of Ireland would mean that the Catholic government would be intolerant of their Protestant beliefs. • The Catholics see themselves as Irish and want a union with the Republic of Ireland. The Catholics also resent the history of English conquest where they were killed and treated badly by the Protestants. • Loyalty to different countries makes the Protestants and the Catholics intolerant of each other, causing tension which would later result in conflict between the two sides. • This difference also contributes to a lack of identity which further prevents understanding and co-operation between the Catholics and Protestants, leading to more tension and conflict.
Unequal Allocation of Housing
• One reason for the conflict in Northern Ireland is the unequal allocation of public housing by city councils. • As the city councils are largely made up of Protestants, more houses would be given to the Protestants than the Catholics, therefore the Catholics find the allocation of public housing by the government to be unfair. • As the Catholics have larger families, they are frustrated by the shortage of housing as they would have to wait many years to be allocated a house. • They were angered by this discrimination and their frustration led to the conflict.
Unequal Employment Opportunities
• In Northern Ireland, it is more difficult for Catholics to get jobs, especially in the civil / government service although they were just as / more qualified than the Protestants. • There were also very few Catholics in senior positions n the public sectors and the number of Catholic civil servants were not proportionate to their numbers in the country. • As a result, this affected the Catholics as they were likely to be jobless or unable to get the jobs they wanted. Their social and economic position in Northern Ireland and their standard of living would be affected if they are jobless or lowly paid. • The Catholics were thus very unhappy that they were discriminated and suffering from economic hardship. This resentment would later lead to conflict between the two communities.
Lack of Voting Rights
• The lack of voting rights also caused conflicts between the two groups. In local elections only people who owned houses or businesses could vote. • As Protestants tended to be wealthier, more of them could vote which meant they dominated local councils and ruled in their own interests which made Catholics resentful. • Poorer Catholics who did not own companies got less votes, which resulted in them being unable to obtain any say in the government or gain political power, making them resentful of the Protestants and their ability to gain advantage through voting rights. • Secondly, by re-drawing the voting districts, Protestants could ensure that the Catholics were unable to gain a power base, further marginalising them. • The Catholics were angry with this, causing tension which later led to conflicts between the Protestants and the Catholics.
Lack of Opportunities for Social Interaction (Education & Housing) • Another cause of conflict was the lack of opportunities for social interaction between Catholics and Protestants. • One area was in the education system. Protestant children attended fully-funded public schools where they were taught British history, played British sports and were loyal to Britain. • On...
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