ch4: northern ireland

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  • 1. Chapter 4 Conflict inMulti-ethnic Societies
    • Case Study of Northern Ireland

2. Chapter Breakdown

  • Introduction on N. Ireland and Conflict
  • 4.1Causesof Conflict in Northern Ireland
  • 4.2Consequencesof Conflict in Northern Ireland

3. Introduction

  • You have looked at the case study ofSri Lankawhere theTamils and Sinhalesewere in conflict for decades due to the differences in ethnic groups.
  • In the case-study ofN. Ireland , you will be looking at another example of conflicts between two groups of people theProtestants and Catholics .
  • They were in conflict for over 30 years due to thedifferences in religious beliefs .

4. Introduction

  • The war in Northern Ireland is another example of a civil war (war between groups of people within a country) that lasted for over 30 years.
  • Over 3600 people died and more than 40 000 people have been injured due to this conflict.

5. Where is Northern Ireland? 6. History of Northern Ireland

  • Before 12thC : 1 country Ireland
  • 12thC : Ireland conquered by England English Protestant settlers push out Irish Catholics
  • Northern part of Ireland mainly Protestant

Movement of British Protestants into N. Ireland, 1654-1801 7. History of Northern Ireland

  • Protestants implemented Penal Laws against Catholics
    • Cannot buy land
    • Cannot vote
    • Cannot join the army
    • No access to higher education
  • 1800 : Ireland became part of UK
  • Local Irish Catholics sought limited self-government, did not want to be part of UK

8. History of Northern Ireland

  • 1900s : British government lost control of Southern Ireland
  • 1921 : Ireland divided into 2
    • South Irish Free state largely Catholic
    • North largely Protestant Catholics still treated unfairly
  • 1949 : Irish Free StateRepublic of Ireland

9. Northern Ireland

  • Capital at Belfast
  • Protestants 58.8%,
  • Catholics 41.2%
  • Part of the UK
  • Britain handles foreign affairs & defence matters
  • N.Ireland handles commerce, health & education
  • Majority of ministers are Protestants

10. Conflict in Northern Ireland

  • The Protestants are mostly Scottish and English while the Catholics are mostly descendents of the local Irish inhabitants.
  • This lack of common identity has prevented understanding and cooperation between the Protestants and Catholics.
  • The religious differences between the two groups have also created tension between them.

11. 4.3 Causes of Conflict in N. Ireland

  • Divided Loyalties
  • Unequal allocation of housing
  • Unequal employment opportunities
  • Lack of voting rights
  • Lack of opportunities for social interaction

12. 1. Divided Loyalties

  • The difference inpolitical beliefsbetween the Protestants and Catholics has contributed to the conflict in N. Ireland.
  • MostProtestants see themselves as Britishand wish to see the country remain as part of UK.
  • Many of them do not want a union with the Republic of Ireland, a Catholic country. They fear that a Catholic government may not be tolerant of their Protestant beliefs.

13. 1. Divided Loyalties

  • TheCatholics see themselves as Irish , and want to be reunited with the Republic of Ireland.
  • They still resent the history of English conquest where Catholics were either killed or treated harshly.
  • Thisloyalty to different countriesmakes the Protestants and Catholics intolerant of each other.

14. 2. Unequal allocation of housing

  • Theunfair allocation of public housingby the city councils has contributed to the conflict in N. Ireland. The city councils consist largely of Protestants.
  • TheCatholicsfind the allocation of public housing by the government to beunfair .
  • Very often, the largeCatholics familiesin need of housing have towait a long timeto get the house. In some towns,more houses would be given to the Protestantsthan the Catholics.

15. 3. Unequal employment opportunities

  • Another cause of conflict between the Protestants and Catholics in N. Ireland is thecompetition for jobs .
  • It isgenerally more difficultforCatholicsin N. Irelandto find jobs , especially in the government sector.
  • The Catholics feel that although they may have thesame qualificationsas the Protestants, theydo not have the same opportunitiesin getting the job they want.

16. 4. Lack of voting rights

  • Before 1969,voting rightswas an issue between the Protestants and the Catholic.
  • At that time, only those who owned houses and businesses were entitled to vote in the local government elections.
  • Each household is entitled 2 votes while companies were entitled to more votes depending on their size. Since many companies were owned bythe richer Protestants , theyended up with more votes .

17. 4. Lack of voting rights

  • The voting system wasunfair to the poorer Catholics .
  • Since 1969, everyone is entitled to one voteas long as he/she is a British citizen above 18 years old. He/she has to be born in N. Ireland or has lived in the UK for 7 years.


  • In the education system of N. Ireland, the Protestants and Catholicsdo not study together in the same schools .
  • Protestants attend the fully-funded public schools while the Catholics attend the private schools. The private schools for the Catholics are partly funded by the government.

5. Lack of Opportunities forSocial Interaction 19.

  • Since the 17th century, the Protestants and Catholics have beenliving in separate residential areas .
  • The 1991 census showed that in Belfast, 63% of the population lived in areas that are either mainly Protestants or Catholics. By 2001, this has risen to 66% (worsening the segregation). This has greatlyreduced the opportunity for social interaction .

5. Lack of Opportunities forSocial Interaction 20. How conflicts lead to violence in N. Ireland?

  • In 1967, the Catholics set upN. Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA)to bring about changes within N. Ireland.
  • It was formed by a group of well-educated, middle-class Catholics in N. Ireland who wanted to end discrimination against Catholics.
  • NICRA adoptsnon-violent methodsto protest against discrimination against Catholics.

21. Civil Rights Marches to Violence

  • 1968 marked the beginning of a period known as The Troubles in N. Ireland.
  • It was during these peaceful marches that fighting first broke out between the Protestants, Catholics and police.
  • In 1969, the British government sent troops to keep order, welcome by Catholics initially.

22. Civil rights marches and violence

  • In 1971, the N. Ireland government introduced theInternment Laws . This gave the British army the power toarrest, interrogate and detain anyone without trial . The Catholics lose faith in the British Army when the army began searching their homes and arresting those suspected of terrorist activities.

23. Bloody Sunday

  • On 30 January 1972 Bloody Sunday
  • 15 000 people participated in an illegal, peaceful civil rights march in the Catholic-dominated area of Londonderry.
  • The march was organized by NICRA and was a protest against internment & the ban on the right to march.
  • The British soldiers shot at protestors, leaving 13 civilians dead and many wounded.
  • The deaths on Bloody Sunday led to a great outburst of catholic anger.
  • Led to more violence.

24. More Violence

  • After 1972, the country sawmore violence between Protestants, Catholics and British Army . Catholic homes & businesses are targeted by Protestants & British army.
  • The Catholics turned toIrish Republican Army (IRA)for help. The IRA attacked British soldiers and bombed Protestants properties.
  • Between 1969 and 1993, more than 3500 people were killed in the conflict in the country. The IRA was responsible for two-thirds of the deaths.

25. 4.4 Consequences of Conflict inNorthern Ireland

  • Beside human casualties, the violence in N.Ireland has also affected the country socially economically and politically.
  • Social Consequence: Social Segregation
  • Economic Consequences:Declining Economy
  • Political Consequences:Political Reform


  • Social Consequences:Social Segregation
  • The Protestants and Catholics have beensegregated socially , in the way they live, work and play. This has led to the lack of understanding between the two groups.
  • In the education system of N. Ireland, theProtestants and Catholics do not st

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