Is there sufficient evidence in sources A to G to explain why the troubles broke out in Northern Ireland? Essay

Source A is a description by a Catholic person about their school, St.Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon.

“St.Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon was a patriotic school. It owed its proudly Irish slant to Vice Principal, Mother Benignus. She disliked the English. All her family had suffered at the hands of the British forces. She was very keen about Irish Culture. She didn’t hate Protestants. But her view was they weren’t Irish. We learned Irish history. The interpretations we were given were very different from Protestant history books.”

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The view in the source is very biased. The person who wrote the text was a Catholic and just because one person ( Mother Benignus) had suffered at the hands of the British forces doesn’t mean it happens in a majority. The Irish history learned by the Catholics was very different to that learned by the Protestants. This emphasised the fact that Ireland was split even in knowledge of their history. This view cannot provide sufficient evidence as to why the troubles broke out because it is a biased view. It is a biased view because it is also written by B Devlin who strongly supported the Catholic cause. She was a main part of the campaign to gain home rule. Some of these prejudice views are why Northern Ireland is still in trouble in modern times. The children at school were basically taught that the opposite group/religion were evil.

Source B is a nineteenth century protestant cartoon showing Erin ( Ireland ) bound in ropes by a Catholic priest.

The picture shows biased feelings by the Protestants. They feel like the Catholics are trying to separate Ireland from its colony. They think that Ireland is being trapped by the Catholics hopes of a free Ireland. This source does not provide sufficient evidence to prove why the troubles broke out. This is the type of picture which causes the anger and frustration between Catholics and Protestants. This type of bias causes the Catholics to respond in violent ways which causes a vast amount of conflict.

Source C is a map showing the biased voting system in Northern Ireland. The map shows that Derry is split into sections for voting purposes. The Catholic population is 20102 and the protestants population is 10274. But there are more Protestant (Unionist) councillors elected. This is because of Gerrymander. The 4 rules of Gerrymander are

* More protestants than Catholics became boundary commissioners (Catholics refused)

* They had to draw up the boundaries of the voting districts

* They drew boundaries which favoured Protestants

* More Protestant councillors were elected

This could cause anxiety between Catholics and Protestants. The house of commons in England set the boundaries every 15 years to give the Protestants an advantage because they oppose home rule. Doing this fewer Catholics would be elected so more Protestants would be listened to publicly thus ensuring home rule cannot be a success. Without the chance of Catholics getting their opinion to the public diplomatically they used violence.

Source D is another Protestant image showing Catholic attacks on Protestants. The picture is a Protestant interpretation of an event which happened in 1641. This shows the protestants being chased away by Catholics with swords. This event was because of English lords gaining Catholic land. This picture is extremely biased while saying that protestants were killed by the Catholics for no reason. This picture could incite people into taking revenge against the Catholics because of the action taken against their forefathers. This picture could cause offence to Catholics who could be interpreted as murders for no reason whatsoever.

Source E is a picture of a civil rights marcher being attacked by RUC officers. We do not know the reason behind the provocation but we can interpret that the activist is Catholic and is being victimised. We can draw many accusations from the picture such as the activist may have dropped his weapon. The march must have been a violent encounter because the police are taking action. But this may have been a quiet protester who was ‘picked’ on by the over-anxious police who want to get a strangle-hold on the community. This source shows violence during 1968.

Source F shows crowd violence at Burntollet. This picture shows the police co-operating instead of hindering the problems. The impact of the violence arose from the teachings to the people when they were at school. History in Ireland has split the country and this is another example. People just want their opinion to be clear and to be in charge of their lives. The sectarian groups emotions arise above their common-sense and they choose violence ahead of talking. For a long time no one is going to back down from their religious views and until they do Ireland will still be in turmoil.

Source G shows the world renowned civil rights protester Martin Luther King. He wanted equal rights for black Americans in the states. He campaigned by composing non-violent actions. The success of his plight was an inspiration to some Irish groups who tried to stay away from violence and campaign lawfully. This picture could make Irish protesters think again before resorting to violence. But even on occasions where peacefulness is necessary violence will arise as shown by ‘Bloody Sunday’.

These sources show that Ireland is still as separated as ever within its cultural differences. The arguments build up tension between the sectors and the history taught in school builds up the problems. The way forward for Northern Ireland is to have joint religion schools which cater for both religions. The future of Ireland is haunted by the past in which history over mounts the way forward for them. Civil rights marches were a way for groups to get their message over to the fellow followers and the remainder of Ireland. For a successful Ireland the two divided cultures need to listen to each others problems and try to contain them to a reasonable level for the two to live together happily without war and violence.


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