Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Why the neo Redmondists of Sinn Fein are happier to make Haass concessions than the DUP…

Fri 3 January 2014, 11:37am

Eamonn McCann brings a much needed sense of perspective on the break down (and enduring significance) of the Haass talks:

the North isn’t Iraq. It is possible the Stormont institutions will eventually fall apart – but not on account of events at the Stormont Hotel, nor with comparably disastrous consequences. Evidence for this is to be found in the cynicism on the street with regard to the talks and the calm which has greeted their failure.

Few believed the talks would succeed, nobody has panicked that they haven’t. The main reason there was a fitful peace to begin with is that a substantial majority of the Catholic working class, the constituency which sustained the Provo war, has long ago reverted to its traditional position of rejecting violence to bring about a united Ireland.

Thus the increased support for Sinn Féin as it retreated from the objective which the IRA campaign had been designed to attain. And thus, too, the luxury of being able to make concessions more comfortably than was the case with the DUP.

As an instance: the proposed ban on parades involving emblems or uniforms associated with banned organisations would rule out commemorations such as sparked unionist rage at Castlederg last year. But SF leaders would be more than happy at having to desist from defending even ersatz displays of IRA militarism.

The DUP, on the contrary, cannot afford to dilute the traditional politics it has proclaimed throughout the Troubles and has little influence on, much less control over, loyalist paramilitaries. It cannot agree and could not deliver a ban on UVF insignia at loyalist demonstrations.

So Sinn Féin comes out as the relative good guys; the DUP, which has never had a paramilitary wing, as, again, the villains of the piece. It must be galling. The difference doesn’t arise from DUP deficiencies but from SF leaders’ wish to discard a perspective already out of step with their electorate, if not with those who hold hard to the ideals in pursuit of which IRA chiefs had sent volunteers out to kill or be killed or to waste years of their lives in prisons.

On a more positive note, SF and the DUP published the text of the final document within 12 hours of the talks ending, in contrast to the sexual orientation strategy promised seven years ago of which we haven’t seen a syllable. Maybe they’ll get down to that now. Maybe not.

To which I can only add that I wish I’d said all that myself

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Comments (141)

  1. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Well Barney

    First of all, what do you accept as evidence?

    Am I allowed to use the arguments of Hitchens and Dawkins or are they written off from the word go?

    Am I allowed to use anecdotal evidence and point to my own experience of the band scene where the VAST majority of marchers came from Protestant only schools (much harder to sing the Billy Boys if you hang around with Catholics)?

    Or are you going to limit to stuff that you know I can’t find on Google?

    Also, you’ve got it the wrong way round, the set up of state sponsored faith schools is social engineering, what I propose is a ‘normalisation’ in that I think if you really must have a school that caters for a specific religion then it should be private.

    Your advocacy of the status quo in which small towns and villages have 2 or 4 small schools when they really only need 1 or 2 decent sized schools is an indulgence that I really don’t think we can afford financially or socially.

    If people want to send their children to mix with only Jews or Muslims or Catholics or Free Presbyterians then they should pay for it.

    I know exactly what I was posting.

    I say again:

    What are the advantages of this system that you are defending?

    If it is worth defending then it has some advantages.

    Please list them.

    I did not say explicitly that it was partition that is the root cause of division, I used the blank term ‘a situation’ to avoid getting bogged down in a distraction as you are really twisting and clutching at straws rather than defending your own viewpoint.

    If partition was ‘fixed’ tomorrow we still have the case where people are educated separately, how are they going to mix just because the border is gone?

    “I Barney think segregated schooling in which people are kept apart on account of their religion is a good idea because….”

    There, I started it for you, just fill in the blanks.

    What do you think?
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  2. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    Catholic education, it reminds me of the review some artsy fartsy critic gave of a particular Broadway show “nobody likes it except the public”.

    If Catholic education is as awful as the leftist social engineers say it is then they should ignore it and open their own schools (as indeed they did with integrated schools throughout Norn Iron) no doubt the parents will flock to them abandoning those horrible, antediluvian, anachronistic Catholic institutions to wither on the vine, won’t they?

    Won’t they?

    What do you think?
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  3. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    “social engineering”, “awful”, “anti-Catholic”…

    Any chance you guys could concentrate on what I do actually write as opposed to summing it up as Commie-loving-anti-religion vendetta.

    I’m against what I see to be the corrosive side effects of educating people separately in Northern Ireland.

    A lot of people like this division, when I was at school myself and others were glad that we didn’t have to sit beside taigs at school.

    Possibly we were the only bigots in Northern Ireland, I don’t know.

    Some commentators here have highlighted their reasons for sending their kids to Catholic schools and the answers were convincing e.g. good education and more exposure to Irish culture than boring integrated schools.

    Grand.

    But what is the price society pays for this?

    Division and ignorance. (and possibly financial too, but seemingly wasting the state’s money only applies to fleggers and Pootsie…)

    (And as some people seem to delight in misunderstanding me I’ll make this clear; I include the absence of Catholics from state schools and the subsequent denial of non-Catholics the benefit of their company as part of this division, I’m NOT implying that Catholics are deliberately sending their kids to a papal sponsored centre for the furtherance of Catholicism and Irish Nationalism)

    Every year on the news and on this very site there’s a great amount of criticism towards the unionist community for their tolerance or endorsement of parades and their suspicious/hostile attitude to the GAA.

    Yet when some one proposes this measure that will greatly expose young Protestants to Catholic life, culture and values it’s derided as lefty social engineering.

    Think about what you all really REALLY want of unionism and then consider what price you’re prepared to pay.

    I’d sacrifice segregated education in a heart beat as I believe (and I say this as a former bigot who was educated separately) it compounds division.

    It is not the be all and end all but it has a lot more to offer than just hoping that people will just wise up someday.

    I’m sick of people thinking, “well, I turned out OK” is a satisfactory defence for the status quo.

    The lives of people in NI aren’t being held to ransom by those who turned out OK.

    “But such and such went to an integrated school and he/she is still a dick….” – meh!

    What do you think?
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  4. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    Am Ghob,

    The exact same social-engineering ideas, and yes I use the term deliberately because what you are trying to do is engineer society in a way that society has clearly indicated that it does not wish to go, are the reasons those who knew so much better than parents what was good for society (society mind, not parents, families or heaven forfend children themselves) closed down perfectly good grammar schools in Britain to replace them with God awful comprehensives nobody wanted.

    Inequality, divisiveness, the terms used to describe those nasty grammar schools which actually took in bright, working class kids and turned out well-rounded, educated individuals able to take on the best in the country and outsmart the crusty products of worn-out public schools. Instead dreary, one-size fits all, everyone must have prizes education was introduced. It didn’t matter that the kids were getting a shite education as long as everyone was getting a shite education equally, then “society” was a better place.

    If you want to shut down the Catholic schools the answer is the simple one I posited above. Open better integrated schools that produce better-educated, more confident, well-rounded students than the Catholic schools are producing and the parents will flock to them and society will take care of itself.

    In the meantime allow the Catholics to keep the one superior aspect of life in Northern Ireland that they were ever allowed to enjoy under rule by the Orange Order, it’s little enough they got out of the deal, until you come up with something better then allow them to enjoy it.

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  5. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    AG,

    I’m not denying the divisive effects on NI society of having an ethnically-segregated school system. But I know that in the U.S., particularly in large cities, parents–many of whom are not Catholic, will send their children to Catholic schools because the educational standards in public (state) schools are so inferior. So this could well be a factor for Catholic parents in NI as well, particularly in Belfast and Derry.

    What do you think?
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  6. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Harry

    ” until you come up with something better then allow them to enjoy it”

    Well, after your sales pitch and lament of the unfair treatment of grammar schools then surely you’d not object to reintroducing/refocusing grammar education at the expense of faith schools in NI?

    It’ll take care of the division that I’m ranting against

    The commendable education that you just praised will be there for all to partake in

    The Gov saves a bit of money by merging a few schools (Ozzie said yesterday that he’s foraging for another 25 billion in cuts)

    Given that the Catholic sector has a fair of well equipped grammar schools we already have the foundation on which to base this operation.

    Back home in time for tea and medals

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  7. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    Sure, set up your spanking new state-run, secular grammar schools, there’s no need to purloin the assets that a second-class Catholic population worked hard and sacrificed over generations to build up to create your brave new world.

    There won’t be any need to will there?

    The nice, new, progressive schools will be so magnificent that Catholic families will surge to them in their droves and soon the old, nasty Catholic schools will be abandoned and you’ll be able to pick them up on the cheap won’t you?

    I mean what sane parent would want to send their kids to a fusty old Catholic school when the vista of progressive indoctrination in a shiny new state-run grammar school is so appealing?

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  8. Barney (profile) says:

    AG
    Google has nothing to do with the relative validity of evidence. You wish to make a change the onus is on you to present evidence and make an argument.
    Schooling was not the remit of government until recently, the Catholic sector simply held on to what was theirs, the protestant sector retained control through the various trustees and BOGs. Government is a fresher in the field of education. I have got the situation exactly right. Blaming the education system for NI’s failings is silly and as stated there is no coherent argument for this exercise in social engineering because there is no evidence for what is claimed.
    Mitch
    There is no ethnic divide in Ireland there is a political divide
    Flashman
    The Grammar sector is a prime example of discrimination in education that prevents social mobility and should be removed. There is plenty of evidence that the Grammar sector prevents social mobility for most. Removing this divisive system was a good thing for society at large.

    My own thoughts are that a total separation of church and state is desirable starting with the removal of the Monarchy and house of lords, top down rather than bottom up is always the best. However if parents wish to have their children educated in a traditional way then they should have the freedom to do so.

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  9. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    “There is plenty of evidence that the Grammar sector prevents social mobility for most. Removing this divisive system was a good thing for society at large.”

    There’s always plenty of evidence to prove what interested parties want to prove, the fact remains that social mobility in the UK today is less than it was when people from poor backgrounds had access to good education through a local grammar school. The grammar-school boy made good was a standard element of British society, usually sneered at by the public school elites mainly because they knew he was so much cleverer and better educated than they were.

    Anyone who believes that the dreary, fuck-awful comprehensives that have destroyed two or three generations of working class British kids leaving them to fester in the welfare-dependent underclass has added to social mobility needs their heads examined.

    Just ask yourself if comps are so damned good why do the middle classes, people who know the value of education, put themselves into near bankruptcy to avoid their children having to endure them?

    Isn’t it strange that the lefties and social engineers who got to the top through the grammar schools are so damned determined never to go within an asses roar of the comprehensives they created?

    Equality of misery does not amount to good education policy.

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  10. Barney (profile) says:

    Harry your utter distain for people in general and the poor in particular is a tribute to the educational system you passed through, of course education is not for all.

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  11. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    “Harry your utter distain for people in general and the poor in particular is a tribute to the educational system you passed through, of course education is not for all.”

    Absolute, complete and total balderdash!

    At my school I mixed with kids of all social classes, my best mates were the sons of a self-employed painter, a factory worker, a fitter and an unemployed man who earned nixers playing in bands at the weekend among others, we all rubbed shoulders in absolute equality in a school that provided a fantastic education free of charge to anyone keen enough to work for it.

    There was no “disdain” for the poor, we were living in Derry in the 1970s and 80s for fuck’s sake not Buckinghamshire, anyone getting too upppity in Derry in those days would soon be taken down a peg or two.

    The kids I went to school with went on to successful careers in law, business, the civil service, the police, medicine and academia, they got where they are through the magnificent social mobility provided by the Catholic education system of Northern Ireland.

    In Britain (and in Dublin) they stood out among their contemporaries as being among the few genuinely working class students at their universities. If they had gone to the piss-poor comps that were inflicted on kids of their class in England they’d have languished in dead-end entry-level jobs or more likely a lifetime of welfare and crime.

    I simply have no idea what education system it is to which you are referring but you clearly know nothing about the one I went through.

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  12. Devil Eire (profile) says:

    Reader:

    I’m not sure what you think my contradictory sets of beliefs might be?

    Your own position on the Union is such that you are unable to bring yourself to vote for the “the only local party with a really solid record of both achievement and principle”. Some people, less deep in the trenches, might be a little conflicted about this.

    What do you think?
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  13. Reader (profile) says:

    Devil Eire: Your own position on the Union is such that you are unable to bring yourself to vote for the “the only local party with a really solid record of both achievement and principle”. Some people, less deep in the trenches, might be a little conflicted about this.
    I would gladly give the SDLP Old Guard a gold Blue Peter badge and give Seamus Mallon a Life Peerage (which he would undoubtedly reject, unfortunately).
    However, I don’t know how it works for you, but I will vote on policies, not nostalgia. If the SDLP will assure me that they are becoming a liberal unionist party I expect I will trust them enough to vote for them.

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  14. Barney (profile) says:

    Harry wrote
    “In Britain (and in Dublin) they stood out among their contemporaries as being among the few genuinely working class students at their universities. If they had gone to the piss-poor comps that were inflicted on kids of their class in England they’d have languished in dead-end entry-level jobs or more likely a lifetime of welfare and crime.”

    Dear god…….there are no grammar schools in the Republic, as in Britain, the vast majority of students went to something you characterise as producing unproductive criminals. If that is not distain for ordinary people I dont know what is.

    Grammar schools in the North and the few remaining in Britain are a European oddity I dont see a wave of criminal benefit seekers from the Atlantic to the Urals.

    Your bio was entertaining filled with witty Bon homme it hit the spot as I usually only read the Daily Mail in the Dentist waiting room.

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  15. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Harry,

    I might have misunderstood you here, but social engineering is surely a term better ascribed to the status quo (the state intervening in education to artificially prop up Catholic education and therefore engineer a two-tier education system) rather than what some of us would prefer, namely to secularize the whole thing and allow any Catholic schools to go private and market their “ethos” however they choose.

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  16. The apparent collapse of the Haass Initiative once again shows that the Unionists have a very effective veto over all and any developments in the Six-Counties that might smack of progress for the Nationalist community.

    Over the past year or so they have managed to block or otherwise undermine a long list of projects that may have been of benefit to Nationalists. These include a motorway from the Monaghan/Tyrone border to Derry City, a bridge linking counties Louth and Down and the Long Kesh development to name but some.

    Towards the end of December, meanwhile, the DUP Stormont Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton, managed to outmaneuver the Stormont Agriculture Minister, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, and prevent the transfer of £110 million in funds to cash starved, largely Nationalist community projects. Ironically, Hamilton used a Catholic Diplock Court judge to get his way. In typical timid-style Sinn Féin’s O’Neill did not challenge the ruling.

    Part of the problem facing Nationalists, who are now the majority in the Six-Counties, lies in the fact that they have pathetically poor political leadership. Those supposedly protecting Nationalist interests have come to resemble a huddle of dazed, dopey sheep standing petrified while vicious Unionist dogs run rings around them.

    A more significant problem is that under British-controlled Stormont Nationalists will forever be kept “in their place”. The time has now come to think outside the box.

    I recently came across an old article which I found very interesting, considering that the Sinn Féin strategy to bring about a United Ireland has now collapsed into a hopeless mess. It was written by Gerry McGeough in December, 1995 when he was an Irish Republican political prisoner here in the United States. The article was one of Gerry’s very popular Éireann go Brách columns, which he wrote for The Irish People during his time in the States.

    I asked Gerry if I could reproduce it and he agreed. Re-reading it he noted that most of it still holds true even after almost twenty years. This was long before the Good Friday Agreement and he admits that he didn’t think then that the Irish people would have abandoned Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution so easily, even though they were mostly symbolic in nature.

    He also said that the proposed new Super-Councils would provide a better vehicle for Secession than the Westminster constituencies outlined in the original. He emphasized that it could be achieved through peaceful political action and that there would be no need for standing armies in the current context. Otherwise, he feels that the idea still has merit.

    I think so too and hope that it will spark some kind of debate and much-needed new thinking on Irish independence.

    What do you think?
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  17. The Need to Secede
    December 1995
    By Gerry McGeough

    Futurologists, those sober-minded individuals who analyze current trends in politics, finance, commerce, demographics, sociology and so forth in order to predict future developments in society, must find themselves in the realm of the opaque where the six counties are concerned. Such is the mixed cauldron of variables there right now that standard procedures of divination are unlikely to yield much in the way of enlightenment.

    Indeed, futurologists might as well abandon their regular modus operandi and just haul out the chicken entrails for all the foresight they’re liable to receive. One gut feeling’s as good as the next in the current context.

    That said, and in spite of all the contradictions, strains, backtracking, posturing and confusion so evidently inherent in the peace process, a broadly discernible albeit ostensibly unfocused development is emerging. At its most rudimentary, this would seem to imply the concept of an Assembly eventually evolving from a series of protracted talks. Talks, of course, being a euphemism for negotiations of labyrinthine complexity; not forgetting a liberal dash of the histrionics and temper tantrums so beloved by unionist politicians.

    Participants to such an Assembly – Lord preserve us lest anyone should refer to it as being “Stormont-like” – would, presumably be elected representatives drawn from the various hues of nationalist and unionist opinion within the six counties. Like all practical politicians, the need to ply their trade would override any inhibitions about violating those ever-irksome earlier stances on this and that. Besides, wasn’t “Principle” a book by Machiavelli or something?! By Assembly time, most of the holy cattle would have been already packed off to the abattoir in any case.

    The main thing would be that politicians could do what they do best, namely: obfuscate, legislate (to some devolved extent at least), debate, speechify, pretend whatever needs to be pretended at all and any given times and, of course, express outrage at the behaviour of opponents while masking relief at not being on the skewer themselves. Now, what else was there? . . . Oh yes, serve constituents, naturally.

    Added to this would be the lure of being in a position to appropriate slices of the lucrative flow of international funds towards the dreams and schemes of needy, deserving, and, above all, loyal voters. Such an Assembly, under British auspices with perhaps some joint authority input from Dublin, all within the European context, could roll along nicely for several political lifetimes, thank you very much indeed. Hey. If it leads to a united Ireland, then fine! Since we’re all presumed utilitarian at heart, I’m sure everyone could accommodate themselves to whatever arrangement might be necessary in the interim.

    A few years from now, though, committed Irish nationalists might want to explore the merits of the secession factor. “Secession” isn’t quite the term when referring to areas of Ireland under British occupation, but it’ll suffice for now. This would entail the overwhelmingly nationalist areas of occupied Ulster simply declaring their independence from Britain. These areas would include all of Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, Derry City, most of County Derry, North Antrim, West Belfast, South Down, South Armagh and considerable chunks of Mid-and North Armagh. In short, most of the six-county land area! Since the British hacked up our country on a county-by-county basis during Partition, what’s to stop us taking it back bit by bit, unpalatable as that may be for most of us, if all else fails?

    In the wake of a carefully conducted, efficient political campaign on the issue, a Westminster general election could provide the opportunity for putting the secession program into effect. Secessionist candidates standing in constituencies covering each of the areas mentioned, would make it clear that once elected they would fulfil the wishes of their voters by withdrawing their districts from the so-called United Kingdom – having an obvious mandate to do so.

    At that point, they could register their independent status at the United Nations and apply to join the rest of Ireland to form a single political unit. This, of course, would be a mere formality provided Dublin retains Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution. Either way, the newly independent areas of Ulster would be entitled to raise a standing army to defend themselves against British aggression.

    Britain, of course, would never tolerate or permit such a state of affairs and would undoubtedly clamp down on subsequent civil disobedience from the self-liberated denizens of Ulster. So be it! The Irish nationalist cause would be back on the agenda once more and the freedom struggle a burning issue again; this time for a new generation of Irish patriots and our overseas Diaspora. Could the secession issue become a challenge for courageous visionaries in years to come? A new test for the famed stamina, tenacity and ingenuity of our people perhaps? Don’t bother to ask the futurologists – just read Irish history! Meantime, back to Stormont! Éireann go brách!

    What do you think?
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  18. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    “social engineering is surely a term better ascribed to the status quo”

    Er no, social engineering is when a minority of people who feel they know better than everyone else determines to change the status quo to a new system that they prefer.

    “what some of us would prefer, namely to secularize the whole thing

    A note-perfect definition of social engineering.

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  19. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    Barney, I have no disdain for the poor, far from it, I have absolute disdain however for the shite education system that lefty social planners seem to wish to inflict on the poor.

    If you can’t grasp that rather simple concept then you have no business discussing grown-up topics on a political website.

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  20. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    “There is no ethnic divide in Ireland there is a political divide.”

    @Barney,

    “Ethnic divide” is my shorthand for a political divide that just happens to run along ethnic lines. Just because you consider unionists to be Irish doesn’t mean that they consider themselves to be that–at least in a political sense any more than Kurds living in Turkey consider themselves to be “mountain Turks.” When during The Troubles paramilitaries from both sides of the political divide did quick religious checks before carrying out massacres this indicates to me that the political divide isn’t random.

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  21. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Barney

    “AG
    Google has nothing to do with the relative validity of evidence. You wish to make a change the onus is on you to present evidence and make an argument”

    So you won’t just palm it off cos it’s a Google search? Good to know

    “Schooling was not the remit of government until recently, the Catholic sector simply held on to what was theirs, the protestant sector retained control through the various trustees and BOGs. Government is a fresher in the field of education. I have got the situation exactly right.”

    Irrelevant to this argument. Who is in charge or who created the mess doesn’t mean that segregating people won’t exacerbate segregation.

    “Blaming the education system for NI’s failings is silly and as stated there is no coherent argument for this exercise in social engineering because there is no evidence for what is claimed.”

    I did not blame the education system for NI’s failings as you well know, saying that I do blame the system for NI’s failings is just easier for you to defend which is why you are presenting it as such when in reality we know I am blaming it for EXACERBATING the situation.

    NOT the same, Barney.

    You say “no evidence”, not quite true, but what I do find interesting is that one of the contributing factors to the lack of evidence is that schools are unwilling to allow access to researchers on this particular topic.

    An opportunity to close the matter and silence people like myself lost?

    This paper covers some of what I am saying: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1080/01411926.2010.506943/abstract

    Some noteworthy tit-bits:
    “….…segregating children of school age may actually institutionalise perceived differences
    between them and encourage them to formulate antipathetical stereotypes….If behaviour
    may be structured, or at least influenced, by such stereotypes, then the argument that
    segregated schooling may positively contribute to subsequent community division and
    conflict is strengthened. (Murray, 1985, p. 104)”

    And in case anyone is annoyed at Protestant hostility to the GAA:

    “When
    asked in one interview if they would consider trying sports more associated with Catholics,
    two boys declined:

    First boy: I would rather stick with rugby or football.
    Second boy: I would end up getting into it and loving it.”

    But of course second boy won’t, unless he has nerves of steel and is willing to risk being ostracised (by his own community) and join the GAA out with school.

    Highly unlikely.

    Ergo, another Protestant NOT joining the GAA and potentially a future critic of the GAA.
    Who knows?

    And not least:

    “It is interesting to note that in the very few cases where children report having friends
    or relations who are Catholic, their responses are generally less hostile and the sense
    of threat and fear that characterizes responses from children who lead more segregated
    lives is mitigated.”

    “Mitch
    There is no ethnic divide in Ireland there is a political divide”

    And that political divide is more or less cut along religious lines.

    The same religious lines that you are advocating a separation of in an educational context. (for society, not necessarily for you or your family per se).

    So again Barney, what benefit does this segregation bring to NI’s society and what advantages does it have over integrated education in terms of crossing sectarian boundaries and overcoming prejudices?

    What do you think?
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  22. Barney (profile) says:

    Harry
    Your language suggests otherwise.

    Mitch

    I would never attribute nationality to any person for the simple reason that it is none of my business plus I dont care. There is no ethnic divide in Ireland there is a constitutional disagreement that strongly mirrors sectarian division. There really is no point in providing seemingly analogous situations that have no relevance to Ireland.

    AG Wrote
    “Irrelevant to this argument. Who is in charge or who created the mess doesn’t mean that segregating people won’t exacerbate segregation.”

    You make statements which I refute then tell me it is irrelevant to the discussion, you told me I had things about face I demonstrated above that I had not.

    There is cause and effect and you are making assumptions based on a correlation without examining cause and effect. You are also assuming that your solution is the correct solution. Schooling cannot solve all of societies problems, blaming the north’s education system for magnifying the north’s problems is a convenient and I would say lazy assumption.

    Your paywalled link cannot be read, your quote is not linked.

    The quote you provided and didnt source contains a few ifs and mays, a few too many for any strong conclusion to be made. As its not linked we dont know what conclusions if any were made.
    I know there wont be strong empirical evidence because this area is not a hard science its basically waffle though it has to be said that some is very well written waffle.

    The Eugenic movement in the early part of the last century loved by everyone from Churchill to the Nazis was opposed by the Catholic church and Stalinists. The logic was said to be flawless and so intuitively elegant that it was obviously the way forward. It was said that only a blind ideological fool could disagree with the thinking.The evidence as it turned out was a load of pseudo scientific tosh ie waffle.

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  23. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    “There is no ethnic divide in Ireland there is a constitutional disagreement that strongly mirrors sectarian division.”

    @Barney,
    When you have a group of immigrants arriving in an another land speaking another language and having a different religion and different allegiances, I would call that an ethnic difference. The fact that intermarriage rates across religious lines in NI are much lower than in countries like Germany, Canada, Great Britain or the United States where there is not this “constitutional divide” as you call it, indicates that there is more that is going on than a simple religious or constitutional divide. Why are flags such an important issue in NI? It is not because unionists, especially loyalists, consider their constitution to be so much superior to the Irish constitution? Few could tell you many differences between the two except that they have a queen rather than a president. It is because they consider themselves to belong to a different nation than the Irish.

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  24. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Barney

    “AG Wrote
    “Irrelevant to this argument. Who is in charge or who created the mess doesn’t mean that segregating people won’t exacerbate segregation.”

    You make statements which I refute then tell me it is irrelevant to the discussion, you told me I had things about face I demonstrated above that I had not.”

    Where exactly did I tell you that you had things about face?

    “There is cause and effect and you are making assumptions based on a correlation without examining cause and effect”

    What are you talking about?!

    “You are also assuming that your solution is the correct solution. Schooling cannot solve all of societies problems, blaming the north’s education system for magnifying the north’s problems is a convenient and I would say lazy assumption.”

    I’m assuming that my ‘solution’ (which is secondary to my PRIMARY point that educational segregation COMPOUNDS segregation in NI’s society) will be more successful in bringing about a scenario in which children have an opportunity to mix and socialise and have what ever prejudices they may have actually challenged.

    It’s not a magic bullet.

    If you are so convinced that it doesn’t compound the problem then please explain why?

    What is the psychological trick that I’m missing here?

    I’ll even help you out a bit:
    In potentially mixed schools where there would be a tiny minority in the school then perhaps this would expose the minority to bullying and maybe even foster a hatred of ‘themuns’ as opposed to an indifference had they been sent to a more homogeneous school.
    Who knows?

    “Your paywalled link cannot be read, your quote is not linked.

    The quote you provided and didnt source contains a few ifs and mays, a few too many for any strong conclusion to be made. As its not linked we dont know what conclusions if any were made.”

    It is a shame, I’ll try and find another link to it.

    You’d like the conclusions as it talks of the (near) impossibility of changing the system.

    But, again this is secondary to my original point that you keep ducking which is that segregating the kids at school deprives them of each other’s company and compounds the suspicion and intolerance in Northern Ireland’s society.

    Your main rebuttal of this assertion can be summarised as “DOES NOT! LA LA LA LA!”

    “I know there wont be strong empirical evidence because this area is not a hard science its basically waffle though it has to be said that some is very well written waffle.

    The Eugenic movement in the early part of the last century loved by everyone from Churchill to the Nazis was opposed by the Catholic church and Stalinists. The logic was said to be flawless and so intuitively elegant that it was obviously the way forward. It was said that only a blind ideological fool could disagree with the thinking.The evidence as it turned out was a load of pseudo scientific tosh ie waffle.”

    The refuge of the debating damned here;
    fob everything off as waffle without putting up a defence and mention the Nazis.

    Bravo Barney.

    Of course, you could just explain why I’m wrong and offer some suggestions as to why separating the schools along religious lines is advantageous to NI’s society, but we all know you won’t.

    ——————————————
    Here is a list of her references if you’re interested:

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    continuing tension? Research Papers in Education, 13(3) 319–339.
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    online at: http://www.deni.gov.uk/index/20-community-relations-pg/20-community-relations-
    newpage-2.htm (accessed 3 November, 2009).
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    reconciliation. Available online at: http://www.schoolsworkingtogether.co.uk/webpages/news/
    School-Collaboration-in-NI.pdf (accessed 31 July 2009).
    Dovidio, J., Gaertner, S., John, M., Halabi, S., Saguy, T., Pearson, A. & Reik, B. (2008) Minority
    and majority perspectives in intergroup relations: The role of threat and trust in intergroup
    conflict and reconciliation, in: A. Nadler, T. Malloy & J. Fisher (Eds) The social psychology of
    intergroup reconciliation (New York, Oxford University Press), pp. 227–255.
    Education and Training Inspectorate NI (2009) An evaluation of the quality assurance of community
    relations funding in a range of formal and non-formal education settings. Available online at: http://
    http://www.etini.gov.uk/community_relations_survey_report-4.pdf (accessed 30 July 2009).
    Fraser, N. (2000) Rethinking recognition, New Left Review, 3(May–June 2000), 107–120.
    Fraser, N. (2007) Identity, exclusion and critique: a response to four critics, European Journal of
    Political Theory, 6(3), 305–338.
    Gallagher, T. (2004) Education in divided societies (London, Palgrave/Macmillan).
    Grace, G. (2003) Educational studies and faith-based schooling: Moving from prejudice to
    evidence-based argument, British Journal of Educational Studies, 51(2), 149–167.
    Halstead, J. & McLaughlin, T. (2005) Are faith schools divisive, in: R., Gardner, J. Cairns
    & D. Lawton (Eds) Faith schools: consensus or conflict? (London, RoutledgeFalmer),
    pp. 61–73.
    Hand, M. (2003) A philosophical objection to faith schools, Theory and Research in Education,
    1(1), 89–99.
    Hargie, O., Dickson, D., Mallet, J. & Stringer, M. (2008) Communicating social identity: A study
    of Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, Communication Research, 35(6), 792–821.
    Harris, R. (1972) Prejudice and intolerance in Ulster: A study of neighbours and strangers in a border
    community (Manchester, Manchester University Press).
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    Ireland, Oxford Review of Education, 35(4), 437–450.
    Hewstone, M., Cairns, E., Voci, A., Paolini, S., McLernon, F., Crisp, R., et al. (2005) Intergroup
    contact in a divided society: Challenging segregation in Northern Ireland, in: D. Abrams, J.M.
    Marques, and M.A. Hogg (Eds) The social psychology of inclusion and exclusion (Philadelphia,
    PA, Psychology Press), pp. 265–292.
    Hewstone, M., Kenworthy, J., Cairns, E., Tausch, N., Hughes, Tam, T., et al. (2008) Stepping
    stones to reconciliation in Northern Ireland: Intergroup contact, forgiveness and trust, in: The
    social psychology of intergroup reconciliation (New York, Oxford University Press), pp. 199–226.
    Hewstone, M. & Brown, R. (Eds) (1986) Contact and conflict in intergroup encounters (Oxford, Basil
    Blackwell).
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    Office).
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    study of responses to the out-group in mixed and segregated areas of Belfast, Peace and
    Change, 33(4), 522–548.
    Hughes, J. & Donnelly, C. (2002) Ten years of social attitudes to community relations in Northern
    Ireland, in: A. Gray, K. Lloyd, P. Devine, G. Robinson and D. Heenan (Eds) Social attitudes
    in Northern Ireland: The 8th Report (Pluto Press, London), pp. 39–55.
    Hughes, J. & Donnelly, C. (2007) Integrated schools in Northern Ireland and bi-lingual/bi-national
    schools in Israel: Some policy issues, in Z. Bekermann & C. McGlynn (Eds) Sustained peace
    education in post-conflict societies (London, McMillan), pp. 121–134.
    Institute of Community Cohesion (2006) Challenging local communities to change Oldham, report of
    Institute of Community Cohesion (Coventry, Coventry University).
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    Journal of Religious Education, 25(2), 89–102.
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    Education, 27(4), 463–474.
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    how schools support children in relation to the political conflict in Northern Ireland (Belfast, Save
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    (New York, Oxford University Press).
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    Bradford Vision).
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    findings, in: S. Oscamp (Ed.) Reducing prejudice and discrimination (Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence
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    (accessed 29 July 2009).
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    Education, 19(4), 315–323.
    Downloaded By

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  25. Barney (profile) says:

    Mitch
    The plantation was a long time ago and can not be characterised as a homogeneous group moving here. Europe’s religious wars illustrate perfectly that the sectarian divide in Ireland is not ethnic in nature.

    I’m not a fan of this true blood nonsense changing my voting habits does not change my ethnicity and there lies the problem, classifying people according to their kennel papers is silly.
    This retreat to ethnicity is gaining ground but has no basis in fact, it comes from an extreme right wing ideology.

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  26. Barney (profile) says:

    Just because its a fascist idea doesnt automatically make it wrong, its wrong because it has no basis in reality.

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  27. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    What exactly is wrong Barney? The idea that segregating people along religious lines aggravates or compounds existing segregation along religious lines?

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  28. Barney (profile) says:

    AG wrote
    “What exactly is wrong Barney?”

    If you dont like it you make the argument to remove it, so far you have just expressed an opinion, I disagree with that opinion.

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  29. Alias (profile) says:

    It is the right of parents in NI to decide how their child is to be educated in accordance with their values, not the right of the state to use the child as part of a social engineering experiment that is designed to engineer a Northern Irish nation.

    It doesn’t follow, anyway, that the missing nation would be engineered among future generations by removing religion from children’s education. It is more likely to be the case that minorities would be bullied at schools where the other tribe is a majority or would assimilate into that tribe, thereby aggravating rather than ameliorating their non-religious political divisions.

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  30. Republic of Connaught (profile) says:

    Alias:

    “It is the right of parents in NI to decide how their child is to be educated in accordance with their values, not the right of the state to use the child as part of a social engineering experiment that is designed to engineer a Northern Irish nation.”

    Abso-fvcking-lutely.

    Why should Catholic parents in NI be the only ones in western Europe not entitled to send their kids to Catholic school if they so choose?!

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  31. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    ” I disagree with that opinion.”

    You disagree that the idea that segregating people along religious lines aggravates or compounds existing segregation along religious lines?

    Also, you didn’t answer my question:

    “WHAT exactly is wrong Barney? The idea that segregating people along religious lines aggravates or compounds existing segregation along religious lines?”

    It’s all fine and well say something is wrong and not defining what IT is.

    Also, any chance you could list the benefits of segregated education to Northern Irish society?

    Hmmmmm?

    Just one?

    Go on, be a sport.

    Alias

    “It is the right of parents in NI to decide how their child is to be educated in accordance with their values”

    – I didn’t dispute that, I was simply highlighting that I believe that segregating people along religious lines aggravates or compounds existing segregation along religious lines

    “not the right of the state to use the child as part of a social engineering experiment that is designed to engineer a Northern Irish nation”

    Who mentioned anything anywhere about engineering a Northern Irish nation?! I was talking about the divisiveness of segregated education and that segregating people along religious lines aggravates or compounds existing segregation along religious lines.

    “It doesn’t follow, anyway, that the missing nation would be engineered among future generations by removing religion from children’s education.”

    Where did I mention removing religion completely?

    “It is more likely to be the case that minorities would be bullied at schools where the other tribe is a majority or would assimilate into that tribe, thereby aggravating rather than ameliorating their non-religious political divisions.”

    That is a sensible point and one that I alluded to earlier as a downside of mixed schooling where there is an overwhelming majority of one outfit.

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  32. Republic of Connaught (profile) says:

    AG:

    Parents sending their kids to Catholic schools is a personal choice; it shouldn’t be denied because the state of NI happens to be a sectarian hellhole, should it? In the south, children of many religions and races attend the Catholic ethos schools.

    Northern Ireland’s sectarian problems are not the Catholic school system’s fault or responsibility; the absence of political leadership is the great problem in the province.

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  33. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    RoC

    “Why should Catholic parents in NI be the only ones in western Europe not entitled to send their kids to Catholic school if they so choose?!”

    The ‘right’ of the parents isn’t really the issue here RoC, I’m highlighting the ramifications of this self imposed apartheid.

    Simple.

    Come summer time there’ll be a whole load of bitching about the thuggish bandsmen and horrible orange order but woe betide anyone who suggests that SOME (NOT ALL) of the bandsmen would have less hatred, ignorance and spite had they spent a childhood or teenage years mixing with ‘themuns’.

    Spare me the straw-bandsman argument, I fully admit that there are those who will be bigoted knuckledraggers regardless of whom their school mates are, but there are certainly a lot of decent people in the marching scene who have simply never had many shared experiences with Catholics.

    At present the opportunity for sharing one’s childhood with one of themuns outwith a mixed school is not great.

    So please bear this in mind the next time we’re all excited over another orange mess or ‘GAA-phobia’.

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  34. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    “Northern Ireland’s sectarian problems are not the Catholic school system’s fault or responsibility”

    Never said it its ‘fault’ but it certainly contributes to the matter.

    Please explain how segregation along religious lines does not compound the issue of religious based segregation?

    Apparently I’m the only thicko that that believes the two are linked.

    “In the south, children of many religions and races attend the Catholic ethos schools.”

    So?

    Same over in England.

    Neither of those places are Northern Ireland so why compare them?

    And you just admitted that the Catholics schools there are to an extent ‘mixed’ so you’ve just shot your fox with that one.

    I’m arguing against the toxic effects of an environment that is NOT mixed.

    So, not the same thing.

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  35. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    *Never said it WAS its ‘fault’ but it certainly contributes to the matter….

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  36. Republic of Connaught (profile) says:

    AG:

    “The ‘right’ of the parents isn’t really the issue here RoC, I’m highlighting the ramifications of this self imposed apartheid.”

    So Catholic schools, popular all over the world for their standards even to parents who aren’t Catholic, is self imposed apartheid? Surely you realise that’s just looking at things irrationally from an internal NI prism.

    “there are certainly a lot of decent people in the marching scene who have simply never had many shared experiences with Catholics.”

    Can that not happen in sporting teams, musical pursuits, cinema clubs, book clubs etc etc.from a very early age? Can society and politicians not encourage kids to mix more in loads of avenues if they genuinely wanted to? The problem is northern society doesn’t really want to mix, which is why it has stayed separate for centuries.

    You’re one of the fairest and most progressive posters on here, AG, so clearly you’re not coming at it from any angle but a genuine one. But Catholic schools have never been at the root of the dysfunctionality of the northern state. Those problems are best solved in the family homes and in the Stormont assembly.

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  37. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    “Surely you realise that’s just looking at things irrationally from an internal NI prism.”

    Is there any other way?

    “So Catholic schools, popular all over the world for their standards even to parents who aren’t Catholic, is self imposed apartheid?”

    Well, you just said that in other parts of the world non-Catholics send their kids to Catholics schools.

    Cool.

    In Northern Ireland they tend not to.

    Not cool.

    Hence a problem.

    “Can that not happen in sporting teams, musical pursuits, cinema clubs, book clubs etc etc.from a very early age?”

    Potentially yes. But is it?
    And if it’s not then where else can they mix?

    “Can society and politicians not encourage kids to mix more in loads of avenues if they genuinely wanted to?”
    Yes. But they’re not.

    Ergo, another thing to compound the problem.

    “The problem is northern society doesn’t really want to mix, which is why it has stayed separate for centuries.”

    True.

    Now, tell me, how true is this in schools that are mixed?

    “You’re one of the fairest and most progressive posters on here, AG, so clearly you’re not coming at it from any angle but a genuine one”

    Thankyou, I do appreciate that and was beginning to fear it looked like I was on some international fatwa against Catholic education (which I’m not, the missus would kill me…)

    “But Catholic schools have never been at the root of the dysfunctionality of the northern state”

    But their very existence certainly compounds matters as we know that Protestants won’t send their kids there.

    If they don’t go there then they’re not mixing.

    Back to square one I’m afraid.

    “Those problems are best solved in the family homes and in the Stormont assembly.”

    You do realise you just put the words ‘problem’, ‘solved’ and ‘Stormont’ in the same sentence?

    I will now retire to my room and cry.

    I hope you’re happy….

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  38. Republic of Connaught (profile) says:

    AG:

    “Please explain how segregation along religious lines does not compound the issue of religious based segregation?”

    It is culture and nationality based differences that is at the root of division in the north, AG.

    There are Protestant schools in the south, but they are Irish Protestant schools and the kids who attend them have the same national identity as the Catholic schools in the south. So in general society, the different religious schools the kids went to make no difference to them once they get to college etc… They are all Irish kids.

    In the north, it is the national identity and culture allegiances that create the societal segregation, not the schooling. Let me put it this way; I’m confident any son or daughter of yours would be a liberal, fair and decent citizen in NI whether they went to a mixed school or not. Likewise, the kids of parents who are not liberal, fair and decent in NI will probably turn out that way whether they attend mixed schooling or not.

    Education begins in the home and the biggest influences on children are in the home. Change the mindsets of NI adults and the kids will follow, whatever their schooling.

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  39. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    ” I’m confident any son or daughter of yours would be a liberal, fair and decent citizen in NI whether they went to a mixed school or not. Likewise, the kids of parents who are not liberal, fair and decent in NI will probably turn out that way whether they attend mixed schooling or not.”

    Thankyou RoC, but it’s worth pointing out that I was a poisonous bigot at school.

    There were no ramifications as there were was no one to give me a knuckle sandwich when I said foul things based on playground learnt dogma. (Obviously the teachers would reprimand me if the heard anything but that was rare).

    On the contrary, being a bigot/loyalist was perhaps my only token of ‘coolness’ in what was obviously a very uncool geeky teenager.

    I wouldn’t say that my friends were bigots but some if not most of them were involved in the band scene and we were all supportive of the Orange Order at Drumcree and such like (though I couldn’t go, Ma wouldn’t let me….).

    But other’s did. (one of whom now studies a Phd in political philosophy and sports a broad southern Irish accent)

    Now those same others have left NI, mixed with Irish Catholics either down south or Scotland or even in places like Korea and not one of them will ever join a band again or support the OO when it starts its mayhem, rabble rousing and doom-saying.

    Trouble is, some of us had to scatter to the ends of the earth* to meet and truly mix Irish Catholics when Mid Ulster is full of them.

    Had we not left we could easily be ‘fleggers’ or supporters of Frazer, Grim Jim Allister or Jamie Bryson. (shudder)

    I could even go further and hypothesize that the Orange Order and the band scene would be particularly affected by mixing the schools but who knows, that is merely speculation based on my own personal experience.

    It’s hard to truly know how it could have panned out but it seems tragic that I had to spend years ‘unlearning’ stuff I picked up as a teenager.

    And I’m confident that there are many like me who haven’t ‘unlearned’.

    That’s why I’m against the separation.

    *OK, Dublin and Glasgow are hardly the ends of the earth but I wanted to brighten up the sentence a bit.

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  40. Republic of Connaught (profile) says:

    AG:

    “Trouble is, some of us had to scatter to the ends of the earth* to meet and truly mix Irish Catholics when Mid Ulster is full of them.”

    And we in the south never got to mix with northern Protestants even in college so basically for a long time, maybe up to the GFA, every nordie Prod was seen as an Orangeman full of hate for Irish Catholics like an army of Ian Paisleys.

    I’m certain the vast majority in the south now realize such generalizations about nearly a million people were very stupid but such were the times. It is scary to think that tired old cliches still abound in the north about Catholics or Protestants.

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  41. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    “It is scary to think that tired old cliches still abound in the north about Catholics or Protestants.”

    God yes!

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