David Ervine: “It was anti the manipulation and false fellowship that he believed religion brought”

We’ll come back to the book Voices from the Grave quite a bit in the next few weeks I suspect, since several of our bloggers are devouring it as we ‘speak’… Just flicking past the Brendan Hughes segment, David Ervine talks about his upbringing and in particular looks his relationship to the ‘other’ in the ‘pre Troubles’ world of the 1960s…

I don’t know that you were ever frightened of the Catholic you knew; you were frightened of the Catholic you didn’t know. My da’s argument was that ‘We are just all people’, you know, and as far as religion was concerned, he used to go to the debates in Clonard monastery, which was hardly the done thing.* I don’t think he was anti-Christian, or anti-deity per se; I think it was anti the manipulation and the sense of a false fellowship that he believed religion brought. But I did sense, and at the same time didn’t, that Catholics were always different; you knew they were different but I didn’t know why they were different . . .

If that condition of distrust pre-existed the Troubles, is there much evidence that it has in the least dissipated since they ended?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty