What Future?

It’s not often that i go beyond my blogging remit of providing what i hope are interesting and thought provoking photographs. But after an incident this week I feel compelled to put a few thoughts down as to the future of NI and what i consider to be the biggest problem facing us…sectarianism and the religious divide.

I’ve been living in East Belfast for 5 years now and the proximity to the city centre (a brisk 15 min walk has me in town) is very appealing as i would cover a lot of events there.

A couple of years ago i moved to what can only be considered an interface area and a staunchly Loyalist area. I did so with an open mind, but with a certain amount of trepidation it has to be said. My 8 year old son who stays with me 2 nights a week, doesn’t go to a local school and attends a faith school (not my choice but i am not the primary carer). Walking home from his school i am always aware that his uniform would mark him out as not being from the area. I always take care to ensure it is covered up as best i can.

I mention this as a couple of days ago whilst walking home a 6 year old boy (certainly no older) asked me, after maah boy had passed him by with his school shirt peeking from his jacket,

“What school does your son go to?”

“Up the road” was my reply walking on but i was frankly dismayed that a child of that age would ask me such a question.

I’d never seen the kid before and for him to even ask the question shows a knowledge way beyond his years and understanding.

If, as the saying goes, the children are our future, then i am unsettled as regards the future. I can only hazard a guess that that particular 6year old is learning from his parents, peers and siblings but when you have a child of that age, asking such a leading question of a complete stranger, we really should be concerned for the future.

I remember when i first moved into the area a couple of years ago.

Boys being boys, maah boy met a couple of the locals boys, the upshot being that they came round to play a game of table air football.

The 3 boys were happy enough setting up the game chit chatting and laughing amongst themselve. Various flags of the world are part of the game (they wave when a goal is scored) and when i heard one of the local kids ask

“What’s that papist flag doing in here?” I jumped up from the other end of the room and asked him what flag he was referring to.

He pointed to the Italian flag saying “Thats the Popes flag”

I corrected him by telling him it was the Italian flag and that the Pope had a different flag because the Vatican is in fact a separate state.

I didn’t question him as to where he had got the misconception from or who had told him. The upshot of that was that since that day the kids have never been back into my house and that budding friendship was nipped. Not by me i hasten to add but by maah boy because of a couple of other incidents on the street, the following week.

So the point of this blog is really to ask who should any anti sectarian training/education be aimed at?

The young and impressionable or the bitter and twisted parents who the young are taking the lead from?

Either way i do think it will take a couple of generations at the very least to eradicate what is an insidious and hateful scourge of our society.

And for the record, i will be moving fairly soon as i wish to protect maah boy as he grows, matures and gains more independence. And when the time is right i will try to explain to him some of the reasons, but in the meantime i want him to have a childhood of happy memories uncontaminated by hate and bitterness.

Sadly this doesn’t appear to be possible for some in our society.


  • Drumlins Rock

    Mooch, can I give you the other side of the coin….
    I live in a rural area that is mixed, with some very protestant pockets, some very catholic and some mixed, generally relationships were always civilised across the divide, with occasional real friendships being a rarity. 90% of social activity is divided, taking place in Church, Orange halls, GAA/community Centre, Schools etc. The IRA was active in the area and many protestants were in the security forces so suspicions were high to put it mildly.

    But things are changing, two weeks ago the Presbyterian Church I belong to put on a pantomine for members of congregation, because of the work involved we put on a second night for friends and neighbours, and a small number of catholics came along, as a result of which we have been invited to put on the show again in the local community centre at the GAA grounds. A local cross community history group will be hosting and the audience should be quite mixed. All this would have been unthinkable even 5 years ago, so progress is going on everywhere, dont despair.

  • I’m not trying to take away from some of the great work being done around here and yes things are changing slowly falteringly but change is happening and don’t worry i am not despairing i just wanted to start a conversation which hopefully will not descend into whataboutery

  • PJ Maybe

    Clearly the sectarianism is so ingrained that the person complaining can dismiss one side as “staunchly loyalist” and not see the irony. Honestly? This story is as lacking in insight as your trite photography.

  • Moochin,

    Not an attempt at “whataboutery” or even to provoke you just an honest question that I hope will deliver an honest answer:

    Do you believe that you yourself are completely prejudice-free?

    If so, then you’re a lucky man indeed because I know that I’m not but I do at least admit the fact and I do attempt to work on those things that I can work on and try to acknowledge when others do the same, never mind how small I think their efforts are.

    I also know East Belfast pretty well and I also know parts of it are truly a shit-hole and some of its residents are truly scum. I also know that efforts are being made by many decent people on the ground to attack sectarianism and racism but that is a side of East Belfast, I rarely see you cover either in your photos or your occasional comment pieces- why not? Again, an honest question that I hope you take and attempt to answer in the right spirit.

    You want to know how we can conquer prejudice, be it based on religion, race, class or whatever?

    Recognise it first in ourselves, acknowledge when others make an effort to fight against it and then, and only then, start to criticise and attempt to change others. Get that order wrong and that makes you a hypocrite and risks doing more damage than good.

  • First off my older grandson is the same age as Mr Moochins son.
    But my own experience of education with my own two sons, Gaelic language nursery, “faith” ….and lets call a spade a shovel here……Catholic primary, State primary, integrated secondary, Cathol………oops I mean “faith” srcondary…..is that one system is not necessarily better than the other …and there are good and bad schools within them.

    “In loco parentis” seems to be the key….something which reflects parental belief and ethos. I dont think its in any way sinister that parents want to hand on a specific set of values to their children. Clearly some of those values are sectarian and repulsive but Im not sure that “we” should be doing anything about it.

    Clearly people make judgements about education. As I did when I stood beside a guy outside a Gaelic nursery with another parent exchanging a cupla focal……I apologised for my poor Gaelic and he told me that he spoke “jailic” having learned it at an ……enclosed environment so to speak. Alarm bells certainly but not any more so than the interview at the Gaelic primary school where the six people on the panel were all men.
    Live and Learn.
    I persoanlly would not see anything particuarly sinister in a 6 year old being interested in what school another attends. I think they all are like that…and its not about religion. The 8 year old Popes flag thing, I would regard as sinister.

    As my Manchester United loving son is about to marry into a Chelsea family (where did we go wrong?) ……its actually a cause for division (not always light hearted) as his Father-nLaw Elect thumbs thru a Chelsea catalogue and admires the stuff for babies. No way.
    We need a new kind of Ne Temere to lay down the rules about football support. Curiously its my wife who doesnt know the off side rule who is more worked up about a mans “right” to have his own (non existent) child follow Daddys football team.
    Sectarian we are NOT. Sectional we ARE.
    I dont think its necessarily a sign of sophistication to have a grandson/daughter who wears Chelsea colours. Or Manchester City. Or Liverpool.
    Nor does preferring a child to wear a national shirt (whatever that might be)……Poland, Portugal, Jamaica
    rather than the shirt of one of 200 others mean that a parent is xenophobic. Yet curiously some preferences are “evidence” of sectarianism. Id hate to be thought of as xenophobic or…..perish the thought….sectarian.

    Wanting a child to grow up liberal and liberated from the tyranny of faith schools is no different from actually wanting a child to grow up attending a faith school. Or an integrated school. Or a state school.
    Theres no high moral ground for anyone.
    The only accepted sectionalism is our own………

    Yet children…certainly 8 year olds have a capacity to surprise. Just a few short days ago we were watching a football match involving two rather famous Glasgow teams.
    Purely as neutrals of course. Id hate to be thought of as sectarian but we found the result rather pleasant……in a neutral kinda way of course. Cos we arent sectarian. Obviously.
    But my grandson surprised and shocked by announcing his very public support for the team the rest of the family felt obliged in a neutral non-sectarian way NOT to support. When it was pointed out that we were obliged …neutrally…to support one team…..he replied that his mate next door supported that team and had been “slegging” about Man United getting beaten by Wolves.
    So thats all right.
    He will grow out of supporting the other Glasgow team and revert to supporting the right Glasgow team……in a fitting non sectarian way.

  • Driftwood

    Sectarianism cannot be eradicated until its basic premise-Religion/Superstition/Mumbo-Jumbo- is shattered by rational scientific thought.
    No school should be allowed to propagate prayers, display statues or any nonsensical ‘spiritual’ guff. In fact The God Delusion should be compulsory reading so that everyone learns that we’re all just hairless apes stuck on a rock together and no sky fairy is going to intervene on anyone’s behalf. Religion free means hate free.

  • lamhdearg

    As i see it mooch, you seeing a six year old asking what school your boy go’s to as a sign of anti cath biggotry, says more about your state of mind than the boys. Please stick to the photos (the non finger pointing ones) they give me joy and not a sore head.

  • Drumlins Rock

    in light of FJHs comments I feel obliged to wheel out my “Catholic Rangers supporter” story….
    Few years ago on holidays was chatting to a guy from Glasgow, wearing a rangers top, it was Easter week so somehow he mentioned he was a Catholic, then explained his father was a prod Rangers supporter, his mother was a catholic, when he was born the inevitable conversation came up, as head of the house the father put his foot down and insisted he would be a Rangers supporter, and as a trade off his mother brought him up a catholic, sums up how little religion often has to do with things in reality.

  • oracle

    Sectarianism provides a sense of belonging,

    Until you replace the sense of belonging with something else sectarianism will remain.

    It’s not a problem…. it’s an opportunity so embrace it

  • Drumlins Rock

    Driftwood, I take it you enjoyed your holiday in North Korea? I guessing that’s where you picked up that education policy.

  • Driftwood

    Any of the Scandinavian countries would be a better role model. Declining religious belief and improving quality of life seem to have more than a passing co-incidence. Norway is the least religious country on Earth and has the most stable, tolerant peaceful society.

  • Mickaline

    Some good, thought-provoking comments. However, sectarianism will cease to exist (specifically from the protestant communities), if and when a united Ireland comes to fruition. Now, I know there will be those here that completely disagree, but protestant sectarianism has always been a secondary matter deployed by the Brits to hide their self-interest in NI.

    All that is yet to be decided is how long the archaic element within the Unionist parties are willing to go on rowing against the tide.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    ‘However, sectarianism will cease to exist (specifically from the protestant communities), if and when a united Ireland comes to fruition.’

    Much of the protestant sectarianism stems from a (not entirely unfounded) fear of loss of identity, assimilation and persecution, whether overt or subtle.

    It’s hard to ignore the fate of the southern protestants and escape the conclusion that the cry of ‘home rule is rome rule’ was pretty much spot on. Protestants in the republic saw a calamitous fall in numbers from 10% to 3% of the population in a lifetime, and while the reasons for this have been raked over many times here, the net result was that the republic has not been a place where protestants have felt comfortable as a community.

    Given the recent inexorable rise of republicanism, coupled with long-term economic stagnation and accelerating emigration, there is very little to suggest that the future of northern protestants in a UI would be any brighter than in the past, and perhaps even less so.

    Sectarianism on both sides is an ugly phenomenon, born largely out of fear and ignorance. The main NI parties howver have vested interests in keeping it going, dealing as they do in exaggerated versions of Irishness and Britishness. If SF for instance were as keen on the Ireland of equals they constantly espouse, a good starting point would be a calling of Robbo’s bluff and a pursuit of an integrated education agenda. Schooling both communities together won’t eradicate sectarianism overnight but it would be an almighty step in the right direction.

    ”deployed by the Brits to hide their self-interest in NI.”

    What exactly is that self interest? Discounting a certain strategic advantage in WW2, all the Brits have got out of NI since has been eye watering expense, bad international press and soldiers in coffins.

  • Driftwood

    I posted this link on Pete’s Voyager thread, but Carl Sagan’s speech, relating to the Voyager photo (from 20 years ago) puts our petty quarrel in some perspective..


  • andnowwhat

    O’ Neil’s honesty is what we need. This “past is the past” keek will get us nowhere. The vast majority of us are damaged goods.

    I have always had protestant friends but some disgusting part of my psycy says they are different. Akin to a racist who thinks their black/Pakestani etc friend is sound but the ones he does not know are not.

    IMHO, the only way top condemn sectarianism to the past is for us all to honestly analyse ourselves. There are many things that we think are not sectarian but that actually are, and some things we think are sectarian but actually are not.

    Not intending something to be sectarian is NO excuse however and that is a very exercised one.

  • Turgon

    Purely technical point but what font are you using in the main part of the blog? It is difficult to read and might be worth changing.


  • earther

    Could it be that much of what you perceive as sectarianism specific to the wee six is actually pervasive in the UK?
    I’m not Irish or British but my skin is about as white as it gets. Yet I have also experienced “incidents” as a schoolboy, not in Belfast or even in Scotland but in London. I’ve been to school in other countries and I’ve never witnessed anything like these “incidents”. I don’t know the nature of the “incident” Moochin refers to but he says his kid was playing with other kids. I don’t believe a neighborhood kid ever set foot in my home and I don’t believe I ever set foot in any home in the neighborhood. Nor do I recall ever playing with neighborhood kids.
    I acknowledge I’m very biased on this matter but the UK school system struck me as bizarre and grossly segregated along class lines. Could it be that you’d be better served in the long run by an educational more like they have in France where integration is rather strongly enforced?

    I doubt religion as such has much to do with these social issues. Other countries have religions too, you know. And bad blood between prods and catholics as well. But in this day and age, with all the talk about how Muslims can fit in and whatnot, people don’t build their identity on this quaint sectarianism.

    By the way I’m a fan of your photos Moochin. Keep up the good work!

  • RepublicanStones

    Much of the protestant sectarianism stems from a (not entirely unfounded) fear of loss of identity, assimilation and persecution, whether overt or subtle.

    If this fear is not entirely ‘unfounded’ then sectarianism emanating from the other side is thus even more ‘excusable’ is it not? A simple look at the history books will tell you that.

    Of course, those of us in the real world see it as a plague IN both houses, no need to attempt justification, only a need to combat it.

  • Zig70

    Driftwood’s attitude to faith is a kind of sectarianism. To me religion isn’t really an issue. It’s what we do for 1hr a week (with exceptions). Most of those labelled don’t even go near a church. Non practicising is just not being.
    Most of us work side by side with little of the problems raised and also live in mixed areas.
    IMHO religion is a problem when it preaches exclusion, can’t go in another church, marry the other lot etc. Thankfully that is not in most of the churches vocabulary more the different styles are brothers in Christ.
    I believe it is cultural. I just can’t decide whether we should live in a mutual respect but different or find a muddy middle. A lot of us are probably in the muddy middle already. My kids play GAA on Sunday, Rubgy on Saturday (kid in the street got them into it), mixed cubs, mixed martial arts. Faith school and a different faith mums and tots.
    They are aware of the differences, they know they don’t play in playgrounds with Metallica posters on the gable walls of nearby houses. Most of their aunts and uncles are in mixed marriages.
    I don’t know the solution to ghettos, there is a few things I might try. Bulldozer and an integration policy – hardly seems fair to resettle half of Belfast. It’s that thorny politicians generally run a mile from it so good for you MP for raising it up. Just needs a sustained campaign to address it.

  • lamhdearg

    I do not follow the teachings of any religious sect and i do not dislike any religious sect more than any other (within reason),this to me and my understanding of sectarianism leads me to believe that i am not sectarian. I do not want to see my land ruled from dublin, i dont want celtic to win the football ( at least not very often), and i do like the sound of a big drum on the 12th of july, these things acording to all i see and hear DO make me sectarian. My point, until sectarian/sectarianism is defined we cannot even begin to eradicate it.

  • Mickaline

    Gerry – “Much of the protestant sectarianism stems from a (not entirely unfounded) fear of loss of identity, assimilation and persecution, whether overt or subtle.”

    Again, all that you describe has been perpetuated over the years by the Brits, but today hardly exists in the fashion of the late 60’s/70’s and 80’s…but occasionally stoked by the orange dinosaurs.

    Today, Loyalists should not be loyal to a foreign monarch, nor should Unionists seek to maintain a connection with the alien Brits. In time they will not. The problem remains in Britain!

  • Turgon

    “Loyalists should not be loyal to a foreign monarch, nor should Unionists seek to maintain a connection with the alien Brits. In time they will not. The problem remains in Britain!”

    Ah yes the republican obsession with false conciousness: it hasn’t gone away you know.

    The breath taking arrogance of suggesting that unionists are somehow wrong to self define as British is bad enough. The fact that those who claimed to want unionists to wake up to their supposedly mistaken loyalties utilised the tactic of sectarian murder to achieve it shows that even most of them were not so silly as to believe the idea.

    The claim of unionist false conciousness was always a pretty unconvincing fig leaf used by certain republicans to pretend that they did not harbour a sectarian hatred of unionists.

    That is was untrue, breathtakingly arrogant and not even believed in by the republicans who claimed it has not stopped it from being recycled periodically.

  • OMG i’ve heard it all now an inquisitive child who has never seen another school uniform asks a question “What school does your son go to?”

    And everyone in east belfast are sectarian

    As they say in the East “Catch yourself on BIG LAD”

    Stick to what your good at taking pics !!

  • RepublicanStones

    Turgon whilst the latter part of Mickaline’s post seems to have been a case of self-fulfilling idiocy, he rightfully points out the role British policy (throughout centuries) has had to play in creating the sectarianism we suffer the last vestiges of. (We hope)

  • joeCanuck

    Yeah, of course, it’s all the fault of the “Brits”. Not only is sectarianism, on all sides, alive and well, so is delusionism.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Take your son out of the *faith school*,and have him educated with children from all sides of the community !!
    To say you are not his primary carer,is a cowardly cop out.
    A little child doesn’t have a religion. He/she has a religion forced upon /him/her,and as Prof. Dawkins rightly says,that is certainly child abuse !!!

  • JAH

    A six year old kid asking another kid what school he goes to is actually natural curiosity surely? Kids are supposed to ask to find about things they don’t know.

    You can be a bit too hypersensitive.

  • Heinz…..how is a statement of the fact cowardly ffs?
    I’m not going to discuss further my relationship with my sons mother, i stated that i didn’t want him to go to a faith school but ultimately it isn’t/wasn’t my decision.
    I am not affiliated to any religion though as i have stated previously i was brought up in the Protestant faith.

    Belfastjj…..well you are at least predictable with your *ahem* contributions
    Heinz and Belfastjj…care to actually make a comment on the question i posted?

    Driftwood i attended a talk on friday by BBC Middle East Foreign correspondent Kevin Connolly who said that our petty quarrels here are in comparison to the Middle East like an argument over a late library book.

    Lamhdearg……..what does your whataboutery say about you? Anything to actually contribute?

    oniell…course i have prejudice i didn’t say i was perfect…i hate Man Utd 🙂
    As regards covering the work that is being done on the ground there are issues of confidentiality involved and frankly i can’t be everywhere.

  • lamhdearg

    My two comments on your post i feel make a contribution, comment 1 asks you to look at the fact that a child asking what school your son go’s to in not in its self proof of sectarianism in the child but maybe a predisposition in yourself to see sectarianism in all you see around you, a look through your photo posts tells me that you see sectarianism in your non irish nationalist neighbor’s , this leads me to comment 2 where i try to show that sectarianism in ulster can be many differant things to differant people, i feel that many people see anti irish nationalism as sectarianism even if the person has not a care about the religion of the irish nationalist. And therefore we cannot beginn to sort out what you “consider to be the biggest problem facing us…sectarianism and the religious divide.” untill we can nail down what sectarianism is. Please allow me to apologize and retract my “stick to the photos” line as as i look at it now its reads not as the complinment it seemed at the time in my head.

  • andnowwhat

    Don’t be silly Lamderg. Where were you brought up, Bhutan?

    You know exactly what is at play here and you and others are playing silly games with MP’s fair nature.

    I had the disgusting situation of crossing at the Park Centre roundabout where some kids asked me if I was a fenian. Meanwhile their friends held breeze blocks above the adjacent wall. Are you suggesting that they were doing a census FFS?

    I’ve also had the local kids throw stones at me as I walked from Suffolk Rd down to Black’s Rd as they inferred that I was a brave mountain warrior with questionable paternal heritage.

  • There’s nothing to comment on – the child asked a question you couldn’t even explain to the child which school your son goes to – i think that speaks volumes on it own !!

    As for the rest its your usual comments about East Belfast oh sorry apart from a small enclave which you always forget to mention !!

  • lamhdearg

    sectarian?. Did they care what religion you where. do they know anything about the differance in the chirstian churches, or where they playing out their anti them’uns hatered, not based on a sect but nationlist differance. when the french fought the germans in ww2 where then being sectarian?. And no i was brought up in northwest belfast, a stone’s throw from them’uns.

  • andnowwhat

    @ Lamderg

    They were playiong out of the hatred fed to them by their parents. Religion has sod all to do with it. I could have been a pro union, Dawkins loving athiest for all they knew.

    In NI religion is a (invisible) colour, not a matter of faith. How many in West Belfast attend mass, how many in south Belfast attent church?

    Does every human being attending the !2th attend church? Has every single person at the Easter Rising rememberance been to mass that morning?

  • lamhdearg

    @ andnowwhat
    and therefore it is not sectarian.
    so why say it is, i shall write/type for the third time on this post, we cannot begin to wipe out sectarianism untill we begin to understand what it is.

  • alastairk

    “Much of the protestant sectarianism stems from a (not entirely unfounded) fear of loss of identity, assimilation and persecution, whether overt or subtle.

    It’s hard to ignore the fate of the southern protestants and escape the conclusion that the cry of ‘home rule is rome rule’ was pretty much spot on. Protestants in the republic saw a calamitous fall in numbers from 10% to 3% of the population in a lifetime, and while the reasons for this have been raked over many times here, the net result was that the republic has not been a place where protestants have felt comfortable as a community.”

    Well, speaking as one raised in a ‘mixed-marriage’, and within a more than comfortable CofI community in the Republic, that particular argument simply doesn’t resonate. The bulk of the years of the Republic have been pretty grim economically, and smaller communities suffered to greater degrees from the effects of emigration. The appeal of hanging around an economically deprived and stifled state wasn’t great for anyone, but for any minority it was worse – not because of political or religious oppression – but simply because there was less buy-in to the dominant institutions of the day.

    The Irish Jews didn’t disappear because of pogroms in Limerick, but for more pedestrian reasons – they left because the country was broke and it became harder and harder to meet members of the opposite sex and same religion. Free-State/Republic Protestants were (with the odd exception) treated the same as anyone else in the community – albeit a bit of exotica. My protestant grandparents went through the war of independence and civil war (in differrent parts of the country) without any real experience of sectarianism – indeed my grandfather’s stories mostly related to trying to stay out of the crossfire between Monaghan’s IRA brigades and the local Black and Tans. The heritage of ‘southern’ protestantism I’m familiar with is unapologetic and self-assured, albeit as a minority community.

    Regarding sectarianism – there was no end of ‘sectionalism’ in my childhood – church, school, demonimation, gender, team, game, income, etc, but I can honestly say that the sort of sectarianism that existed/exists in the North would have been entirely alien to me and my mates – regardless of their religion.

  • andnowwhat


    Sectarianism is in your heart (you have shown nit here), it is in my heart (I express it constantly).

    It’s a slant, no matter hopw subtle, we have. It’s a unconsience ear with which we hear the news.

    Like it or not, the acceptance of what was the status quo was sectarianism, wanting unionists to bow to the wishes of nationalists is sectarianism.

    Take Heinz, he believes that what existed in ’69 was ok. Take our dissedent posters on here, they think that they can ignore (not just nationalists and republicans) people’s wishes.

    Politics is, of course, about argument BUT IMHO, it is about investigating one’s worst demons. eg. In my instance, I am the child of a bigot. His voice is in my head and dictates my IMMEDIATE reactions. I cannot resist that (yet) but I take a second, reject the Pavalonian response, and make my own judgement

  • RepublicanStones

    Joe I don’t think its childish to recognize that the poison of sectarianism both communities suffer from has its genesis in the neighbouring Island using Ireland as its colonial laboratory.

  • Aontachtach

    My nine year old son asked me last June why there were flags flying from lampposts. I mentioned the Orange Order to him and he looked at me with a blank look in his eyes. He had never heard of them. He has never seen a OO parade as we are always (purposely) out of the country during the twelfth fortnight. He knows nothing about the murderous decades of the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. I have no doubt that he will learn about the bad old days when he is older but we will will cross that bridge when we come to it.

    My wife and I are committed Christians but we have chosen not to have our children baptised. They will (hopefully) make that decision for themselves when they are old enough to understand what it is all about.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of people from both sides of the fence in NI, and indeed in parts of the ROI, who are still fighting “the war” and poisoning their childrens minds against the other side.

  • andnowwhat


    Firstly, any chance of getting a username that is easy to type?

    With regard to the south, oddly enough, suppressio has IMHO kept the RC religion going longer than it would have. What is supressed naturaly becomes valuable.

    Pushing that the modern ROI is religious or catholic is tiresome. That is something of the past

  • Mark

    Sectarianism is so ingrained in our culture , it will probably take another 2/3 generations to work out how stupid it is .

    My mother recently told me that her dad ( my grandfather ) was raised a protestant and when he met my granny and love bloomed , they decided to get married . My grandad worked for C.U ( Commercial Union ) insurance company in Ireland and when he told them he would be marrying a local cathloic girl , they sacked him . MY mothers family insisted that he become catholic or they wouldn’t bless the marraige — so he was fuct if he did and fuct if he didn’t . So he left CU insurance and married my grandma . He got a job with Hibernian Insurance who were later taken over by C.U insurance who remembered his histoty and while they couldn’t sack him , they made his life very hard .
    My mother never really got over the way C.U insurance treated her dad ( she got over her families disgusting attitude towards my grandad pretty quick though ) and became quite the ironing board warrier who would rejoice at the news that any loyalists got taken out . I remember her delight when Ray smallwood was killed .

    I know its a cliche but if the parents won’t change , what hope have the kids got ? ffs.. – and the politicians … and they know who they are ….

  • lamhdearg

    As i understand it the term sectarian, is based on religious sects, as i do not dislike the roman catholic faith(or any other within reason) any more than i dislike the one i was christened into, i refuse to except that it is in my heart, i will say that i use a similar analogy to explain latent rasism to some of my workmates, so i see where you are coming from in what you say. i also believe that sectarianism is not at the heart of ulsters problems, it is a problem, i would use schools as an example where being split along religious lines cause’s a sectarian differance to come to the surface, and i can see that some people are sectarian in the true meaning of the word, church going people who follow their faith and no other. I also believe the the use of the terms sectarian and sectarianism to label people who are not intrested in the religious beliefs of others but oppose them on nationalistic or policital grounds perpectuates the conflict in ulster.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Alastairk: ‘Well, speaking as one raised in a ‘mixed-marriage’, and within a more than comfortable CofI community in the Republic, that particular argument simply doesn’t resonate. The bulk of the years of the Republic have been pretty grim economically, and smaller communities suffered to greater degrees from the effects of emigration. The appeal of hanging around an economically deprived and stifled state wasn’t great for anyone, but for any minority it was worse – not because of political or religious oppression – but simply because there was less buy-in to the dominant institutions of the day.’

    I’m in broad agreement with your post Alastairk — I have C of I relatives who have lived near Monaghan for at least four generations. Their experiences since partition have been largely benign if depressing — virtually all the ‘young ones’ have moved over the border or to Britain, a mixture of economic necessity and as you put it, ‘less buy-in’ to the state.

    My post was in response to an assertion that a UI would be some sort of magic bullet to dispel sectarianism, to which this classic follow-up was posted:

    Mickaline: ‘Today, Loyalists should not be loyal to a foreign monarch, nor should Unionists seek to maintain a connection with the alien Brits. In time they will not. The problem remains in Britain!’

    It’s difficult to know where to start. The ‘alien Brits’ and the Irish actually differ very little. Take away the (still) fledgling Irish language and Gaelic games and you have neighbouring islands with relatively little difference. Britain is Ireland’s largest trading partner, it’s main destination for emigrant workers, with shared sporting and popular culture interests. Unionists certainly aren’t alone in ‘maintaining a connection’ with this neighbouring country and have every right to do so under the GFA which even violent republicanism signed up to.

    ”deployed by the Brits to hide their self-interest in NI.”

    What exactly is that self interest?

  • PaulT

    You can only hope that Mick reads this thread and understands that it stands head and shoulders above the usual shit posted here by Turgid and Baker, gosh, serious debate and its not about Gerrys ham and mustard sandwiches at lunch nor indeed the endless whining of the TUV

    On the OP, amazing that its all about the thought process of a 6yo asking what school your kid is at, being honest, surprisingly I’ve read the OP a few times (without getting the usual ‘dreary steeples’ feeling I get from Trugon or Pete’s blogs) and still can’t what the right answer to the question was, falling into agreeing to the answer you gave, which, could be seen as been a sad reflection on NI. A different or more expansive answer could have earned your kid a new friend, or nothing, or have marked him out for a future kicking.

    I grew up 1 mile west of the border, we never experienced this stuff, can a red line on a map or a yellow box on the road really make such a difference, don’t think so, its got to be society, and society is governed by the politicans

  • PaulT

    alastairk, good post, having been brought up in Donegal and knowing Monaghan well I think its fair to say that CoI has close knit communities everywhere in the southern border areas, my experience is they look after each other while having good relations with us’ums. Then 10 miles further south religion doesn’t feature at all

  • HeinzGuderian

    Moo……………….you are the father of the child. You were the one who posted this whinging bollox,and asked for opinions. You are a coward for letting your son go to a *faith school* against your wishes,in my humble opinion !! 😉

    Ya see,when you write utter tripe like this,you invite opinion……………………if you don’t like it,stop writing utter tripe !!

    By the by…………..I couldn’t care less what mystical mumbo jumbo you were brought up to believe……what’s that got to do with taking responsibility for the education of your child ??

  • andnowwhat


  • Aontachtach


    Sorry about the hard to spell username, but you will soon speed up!

    I wasn’t referring to religious bigotry in the ROI as thankfully the Vatican has lost control of the republic. I was talking about the anti unionist and British bile that is spewed out by republicans along the border. I know there is a programme on this week regarding the Queens visit there this year. I seen a clip of the show last night and the usual suspects are showing their usual level of respect and love to the people ( unionists) they claim as their fellow Irishmen and women.

  • malairt

    Heinz Guderian

    You’re perhaps not as familiar with the divorce laws and child custody procedures as others obviously are. My sympathies are with Moochin for being put in a very difficult situation.

  • Mickaline

    Gerry lvs Castro

    “What exactly is that self interest?”

    Though there’s been “no selfish, economic or strategic interest” talk from previous British politicians, the overall consensus seems to be that it is ultimately “British Security” that maintains their self-interest through the dual-political role.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    British security how? What possible security threat could Ireland pose to Britain?

  • I was at a Council My Neighbourhood meeting on the Albertbridge Road. The council had found that “anti-social behaviour” was at the top of the list of local worries in the surveys they ran.

    The people at the meeting said that it wasn’t anti-social behaviour: it was sectarianism when fights break out near the Newtownards Road. That was still the big problem, and some of them had been working on that for 30 years, with no change.

    However, there was anti-social behaviour, the “broken windows syndrome”, where abandoned buildings and run-down parks were the daily experience of young people, wondering what to do now there are only 2 youth clubs left out of the 11 there used to be in just that small part of E. Belfast.