Year: 2003
Variable:FEELPROT/FEELCATH - comments

How favourable or unfavourable do you feel about people from the Protestant/Catholic community?

NB: Square brackets indicate where the text was edited.

There are some people that won't mix with Protestants and many people that wouldn't mind [to mix] but are afraid to say [this] because they are afraid of what other people will think and say. Me personally, I will mix with anyone. I have a caravan where we go a lot and socialise most. Most of my mates are Protestants and we get along fine. They're just the same as me but believe different things, but that should not stop a friendship.

Personally, the Catholic people I have been in contact with are no different that the Protestant ones and are good friends of mine, but there are some Catholics and Protestants who make me feel threatened and unwelcome. [] I used to have friends from my all-Protestant school that were very anti-Catholic, which I am not. After the 11+ I went to a mixed school and they went to all-Protestant schools, and now we have very different views.

I go to an integrated school and I have found that some people are fine with the different religions but other people aren't. There are more Protestants than Catholics in my school and I have found that some of the Protestant pupils dislike people because they are Catholic and find it funny to call them 'Fenians' etc. The school is in a Protestant area and the people in that area, although they know it's an integrated school continue to believe it's a Catholic school and vandalise it regularly. Also, the people from this village target the children from the village that go to my school beating them up and calling them 'Fenian lovers' etc.

Although I would send my children to a Catholic school, I would always be tolerant of other religious views, I would discourage bigotry at all times. This is what my parents have done and I now feel indifferent but tolerant towards Protestants. I know many Protestants but treat them like my Catholic friends, except for talking about politics or football.

The majority of people, especially the young, don't care about Protestant and Catholic relations. I was brought up to treat people as equals no matter what their ethnic origin was.

The majority of the problems stem from the Protestant community. The problems need to be resolved from the source. Children aren't concerned with the reason why they dislike the opposite party but have learned that it's just a way of life, brought up to believe that those from the other side are a pollution to their minds. Proper teaching of the history of Ulster should be taught to all, so children can decide for themselves what to believe. People who don't know the basics of their own faith shouldn't have an expressed opinion on the opposite side.

I have been brought up in a mixed community and feel no bitterness towards Catholics. My best friend is one. I believe it is down to the parents to introduce their children to different religions, as it tends to be the case that if the parents are bitter it usually rubs off on their offspring, so unless we do this I can see no difference in N. Ireland cross community relations.

Generally I feel that people in N. Ireland claiming to be part of a certain religion, yet don't practice it, are hypocritical and are causing tension between communities for the sake of it, or because it's a tradition. Community relations in N Ireland are very territorial for example if a Protestant enters a Catholic community they are taking a very high risk of being attacked because they have a different religion.

I don't dislike members of the Protestant or Catholic community, however I don't like extremist groups such as UVF, LVF or members of Sinn Fein. My local area has been decorated with loyalist flags etc and I don't feel this is necessary. I think it's important that as children grow up they should learn to mix with others from different communities and learn that they are no different.

The only reason I have a slight prejudice to Protestants is because they are prejudiced towards me (and Catholics).

The Catholic community is always talking about compromise but yet they wish to stop all Protestant parades, which is part of our culture. Nobody is trying to stop the Catholic culture. Why is the Union Jack not allowed to be displayed? It's our national flag, yet it is not allowed to be seen, and yet a foreign flag like the tricolour is displayed everywhere.

Although relations are getting better, I believe this will have to improve further, as I still feel threatened today by people simply because I am Catholic. I can't seem to enjoy 'summer nights out' because roads are blocked by Protestant bands parading through my local town. I am in a catholic band and we are allowed to parade once a year and only for a short period of time! I can't understand why this is happening still in the year 2003! Equal rights are needed, and fast!!

Community relations in N. Ireland won't improve as long as a difference is being made in favour of the catholic people. They have been given too much of everything e.g. grants, removal of flags etc.

Catholic schools appear to get more funding than Protestant ones.

The way Sinn Fein has control over N. Ireland with the IRA is appalling. [They] shouldn't have a member as an education minister, as it has been [proven] he has given most money and new schools to Catholic areas. [I] cannot go into Belfast wearing a Protestant-related shirt while Catholics can wear Celtic ones. The police service is a shambles, with this 50-50 idea should be scrapped. Young people shouldn't be bitter towards other religions.

[] I believe relations with Catholics and Protestants will never be good because of the way NI children are brought up. I have a mum who is Protestant and a dad who is Catholic and they never brought me up to hate the other people, but yet I still feel that the Protestant community hates us Catholics. Also I did history GCSE one month ago. The NI section made me want to join politics and to represent the Catholic community.

I have some friends who are Protestants but the reason why I would like to live in a mixed area is because some Protestants can be bitter.

The Protestants and Catholics of Northern Ireland really need to sort their attitudes out towards each other. I hang about with Catholics and find absolutely nothing wrong with them, so if I can do it so can others. As for the people of the UVF, UDA, IRA etc. 'GET A LIFE'.

The problem between these two communities lies with those who are not interested in religion as Christians. They simply see it as a status. The roof of our problems are the sectarian organisations - not the orange order as many people may think. For example, why have the orange marches only become a problem in recent years? The sectarian Catholics are using this as a weapon to get their own way, as far [as] the North-South division is concerned. The sectarian Protestants and Catholics do not have any problem with each other, they simply hold different Christian beliefs. Too much spotlight is put on the negative relations. I have grown up watching news and assuming Catholics will hate me, which I have realised is not true. My family has no problem being friendly towards Catholics.

I run about with Catholics, but if I was to meet a real bitter Catholic I could be just as bitter or maybe even worse.

I think it is a disgrace for such importance to be put into religion in N. Ireland. I lived in East Belfast for years and don't feel any hatred towards other religions.

I think there is a necessity to look at the broader picture in Northern Ireland since 1921. It is my belief that Unionists today are only too keen to emphasise a 'democracy' in Northern Ireland since partition. I would like to ask the question, what about the democracy back in 1918 when Sinn Fein won the overwhelming majority throughout the country of Ireland, yet the people's call for independence was inevitably rejected (as it has been throughout the past 800 years). I also wonder if Unionism would be as quick to emphasise 'democracy' if the growing Nationalist community exceeded the Unionist population? Furthermore, I cannot understand why the power-sharing government in the early 70's was 'put down' by Unionism when Republican Sinn Fein was non-existent in politics but instead moderate Nationalists like John Hume (who were not categorised as terrorists) were those in government. I've come to the conclusion that Republicanism is not the problem today, but is a result of Unionist disposition towards superiority.


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