Year: 2020_21
Module: Community Relations
Variable: COMMENTS

Below are the responses to the open-ended question:

'Is there anything else you would like to say about community relations in Northern Ireland?'

Note: Responses were only edited for grammatical reasons, if necessary. Square brackets indicate where editing occurred.

1. Mixed schools are a failure because they are majority protestant and members of the catholic community would ridicule you for going to one
2. I hope they improve over the coming years.
3. Very confusing for the youth today as everything that people disagree on is not only 10s of years old, but in some cases centuries
4. Demonstrations like bonfires create tensions when they are not necessary.
 5. I think that religion is stupid also I’d rather be with my own religion cause i would feel safer
6. I wish it didn’t matter
7. It is terrible
8. It seems to have gotten much worse especially among young people as I know friends who have been attacked for being Catholic
9. I wish people could get along
10. I would promote christian unity
11. I think they have recently worse and will continue to get worse for a while
12. More needs to be done so things are equal for both sides. One shouldn’t get more than the other. Traditions should be celebrated without politics or fear
13. Having more mixed religion areas would certainly improve relations as more people would learn it does not matter what religion you are, because they would be interacting with people from different religions almost every day and learn that everyone is human.
14. They need improved on before violence breaks out again
15. It was bad and now it’s alright
16. I think it’s getting worse, I have a really open minded upbringing and live in a mainly protestant but mixed middle class area and went to schools where I have always mixed with protestants, in the last few years I have not felt like I fit in here anymore, people treat me differently because I am a catholic and I don’t really have any friends around here anymore who I feel I really connect with. I have friends from both communities in school Integrated, but outside school, they can’t really all mix together all the time anymore as it’s just not safe. It’s rubbish because I really don’t care about all that but it seems to matter. As long as all school and communities have segregation people will always be more at home with their own kind. I will not bring my children up here because my parents did everything to avoid sectarianism but it still exists no matter what you do.
17. Could be better
18. I believe that outsiders, particularly the Westminster, Dublin and Brussels governments have little or no understanding of the deep divisions between communities in Northern Ireland, and as a result, their recent political decisions have had little or no regard for community relations here and have certainly made them worse. I am particularly concerned by the lack of control the people of Northern Ireland have over these decisions that deeply impact community relations between us.
19. They have improved drastically over the past say 20 years however I believe there is still a lot of tension which is unseen by most people.
20. People have strong prejudice towards people who have religious and ethnic differences not because they believe in them, but because they are not educated enough on northern Irish history or history in general
21. Adults of different religions get along better than teenagers
22. I think certain people will treat people differently if they have different beliefs or faiths and there should be more action taken towards this
23. I feel Protestants and Catholics will never been able peacefully live together due to their lack of understanding for one another and their rough history together.
24. I just wish we could get on better together
25. I think that right now most people are accepted for who they are and what they believe which is great because we are all people who are just trying to get by so when someone makes it difficult for them it will have a negative affect and I hope in the future that we can all just accept that we are all people but sadly I don’t think that that will happen with the amount of hate in the world and it may not happen in my lifetime but I hope for the future generation that they will all feel a sense of belonging.
26. I think the reason relations haven’t improved much is that we go to one religion schools mainly, and live in one religion areas mainly.
27. I don’t think it’ll get better any time soon as many youth still grow up with the sectarian ideas of their parents and are all too happy to go out and harass the other side.
28. I feel like a lot of distaste from groups like Catholic and Protestant come from some families bringing their children up that way. I feel that if this was to stop some of the distaste between Catholic and Protestant will dissipate.
29. I think integrated schooling should be the education department’s most important policy.
30. Friction between Catholics and Protestants will remain for the foreseeable future.
31. I think everyone should be more interlinked at a young age to teach equality
32. We need to give more middle of the road politics a chance to work and concentrate on things that matter to us, all like health, education, climate, industry, housing.
33. Young people get on very well with other young people from different backgrounds but it is parents and biased politicians pushing us apart because they more than likely grew up in the troubles
34. Still lots of intolerance to BAME communities and groups
35. All communities should be a safe environment for all religions and ethnicities
36. Honestly, i think the government needs to listen to our community much more than they do currently, the PSNI are in Sinn Fein’s pocket and the DUP are traitors to the unionist community of ours they claim to partake in, trying to cancel our protests, our parades and slap a border between us and our country overseas to pull us closer to a united Ireland. It’s ridiculous and this behaviour will not be tolerated, if this behaviour continues it will rise to war, and if war is what is needed to save our land, best believe our men will do it
37. It is bad in mixed cities like Belfast
38. There should probably be more programmes of integration early on so prejudiced views don’t have the same time to develop
39. Northern Ireland is very influenced by the past in every aspect of society which needs to change
40. There’s a lot of racists in this country
41. Wish they were better
42. I would really hope that people will forget that they have different religious beliefs so they can come together as one good community
43. I hope they get better
44. Just because someone is different there’s no need to stare or talk behind their backs because if you went to a different neighbourhood you wouldn’t like it
45. Most people are really welcoming and friendly towards everyone however some people view people different to them as not as good
46. Just that people should treat everyone the same no matter what they are as we are all humans
47. I hope community relations will strengthen as years go by.
48. Protestants burning ulster buses in Belfast is a bad job
49. Can sometimes get very heated when they see each other like over Easter holidays
50. While I personally consider myself a proponent of a United Ireland on the basis of the principle of anticolonialism, I think both religious communities are and have been equally responsible for the state of cross community relations.
51. I think people just need to chill and vibe with each other instead of hating each other because they disagree on who should govern them or what country they belong to.
52. I think that Brexit increased tensions between Catholics and Protestants.
53. There is not too much for me to talk about since I am mainly aware of the community I am in, which I feel is very accepting. There is this one person that I know that has made not so nice comments about others, and those comments happen to be racist, sexist, or something that makes fun of conditions from other people, such as my autism, but everyone is able to ignore what he says, since his bite is a lot worse than his bark, so I believe everyone feels welcome in the community.
54. Children are being unfairly indoctrinated into a system of hate by older generations of loyalists and republicans. This is the root of the problems in Northern Ireland, and they will continue until this ceases.
55. Load of dungus but them Protestants are too big for their boots in a country that’s not even theirs
56. People make a huge deal out of their religions and that religions past, but they need to let go and move on
57. It is quite bad right now due to the Irish Sea riots and it may get worse.
58. It will never change
59. In Northern Ireland, relationships between Protestant and Catholic communities had always seemed to be a bit tense, due to history surrounding the two communities and the differences in beliefs and traditions. I hope that these relations can improve, as if we want to improve as a country and as people, we need to forget about our differences and accept each other, as the dislike towards certain communities is nothing but harmful to Northern Ireland as a whole, and only increases tension further. I find it difficult to understand why some people dislike other religions as they are different from their own beliefs, though they aren’t very religions themselves, and don’t even know what the difference are. Though community relations have been improving, there is still tension and prejudice between communities, and we should do whatever we can to get rid of this tension.
60. Young people are getting the wrong ideas about other religions due to stereotypes in their communities
61. It is divided and I think people are not trying to mix
62. Brexit didnt help.
63. Nothing can work unless all sides relations improve with each other.
64. They are aggressive toward each other
65. The unionist parties of Northern Ireland have let the Unionist people down and so have the police
66. I’m happy with the current state of Northern Ireland
67. Divisions between Protestants and Catholics are dying off. A majority of people only direct jokes seen as bullying toward different groups but not out of hatred.
68. Protestant places get more funding than Catholic and also there needs to be a referendum
69. If children where educated together I feel there would be more trust and better relationships developed between religions.
70. Its not as much as a problem as it was back in the troubles and people don’t really care what religion u are anymore
71. It sucks
72. I would like to see Catholics and Protestants become closer as Christians and try their best to improve the community.
73. The people involved in politics in NI still create a divide in communities should not be in parliament, young people need to be more educated on it and need to forget about the past
74. From experience, young people from Catholic or Nationalist backgrounds tend to be more prejudiced toward people from the Protestant community. From talking to some, they tend to be brought up hating Unionists. I feel this is a very big problem within our community
75. Paramilitaries are very dangerous to our society and should not be tolerated. Any disagreements between communities should always be handled peacefully and responsibly. A lot of young people are being influenced by paramilitaries whether because of politics or drugs. Generally, we should be increasingly forgetting about two distinct backgrounds and the multitude of diverse backgrounds that make up our society.
76. They are distant
77. Personally I’m comfortable being Protestant and I have Catholic friends but I would not put my kids in a Catholic school in the future to secure they wouldn’t get bullied
78. I think it’s ridiculous that people still hold prejudice against each other for the sole reason that they are part of different religious communities
79. People look to far into the past and need to stop being prejudiced to other peoples beliefs
80. People should just see each other as human beings, no matter their religion
81. I go to a school where there is mix of religions and we all get on great. I have learned about others and found that the differences are very small. The future for Northern Ireland is integrated education as people will understand each other’s viewpoints and realise they are not a problem.
82. I would like to see all religions mix together better
83. Pathetic reasoning, everyone should get along equally and base their opinion of people on their personality and who they are not where they are from are what nationality or ethnicity they were born into.
84. It should improve
85. I think tensions have risen recently due to whatever happened with the border and the riots, but community relations will improve as older people are mainly the ones with prejudiced beliefs, but younger people are becoming a majority
86. There is a sense that older people who lived during the troubles and experienced heightened discrimination to their religious counterparts are perhaps teaching their children and grandchildren to discriminate. This was apparent when younger people were violent toward the PSNI and were being encouraged by older generations
87. Northern Ireland isn’t a place
88. Relations are worst in Belfast.
89. Load of rubbish
90. It is quite poor.
91. They are important on people growing together as a community and a whole
92. Should be more done to bring us together
93. To get on
94. They are very dehumanising. Northern Ireland is one of the most prejudiced places not to mention our own conflict
95. I feel if, we as a society, stopped rioting, fighting, and using violence then we would be tolerant with each other and live peacefully
96. They’re abysmal. Something needs to be done about the sectarian nature of this country before there is nothing left to protect
97. I have not really experienced any disparity between communities first hand but have heard stories from my friends.
98. For Northern Ireland I understand how prejudice can be passed through generations although it hurts to know Catholics and Protestants still have conflict as I remember being told about the history of Northern Ireland to learn for the mistakes not hold on to our relatives past as our own
99. It is very difficult for this country to get past what has happened in the past as many people have lost loved ones either due to paramilitary actions or the British Army. This means that people feel that some initiatives to move on are disrespectful to those who died. As well as this the fact that the British Government has time and time again ignored and overlooked the nuanced and unique problems of Northern Ireland eg the Irish Sea Border Protocol. Furthermore historical inquiries are still ongoing and many in my community feel as though the men who died in the Kingsmill massacre for example will not get the same coverage as those who were killed by the army. All of this different factors mean that rioting among the youth and suspicion among the older generations will most likely continue.
100. Bad
101. I find that we have made the issues about religion when deep down it’s only an excuse to have a constant negative look at life and it is constantly shoved in our faces whether its schools or political parties that we will always be divided instead of just letting everyone live their lives freely as long as they aren’t hurting anyone.
102. I wish the neighbours were more welcoming to others
103. There needs to be work done to promote a healthier relationship between communities in Northern Ireland
104. I wish that people didn’t care what background others were from or religion
105. Still very divided Sectarianism is still happening in Protestant and Catholic communities
106. I don’t think we as a whole country will ever evolve or develop if religions, ethnicities and races don’t take the time to educate themselves and others like their children about all religions, cultures, futures and past. I think everyone needs to respect each other’s identity and communities.
107. Need more equality the Catholic and Protestant thing is stupid
108. Over here people are extremely bigoted to different minorities and groups of people, this means LGBT, women and different races no matter what somebody will always have something to say about it because our society was built to help the cisgender heterosexual white man proceed, pushing minorities to the back of the priority list, this is why people are getting racially hatecrimed, why gay people only got the right to get married not even two years ago and the same with women who had MEN make their decision on if they should be able to abort a clump of cells or not. We are all so biased because we have been societally conditioned to think we are better than a certain marginalised group and it’s so normalised and this is why Northern Ireland is the race hate capital. I think we have unhealthy community relations and I think before we need to work on the community relations we need to work on acceptance.

109. They should allow protests for people’s rights peacefully instead of other people making it result in violence
110. Northern Ireland is an extremely racist and sectarian country and I hate it. I do think this has come from British colonialism and that a United Ireland would solve many problems for Catholics of Irish identity here, however may upset other communities. I wish sectarianism wasn’t so prominent in this country and maybe workshops in schools or Shared Education programmes would help raise a better generation for the future with hopefully less hate.
111. I hope something improves in the relationship between Catholics and Protestants.
112. Community relations are severely worsened by young people with no perception of the true history and views of the other
113. Up until recently, I believed that my generation didn’t really care very much about religion or the divide between Protestants and Catholics. However, after the rioting took place because of the Northern Ireland protocol, I believe that it will take many more generations for Northern Ireland to become a place that is tolerant to people of all backgrounds.
114. They were better before Brexit
115. I think that people my age don’t pay attention to politics and they only learn about their cultural ideas and traditions and this is shown through their prejudice behaviour that they seem to be proud of
116. Prejudice towards opposite communities is often passed down through families
117. They should try to influence more children and younger people that different religions should not be looked at differently and negatively.
118. I believe people are beginning to move on from the conflict that happened years ago, and people are attempting and succeeding well to live in unison and peace with each other. The younger generation of people have impacted this greatly through cross community programs or interacting with one another from different religions. Things are changing rapidly, and I personally believe within 2030 years the country will have moved on from this conflict and be more diverse. But, the remnants of the past will still stay and be a reminder of Northern Ireland’s history.
119. I honestly prefer to stay out of religious situations
120. No as no matter how many times it is said this country denies all forms of sectarianism, racism and homophobia, transphobia etc
121. They don’t exist
122. As long as there is no violence or tension surrounding religious beliefs, I think all of Northern Ireland will benefit from that peace. There is also free health care.
123. I think although things have improved in recent years, there is still a lot of prejudice and tension between communities. Even if some people do not outright hate another community, they may be casually disrespectful when speaking of them or less likely to want anything to do with a person from that community. I think it is very important to have people mix with all kinds of different people to encourage respect that comes with understanding other people.
124. There is a lot of racism and prejudice against ethnic minorities.
125. Nope, other than the large amount of conflict that’s been happening recently
126. As the youth grow up and have a bigger say I think most of the produce in N.I. will go down as we didn’t live through the Troubles and are more open to different opinions
127. We should start treating Catholics as equally as Protestants, the main problem is the government so the leaders should try harder to resolve their religious issues and act like a normal functioning government
128. I hope that we, as the new generation, can set aside religious differences that have affected those before us in hopes of building a better, closer society for both us and those who come after us.
129. Hopefully they improve in future
130. Community relations in NI, all depends on the group of people. Sometimes these interactions can be positive and other times, negative. Mixing is great, but people need to be openminded for it to succeed
131. The people of this country run this country and feel they have authority over the law
132. I don’t really know much about it all
133. Getting worse because of DUP
134. Most religious problems start from children they get taught that one religion is bad and then grow hatred for them later in life. If we have schools with no religion at all, there won’t be a constant divide and children won’t be forced to practise a religion they don’t believe in. They will understand that there is no real difference among each other and that religious beliefs don’t matter.
135. They have become more tense and threatening recently due to unionist riots
136. In my view it is a political divide more than a religious one, framing questions in terms of Catholics vs Protestants instead of nationalist vs unionist is unhelpful. People don’t dislike each other because of religion they dislike each other because of their stance on particular issues
137. There should nothing but mixed religion schools and not one or other.  I think NI would be a far better place
138. There needs to be more effort to help young people from different sides of the community see each other’s differences positively and be able to interact with them while still being able to hold onto their own identity.
139. It shouldn’t matter what race or religion you are just what kind of person you are and how you treat others
140. I think that there are few areas in Northern Ireland which people of all race, ethnicity and culture are treated with respect. In my experience the Northern Irish community is quite standoffish and unwelcoming to others, hence why those of different race, ethnicity and culture tend to stick together.
141. The anger between religions is stupid were all just people at the end of the day
142. Some communities feel a lot stronger about religion compared to others and I think they need to improve
143. The younger teenage generation have a stronger opinion on it than the adults in our generation the younger ones from both religions will grow up and make Northern Ireland a worse place
144. I hope the relations get better because religion shouldn’t matter
145. They are not very good. There should be mixed education eg all children in a community should go to the same school. There shouldn’t be grammar or non grammar schools because there are no grammar schools in poorer communities. Both sides of the Troubles should acknowledge how the other side felt. Politicians should stop breeding hatred. People should educate themselves and not follow a political party that favours one religion eg Sinn Feinn, DUP and UUP
146. It isn’t as black and white as people sometimes describe it as. It’s not that all Catholics hate Protestants and vice versa just because, but it is a very long and complicated history, and sometimes people just sweep this under the rug and act as if people are causing problems just for the sake of it. The reasons behind the uneasiness between the two communities shouldn’t be forgotten
147. Religion and different beliefs provide a lack do respect for each other causing unnecessary divisions and tensions
148. Brexit has increased community tensions within Northern Ireland and I have seen lots of violent posters around my community for and against it
149. A lot of young people don’t fully understand how traumatic the Northern Ireland conflict was for the older generations involved, this sometimes leads to a romanticisation of paramilitaries and a culture of generational trauma that deepens every year
150. I hope that all communities can get along well.
151. I’ve just seen on the news a while ago about people burning buses and fighting in Belfast because of religion it was frightening
152. I feel it is unfair that police take more action on actual Catholic saint days than on days in which harassment is carried out for no reason
153. I think that there is less of an issue with religion between younger people than there would be between our parents and grandparents generations, we should work on eliminating the stigma and sectarianism within Northern Ireland.
154. Should really get over the differences and move on
155. I feel that living in segregated schools and areas makes it difficult to have friendships with people who identify as another religion
156. People cannot let the past go
157. Catholics and Protestants are no better than each other
158. It shouldn’t matter about anyone’s race
159. I feel that there should be more cross community celebrations in Northern Ireland, as well as cross community schools and churches.
160. It’s very sectarian and the hate will always be there, if a united Ireland ever comes then this will be much worse. Things will never be at peace in a country will so much blood between to religions and nationalities
161. I feel a lot of people are stuck in the past. People believe because their parents or grandparents were a religion they are automatically that religion even though they wouldn’t count themselves as Christian.
162. I think that Northern Ireland will never fully have a complete peace between communities because the generational sectarianism will continue to be passed down.
163. Remove religion from politics, especially on human rights issues like, abortion, euthanasia etc., base on scientific evidence instead.
164. I think more schools should become mixed religion rather than just one
165. It is a racist and prejudiced community that only cares if you are catholic or Protestant
166. People should not favour people on whether play GAA sports or not
167. Some places are still taught gender stereotypes
168. It’s still green and orange and the politicians don’t try and make it better
169. Horribly prejudiced against LGBTQ people
170. I may be slightly naive on this subject, as I know little about the present state of community relations in Northern Ireland, but I have seen hate crimes against a kind immigrant family that were friendly acquaintances of my mother. They had done absolutely nothing to anger the local people of the neighbourhood, who expressed their hatred and prejudice by spraypainting their house with the words LOCALS ONLY. I wish that Northern Ireland was more open and welcoming to people and families from different countries and backgrounds, but knowing the history of NI and the attitudes many have towards immigrants or people of any different religion, I think it is highly likely that it will take a considerable amount of time for NI to become truly accepting.
171. I don’t know a lot about it
172. I think a large part of the divide for people is more fear than anything else. I’m fine with people from other communities, but it’s hard not to feel on edge whenever I’m in a very Protestant area because I’ve been glared at in GAA gear and my friends have to change their names in public because they live in those areas and it’s probably the same vice versa

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