ters had no incentive to aid the Nationalist party (i.e. Catholics) because they had established a permanent Cabinet monopoly.  The "Cult of Parliamentary Sovereignty" thus ensued since Unionists were not dependent on outside party support; Protestant dominated rule soon resulted in abuse.  Unionist Ministers used their positions of authority to actively subvert concessions to the Catholics and used their lack of action to sanction government abuses by not preventing discrimination.  This is evidenced in the following quote:

Unionist ministers were able, either actively to support Political discrimination, through framing appropriate legislation and sanctioning biased forms of administration,or tacitly to endorse discriminatory practices by not using their offices to prevent abuses at lower levels of government and administration.36

The result of this bias on the legislative process was two-fold.  First, it created an out-group of at least one-third of the electorate (i.e. Catholic) and second, Unionist Cabinet dominance prevented the "essential checks and balances in the Westminster model."37

The fourth discriminatory mechanism was the requirement of an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown.  This was preposterous to those Irish Catholics who not only despised the British, but were rejecting their rule in the North by boycotting the Stormont Parliament.   The Oath of Allegiance was used as a screening measure to keep those Irish Catholics who desired unification of the North and the South out of the political arena because they were viewed as disloyal.  The Oath was thus intended to conscribe those disloyal Irish to the British way of life.

The fifth discriminatory mechanism was instituted by the Orange Order and is known as canvassing.  "This meant that an applicant for a local authority job, for example, was given a list of councillors and committee members and was expected to visit them to plead his case"38 as to why he should receive the job.

Canvassing was used to develop the sixth discriminatory mechanism, that of clientilist relations which enabled Unionist elites to "distribute patronage amongst favoured sections of the constituency, thus strengthening the loyalty of their supporters."39   The end result was that the Orange Order was able to prevent the factionalization of their party by keeping members loyal through patronage.  Protestants also used clientilist relations to discriminate at the local level against the Catholics "where religion could be easily ascertained."40 This applied to both governmental and non-governmental jobs and especially hurt the Catholic

 

population during the 1930s when unemployment peaked around 25 percent.  From 1920 until 1968, the issue of Catholic loyalty to the crown was a driving force for continued Protestant dominance.   Catholics refused to swear allegiance to the crown because they were unwilling to accept the partition of Northern Ireland and the legitimacy of the Stormont Parliament.   Hence, the conflict is also about mutually exclusive desires for re-unification of the North with the South.  Whereas Protestants want to remain loyal and within the United Kingdom, Catholics want a unified Ireland rather than be "held hostage" under British subjugation.  The motivation to deprive Catholics of any political influence can best be summarized by Lord Brookeborough's comment that "nobody is going to put an enemy where he can destroy you!"41 This represents the prevailing Protestant sentiment in Northern Ireland. Additionally, from 1920 to 1968, the struggle for, and the fear of, re-unification also drove the conflict. Protestants feared the possibility of retribution and extinction under re-unification because they would become a minority in a united Ireland. The Orange Order capitalized on Protestants' fear of being "dominated by their traditional enemies...to keep the two communities apart and to ensure that all Protestants united in voting for their party."42   Protestants were thus motivated to protract the conflict to maintain their hierarchy of power and privilege.

The Catholic Challenge: A Rise in the Catholic Middle-Class Prompts a Shift in Their Desire From Unification to Equal Representation, Resulting in Political Mobilization Against Protestant Dominance

Following the end of World War II, the challenge for equal representation within the North became possible with the rise of a Catholic middle-class. Catholics were no longer dependent on the three dominant forms of employment that were controlled by Protestants: agriculture, linen, and ship building.   Instead, new industries meant that Catholics had more access to managerial occupations43 because they were not controlled by the Orange Order's garnering of political patronage. Hence, the introduction of foreign investment in new British enterprises in the North "created a new middle­class sector whose incomes and status were not related to the old Unionist oligarchy."44  The corresponding growth of the emerging Catholic middle-class was linked to a new frame of mind that "instead of challenging the legitimacy of the Northern state, began to demand equality within it."45

The growth of a Catholic middle-class contributed to the formation of a Catholic reformist movement, which later encompassed Northern Ireland's civil rights movement of the 1960s and the development of an educated

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Charles Shivers - Northern Ireland - National Identity ... [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]