In response to the previous
article on the riots in Northern Ireland, that stated:
"The key question that faces socialists in Northern Ireland today is essentially as it has been for the last half century – the unification of workers around a program of fundamental social change to address the day-to-day problems that all workers face, on both sides of the sectarian divide."
Earl Silbar , commenting on Facebook, asks, “I assume that there still exists active discrimination, for example against Catholics in the north. A program that speaks only to the common situation workers face Would not speak to the special oppression. How could that ever appeal to the most oppressed group of workers?”
I asked Harry Hutchinson the author of the article to respond and his response is below. Mike Craig, also in Northern Ireland also commented and his remarks are below. Richard Mellor. ed.
In response to Earl.
Thank you for your comment on my article on the riots in Northern Ireland, specifically the program.
Since the downfall of Unionist control witch blatantly discriminated against Catholics in jobs, education, housing and elections came to an end after the civil rights movement in the 1960's and early 70's, discrimination against one section of the community is not like in the past,
Later, the Fair employment act of 1989, compelled employers to sign,, which most have done and equal opportunities in employment has been greatly improved due to this act.
It’s not so much discrimination, but segregation that is the main issue. First and second level education remains segregated and grossly underfunded for all schools.
Housing estates are largely segregated to Protestant and Catholic designated areas. The recent Loyalist violence was in these areas, according to the Guardian, one of the most deprived areas anywhere in the UK. This equals many in Catholic areas.
The government in Britain controls the budget in NI. This limits expenditure for much needed public services. Since the Good Friday Agreement it has been Stormont where Unionists and Nationalist have closed public services, particularly hospitals in all areas, both Protestant and Catholic.
At least these Capitalist sectarian Parties are fair on their discrimination of both sections of the community in NI.
Harry Hutchinson, member of the Labour Party Northern Ireland.
From Mike Craig in Derry Northern Ireland
Another form of discrimination against Catholics in the 60s was the use of an auxiliary police force - the 'B Specials'. Their official task was to secure the borders and look out for suspicious activity which might threaten the State. Off the record they spent much of their time harassing Catholics, reasoning that all Catholics were enemies of the State.
The B Specials were disbanded in order to meet the demands of the Civil Rights Movement.
Discrimination continued at the hands of the main police force, the RUC until after the GFA (Good Friday Agreement) in 1998 when it too was disbanded and replaced, but an unbiased observer would have to ask if this wasn't a reaction to the IRA's campaign which killed 100s of cops, which was backed by a significant section of the Catholic population?