Saturday, 9 June 2012

An insight into sectarianism

Fionnuala O'Connor wrote In Search of a State: Catholics in Northern Ireland, which was published in 1993.  In it she recorded this exchage with an academic from Londonderry (p 140):

Tony, the academic from Derry, says with typical Derry chauvinism that he first saw sectarianism in the IRA when he came to Belfast, and was horrified.  'I never experienced republicans in Derry having this hatred.  I remember talking to this quite senior guy in north Belfast, we were standing looking over the Shankill and we were talking about our dreams for Ireland.  And he said - there wasn't drink or anything involved, he was quite rational - he said: 'Tony what I'd really love is to be able to stand here and just see green fields.'  And I says: 'Come on', and he says: 'No, that's my dream for Ireland.  I would like to see those Orange bastards just wiped out.'
Many people will question the claim that there was no sectarianism in the IRA in Londonderry but 'Tony' is certainly right in saying that sectarianism was deeply embedded in the IRA in North Belfast.  His account of a conversation with a senior republican, presumably from Ardoyne, since they were 'looking over the Shankill', does provide an insight into that sectarian republican mindset.

This senior republican wanted to see the Shankill eradicated and turned back into green fields.  He wanted to see 'those Orange bastards just wiped out.'  That is what is known as ethnic cleansing and it illustrates the sort of challenge we face in North Belfast and in many other parts of Northern Ireland.

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