WE CAN be reasonably sure that the muted cacophony of outrage following the intimidation of four Catholic families on the Ravenhill Road did not reach the Midland Hotel in Manchester and that the DUP did not raise the issue with their Tory friends when they addressed that conference.
And yet when I started to read Tom Kelly, pictured above (October 2) I thought that, with his insight, assessment and comprehensive analysis, at long last the origins and remedy for this cancer that the British introduced into our country, would be accurately identified. But, disappointment would be an understatement.
The truth is that political unionism is underpinned by a pervasive and diabolical hatred of Catholics that goes back to the days of Oliver Cromwell. It is not so much about what unionism is. And the sense of siege felt by the land thieves who came over here from England and Scotland 400 years ago has been mischievously kept alive mostly by Protestant clergy, to facilitate political and religious careers – but by no means all or most of them – who make up a sizable quota of the membership of the Loyal Orders.
This toxic concoction of fear and hatred is ingrained in many young Protestants from an early age and is aptly documented and exhibited in the bonfire and marching rituals. It is not reciprocated by Catholics, nor does it run in all our DNA as Tom Kelly claims. There is certainly sectarianism [and racism] in nationalist Ireland, but no popular support for it exists anywhere, and there is no propensity for it as he claims.
During my entire life I have never heard a priest or bishop make insulting comments about Protestants from the pulpit, refer to other religious beliefs as being in error or declare that the Muslim faith is satanic. The Catholic hierarchy have been slated publicly for many historical misdemeanors. But they have never been sectarian. And Tom’s contention that republicans show disdain for Orange culture and overreact to every parade is manifestly untrue.
Indeed only a small number of those thousands of parades have been contested. And Tom refers to the schools. Who would argue against educating all schoolchildren together? We can continue to send joint excursions of Catholic and Protestant children to Holland or Florida. But this only feeds the false narrative that the Catholic victims of this disease must share the blame for it. And that only makes the problem worse.
With many thanks for his letter to: The Irish News, (October 9) Mr Jack Duffin, Belfast, BT11.
Follow this link to find out more information: http://www.irishnews.com/paywall/tsb/irishnews/irishnews/irishnews//opinion/columnists/2017/10/02/news/tom-kelly-sectarianism-is-part-of-our-dna-in-northern-ireland-1150159/content.html