‘ Pride and Prejudice’ by Jessica McGrann

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I have been complaining a lot recently about the lack of interest in the south over the north but I now realise this is just way we are as a people. There is a distinct lack of interest in matters beyond our own little worlds. And it is not because it isn’t important to us, but because we are preoccupied with what is happening on our doorstep more than what is going on in other parts of the country. All the moaning and complaining in the world isn’t going to make a difference.

Two Irish families are trying to exterminate one another in our capital city and introducing an EU wide and well-funded criminal empire into our country and it is hardly worth a discussion. Is it any wonder parties like Fine Gael and Fianna Fail get away with picking and choosing what matters they wish to promote and which get left by the wayside.

Ensuring water charges are introduced and an established private water utility regulator is in place either sooner for Fine Gael or further down the road when the heat settles for Fianna Fail are more important.

Perhaps a new Ireland including a north that is economically contributing is the only way to bring about an Ireland without water charges, without bin collection charges, with a fairer and more affordable health, education and welfare system as well as a total reform of our public sector and to bring wages, inflation and tax policies back into line for the betterment of the Irish people. The more overinflated our economy is, the harder it will be to make these corrections in a short to medium term.

Radical change is needed in Ireland and unification is one way we could bring this about, but it would require the 6 counties to be paying its way. I decided to google up on the reunificion of Germany and found the following paragraph very interesting:

“Thatcher, who carried in her handbag a map of Germany’s 1937 borders to show others the “German problem”, feared that its “national character”, size and central location in Europe would cause the nation to be a “destabilizing rather than a stabilizing force in Europe”. In December 1989, she warned fellow European Community leaders at a Strasbourg summit that Kohl attended, “We defeated the Germans twice! And now they’re back!” Although Thatcher had stated her support for German self-determination in 1985, she now argued that Germany’s allies had only supported reunification because they had not believed it would ever happen.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_reunification

More evidence as if we needed it of the duplicity of Britain. Unionism is making zero effort at reconciliation, they were always confident unification won’t happen from the GFA and there have been no efforts to even talk about any benefits to the Irish people that unification could achieve. James Molyneax said the IRA ceasefire was the worst thing that has ever happened to unionism. Perhaps reconciliation and moving away from unionisms sectarian stance on Irish equality is considered the next worst thing that could happen to unionism.

It is time more scrutiny is applied to unionism and more pressure is applied to removing sectarianism from all sections of our society starting with the unionist leadership and their political parties. Perhaps only then can we start talking seriously about the type of Ireland we want it to be.

 

52 Responses to ‘ Pride and Prejudice’ by Jessica McGrann

  1. Scott May 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    “It is time more scrutiny is applied to unionism and more pressure is applied to removing sectarianism from all sections of our society starting with the unionist leadership and their political parties. Perhaps only then can we start talking seriously about the type of Ireland we want it to be.”

    How would you like to see that pressure applied to unionist leadership Jessica?

    • jessica May 29, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

      “It is time more scrutiny is applied to unionism and more pressure is applied to removing sectarianism from all sections of our society starting with the unionist leadership and their political parties. Perhaps only then can we start talking seriously about the type of Ireland we want it to be.”

      How would you like to see that pressure applied to unionist leadership Jessica?2

      That is a very good question Scott.

      A lot of scrutiny was applied to republicanism during the southern elections and again over the centenary commemorations.

      It is incredible that Sinn Fein have come out the other side but I believe they are the stronger now for it.

      I don’t know if it is elections bringing the worst out in people, but watching the body language even between Fine Gael and Sinn Feins Martin Kenny just today on RTE, it was very positive and respectful and I would hope that when elections come around again, the same old media negativity does not arise but policies that are scrutinised.

      I certainly feel Sinn Fein handled it better than any other party could have and I believe it has made them stronger which will result in them leading the next Dail.

      I would not wish the same level of brutal and biased attacks be levelled at unionism, but certainly more questions over their abuse of veto for the Irish language act. why they object to a Sinn Fein justice minister when they are equal partners in government and what they will do when there is a nationalist majority and support for unification are questions I would like to see the media put this to them more enthusiastically while their sectarian attitude continues.

      • Scott May 29, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

        The media did make the points regarding a Sinn Fein justice minister being blocked by the DUP. I heard it all over the radio and papers. It failed to gain any real traction though since Sinn Fein didn’t seem bothered by it. The veto on the Irish Language act is also an issue that seems not to overly bother or cause a extreme reaction from Sinn Fein, but the DUP’s use of the petition of concern veto was also discussed in the media. As for the discussion of what unionism will do when there is a nationalist majority, well why should they discuss it at the moment it’s no were near close to happening. Nationalism shrunk in the last assembly election taking 37% of the seats to unionisms 51%

        The Justice minister and Irish language issues that you bring up here were widely known by the electorate before the 2016 assembly elections but the DUP were returned as the biggest party by far.

        Whether you like there handling of things or not they have been through the democratic test and you must now respect there democratic mandate even if you don’t like them?

        • jessica May 29, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

          “As for the discussion of what unionism will do when there is a nationalist majority, well why should they discuss it at the moment it’s no were near close to happening. Nationalism shrunk in the last assembly election taking 37% of the seats to unionisms 51%”

          Scott, I notice you have gone from declaring yourself a representative of unionism to speaking of unionism in the third person.

          I agree that Sinn Fein are not making much of it, but it does not mean such decisions are not sectarian.
          There is a saying if you give someone enough rope…

          But I would more interested in your own opinion Scott, do you think it reasonable that such behaviour could be considered sectarian?

          • Scott May 29, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

            You know I’m a unionist Jessica so I don’t have to declare it in every post. Besides I’m trying to avoid you calling me a bigot every time I say I am a unionist.

            I disagree with a lot of DUP policy. I’ve never voted DUP I’m an alliance voter. So I feel no need or inclination to defend them. They can do that for themselves.

            On the specific issues of the justice minister I didn’t see the big deal. I would’ve just thrown it into D’hondt with the rest of the ministers.

            On the Irish language act, as we discussed before the details are a bit thin on the ground of what is actually in the bill. I am for government support of the Irish language in order to honour the good Friday agreement but only to a point.

          • jessica May 29, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

            “You know I’m a unionist Jessica so I don’t have to declare it in every post. Besides I’m trying to avoid you calling me a bigot every time I say I am a unionist”

            I am not calling you anything Scott, I am trying to give you or any unionist the opportunity to prove me wrong.
            I do not believe you are a bigot Scott, just naïve over what unionism means in Ireland.
            I have not changed my opinion in unionism but I do apologise if I have offended you.

          • Scott May 30, 2016 at 8:44 am #

            Also Jessica I don’t see myself as a spokesperson for unionism and never meant to come across as that.

            The only persons opinion I’m voicing is my own

          • jessica May 30, 2016 at 11:09 am #

            “Also Jessica I don’t see myself as a spokesperson for unionism and never meant to come across as that.
            The only persons opinion I’m voicing is my own”

            I do respect your opinion Scott.
            We can all be sectarian in this part of the world.

            My annoyance is more that Unionism does very little to address it and in fact still actively plays on it emotionally for electoral benefit as we seen recently over the stop Martin McGuinness from being first minister as if it will do anything other than delay the inevitable.

            Sinn Fein are trying to move us away from sectarianism and while there is mainstream support among Irish nationalists for their stance, the fact that unionism is not reciprocating does not sit well with many including myself and has led to a drop in electoral support for the Sinn Fein strategy and the nationalist vote overall has gone down as a result.

            Sinn Fein do want a better Ireland for all of the people on this island and that requires the north being a positive contributor towards unification for which they need the DUP on board to make that happen. Unionism on the other hand are happy to be permanently reliant on the subvention from the UK and keeping as much of this in their own areas as it will make unification harder.

            With Sinn Fein now holding the finance minister position I would hope to see a lot more investment west of the bann and on cross border projects working closer with the south as well as in west Belfast which have all been neglected to date.

          • Scott May 30, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

            I’m a big advocate for desegregation of our society which is one of the reasons why I’m a Alliance voter. It cost our society 1 billion a year apparently.

            I do recognise SF gestures of reconciliation, and I’ve already praised some on this website but in other areas they are simply lacking.

            They have held the education ministry for 12 years but we are no closer to the integrated education system which I believe is so important for desegregation of society.

            I support there scrapping of the 11 plus but the whole handling of it has been awful.

            They’re handling of the casement park redevelopment has also been shambolic. They received the money at the same time as the Ulster branch and the IFA. Ravenhill is finished and all and Windsor is well underway but casements a train wreck.

            Also during the welfare reform “crisis” they gave no alternative other than “we will just get more money from Westminster”

            I’m not saying the DUP do much better but if it’s effective government you want I don’t think SF cut it.

          • jessica May 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

            “They have held the education ministry for 12 years but we are no closer to the integrated education system which I believe is so important for desegregation of society.”

            I don’t think it was ever in Sinn Feins gift to deliver an integrated education system. I look forward to seeing how the DUP get on in that regard.

            My preference would be to an Irish ethos school whether it be integrated or not. Catholic maintained schools are mixed and there is no reason protestants cant attend them, they also have the best results so when you say you want an integrated education system, do you really mean you want all children to attend only British ethos schools or what is the difference?

            As a parent, how would you respond if I said I had a right not to send my child to a British ethos school, and that I want them to attend an Irish ethos school instead?

            “They’re handling of the casement park redevelopment has also been shambolic. They received the money at the same time as the Ulster branch and the IFA. Ravenhill is finished and all and Windsor is well underway but casements a train wreck.”

            Now that I agree with, it was an absolute unforgivable shambles.

            “Also during the welfare reform “crisis” they gave no alternative other than “we will just get more money from Westminster”

            Westminster got off light for the damage they caused here. Had all of the parties stood together, I am sure we could have squeezed another 1 billion pounds out of them. I believe unionism feared such pressure might tempt them to want out of here so we are now in 2 billion of debt with nothing to show for it.

            You wont get support from me against England having to make reparations for the damage they caused to this society, the cost in human suffering and neglect of our people and our infrastructure.

            Unionism would prefer to limit us to the scraps from subvention and limit our growth to keep our reliance on hand outs from England.

            Sinn Fein now hold the finance portfolio, and if they can persuade London the money will be well invested, we could see a major turn around and real growth as I believe they will see it as a good investment and what’s good for England, England supports.

            I believe unionism have been a ball and chain to the economy here. Now there is an opportunity for Sinn Fein to prove this one way or another to all of our people.

            Unification will not happen until we have a positive economy. We have to make this happen.

          • Scott May 30, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

            “As a parent, how would you respond if I said I had a right not to send my child to a British ethos school, and that I want them to attend an Irish ethos school instead?”

            I don’t really understand what you mean by British ethos and Irish ethos could you explain?

            I don’t want any schools of a national ethos or that have any religious ethos, in fact I don’t believe that religion should be taught in schools at all. Schools should be neutral spaces that anyone can attend whether they are Protestant, Catholic, Jews, Muslims or whatever. The sole aim of schools should be to turn out a highly educated and skilled person who becomes a productive member of society.

            The catholic maintained sector has undoubtedly a lot of fantastic schools along with I’m sure some not so good schools. It is however de facto segregation since it basically only serves the catholic population as I’m sure there’s very few Protestants go to CMS. It also costs a fortune to run two different school systems, money that would be far better reinvested into improving the education system as a whole.

            Westminister is not going to provide extra funds for Northern Ireland. Why would they when the rest of the U.K. is also experiencing austerity. In the not so distant past westminister would throw money at Northern Ireland for fear of the system falling apart and a return to violence but we are beyond that now which is a good thing of course.

            As a Nationalist do you not see the irony of whenever there is some financial troubles that SF the leading nationalist party only response is we will just get more money from the Brits? Why would people in the south want the north if that’s there only solution to financial problems. I would have had more respect for SF if they had of came out and said we want to keep our welfare system as is and to fund it here’s were we would like to raise taxes or cut this instead. Surely that’s responsible goverment

            Welfare is a tough problem with no easy answers but it needs addressed. I heard on the radio that 1 in 9 people in NI are on DLA. The rest of the U.K. is 1 in 20. Surely that’s just crazy.

          • jessica May 31, 2016 at 8:12 am #

            “I don’t really understand what you mean by British ethos and Irish ethos could you explain?”

            When I was i primary school, as well as the normal curriculum, we were also taught irish dancing, we made st Bridget crosses and about things more important to Irish children, we celebrated st Patricks day as Irish children, that it was our patron saints day, we were taught to say prayers in Irish I would like my children to be brought up proud to be Irish and not as a neutral.

            “I don’t want any schools of a national ethos or that have any religious ethos, in fact I don’t believe that religion should be taught in schools at all. ”

            I would not send my child to such as school. I am an Irish catholic and I want my children brought up as Irish Catholics. We have Irish catholic schools so why would I not send my child to one?

            “The sole aim of schools should be to turn out a highly educated and skilled person who becomes a productive member of society.”

            Are you saying people who attend Irish catholic schools are any less educated or a less productive member of society than those who attended state schools?
            Why is the majority of sectarianism and racial intolerance found in unionist communities then?

            “It is however de facto segregation since it basically only serves the catholic population as I’m sure there’s very few Protestants go to CMS. ”

            There is no reason why protestants should not be just as perfectly well accommodated in a catholic maintained school as a catholic in a state run school.
            You don’t need to do away with one or the other to have proper integration.
            How do you suggest you persuade nationalists that the schools performing the best and achieving the best grades be closed to suit those who want a neutral integrated system?
            The only way I can see this working is through an all Ireland integrated education system. Remember, 54% of school children are Irish catholic and the gap is growing.

            “As a Nationalist do you not see the irony of whenever there is some financial troubles that SF the leading nationalist party only response is we will just get more money from the Brits? ”

            Until there is money from somewhere else, I dont see that we have any other choice.
            I will judge them on what they choose to do with the money. If the money to be borrowed is simply to keep the status quo and pay to delay the public sector lay offs and not to invest in construction projects and to create jobs and wealth more evenly throughout the north, then they will be no better than the DUP.
            Raising taxes is another option but not one I would agree with.

            “Welfare is a tough problem with no easy answers but it needs addressed. I heard on the radio that 1 in 9 people in NI are on DLA. The rest of the U.K. is 1 in 20. Surely that’s just crazy.”

            So long as the criteria for receiving DLA is no different, the figures should even out over time. The rest of the UK did not go through 30 yeas of conflict.
            We would need to break this down into age groups if you are suggesting there is something inappropriate going on which there well could be.
            I don’t think DLA is the biggest problem with welfare though. The focus should be on more jobs and fairer distribution of them.

          • Scott May 31, 2016 at 11:05 am #

            Do you not see how having schools that teach Irish dancing and the Irish language and hold religious Catholic ceremony’s effectively make those schools cold houses for Protestants? All that does is reinforce segregation from a very young age. I though desegregation was something everyone was behind to help break down the barriers between are two societies.

            You absolutely have the right to raise your child as an Irish Catholic but why should the state pay for it. Surely the school system is to produce children who are well educated. The way children are culturally is guided by the parent until a child becomes old enough to decide for themselves. We are paying hugely for this divided system which is simply a waste of resources.

            No I wasn’t saying the CMS schools produce less educated children. Quite the opposite the top CMS schools produce the best and the evidence supports that. They don’t produce great results though because of there Catholic ethos or Irish ethos though they produce the best because they are great schools with great teachers. The CMS also has many bad schools so that is proof that it’s not the system but rather the individual schools that make the difference. I don’t see how it’s fair that these state funded schools are effective cold houses to Protestants.

            I’m not advocating the best schools be closed simply that education is accessible to all.

            Regarding welfare you say that DLA should even out over time and that the reason for the high count is the conflict. That just doesn’t stack up though since the claimant count has actually increased since the GFA. The only reason I can see for this is the welfare system is being abused and needs urgent reform.

          • Jude Collins May 31, 2016 at 11:11 am #

            So do you believe all public funding should be removed from Catholic schools, Scott? I think it’s an important point to be clear on…

          • jessica May 31, 2016 at 11:57 am #

            “Do you not see how having schools that teach Irish dancing and the Irish language and hold religious Catholic ceremony’s effectively make those schools cold houses for Protestants? All that does is reinforce segregation from a very young age. I though desegregation was something everyone was behind to help break down the barriers between are two societies.”

            Partition created a sectarian division more so in the north of Ireland allowing catholic control of the free state in the south and protestant mistrust in the north fearing to live under a catholic controlled state.

            I assure you that I would also fear to live under a catholic controlled state as much as any protestant in the north.

            But what this has also done, is deny Irish culture to protestants in the north who for reasons I can totally understand, turned away from it and due to a brutal conflict learned to hate it.

            So how do we resolve this and how can we undo that damage that we inflicted on one another?

            Yes, we can try and persuade nationalists to follow suit and forego the culture we still hold dear to become part of this neutral society you talk off which sounds very unappealing to me to be honest, and for that reason will most likely fail, eventually we will get around to talking about how we can reclaim the Irish culture for all of our people, to create not a neutral society but a pluralist, progressive and more liberal Irish society, regardless of religion, sexual orientation etc… One that we can all be proud off.

            As Mike Nesbit said however, unionism is still on the wrong side of history for this to happen.

            “You absolutely have the right to raise your child as an Irish Catholic but why should the state pay for it.”

            The state pays for children to be educated, so long as children our receiving a good education why should the state not pay schools that are achieving the best results and have been doing so for many decades; just because they include cultural education alongside the curriculum?

            “The way children are culturally is guided by the parent until a child becomes old enough to decide for themselves. We are paying hugely for this divided system which is simply a waste of resources.”

            Yes, and as a parent I want my child to learn about our culture and other aspects of life not necessarily part of the curriculum. Life studies of you like. We are not machines, we are people and we have a culture which we should embrace and be proud off.

            As for a waste of resources, again, state schools will not resolve this, only merging smaller schools into larger estates will achieve this and that is happening anyway but will take time.
            John ODowd has been doing this and has closed more catholic schools as part of the process. The DUP will not be able to accelerate this process as such major change requires time and money and careful handling. Casemount park is an example of how rushing thee things can go wrong.

            “No I wasn’t saying the CMS schools produce less educated children. Quite the opposite the top CMS schools produce the best and the evidence supports that. They don’t produce great results though because of there Catholic ethos or Irish ethos though they produce the best because they are great schools with great teachers. ”

            Then would it not be best to make them more appealing to protestants, reduce the catholic aspects perhaps?
            What would make them more appealing to Protestants do you think?

            “The CMS also has many bad schools so that is proof that it’s not the system but rather the individual schools that make the difference. I don’t see how it’s fair that these state funded schools are effective cold houses to Protestants.”

            I agree, no school should be a cold house for anyone regardless of religion or any other factor and bad schools should be merged with the better performing schools regardless whether they be state run or not.
            If a state school and a catholic school are next to one another, the best school should have the other merged into it.

            “Regarding welfare you say that DLA should even out over time and that the reason for the high count is the conflict. That just doesn’t stack up though since the claimant count has actually increased since the GFA. The only reason I can see for this is the welfare system is being abused and needs urgent reform.”

            I actually don’t have any figures for this so was not an informed opinion. I am not really a socialist though and believe everyone should work, so the first aim in my opinion is making sure there are jobs and that they fairly distributed, then clamp down hard on those who refuse to take them.

            Borrowing to pay for welfare is an absolute no no in my book.

            I don’t think we would be too far apart economically, but to be successful economically, we will still need to sort out our differences culturally. Tourism is one area we can use to grow our revenue but the vast majority of people will be coming to see Ireland. We need to embrace this and stop excluding one section of our community from their Irish culture and heritage which their forefathers once embraced.
            I accept this will have to happen at your own pace

            The south is no longer a catholic conservative state and will be even less so in the coming years.

          • Scott May 31, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

            Yes I do Jude, but obviously that would happen over a period of several years and wouldn’t be an overnight thing.

            I think state funded schools should be non religious and non national ethos as Jessica describes it. Neutral spaces for all to attend.

            The benefit of this would be a huge step to desegregation of are society and also lead to use financial savings that would be better reinvested in education.

          • Jude Collins May 31, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

            Why not stop funding to Catholic schools immediately? If it’s wrong they should receive funding, it makes sense to stop it immediately.

          • jessica May 31, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

            “Yes I do Jude, but obviously that would happen over a period of several years and wouldn’t be an overnight thing.”

            So what would you expect to happen over this period of several years?

            Surely these schools would all close without funding, is that what you accept or do you expect nationalists or the catholic church to make up the difference to keep them open?

            Or are you saying the catholic church should hand over the land and grounds that they own outright to the state to assume control of the school?

            How do you see this working in practice Scott?

            “I think state funded schools should be non religious and non national ethos as Jessica describes it. Neutral spaces for all to attend.
            The benefit of this would be a huge step to desegregation of are society and also lead to use financial savings that would be better reinvested in education.”

            I went to a school play for St Patricks day were my youngest son had a small role. It thoroughly enjoyed them acting out their roles. They ended by singing as a group a version of paint the town green by the script which I had ever heard until then.

            In these neutral zone schools, would that be allowed as I and all the parents thought it was great to see the kids performing and there was nothing offensive about it unless you went out of your way to seek offence? There were plenty of polish and other kids of different nationalities also involved.

          • Scott May 31, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

            I don’t think we are that far apart on the topic of education either Jessica as I also want a pluralist, progressive and liberal society.

            British or Irish culture is not something that schools should be involved with in my opinion. That’s basically what we have at the moment and I thinks it’s terrible that children are de facto segregated for there whole childhood.

            Educate them together and hopefully it will lead to a break down in prejudice since they have grown up together. After that things like living together and working together will be no problem.

            It’s all about desegregation and saving money is a bonus.

            I absolutely don’t want to deny anyone there culture, I just don’t think schools the place to promote it. The department of communities should be funding Irish language classes, Irish dancing, Irish poets (Seamus Heaney my favourite poet),I as a unionist am very interested in Irish culture. The department of Communties should be helping to promote all types of culture whether it is Irish, Ulster-Scotch, Chinese, Polish, High or street culture. Culture is culture and shouldn’t be politicised. Involvement in culture is a personal choice nobody should be denied or have have another culture forced upon them if they don’t wish to have it.

            I must add though that I am still a pragmatic Ulsterman and realise that none of this is likely to happen any time soon.

            For god sake they can even scrap the 11 plus effectively never mind reform the whole system.

          • Jude Collins May 31, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

            The reason ‘they’ couldn’t scrap the 11+ effectively was that the grammar schools, Protestant and Catholic, clung like grim death to it. And being backed by largely middle-class parents, they more or less succeeded.

          • jessica May 31, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

            “Educate them together and hopefully it will lead to a break down in prejudice since they have grown up together. After that things like living together and working together will be no problem.”

            To be honest, I don’t think young people today have the same prejudice, they certainly don’t have the same negative experiences which is great.
            There is no going back to that now thank God.

            “I as a unionist am very interested in Irish culture. The department of Communities should be helping to promote all types of culture whether it is Irish, Ulster-Scotch, Chinese, Polish, High or street culture. Culture is culture and shouldn’t be politicised. Involvement in culture is a personal choice nobody should be denied or have another culture forced upon them if they don’t wish to have it.”

            You sound worryingly like Sinn Fein Scott.
            I see Irish as an obligation to the state more so than other EU cultures, I struggle with the concept of multi cultural identity, not so much the concept but the volume one of my own prejudices if I am being honest.
            It is the way things are going though and not likely to stop any time soon.

            I think unionism will eventually let go of its intolerance of all things Irish and when there is a nationalist majority and first minister, they will see there is nothing to fear and very little changes. It is only then unionism will become what it should be, Irish with a closer bond to Britain.

            Ireland and Britain should be close allies.

            At the moment unionism is a wedge and a hindrance to that relationship we have yet to have.

            “I must add though that I am still a pragmatic Ulsterman and realise that none of this is likely to happen any time soon.”

            Don’t be so sure, once we get over the hump and break through the wall of mistrust, things could move very fast,

            Once both communities want the same thing, there will be no stopping us.

          • Scott May 31, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

            Jude

            It’s just far to impractical to stop funding Catholic maintained schools immediately. I think they make up like 40-50% of the total schools in NI. To stop funding them immediately would just cause a train wreck it would have to be more gradual

            As I said to Jessica though this is just all blue sky thinking from me and I don’t think it’ll happen. They can’t even effectively scrap the 11 plus. It’s just the system I think would be of most benefit to all the people of Northern Ireland

          • jessica May 31, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

            “They can’t even effectively scrap the 11 plus. It’s just the system I think would be of most benefit to all the people of Northern Ireland”

            The 11+ is nothing more than snobbery.
            I never took the test and no child of mine will ever be made to take any transfer test at primary school age.
            It only benefits grammar schools who want to have the cream by separating them from the chaff.
            So much for integration Scott, you want protestants and Catholics educated together, but passes and failures segregated instead.

            “It’s just far to impractical to stop funding Catholic maintained schools immediately. I think they make up like 40-50% of the total schools in NI. To stop funding them immediately would just cause a train wreck it would have to be more gradual”

            How gradual do you think it could be achieved Scott?

            It is something that needs to be addressed at some point.

            Imagine we did put our differences behind us and Ireland was reunited into a new all island state of equals, wouldn’t it be a great gesture of good will if the catholic church handed over all of the school estate throughout the whole of the country to the new government to implement integrated schools with?

          • Scott May 31, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

            Jessica I don’t now all the ins and outs of exactly how it would be implemented over several years. That’s a massive topic with all sorts of legal, financial and organisational problems way beyond me to organise in this blog.

            I would hope the CMS would see this as a positive and happily agree to make there schools more accessible to people of all faiths. Also if they weren’t getting state funding by remaining CMS then I imagine this would encourage many to integrate as they require the money. I would hope CMS would happily accept the needs to educate children well above the determination to instil a catholic ethos. Surely that’s more important.

            If the ground is owned by the churches then I’m sure some accomadation can be arranged. Buy the ground of them, rent it from them, I’m sure something can be sorted.

            I’ve never heard the song by the Script but I’m sure it’s harmless enough and would be acceptable in any school. There is a huge range of plays, music, books, in the world so I’d imagine there would no bother finding plenty which is acceptable. An example in literature in Bram Stokers Dracula by the Irish writer or C S Lewis Narnia series.

            I would imagine though that some CMS would wish to keep there catholic ethos and I hope that would be a very small number. Those schools would have to become private schools and if the church wished to fund them that would be up to them.

            My argument is mainly about desegregation of the school system, but there is huge monetary savings as well. I’m not sure how much exactly but I’ll try to find you a study about how much it would save.

          • Scott May 31, 2016 at 7:16 pm #

            Jude yes that’s what I mean how can we expect to see major reforms when the goverment, our elected representatives, were faced down by the Grammar schools. Your right they kept academic selection because they hung onto by grim death, but the fight that the goverment put up to stop it was weak.

            Academic selection is alive and well in NI today. Surely the goverment could have done more to stop it, defund the schools that demand it, ban it outright I don’t know but they put up a poor fight to stop it.

            It’s actually worse now because since primary schools can’t prepare children for the test, parents are forced to either pay tutors or prepare the children themselves. This only disadvantages the parents who can’t afford tutors or don’t have a good education themselves. It’s making grammar schools even more elitist.

          • jessica June 1, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

            “Jude yes that’s what I mean how can we expect to see major reforms when the goverment, our elected representatives, were faced down by the Grammar schools. Your right they kept academic selection because they hung onto by grim death, but the fight that the goverment put up to stop it was weak.”

            I think they would have accepted it, had there not been mixed message from the executive. It gave them a glimmer of hope they could keep things the way they were.

            They are probably better funded if they get the top performers but I am sure money will come into it somewhere along the line.

            It certainly wasn’t for the children’s benefit anyway.
            But then again, when did the catholic church ever put children first?

          • Scott June 1, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

            Just to be clear Jessica because I think you may have picked me up wrong.

            I am totally against academic selection. All it does is label children at 11 years old saying yous are the smart ones and yous aren’t. It’s completely wrong.

          • jessica June 1, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

            “I am totally against academic selection. All it does is label children at 11 years old saying yous are the smart ones and yous aren’t. It’s completely wrong.”

            This would be my feeling as well Scott, at least at 11 years.
            Once they are in big school test away.

          • Jude Collins June 1, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

            Mise fosta – but I’d not give the testing carte blanche that jessica offers…

  2. Mark May 29, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    As always Jessica, well thought out, and very much in line with mine own thinking.
    I work in the Capital, live in the second city ( not Micheal Martin’s one) and have a lot of time for ordinary free state’s, the problem being, their political and media leaders who give them a load of West Brit nonsense rather than the actual real story, our recent commerations being a low point in revisionist history.
    What is important is how people actually feel deep down.
    I took heart from the free state election results, five years from Fianna Fail presided, incompetently over an economic catastrophic, leading to depression, and the right wing( whose economic policies actually caused the crash. Supporting EU economic dicktat always) but, despite newdtalk’, RTE etc. letting us know the gov message of keeping the recovery going, the people list of faith in spin, effectively turfed the blue shirts out and demolished the stickies.
    If we can translate this to the Constitutional dilema, how should they vote?
    My own thoughts are, through not listening to DOB, or Dobbo, rather, through listening to what our hearts tell us is right, One Ireland, one people, one nation Slan Abhaile Na saimhaintiu!

    • jessica May 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

      It was depressing for a time Mark, but I am feeling a lot more positive by the recent attitudes on RTE even towards the north.

      I heard for the first time, criticism over the two largest parties in the south not willing to work together while in the north the DUP and Sinn Fein were getting on with the business.

      I am sure it wont have been lost on the people either.

      “effectively turfed the blue shirts out”

      Not effectively enough thanks to Fianna Fail.

  3. ben madigan May 29, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    nice post jessica – raised a smile with me as I posted on Pride and Prejudice some time ago. Enjoy!

    https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/pride-and-prejudice-in-northern-ireland/

  4. Iolar May 29, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    Pride and prejudice sum it up.

    Bombs and artillery shells are exploding in and around Fallujah, no expense spared.
    Francois Hollande and Germany’s Angela Merkel used Verdun as a symbol of both reconciliation between their nations and of EU integration as Mr Hollande warned against “forces of division” in Europe.

    In Ireland, controversy plagues An Garda Síochána. Secret meetings in car parks? What next?

    The notion of a war to end all wars does not stand up to scrutiny. The notion of a war fought in defence of small nations does not stand up to scrutiny. It has been left to Michael D. Higgins in Istanbul to confront political and intellectual failures. He challenged the reality of global poverty, famine, conflict and climate change. He wants action to replace rhetoric. The sad reality is that his words are possibly not being heard given the sound of exploding bombs in the Middle East, no expense spared.

  5. MT May 31, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

    “Or are you saying the catholic church should hand over the land and grounds that they own outright to the state to assume control of the school?”

    That’s what the Protestant churches did, so why not?

    • jessica June 1, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

      “That’s what the Protestant churches did, so why not?”

      Oh I think they should MT.

      I said earlier it would be a nice gesture if they did it throughout the whole of the country for a unified government.

  6. Beachguy June 3, 2016 at 2:48 am #

    As the song goes” You have to be taught to hate”

    If people want their children to go to a religious school that’s their right but it shouldn’t be funded by the state. Let them pay for it.

    Should the state fund Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu , Taoist schools? I think not.

    Religious education can be given outside the school.

    As long as children attend schools which are dominated by one group or another and spend their off hours throwing rocks at each other over walls then it will be a very , very long time before there is a reconciliation in the north of Ireland.
    Integrate the schools and the children will see that they are all alike and will marvel at the bigotry and shortsightedness of their elders.

    That’s how reunification of the island will occur. Not when one group maintains control over the other.

    • jessica June 3, 2016 at 9:22 am #

      Let who pay for it?
      The majority of schools near to me are catholic maintained schools.
      Are you saying I should pay on top of my taxes to go to one of the schools that have the best reputations and best performing just because of Irelands history of sectarian division a church had to step in to ensure catholic children were not disadvantaged.

      Is this just in the north or should it apply to all of Ireland where the majority of schools are also catholic maintained?

      There is no group dominating another in any of the schools I have attended or that my children attend beachguy.

      You have spent too long on the beach methinks and are succumbing to propaganda.

      It is not the schools preventing reconciliation. Sinn Fein are bending over backwards in attempts at reconciliation, but it is threw back in their faces.

      I suppose that it the fault of the catholic schools for depriving unionists of the company of Catholics so they can find out for themselves we aren’t the 2 headed demons they were brought up to believe?

      Just try and make me pay extra for my child to go to the best and nearest school.

      There is a DUP education minister now, I dare him to try and we will see how far that gets us towards reconciliation.

      Intolerance seems to be the mind-set of some towards reconciliation.

      When will we ever learn tolerance is the way to go.

      • Beachguy June 3, 2016 at 10:41 am #

        As any student of Irish history knows religion has been one of the primary causes of the turmoil that has beset Ireland for hundreds of years.

        This resulted in partition and a Protestant state for a Protestant people and a constitution in the Free State enshrining Catholicism as the dominant power and a dreary , ultra conservative , censorious state for far too long.

        No wonder unionists proclaimed that Home rule is Rome rule.

        I know children of staunch republicans who have attended and still do attend integrated schools and the students all get along just fine without worrying whether someone is a taig or a prod.

        There have been stories in the media about non Catholic children having difficulty attending Catholic schools in the south.

        You haven’t answered my question about the state paying for Muslim schools or Jewish schools etc. if you agree that the state should do so then that’s a valid argument but then who is in charge of defining what is and what is not a valid religion?

        I believe that in America catholic schools and those of other religions are supported by parishes and tuition paid by the parents to make up the difference. There are taxpayer supported schools available to everyone who make that choice.

        The Americans , a long time ago, saw the evils inherent in state sponsored religions and that’s why their constitution rigidly separates church and state.

        And I’m surprised at your tough language and readiness to throw down the gauntlet. That’s something I normally expect from some of the less tolerant and intellectually endowed posters here.

        I usually agree with you but not on this one.

        Time to catch some waves at the beach. It’s a great way to clear the mind. You should try it. Cowabunga dude!

        • jessica June 3, 2016 at 11:59 am #

          “You haven’t answered my question about the state paying for Muslim schools or Jewish schools etc. if you agree that the state should do so then that’s a valid argument but then who is in charge of defining what is and what is not a valid religion? ”

          I think all schools should have to meet the same criteria in terms of following a curriculum defined by a state sponsored body who sets the content, exams and certifications etc…

          If the state pays for a school to be built, it should belong to the state.

          If for whatever reasons, an existing school estate is owned by a third party religious or otherwise, then the state should maintain payments until such time as the state builds an alternative school and provides an alternative option for parents to send kids to. Only then can it decide to stop supporting the original schools financially and would be right to do so at that point.

          Another consideration that will have to be made is the performance. If the school is delivering the best results, should that not be a valid factor in perhaps keeping the school in operation over lesser performing schools. Or preferably, finding an agreed way of merging the two which I thought was already on process. There is no quick way to do this.

          My preference would be for the church to hand over control of the grounds and properties throughout Ireland. It would be a good gesture when unification is discussed properly but until then, it cannot be forced upon them and I am against cutting funding for existing schools without a viable transformation plan.

          To do so would have a direct impact on my children, and you can be sure I wont be alone in meeting any aggressive stance on this head on.

          • Beachguy June 4, 2016 at 1:20 am #

            I agree with you once again, as is generally the case, Jessica.

            And I’m not suggesting shutting down anything.

            I’m merely saying that separating church and state is a good thing and that when the state starts sponsoring or supporting one religion over the the other it’s a bad thing.

            I believe that the American model might be a good idea one. .

            Provide a good so called public school system available to everyone. If people wish to send their children to a parochial school that’s fine but let them find a way to finance it and insist it be up to proper standards.

            Getting to this model might be like putting the toothpaste back in the tube but I think that’s the model and I do believe that integrated education will go a long way to ending the ignorance that leads to hatred of “themuns”.

            Much , much too much time, I believe is spent on this blog and elsewhere endlessly arguing about old grievances, hurts, conflicting versions of history and old events instead of devoting some time and thought on how to move ahead and reach a better society.

          • jessica June 4, 2016 at 10:04 am #

            “I’m merely saying that separating church and state is a good thing and that when the state starts sponsoring or supporting one religion over the the other it’s a bad thing.”

            I agree with you here bg, but the catholic church has nothing to do with the running of schools these days.
            Certainly in my own children’s schools. There is employment legislation to ensure protestants are not discriminated against in teaching in catholic maintained schools and in fact, the only discrimination I am aware off on this was Catherine Sealy who was terrorised out of her job in a protestant school for being a catholic.

            http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/harassed-teacher-catherine-seeley-in-new-bid-to-become-sinn-fein-mp-30672600.html

            All schools follow the same curriculum, so the same subjects are taught.

            The only problem I have had with the content was not my son knowing neville chamberlain and Churchill were in charge during the war but that he fought Germans were bad. Something I quickly made sure he knew was false, that the German people were not bad and never were.

            Don’t confuse the attack on catholic maintained schools as an attempt to desegregate or separate church from state, it is not.

            Theses schools achieve better results which means Catholics are better educated over unionist refusal to send their kids to them because they would not be a majority.

            This is not about ensuring schools are integrated, but that there is a majority unionist population in every aspect of life here ad there is over 54% catholic population so they will need to control this influence as much as possible going forward.

            Ryan makes a good point, would it not be better to have more integrated housing? Why do you think they are against this which would do more for desegregation?

            “Much , much too much time, I believe is spent on this blog and elsewhere endlessly arguing about old grievances, hurts, conflicting versions of history and old events instead of devoting some time and thought on how to move ahead and reach a better society.”

            That would take 2 sides to be on board bg. Unionism has not let go of grievances and is still very much still fighting its own conflict.

          • MT June 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

            “I agree with you here bg, but the catholic church has nothing to do with the running of schools these days.”

            Yes it does

            “There is employment legislation to ensure protestants are not discriminated against in teaching in catholic maintained schools”

            There isn’t. Teachers are specifically exempt from fair employment legislation so it is lawful to discriminate on grounds of religion.

            “and in fact, the only discrimination I am aware off on this was Catherine Sealy who was terrorised out of her job in a protestant school for being a catholic.”

            It wasn’t for being catholic it was because she was a ****.

          • Jude Collins June 4, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

            MT – please don’t do that again. You may hanker to appear in a dock but I don’t

  7. jessica June 4, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

    “She was and still is a member of the Provisional movement. She stood for them at the last election! She may even be an MLA now. That’s why she was ‘terrorised’.”

    That is blatant condonement and has been typical of unionism right throughout the conflict.
    Don’t even try and say otherwise.

    What other jobs should republicans be terrorised out off MT?

    Will it be ok for loyalists to start killing republicans if they work in the wrong areas next?

    This kind of statement is exactly why unionism should not be allowed to get away with such behaviour any more.

    • MT June 5, 2016 at 8:31 am #

      “That is blatant condonement and has been typical of unionism right throughout the conflict.
      Don’t even try and say otherwise.”

      It’s not a “condonement”, blatant or otherwise. It was simply a correction of your lie.

      “What other jobs should republicans be terrorised out off MT?”

      None. Unlike you, I’m against terrorism.

      “Will it be ok for loyalists to start killing republicans if they work in the wrong areas next?”

      You’re the one who supported terrorism, not me. I opposed it.

      “This kind of statement is exactly why unionism should not be allowed to get away with such behaviour any more.”

      What kind of statement?

      • jessica June 5, 2016 at 10:39 am #

        “What kind of statement?”

        This, against a young girl in her 20s who was barely in her teens when the GFA was signed.
        It is just one of the many reasons I want nothing more to do with unionism.

        “She was and still is a member of the Provisional movement. She stood for them at the last election! She may even be an MLA now. That’s why she was ‘terrorised’.” “

        • Jude Collins June 5, 2016 at 10:53 am #

          Jessica – and everyone else: any references by anyone that suggest because people belong to a legitimate political party they are ‘terrorists’ simply will not be put up. If the person putting them up persists in their attempts, I’ll block them from this site completely. Apart from legal implications, it’s lazy and stupid.

          • jessica June 5, 2016 at 11:01 am #

            Jude, I wasn’t suggesting it, I was refuting it and I don’t like your inference that I did.

            MT suggested it was the reason she lost her job in the same underhanded fashion unionism has always excused loyalist actions.

            It was you who allowed that to go up in the first place undefended.

          • MT June 5, 2016 at 11:24 am #

            “MT suggested it was the reason she lost her job ”

            No I didn’t.

        • MT June 5, 2016 at 10:54 am #

          “This, against a young girl in her 20s who was barely in her teens when the GFA was signed.
          It is just one of the many reasons I want nothing more to do with unionism.“She was and still is a member of the Provisional movement. She stood for them at the last election! She may even be an MLA now. That’s why she was ‘terrorised’.” “”

          How is that a statement against the woman in question? It’s simply a statement of fact. She chose to join and stand for SF.

  8. Beachguy June 5, 2016 at 3:12 am #

    Regarding the problems associated with religious controlled schools simply Google “education, catholic schools in Ireland” and you will find a host of articles detailing people who can’t get their youngsters into schools in the South because they are unbaptized or otherwise non catholic.

    Not a good thing.

    • Wolfe tone June 5, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

      I am all for integrated education as long as it means the British army will not be allowed to hold recruitment days in schools. All imperialist symbols are removed and not allowed to visit. No schools will be allowed to drag the kids to participate in ‘welcoming’ stunts for when imperialist happen to land. If that happens maybe we can run with it. Alas those who champion integrated education seem to want to use it as some kind of Trojan horse to assimilate more into becoming little northernirelanders. Nothing to do with equality and removing sectarianism, more about recruiting castle taigs to preserve the status quo.
      My problem with the Catholic Rún schools is they seem reluctant to teach all the facts about their country in case the barking dogs of unionism are dispatched. Perhaps the schools attempts not to touch on their country’s history has seeped down into the students and as a result nationalist see no point in voting? Nationalist kids are being taught to ignore the Irish question and ‘move on’ allthewhile unionist kids have it drummed(no pun intended) into them what the game being played is.

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