"The Northern Ireland Conflict: What About the Children?"

Essay by rach8630College, UndergraduateA+, April 2005

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In July of 1690, a very important battle took place. The Battle of the Boyne was the first collision of Anglo- Protestants and Irish- Catholics. James II, a catholic was forced from the English throne by William of Orange, a protestant, and headed up a rebellious army in Ireland. Then the newly crowned King William badly defeated James at this most important battle. In the end the two came to a settlement. The island of Ireland would go under Irish rule, but the North Ireland section on the United Kingdom Island would fall under British rule. The Catholics left on the United Kingdom side, now a minority, would have to defend themselves. Since that battle and since the beginning of British dominance, these two religions have been feuding. The Catholics are for reuniting with the Irish government, and the Protestants are in favor of British rule (Muldoon and Trew157). In the middle of these opposing sides are the children.

Differing religious beliefs make growing up in this divided society difficult. Schools are segregated by religions and children grow up being taught their predecessor's beliefs, but not the beliefs of anyone else. Children are continuously stopped at checkpoints by towering guards with huge machine guns. Neighborhoods are divided and citizens stick to sections of town where their religion is prevalent. This sectarian dispute has been argued upon for years, some progress is being made however by the next generation, the children.

For most children, school is a major part of their lives. Northern Ireland's children are no different. In Northern Ireland there is total segregation in the educational system, except for the small and growing number if integrated schools being introduced. Integrated schooling could greatly decrease the hostility between the two religions in the future. However, there may be too much...