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A history lesson on integrated education

It is obvious that your correspondent Live and Let Live (Write Back, May 23) is ignorant of the history of integrated education in Ireland.

In 1842 the Liberal Government introduced the idea of educating Catholic and Protestant children together "so that they would form friendships and intimacies" for life.

This was warmly received by the Catholic Church, but was condemned by the Presbyterian Synod because Presbyterian children would be brought into the presence of Catholic priests.

The Presbyterians burnt the schools when they were built and intimidated the teachers. The Government gave way to this violence and conceded segregation.

The new schools were put to a political purpose. If a pupil was heard speaking Irish, he/she was brutally punished. The word "Ireland" was excluded from the school curriculum. In this way the pupils were politically engineered out of an Irish identity and into a West Briton identity.

After the Famine the principle of segregation being conceded and the schooling being unsatisfactory, Cardinal Cullen made it Canon Law that Catholic children be educated in Catholic schools by Catholic teachers.

What integrated education in Northern Ireland is really about is an open question. A federalist stands by the principle that all children be educated together - irrespective of creed, class, colour or ethnicity.

However, a federalist maintains that the Establishment's hidden agenda of integrated education in Northern Ireland is the political engineering of pupils to stabilise the statelet and unify it and make it and its apartheid border a permanent feature of the island.

A federalist opposes such an agenda of political engineering in schools.



Belfast Telegraph


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