Integrate the People from the Top Down Not from the Bottom Up.
IN his call for integrated education Mr Robinson has found another stick to beat the Catholic community with.
Integration isn’t new in Ireland and is fine in principle. In 1832 a liberal government at Westminster introduced a bill for the purpose of educating Catholic and Protestant children together so that “they form friendships that would last throughout life” This laudable ideal was violently opposed by the Protestant community in Ulster who objected to their children being brought into contact with Roman Priests. The Catholic bishops of the time backed the integrated ideal but in the Protestant defeat of the ideal the principle was established in British education that the individual can be educated according to personal conscience, apart in a state school. This principle still stands and after the Famine this principle, established by Protestant Ulster, was put into Canon Law by Cardinal Cullen.
Mt Robinson claims it would be ludicrous if Protestants and Catholics were educated in different universities. He has never heard of Maynooth and seems oblivious to the historic fact that U.C.D. was set up as a Catholic university when Catholics were denied access to the then Protestant Trinity. It is also true that until relatively recent times Catholics were denied access to the then Protestant Oxford. There are Catholic universities in America and on the continent so Mr Robinson is talking through his hat.
Why not integrate the people of N.Ireland from the top down by having an integrated Orange Order which accepts Catholics into its ranks? Mr Robinson should call for the abolition of divisive religion in schools to be replaced by unifying Christian ecumenism. He should also devise a politics which is acceptable to all on this Island and abandon a politics for protestant unionists and rid Ireland of sectarianism. He should rid N. Ireland of sectarian ghettoes. Perhaps if the full story were known maybe Mr Robinson sees in integrated education a mechanism whereby a future Catholic population will be converted to unionism and the border copper-fastened.