Page 11, 19th February 1999

19th February 1999
Page 11
Page 11, 19th February 1999 — THIRTY YEARS AGO

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Why Ulster Catholics should vote Unionist

ONE MORE CHAFFER in the long, tortured and tragic history of our beloved sister island will be written when Ulster goes to the polls on Monday to decide her future.

Let no one be in doubt about the injustice that is perpetrated against Catholics in Northern Ireland. In local government they are denied equality or franchise: they are discriminated against in housing and employment: they are second class citizens in the land of their birth.

All this is wrong and has been tolerated for far too long. Would that our bishops had been as forthright on the injustices in the six counties as they have been on the encyclical on birth control. Ulster is an integral part of the United Kingdom and the same standards of justice and equity should prevail in the six counties as in the rest of the nation.

The fact of discrimination is deplorable but it has its roots in history and one of those roots has been the refusal of Catholics in Northern Ireland to accept the constitution under which they live.

Nationalism in Northern Ireland however historically justified has now become a culde-sac. For the foreseeable future Ulster will be linked with Britain — and now for the first time since Stormont was set up there is a chance of equality and justice for Catholics in Northern Ireland, and that chance is being offered by Captain O'Neill.

My appeal therefore to the Catholics of Northern Ireland is to make an act of faith in his sincerity and resolve and to vote for him massively on Monday.

Is it not time, as he himself has said, for the Catholics of Ulster to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's?

Norman St. John-Stevas The Catholic Herald, 21 February 1969

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