Unionist politics focused on separation of Catholics and Protestants, and ensuring Nationalists stayed out of government. Through gerrymandering, school segregation, and the housing crisis, Protestants made Northern Ireland a cold place for Catholics. The debasement of the Catholic population through legislation only enforced social separations that had already been present from the beginning. Catholics had been considered second-class citizens or worse since the English conquests, separated in all aspects of life, perhaps most prominently in the late 1800s–early 1900s with Dublin tenement life. These societal partitions created fear and anxiety of the other culture, which surfaced in Northern Ireland’s legislation at the beginning of the 1920s. Protestants and Catholics became more self-contained than before, which only increased unease, and presented itself in further regulations and in physical structures like the peace lines. Peace walls contributed to dissociations even further, because there were now physical walls between Protestant and Catholic cultures, leading to more tension.
Peace wall in Northern Ireland.
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