Ending sectarianism


A chara, – Fergus O’Ferrall’s approach to ending sectarianism in the north is typical of the liberal middle-class approach which ignores the real cause of sectarianism: British colonialism (“Toxic theology underpins segregation and sectarianism”, Rite & Reason, July 30th). The state itself was based on a sectarian headcount and was maintained for 50 years on a sectarian basis.

The church leaders have some responsibility to work to reduce sectarian tension and work for good community relations, and they are doing a reasonably good job.

However, the primary responsibility for dealing with sectarianism still rests with the British government.

Sectarianism will not be dealt with by integrated education. The vast majority of people living here do not see that as the way forward. Nor will it be dealt with by shared neighbourhoods. That is not going to happen at a working-class level. Sectarianism needs to be dealt with by enforcing anti-sectarian legislation and creating a new political structure on the island of Ireland based on equality, justice and respect.

Dr O’Ferrall’s proposals, like those of Duncan Morrow and the late Fr Reynolds whom he quotes to support his argument, are much too simplistic. – Yours, etc,



Co Fermanagh.

A chara, – Dr Fergus O’Ferrall’s wise views are excellent and positive and should be read widely, particularly by church and political leaders in Ireland. Christians share much more than that which divides them. There are, of course, difficult challenges. I believe, however, that Dr O’Ferrall’s suggestions are the way forward. – Is mise,


An Charraig Dhubh,

Co Átha Cliath.