SDLP shows true colours on pro-Catholic discrimination

For all the focus on Unionists’ exclusive tendencies in recent months – and rightly so given their political leaders have been so overt about it – perhaps the most disappointing form has been shown by the SDLP. Yesterday, it openly voted for a continuation of sectarian discrimination – which even Sinn Fein opposed!

The SDLP likes to play all innocent on such things. “Oh, but anyone can go for the Catholic teaching certificate, you don’t have to be Catholic” – yet it is an obvious advantage to be Catholic. “Oh, but that’s like saying it’s an advantage to be Spanish to be a Spanish teacher” – there wasn’t a conflict costing nearly 4,000 lives in NI along Spanish/non-Spanish lines, nor is contemporary NI so divided. “Oh, but it’s about religious freedom” – no one is stopping churches providing classes for Holy Communion and such like, but I don’t see why the atheist, agnostic, Protestant or Muslim taxpayer should be funding it.

The real madness here is that clearly many of the SDLP’s own representatives couldn’t possibly hope to defend this line in reality. At the very same moment SDLP MLAs were voting on this issue, SDLP Councillors were arguing for same-sex marriage – in direct and blatant contravention of the Pope’s position. So it is important for children to be brought up Catholic, as long as they give it all up in adulthood…

The SDLP was also the only party to back an Alliance motion calling for the promotion of integrated education to be an expressly stated objective of the Department of Education’s area planning policy. That would be integrated education sans Catholic teaching certificates.

Fundamentally, we are back to the old maxim that the SDLP will tackle anything except the Catholic Church, Catholic schools (and teaching certificates) and the GAA. What kind of self-respecting social democratic and republican party would be so in thrall to religious and sporting institutions along sectarian lines? The SDLP is social democratic and republican in word, but fundamentally traditional and communal in deed.

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7 thoughts on “SDLP shows true colours on pro-Catholic discrimination

  1. Sheamus Greene says:

    Mr Parsley, I’m afraid you will find that the SDLP stands for Social Democratic and LABOUR Party, not the Social Democratic and REPUBLICAN Party. Mr Parsley seems to be very confused.

  2. madhava says:

    Well said Ian . My daughter attends a catholic school in Dunmurry but as a non catholic family we reserve the right for her to opt out of the sectarian religious brainwashing and function. At least the school is respecting our wishes . This subject called R.E is a complete joke . It is Christian in ethos and not multicultural . Should schools in N. I ever provide R.E classes to include all the major world religions as equal we would certainly consider letting our daughter attend as a means to become properly educated in religious diversity The term R.E should be branded Christian or catholic education not religious . I am always suspicious of its very nature. It is taught as a fact and never as a point of veiw hence I unequivocally advocate that is is not mere religious education but subjective brainwashing .

  3. The Listener says:

    How very sad. The SDLP has many decent activists and followers, however they always have a tendency to follow what they perceive to be a line which will not deflect followers towards SF. How surprising fo them that SF appears more liberal and supportive of diversity than the SDLP! SF has been rather more sure footed in appreciating what a majority of the public would expect and support. Poor old SDLP, an essentially conservative catholic nationalist party, which like the UUP will eventually creak out of existence unless, of course, it becomes a non-sectarian, Socialist, Democratic and Labour Party as its initial leaders would have wished.

  4. […] I would also add that it has often been seen as a party of middle-class Catholics too and their decision to support continued discriminatory practices in relation to Catholic schooling back home could be seen in this light, something Sinn Fein didn’t support. This leads me to […]

  5. Without assumption or prejudice, could you tell if this “discrimination” is or was also practiced by Catholic primary schools elsewhere, particularly in Catholics schools in England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland. And if they are practiced in areas where the SDLP do not stand, and if they are practiced in these domains or indeed were until recently, would it not be in the interests of equality to highlight parties who have defended similar pro-Catholic stands including Fine Gael, Labour and the Conservative Party you yourself were once part of?

  6. As well as Fianna Fáil, Scots Nats and the Liberal Democrats.

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