Act of Settlement still excludes Catholics from highest office

Posted By: November 20, 2017

 Jack Duffin. Letters to Editor. Irish News. Belfast. Monday, November 20, 2017

According to Danny Treacy (November 7), my analysis of our sectarian problem is unbalanced and Fr McManus has a slanted view of the Act of Settlement which he claims has no meaningful relevance in England or Ireland today.

He tells us also that since 1922 the Southern State was a cold house for Protestants who are still psychologically impacted by the massacre of Protestant settlers in the 1641 rebellion in Ulster and refers to the historic involvement of the Catholic Church in sectarian conflict.

If any evidence exists that the massacre in 1641 ever happened, I have never seen it. But the settlers he refers to were not hard-working immigrants who wanted a new life in a new country, living according to its laws, cultures, and customs. These were land thieves from England and Scotland who gorged themselves on the spoils of the exiled Gaelic chieftains and who robbed and dispossessed the native population. It’s not surprising if many perished in the bloody conflict they created.

But Danny must know that in the 21st century, the Act of Settlement still excludes Catholics from the highest offices in Britain and places the sectarian hatred of Catholics at the very heart of the English [albeit unwritten] constitution. It is the raison d’être of the Orange Order.

The English monarchy is also a focus of adulation for the multiple unionist gangs who were set up and armed to the teeth here to murder Catholics. And when the Civil Rights movement were beaten and shot on the streets by the RUC and the British army, sectarianism was built into the structures of this unionist statelet. Discrimination in employment and housing was endemic, some unionists had multiple votes and elections were rigged. And throughout the whole appalling history of the exclusion, discrimination and sectarian murder of Catholics here, there has never been even one disclaimer from any member of the Royal family. How then is the Act of Settlement irrelevant today in England or Ireland?

The Republic was certainly a confessional state, but Protestants there were never excluded from anything including the presidency.

And I did acknowledge that nationalist Ireland is not free from sectarianism. But nowhere does it have any popular support.

Jack Duffin

Belfast BT11