Brian Hanley
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‘The other minority’
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During May 1972, over 100 prominent southern Protestants published an open letter to Ulster Unionists in which they stressed they had 'every opportunity (to) play a full part in the affairs of the community'. They also asserted that in the Republic, 'Protestants hold positions of importance and trust at least in proportion to their fraction of the population'. Some have argued the Northern Irish conflict fostered understanding between Protestants and Catholics in the Republic. In fact, the eruption of violence after 1969 saw the re-emergence of old suspicions and resentments which produced fear and occasionally violence. Though expression of such prejudices was widely condemned, they were reminders of an element in Irish nationalism that never accepted Protestants as truly 'Irish'. Similarly, there were also those Protestants in the Republic who had remained 'loyalist' long after independence and whose politics were also a factor in border areas.

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