Letters extra : Sectarian schooling result of division

9th March 2001 at 00:00

I am surprised that Richard Dawkins, an Oxford professor, has so little understanding of the situation in Northern Ireland. He writes that the troubles in Northern Ireland would largely disappear if schools in the province were no longer segregated.

Has he read nothing of the history of this region? Does he know nothing of the deeply held beliefs of both sides? Has he not considered the possibility that if merely allowing catholics and protestants to mix was all it would take then the problems would not have gone on so long? Sectarian religious schools exist because the parents want them to. And the reason they want them to is because of the injustices that separate the two communities. Richard Dawkins has confused cause and effect.

Perhaps at some time in the future there will be more equality in Northern Ireland society so that it will no longer be so important for the different religious communities to educate their children separately. But to suggest that removing segregation would solve the problem is to trivialise serious divisions in a way that betrays deep lack of understanding on professor Dawkins; part.

I repeat, sectarian schooling is the result of the division, not its cause.

Nicola Santamaria (Mrs)
St Dominic's Sixth Form College
Mount Park Avenue
Harrow-on-the-Hill
Middlesex HA1 3HX

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