Through the years however, the intensity by which the political struggle of minority groups has been carried out, particularly in Northern Ireland, has necessitated the recognition by many states of social minority issues as distinct from the general human rights movement. The escalation of tensions between minority groups and the dominant majority in the past years, in some places culminating in violent secessionist struggles and a backlash of genocidal assaults by the dominant sector, further heightened national and global interest on the issue of minority rights. (UNOHCHR: 1998)
Heightened interest in addressing the concerns and welfare of social minority groups has thus prompted the construction of social policies meant to alleviate the plight of the social minority. This paper advances the position that the formulation of social policies for the welfare of these minorities must take into consideration the existing relationships between these minority groups and the larger society wherein they are situated. ...
orities and their concerns cannot be addressed in isolation from the concerns and social paradigm of the wider society firstly because the troubled status of disadvantaged minority groups are often directly and actively caused by problematic social paradigms prevailing in the larger society. Furthermore, the implementation of social policies for the benefit of minority groups require proper consideration of the direct consequences that these policies may entail on the larger society. An examination of the socio-political divide between the Protestant majority and the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland lends credence to this position.
The long-standing antagonism between the Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland is said to be based not only on the religious differences of these two groups but on social, economic and political differences as well. (Ireland vs. United Kingdom: 1978) Composing largely 2/3 of Northern Ireland's population, the Protestant sector, also identified as the Unionists or Loyalists, descend from the British Protestant settlers of the Northern provinces of Ulster, and consequently, identify themselves with the British populace in the mainland. The minority Catholics, on the other hand, mostly descend from the Irish natives of the said provinces and share historical traditions more similar to that of the Irish Republic. (Craith: 2002) Whereas these two groups have co-existed since the settlement of British settlers, the traditional differences of the two groups came to the fore upon the emancipation of the Republic of Ireland in the 1920s, and the subsequent retention of British rule over the remaining six counties of Ulster which compose Northern Ireland. (Ireland vs. United Kingdom: 1978) Differences between the political