Presentation on theme: "Chosen to succeed Brokeborough in 1963. He hoped to reform Northern Ireland economically and improve relations between the two communities. There was an."— Presentation transcript:
Chosen to succeed Brokeborough in 1963. He hoped to reform Northern Ireland economically and improve relations between the two communities. There was an employment crises as older industries declined and shed thousands of jobs.
He set out to modernise the economy by attracting industry and international companies to Northern Ireland. He succeeded and companies such as Grundig, Goodyear and Michelin. However the East of the Bann policy meant that most of the jobs were located in Protestant areas.
He made some efforts to reach out to the Catholic and Nationalist community who felt excluded, ignored and mistreated by the Unionist government. He visited Catholic schools and also invited the then Taoiseach of the Irish Republic(Sean Lemass) to Belfast in 1965. A young Ian Paisley protested and threw snowballs at the car of Lemass.
Many people in the Unionist community grew nervous and angry when they saw their Prime Minister paying some attention to Nationalists. Ian Paisley voiced the opinion of many in the Unionist community when he condemned the bridge building exercises in the following fashion A traitor and a bridge are very much alike, for they both go over to the other side.
However Catholics/Nationalists wanted real change and reform rather than some token visits or photo opportunities. O Neill was in a difficult position, he had raised the hopes of the Catholics that things were going to change, they would be angry if these hopes were dashed.
He had also generated fear and anger within his own community who largely believed change would weaken their control of Northern Ireland. They thought it might undermine the Union which they believed was essential to their survival and safety as a people. Change would also lessen their privileged position and monopoly of power.