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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 March, 2003, 15:15 GMT
Religion an issue at yard
As part of a week of BBC programming to mark the end of shipbuilding at Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Mairead O'Dwyer from Radio Ulster's Sunday Sequence, looks at the role religion played in the firm.

As late as 1992, only 5% of worker's in Harland and Wolff were Catholic.

It has always had a mainly Protestant workplace for a number of reasons.

The east Belfast community, where the shipyard is situated, is a mainly Protestant area.

Workers were recruited from the area and the skills needed in the shipyard were strongest among the Protestant people.

Also, recruitment in those days was a system of "speaking" for others.

So one worker would "speak" for their relations or friends with the result that employment remained in Protestant circles.

Political tension

The Catholics in the yard were a minority.

Throughout the history of the yard, Catholics and Protestants worked side by side without trouble.

However, times of political tension gave rise to a number of incidents in the yard.

Click on the audio link on this page to hear an extract from Mairead O'Dwyer's Sunday Sequence report.

It begins with historian Dr Jonathan Bardon of Queen's University, Belfast.

The full report on the role religion played in the shipyard and the east Belfast community can be heard on the Sunday Sequence website.


Mairead O'Dwyer reports on the sometimes uneasy mix of politics and religion in the yard

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