Knocking off at Harland & Wolff Pic credit: Public domain
Knocking off at Harland & Wolff
Pic credit: Public domain

NOW that questions are being asked why protestant working class males do significantly worse in the classroom than catholic working class females, I’ll explain.

The Shipyards

In the heart of protestant East Belfast, Harland & Wolff was the safety net for working class males who weren’t cut out for or couldn’t afford further education. You didn’t need to do well in school if your father knew someone and could get you a start.

Belfast was booming and your job was for life in the ship building industry.  That’s why you’ll have a hard time finding a catholic Titanic enthusiast.


This factory secured employment for protestant men and women from West Belfast. Mackies was a UVF stronghold and once operated as a munitions factory, it made artillery shells for British Army use in World War Two. Ask yourself what the chances were of getting a job there if you were catholic?   

The Civil Service

The civil service was the place to work if you were a middle class protestant male who excelled at academia. These were the smarter stock that ensured Northern Ireland had a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People

Still to this day, your boss in the civil service is likely to be a protestant middle class male – risen to the top because of his experience in the job and not because he knows someone.


By 1947 the Education (Northern Ireland) Act  made sure children stayed in school up to the age of 15. Prior to this, education was seen as unimportant for girls because they were only fit for textile work.  It was the game changer.

Local council

Back then, there was no Equality Commission– you were guaranteed a council job if you knew the right people.

Knowing someone in the council also got you a house.

This unfair housing allocation system led to the Civil Rights movement in 1968 and the establishment of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

Civil rights meant Catholics were equal to Protestants.

Catholics knew the only thing they were entitled to, was education and they grabbed it with both hands. It has taken decades for the fruits of free education to ripen.

Backed up by Civil Rights, Industrial Tribunals and Labour Relations – we have been presented with a future.  No longer are we victim to religious and sex discrimination.

Generations of catholic women have passed down the realisation that girls can do anything they want – but only if they study hard and earn it.

That’s why catholic working class girls get the best school results in Northern Ireland. 

The unionist politicians have nobody to blame but themselves. By allowing the shipyards mind-set to continue – they sunk their own people.