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23 September 2014
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Protestant schoolboys from north Belfast Montage of Protestant schoolboys

I grew up taught to like other people, but as I grew older, my friends and the people around me corrupted me, in a sense, which made me dislike Catholics - but then whenever I started becoming into my later teen years, I eventually got to like Catholics. I didn't really…I thought to myself 'Fair enough, I haven't got nothing against them so what's the point in hating them?'

My family, there was elements of bigotry in it but I was always allowed my own opinions, but my friends, they sort of like corrupted me as the other fella says, that their views were different to what mine was. And after a certain time I was starting to think along the same views as them ones, and it was just hatred and they were the worst and we were, we were always doing right, they were doing wrong. But again, when you grow up, you always learn that there's two sides to the story, that maybe our side was wrong at times, but theirs was also wrong.

Both my parents are born-again Christians so I was brought up I suppose in a different atmosphere from most people. I was brought up not to hate Catholics in any way. Most of their friends and most of the people I would have hung about with would have been Christians as well, so therefore you know, hating Catholics just wasn't the thing. It wasn't really until I became about 13 / 14 and started to make new friends and branch out and meet people who weren't Christians, that I started to, you know, sort of develop a hate for Catholics. And then I suppose, probably about two or three years ago, I caught myself on and realised, you know, Catholics aren't different. And for the past year I've had a part-time job working with all Catholics - I'm the only Protestant there - and I don't have a problem with any of them and you know I was just, I've realised now how stupid I was back then, for hating Catholics in a way.

How did you imagine them to be when you hated them?

Like I said, it wasn't family influenced or anything like that - it was basically friends, you know, who - I wasn't brought up in like an interface area, but some of my friends were and they were telling me 'Oh well, they came down last night and you know, threw bricks at us and they did this, they did that', and I sort of just thought 'Well, they probably did'. But I didn't see the other side of the story where, you know, Protestants were going down and doing exactly the same to Catholic homes. And it took me a while just to realise that, but it was really friends who were just, you know, peer pressure.

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