Many Catholics feel excluded from main NI nationalist parties , says Toibin

A ‘new sectarianism’ in republican and nationalist politics has left people finding it difficult to admit they are committed Catholics, according to former Sinn Fein TD, Peadar Toibin.

After a public meeting in Maghera, Derry, he said he was really taken aback by the level of pain and hurt felt by Catholics with regards to the two main nationalist parties, Sinn Fein and the SDLP. “One of the key issues for sure was the feeling of a new sectarianism in the nationalist and republican community, where it is difficult to say in public that you are a practising Catholic, attend Mass and are raising your children as Catholics,” he said.

He added that three or four people at the Maghera meeting were nationalists or republicans who now vote DUP because it is the only NI party with clear pro-life stance; and some of them were even Irish language enthusiasts “who speak the language in their own homes”. It could be that this pattern of a minority of nationalists voting DUP on account of its pro-life stance might be reflected across NI, he added.