Sunday 25 February 2018

'Cash-for-ash' row is a chance for southerners to be a little bit smug

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
John Downing

John Downing

The curious thing is that the same stereotype traditionally existed in French society, just as it did here in the Republic of Ireland. I mean the notion that Protestants are more honest, direct and upright in the conduct of their professional lives, than their Catholic neighbours.

That theory has it that Catholics tended to leave their religion at the church gate. They felt you would not be discussing your business in the confessional.

It was a strong, if more often unspoken, factor in the presidential election, in still culturally Catholic France, way back in 1995. Lionel Jospin, a Protestant, was unlucky not to beat Jacques Chirac, from a party which was for a long time contentedly allied with Fianna Fáil.

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