Social segregation is one of the effects of the conflict on the people of Northern Ireland. The Protestants and the Catholics grew up in an atmosphere of tension and violence. They each received different education, each praising their own and condemning the deeds of the other. In addition, most of them live in separate residential areas. The Belfast ‘peace’ wall is one of many walls built to separate Protestants and Catholics. The violence in the country also means that the Protestants and the Catholics believe that their own people were right and the other party was responsible for the conflict. Thus the young people of Northern Ireland could grow up without meeting anyone from the other community. This has led to the lack of understanding between the two religious groups. Thus it led to the growth of hatred and prejudices between them. With increased hostility, violence continued to rise.
The economy of Northern Ireland was also affected by the conflict. Prior to the conflict, many overseas companies were invested in Northern Ireland. Tourists came to the country as it was peaceful and attractive. As a result of the conflict, both foreign investments and tourism declined. The foreign-owned factories closed down when violence increased operating costs in Northern Ireland. The constant threat of bombings and high cost of security drove away large manufacturers in great numbers. People were afraid of their safety and did not want to come to Northern Ireland and investors were afraid to invest there too. This reduced the revenue (income) for Northern Ireland, leading to declining economy.
The conflict also affected Northern Ireland politically. Prior to the conflict, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) organized several demonstrations to end discrimination against the Catholics. The Civil Rights marches pressured the Northern Ireland government to pass anti-discrimination measures in Northern Ireland. As a result of the conflict, the government agreed to abolish the unequal voting system. After Bloody Sunday in 1972, an agreement was reached to introduce power-sharing between the Catholics and Protestants in 1998. However this agreement has not been fully implemented as different political parties refused to share power.
Among all 3, the most serious effect is the social segregation. This is because it leads to many young people in Northern Ireland growing up with hatred and prejudice towards the other community. With the rise of prejudice, there would be no end to the conflict in Northern Ireland. If prejudice can be overcome, there would be better understanding among people of Protestants and Catholics especially the youth. This would reduce violence, leading to greater reconciliation and greater success at both political reforms and the return of investments and tourists.