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Discrimination in Housing and Employment under the Stormont Administration, by Graham Gudgin

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Text: Graham Gudgin ... Page Compiled: Brendan Lynn

The following chapter has been contributed by the author Graham Gudgin with the permission of the editors Patrick J. Roche and Brian Barton and the publishers Ashgate Publishing Ltd. The views expressed in this chapter do not necessarily reflect the views of the members of the CAIN Project. The CAIN Project would welcome other material which meets our guidelines for contributions.
This chapter is from the book:

'The Northern Ireland Question: Nationalism, unionism and partition'
Edited by Patrick J. Roche and Brian Barton
Published by Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 1999
ISBN 1-84014-490-4 196pp

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This chapter is copyright Graham Gudgin (1999) and is included on the CAIN site by permission of Ashgate Publishing Ltd, the author, and editors. You may not edit, adapt, or redistribute changed versions of this for other than your personal use without the express written permission of Ashgate Publishing Ltd. Redistribution for commercial purposes is not permitted.



Patrick J. Roche and Brian Barton

1 The Making of Irish Nationalism: Between Integration and Independence
Brian Girvan

2 Ulster Unionism: Great Britain and Ireland, 1885-1921
D. George Boyce

3 Partition: Origins and Implementation
Brian Barton

4 Politics of North-South Relations in Post-partition Ireland
Dennis Kennedy

5 Discrimination in Housing and Employment under the Stormont Administration
Graham Gudgin

6 The Northern Ireland Electoral System: A Vehicle for Disputation
Sydney Elliott

7 The Economics of Unionism and Nationalism
J. Esmond Birnie

8 Unionist and Nationalist Thinking in the 1990s
Michael Cunningham

Notes on Contributors




5     Discrimination in Housing and Employment
under the Stormont Administration

Graham Gudgin



Accusations of discrimination against Catholics by unionist governments in Northern Ireland from 1921-72 played an important role in the politics of the time. This was particularly true in the 1960s and it has remained true of much of the subsequent period as nationalists sought to discredit past unionist administrations and by association current unionist politicians. The importance of the allegations to current politics lies in the fact that, almost uniquely in the western world, Northern Ireland Protestants are not trusted to form a government in circumstances in which they gain a clear majority of votes in democratic elections.

This lack of trust has underpinned all constitutional talks over the last 30 years and has resulted not only in a power-sharing government in the new Northern Ireland assembly, but also in a strong form of power-sharing unknown elsewhere in the western world. One of the important but unremarked aspects of the 1998 Agreement has been the justification it provides for the view that all previous forms of regional government in Northern Ireland were unacceptable.

A belief in the importance of past discrimination is not the only factor underpinning the inevitability of power-sharing government. The need to accommodate a large permanent minority and to bring an end to the violence has led to a search for unconventional political arrangements, but the form of these arrangements is heavily coloured by an ethos of victims and oppressors. Without this ethos the outcome might have been different and we might note that situations in which violence is difficult to eradicate have led neither the Spanish or Italian authorities to adopt the power-sharing ‘solution’ of Northern Ireland.

All of the many histories of the Stormont period 1921-72 tell the sequential story of the civil rights protests against discrimination and the subsequent descent into violence from which Northern Ireland is yet to fully recover. The sequence of events and their frequent repetition have led the causes of the troubles to become closely linked in many people’s minds with discrimination. This is almost axiomatic among the nationalist community in Ireland and their supporters elsewhere, and the violence of the last 30 years is widely interpreted as having at least some justification in the behaviour of the unionist people and government of the ‘failed political entity’ of Northern Ireland. It is also increasingly common in middle and professional class circles within the unionist community where a sense of guilt or at least embarrassment is an important element underlying political development.

One result of years of largely undefended allegations is that Northern Ireland Protestants are frequently described in terms usually reserved for the world’s least savoury political cultures. Consider the following from Bowyer Bell, professor of history at Columbia University and author of several major books on Northern Ireland

Many Protestants, who were mostly plain, often poor children of their own history, were also prejudiced practically from birth, decent folk but fearful of the alien. The system began by teaching toddlers differences, superiority and privilege. Thus most were bigots, some simple and gentle, others nasty and if need be brutal.1

To the celebrated Irish historian, Professor Joe Lee of University College Cork, the northern Protestants have a ‘herronvolk’ mentality.2 Political scientists Brendan O’Leary and John McGarry take a similar view in stating that, ‘the UUP could rely on ingrained ethnic prejudices to sustain discrimination’.3 More political writers have been even less restrained. For instance, Michael Farrell (1976) and Eamonn McCann (1974), the latter currently a columnist for the Belfast Telegraph, depicted discrimination as being so pervasive as to be the foundation of the state.4 Paul Foot, Daily Mirror columnist and nephew of a former British Labour Party leader, wrote, ‘nowhere in the world was bigotry taken to such extravagant lengths as it was in Northern Ireland’.5 Perhaps most influential was the report of the New Ireland Forum, established by the government of the Republic of Ireland, in 1983, that northern Catholics were ‘deprived of the means of social and economic development’.6

Perhaps not many would follow Foot in assessing discrimination in Northern Ireland as being worse than in apartheid South Africa or in the pre-integration southern states of the USA, but the tide of rhetoric on this issue has been so strong that many people are willing to view the Stormont regime as having strong similarities with these odious regimes. This is the case despite a growing tendency for histories of Northern Ireland written in the 1990’s to take a more objective or even overtly pro-unionist view.7

Accusations of discrimination, and more general abuse of civil rights, have formed the backbone of sympathy for the nationalist cause among neutral observers and of antagonism to the unionist cause. Even though unionists have had minimal power in Northern Ireland for a quarter of a century, the accusations are regularly repeated and renewed. There are essentially four charges:

(a)   Discrimination in housing
(b)   Discrimination in jobs — especially in the public sector
(c)   Gerrymandering of electoral boundaries
(d)   Abuses of civil power, in the use of legislation (the Special Powers Act of 1922) backed by a sectarian auxiliary police force (the B Specials).

This chapter deals with allegations of discrimination in housing and employment since the focus here is on how power was used rather than on how power was achieved. In the following chapter Sidney Elliot takes up the issue of biases in electoral arrangements. Finally, allegations of abuse of civil power are usually related to the pre-war era or to subsequent periods of violence, and as such can be seen as much as a consequence of the rejection of the Stormont government by nationalists as a cause of that rejection. Since it is the latter which is of concern here, neither this chapter nor the next deals with allegations of abuse of civil power.

The most comprehensive and rigorous existing evaluation of the extent of discrimination under the Stormont regime was undertaken by the late Professor Whyte.8 There are three reasons for revisiting this issue and attempting to add to Whyte’s scholarly assessment. Firstly, Whyte’s article was largely a literature review, albeit the most wide-ranging available, making limited use of census material to give an overview. Since the available literature inevitably focuses on problems rather than normality, attempts to provide a complete census-based picture are important. Secondly, recent research, especially in the area of labour economics, was unavailable to Whyte and this affected what was perhaps the weakest part of his review, namely job discrimination within the private sector. Finally, it is clear from living in Northern Ireland that Whyte’s balanced assessment has had a limited impact on public perceptions, even among the most highly educated. My own discussions, for instance with European officials addressing current social problems in Northern Ireland, suggest that the abuses of the past are greatly exaggerated. Much of current nationalist politics is built around an equality agenda aimed at removing the consequences of past injustice, and it is clear that the past must be continually revisited as a guide to the present.

As a test of the extent and importance of discrimination, this chapter and the next will ask whether the allocation of housing and employment is very different after the reforms of the 1970’s and 1980’s, and whether reformed electoral arrangements have made much difference to the outcome of elections. Finally, some reasons are suggested for the failure of much of the academic literature to make an accurate assessment of the level of discrimination.


Discrimination in housing

Accusations of discrimination in housing have been among the most important criticisms of the Stormont regime. This is not only because of the intrinsic importance of housing — a roof over one’s head is after all among the most basic of necessities — but because the civil rights movement and hence the ‘troubles’ themselves began around the issues of housing allocation. However there has been much exaggeration. Professor Wilson states that,

the charge of discrimination directed against unionist policy has been repeated so often and with such total assurance that its validity now appears to be widely accepted without evidence, as though it had been fully substantiated as to have made any further presentation of the evidence no longer necessary.9

Allegations of discrimination in housing have a long history in Northern Ireland but they first came to more than local prominence in the civil rights campaign in the 1960s. The civil rights movement began with a campaign against the mis-allocation of housing by Dungannon rural district council — an area of 25,000 people. The campaign had begun with a campaign led by Conn McCluskey and his wife, two local doctors who formed the Campaign for Social Justice in 1964 in the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast.

The campaign was later advanced by Austin Currie and others who organised the squatting in two council houses in Caledon, county Tyrone, by two Catholic families waiting to be re-housed. One family, the McKenna’s, was evicted and the house allocated to Miss Emily Beattie, a single Protestant, 19 years old, and secretary to the local unionist councillor, who was also a unionist parliamentary candidate.

As Austin Currie said, ‘if we had waited a thousand years we would not have got a better example’, hence indicating that it was unusual.’10 In fact, Miss Beattie was engaged to be married, and married a few weeks later. Her fiancee was from Monaghan and hence ineligible to register for the house in his own name. She came from an over-crowded home and her brother, an RUC officer involved in the eviction, came to live with her and her husband. However, as Lord Cameron said in the report of the Cameron Commission, ‘by no stretch of the imagination could Miss Beattie be regarded as a priority tenant’.

This incident was widely reported internationally and came to symbolise the abuse of civil rights by unionist authorities in Northern Ireland. Of course, the incident could not have attracted so much sympathy, were it not for a large number of accusations of discrimination in housing over a number of years.

The accusations largely concerned a number of small local authority districts west of the Bann, especially Dungannon and in Fermanagh. Figures from the McCluskey’s and from similar reports in Fermanagh are repeated in all histories of the ‘troubles’. These instances are usually taken uncritically as examples of discrimination in Northern Ireland as a whole, although the figures for the rest of Northern Ireland are never included in these accounts. In particular, Belfast is never mentioned.

The strength of the accusations have, if anything, grown over the years, and become all embracing: Let us return again to Bowyer Bell writing in 1993

The construction of small council houses for the poor caused most resentment. The state controlled houses for the poor. And houses, like all else, went to unionists. Many Catholics felt that if houses did not go to Protestants they simply would not be built. Without a house the Catholics would go away. With a house the Catholics would stay and put the gerrymandered districts to threat. So there were few houses for Catholics.11

The picture painted here is clear, and is widely believed, including by a significant number of Protestants. It is, however, untrue, as can be clearly seen in the 1971 census of population taken in the dying months of the 50 year unionist rule from Stormont.

In that year there were 148,000 local authority dwellings in Northern Ireland, of which between 45,000 and 55,000 were occupied by Catholic families (depending on what is assumed about the religion of those who declined to answer the religion’ question in the population census of that year). We can see immediately that the idea that there were few houses for Catholics is completely wrong. In fact, Catholics had a disproportionately large share of local authority housing. Catholics comprised 26.1% of households, but occupied 30.7% of local authority households (see Table 5.1). To put the figures another way, 4 out of every 10 Catholic families were in local authority houses compared with just over 3 out of every 10 Protestants.

We might ask how it can be that it is widely believed that the unionist authorities built few houses for Catholics, when in fact the statistics show that they provided proportionately more for Catholics than for Protestants. The first thing to say is that even with the figures in Table 5.1, it may have been that unionist authorities were still not responding fully and fairly to the need of Catholics. There are three obvious ways to measure needs: firstly, relative to income; secondly, relative to family size; and thirdly in light of the existing housing conditions.

By luck there is some good quality evidence on these issues. A major survey was undertaken in 1968 by an American professor based in Glasgow, Richard Rose. This was published in his famous book on Northern Ireland, Governing Without Consensus. The survey covered a very wide range of political and social issues and provides an invaluable benchmark of conditions and attitudes in the last years of the Stormont regime and immediately prior to the ‘troubles’.

Table 5.1 Distribution of local authority housing by religion in Northern Ireland in 1971

Percentage of households


All households

Households in local authority dwellings




Other Denominations



Not Known






Source: Northern Ireland Census of Population, 1971


The survey included a section on housing conditions, and Professor Rose discovered what was later confirmed by the 1971 census, that is, that Catholics had a disproportionately large share of local authority houses. The advantage to Catholics was very marked in Belfast, which had a unionist council (19% of Catholics were in local authority houses compared with 9% of Protestants), and in areas with nationalist councils (39% of Catholics compared with 15% of Protestants). Elsewhere, Catholics and Protestants got an equal share of local authority houses. Professor Rose’s conclusion was that there was: evidence of systematic discrimination against Catholics. The greatest bias appears to favour Catholics in areas controlled by Catholic councillors.12

Professor Rose controlled for the possibility of differing needs for local authority housing, firstly, by taking into account the incomes of families. He examined the allocation of local authority houses between Catholics and Protestants within six separate income groups. In five out of the six income categories the proportion of Catholics in local authority housing was higher than for Protestants. In other words, Catholics did not get more local authority houses only because they were poorer. At any given level of income Catholics fared distinctly better than Protestants.

The reason for this advantage is likely to be the larger family size of Catholics — in most housing allocation systems in the UK larger families receive priority — a practice formalised within the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) from its inception in 1971. Prior to the establishment of the NIHE, it is possible that large Catholic families did not receive as much priority as the (much less common) large Protestant families. For families with six plus children (78% of which were Roman Catholic) Rose reported that there were 12% more Protestants than Catholics in local authority housing. Rose does not provide figures for other family sizes.

The end of 50 years of housing policy in Northern Ireland, largely under unionist control, left Protestants over-represented in privately rented housing — usually thought of as poorer in quality to either local authority or owner-occupied housing, although much owner-occupied property in rural areas may have been of very low quality.

By 1971, the census of population showed that 30% of homes in Northern Ireland still lacked exclusive use of basic amenities including hot water, a fixed bath and indoor toilet. The figures for homes lacking amenities also show that Catholics were worse off than Protestants, although poor housing conditions were widespread in both communities. Thirty-six per cent of Catholic homes lacked these basic amenities, compared with 31% for Church of Ireland members and 27% for Presbyterians. The reasons for these differences are unclear and may reflect a range of influences including patterns of urban and rural home ownership.

All denominations clearly suffered poverty and poor housing, and differences between religions were not huge. Slum conditions were well known to both communities. A Building Design Partnership study of Belfast in 1969 found ‘gross deficient’ standards in most houses in both Catholic Cromac Street and Protestant Sandy Row. The unionist regime may be criticised for not raising standards for all. However, its resources were limited through much of its history. A significant housing problem had built up during the financially difficult inter-war years when only 50,000 new houses were built, a level only proportionately half as large as that in the rest of the UK.’13 In the post-war years up to 1970 a total of 178,000 houses were built, of which 120,000 were built by the public sector, a major achievement. However it was not until 1985 when a further 150,000 houses had been built that the housing shortage can be said to have finally disappeared.

The thorny issue of differences between Catholics and Protestants in family size is important in understanding the housing issue. This issue here, which is almost never raised in discussions on the allocation of housing in conditions of shortage (or indeed in respect of unemployment or public spending), is how can housing be allocated on a fair basis when one community has consistently higher birth rates than the other.

In fact, one recent book does describe the difficulties in an open way. This is the autobiography of Maurice Hayes, formerly town clerk in Downpatrick and later permanent secretary in the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and ombudsman for Northern Ireland. Dr. Hayes’ account of the difficulties faced by the nationalist council in Downpatrick are worth repeating.

Down council attempted a fair allocation of local authority housing in the 1960s and was in Dr. Hayes’ view one of the first councils to introduce a points system. This system favoured larger families and hence Catholics received most houses. To avoid this over-representation the council subsequently introduced two separate lists, one for Catholics and one for Protestants. This in turn had the undesirable consequence that single Protestants were allocated houses while large Catholic families remained on the waiting list. This in turn was viewed as unacceptable and the council reverted to its earlier points system.14 Similar problems may have been responsible for large disproportion in the allocation of council houses in Newry in 1963 where all but 22 of the 765 houses were allocated to Catholics.15

Here we have a conundrum. When a unionist council in Dungannon gave a house to a single Protestant in preference to a Catholic family, the result was the civil rights movement leading eventually onto the ‘troubles’. When a nationalist council did exactly the same, for the best of motives, it attracted no attention whatsoever, either then or since. Despite the fact that Catholics did best in local authority housing, unionist councils as a whole became tarred with the brush of discrimination. Despite Rose’s view that the clearest evidence was of nationalist councils discriminating against Protestants, nationalists attracted little opprobrium.

One point to make is that much of the argument on housing took place between 1964 and 1969 when the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) was announced (although it was not set up until 1971). Few systematic figures on the allocation of housing between Roman Catholics and Protestants were available until Professor Rose’s book Governing Without Consensus was published in 1971 and until the religion tables of 1971 census were published in 1975. By then the civil rights argument on housing had been won by nationalists.

Even so, we might reasonably ask why have the facts not subsequently been corrected or at least acknowledged by historians and other analysts of the Northern Ireland problem? One answer is that historians are ill-equipped to answer such questions, too rarely examining statistical sources. To be fair to them they usually see their task as reporting significant events (such as the origins of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland), and repeat what contemporary activists said or thought about the events. Because the accusations of discrimination in housing were not countered at the time, some historians were content to report contemporary opinion. Historians might also argue that what people thought at the time was a more important influence on events than what was true.

Some historians have however gone further, and give the clear impression that the allegations of discrimination were true. In this respect, they go beyond their competence in an unself-critical way. Some might also be accused of, at best, a lack of professionalism. Professor Bowyer Bell, for instance, refers in his forward to his ‘friend’ Professor Rose. He has, however, ignored his friend’s evidence on the allocation of housing. Professor Bell is one particularly stark example. Other historians appear to follow each other. Dungannon and the McCluskey’s appear again and again, but the census figures quoted above are almost wholly absent.

The McCluskey evidence appears to be widely regarded. Bardon for instance calls it ‘an impressive dossier’.16 Although its contemporary political importance cannot be doubted, as a survey of discrimination and especially of housing conditions it leaves much to be desired. The authors confuse disadvantage with discrimination, and make sweeping assertions where the evidence is purely circumstantial. The main section on housing consists of five short paragraphs and is largely concerned not with housing conditions but with the location of housing for purposes of gerrymandering. The housing figures for Dungannon are incomplete and difficult to assess. The only complete figures are for Omagh and Armagh. In both of theses cases the allocation of houses between Catholics and Protestants is close to their respective shares in the local population. What the McCluskey pamphlet does show for Dungannon, Omagh and Armagh (but nowhere else) is that the local unionist councils built few houses for Catholics. Instead houses for Catholics in these areas were mostly built by the Housing Trust, which controlled around 40% of state owned housing in Northern Ireland. As we argue below no assessment of housing standards in Northern Ireland can be made without taking into account the role of the Housing Trust.

What happened in housing is relatively clear at least for the 1960s. A number of small local authorities in Fermanagh and Tyrone built very few houses for Catholics either within their boundaries or in areas where doing so would upset the electoral balance. This was made clear at the time in a series of exhaustive articles on Fermanagh by the then young Belfast Telegraph reporter Dennis Kennedy, later to become deputy editor of the Irish Times and EC representative in Belfast.

Dennis Kennedy’s articles showed clearly that the unionist council in Enniskillen built houses for Catholics only in the one ward which returned a nationalist electoral majority. This was an open practice. No one attempted to deny it. The councillors were acutely concerned about where these would be built. In the Enniskillen case, many of the houses for Catholics were built not by the council itself, but by the Northern Ireland Housing Trust operating with a subsidy from Enniskillen council. Other houses for Catholics were built just outside the town boundary in anticipation of future boundary changes.

All of this is very unsatisfactory. It certainly amounts to malpractice to maintain unionist control. It does not however amount to an attempt to deprive Catholics of housing equal in standard to that allocated to Protestants. What these councils established was not necessarily a discriminatory regime in the availability of housing, but certainly a segregated housing pattern.17 Whether this made much difference in practice is harder to say. Dr. Hayes describes ruefully how his attempts to integrate local authority housing in Downpatrick failed due to the location of churches and schools (in some cases due to the absence of co-operation from education authorities). Some of the most segregated estates in Downpatrick remain sectarian black spots.

Perhaps the best summary of the housing issue was made by Charles Brett, the first chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive

It is my view that the majority of councils did not consciously or deliberately engage in any kind of discrimination; but a minority did so and thereby discredited the whole.18

Many councils, notably including Belfast, had in Oliver’s view a blameless record in housing and most ‘struggled manfully to maintain standards and to do the right thing’.19 Even the Cameron Commission in commenting on the four councils most affected by disturbances concluded that houses were allocated in rough proportion to numbers of Catholics and Protestants. Cameron’s criticism in these areas was again one of using housing to maintain electoral control.20 It should also be noted that no legal challenge was ever mounted to the many Northern Ireland housing acts, all of which required and got royal assent. Moreover when a British based ombudsman and commissioner for complaints were installed in 1968 they received few complaints, and in his first report in 1971 the ombudsman praised the quality of administration in Northern Ireland ministries.21

Almost all allegations of discrimination in housing ceased when the Northern Ireland Housing Executive was set up in 1972 to take responsibility from both the local authorities and the Housing Trust. It should be said immediately that the Stormont regime’s delay in responding to the indefensible behaviour in a few councils west of the Bann was not excusable and played no small part in its downfall. With 68 local authorities for a population of only 1.5 million, many were tiny. The pool of talent among elected officials must have been greatly stretched, and the temptation to misallocate housing in councils which built only a handful of units each year would always have been considerable. Local control of housing is always open to abuse in one party administrations and it is only the unusual circumstances of Northern Ireland west of the Bann which made the problem so much worse than in similar one party situations in Scotland, south Wales or north east England. It was however typical of unionist politics to ignore the need for institutional change. Whereas Ulster conservatism contributes much to aspects of social stability in Northern Ireland, unionist conservatism in delaying the reform of badly performing institutions was the Achilles heel of a government faced with, admittedly daunting problems. Oliver, a permanent secretary during this period, takes the view that behaviour of the small local authorities close to the border was wrong, but understandable in the context of continuous and often violent opposition to the state. He says, ‘our failure to deal with those attitudes and practices was one of our most serious failures overall, for while the practical effect was small their psychological and political effect was great’.22

Table 5.2 Distribution of local authority housing by religion in Northern Ireland in 1991

Percentage of households


All households

Households in local authority dwellings




Other Denominations



Religion Not Known






Source: Northern Ireland Census of Population, 1971


More than a quarter century after the formation of the Housing Executive little has however changed in the distribution of houses between Catholics and Protestants. Table 5.2 shows that Catholics are over-represented relative to their numbers by almost exactly the same amount as they were at the end of the Stormont years. Moreover the degree of physical segregation, about which the McCluskeys complained most bitterly is much worse after 30 years of terrorist violence. In aggregate little has changed except the overt use of housing location for electoral advantage in a few local authorities. While protesters were correct to complain about the abuses which did occur prior to 1972, the civil rights movement did not raise the cases of discrimination against Protestants in nationalist controlled councils, and it is clear that housing was used as a stick with which to beat unionism. In this it was spectacularly successful. In any other society the demand would have been to reform housing allocation in the small number of offending councils. In Northern Ireland the issue helped to initiate 30 years of violent conflict. This over-reaction to a serious but limited problem has been legitimised by its treatment in academic and journalistic accounts of the period. Michael Farrell’s self consciously partisan account, for instance, highlights only one area (Fermanagh), confuses general housing shortage with misallocation and fails to mention any instance of nationalist discrimination against Protestants.23


Discrimination in employment

Allegations of discrimination in employment, like those in housing go back to the first days of the Stormont regime and before. Catholic workers had been violently expelled from the Belfast shipyards several times during the nineteenth century. Those Catholics who had obtained jobs in engineering while Protestants were fighting in the 1914-18 war, were expelled from the Harland and Wolff shipyard and other large engineering firms during the 1920 sectarian unrest which preceded partition.24 Although there were clear examples of segregation and discrimination in employment in the Stormont years these did not play a large role in the civil rights movement despite featuring strongly in the McCluskey’s memorandum. Unlike housing the issue of job discrimination has remained alive up to the present day25 and frequently features in Sinn Fein criticisms of the administration of Northern Ireland. Despite the passing of two fair employment acts, in 1976 and 1990, and the setting up of a Fair Employment Commission and the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights (SACHR), belief in job discrimination appears almost as strong today as it was 30 years ago. In 1998 further strengthening of the fair employment act was undertaken.

Central government

Throughout the Stormont period there appears to have been some bias towards employing Protestants in senior levels of the civil service. Catholics were certainly greatly under-represented at senior levels within the civil service. The Campaign For Social Justice recorded that between the rank of deputy principal and permanent secretary in the civil service Catholics occupied only 7.4% of posts. On the other hand, autobiographical accounts now exist from at least four former civil servants who reached the highest rank of permanent secretary, two of whom are Catholic and two Protestant.26 All of these paint a convincing picture of a fair and efficient civil service.

Both Shea, a Catholic, and Oliver, a Protestant, refer directly to the issue of under-representation of Catholics among the most senior jobs, around 50 in all, which needed the approval of cabinet ministers who were of course almost invariably unionist. Shea records that he had good reason to believe that his promotion to the second highest grade (assistant secretary) was delayed for perhaps a decade, although he makes no comparison of qualifications and experience and makes too little of the fact that as a non-graduate he faced tough competition from the stream of Oxbridge graduates entering the Northern Ireland civil service through national UK competitions. Bloomfield, who eventually became head of the civil service in the 1980s, asserts that he never encountered religion or politics in almost 40 years experience on selection and promotion committees. It does however seem likely that some of the partition generation of unionist politicians were unwilling to promote Catholics to the top policy making positions, although Bonaparte Wyse, a Dublin Catholic, was permanent secretary in education from 1927-39. Once the next generation of unionists gained power in the person of Terence O’Neill there was a relaxation and this may be associated with the fact that Shea was promoted to assistant secretary. At the end of the Stormont period Shea eventually got the top job of permanent secretary in the department of education, despite not being a graduate. Indeed until 1992 he was the only holder of this post not to have been at either Trinity College Dublin or at Oxbridge. We might note as a curiosity that from partition until 1998 no Ulster Protestant ever rose to the rank of permanent secretary in the department of education.27

None of this should suggest that there was an ethos of personal hostility to Catholics. Shea comments

The cabinet ministers with whom I came into contact were, almost without exception, kind to me, conscientious in their attitude to the public services, anxious to manage their departments efficiently. In private conversation many of them showed a liberality of mind pleasantly at variance with the accepted image of unionist politicians.28

The unionist ministers preferred senior civil servants who were in their eyes ‘loyal’, and saw little purpose in employing in senior positions those who were or might be dedicated to the overthrow of the state. It is possible to have some understanding with this view and many of those who easily decry this behaviour come from jurisdictions were the problem does not arise. Oliver for instance defends the principle that ministers should have in their small private offices those they prefer to work with.29 The real charges against unionist ministers were that they indiscriminately treated all Catholics as ipso facto disloyal, including cases like Shea’s where there was no evidence of disloyalty. They also carried these attitudes on for too long after partition. As Shea says: ‘a little magnanimity would have gone a long way’.30 Finally, ministers, in Shea’s view, far too often appeared to bend to the wishes of the Orange Order against their own better judgement.

At the same time there were too few Catholic applicants to challenge these prejudices. Shea suggests that too many Catholics preferred second class citizenship to working for the government. Even in the 1970s as permanent secretary in the department of education Shea, as someone who had ‘gone over to the other side’, was rarely invited to Catholic schools in Belfast. Oliver adds that Catholic hostility in the 1920s and 1930s towards working for the Northern Ireland state inevitably meant that ‘there could be few rising to the highest ranks in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s’.31 Entrance to the Northern Ireland civil service was open to high fliers to apply through the London first division competition from 1929 onwards, but it was not until the mid-1960s that the first Catholic succeeded in entering through this path despite the complete absence of any taint of discrimination or influence from unionists.

Whether or not this made much difference to all but those few like Shea who were directly affected is difficult to say. Of the eight permanent secretaries in the 1960s, three were from the British mainland recruited through national competitions. A pro-rata share for Northern Ireland Catholics at this rank might have thus been two if suitable candidates had been available. There may have been some justification in unionist ministers preferring officials with a reasonably similar outlook, as is normal in the USA. However in the circumstances of Northern Ireland it was surely important to publicly demonstrate that Catholics could and should rise to the highest administrative positions and indeed were willing to do so. Once again unionists acted unintelligently either because of their own predilections or due to pressure from their supporters. In the latter case the lack of an active intellectual strand in unionism meant that these pressures were too rarely questioned or countered.

Whether unionist administrations had a deliberate policy of job discrimination ‘with a view to maintaining the population balance between the two communities’, as suggested by Boyle and Haddon32 and O’Malley33 is open to much more doubt. Neither Boyle and Haddon nor O’Malley provide evidence for this strong proposition, the former instead referring readers to the 1987 SACHR report ‘for a general review of issues and statistics on discrimination in employment’, and the latter referring to studies of Catholic disadvantage rather than discrimination.

Local authorities

Perhaps the clearest examples of job discrimination came among the non-manual employees of local authorities. By 1971 total employment in local authorities had grown to 5,700 of which an estimated 1,600 or 28% were Catholic.34 Hence the under-representation of Catholics in the overall employment of local authorities was slight, a matter of perhaps 300 jobs in total. However there was a strong tendency in smaller, rural and western areas for councils, both unionist and nationalist to discriminate in favour of their own supporters. Local imbalances were often large even if the aggregate employment balance was more reasonable. The local imbalances in gerrymandered areas of Fermanagh, Dungannon, Omagh and Armagh caused particular resentment since few Catholics were employed, especially in the better paid non-manual posts, despite local Catholic majorities among the population at large.35

Equally large imbalances within nationalist controlled councils, for instance Newry urban district council where only 3 out of 161 employees were Protestant, attracted little if any public attention.36 Cameron for instance appeared to excuse officials in Newry on the grounds that ‘in Newry there are relatively few Protestants’, that Protestant unemployment was low and that in recent years Newry council had introduced a competitive examination system in local authority appointments.37 In fact Protestants comprised 25%of the population of Newry and its immediate environs, and were thus heavily under-represented. Cameron’s reference to unemployment betrays a limited understanding of how labour markets work. It seems likely that the refusal of many unionists to co-operate with the Cameron Commission may have led their case to be understated.

These imbalances (but not those in favour of Catholics in nationalist controlled councils) were highlighted by the McCluskeys and before them by Frank Gallagher in his book The Indivisible Island.38 Gallagher pointed out that in 1951 while Catholics comprised 3 1.5% of local authority employees (slightly more than their share of the population of working age), they held only 12% of the 1095 non-manual jobs in Northern Ireland’s local authorities. Some of the latter imbalance may have reflected differences in educational attainment, but many may have been due to discrimination, at a direct cost of around 200 jobs to the Catholic community. Bardon argues that favouritism and patronage in appointments had long been endemic throughout Ireland and were entrenched by the 1898 local government act.39 Once again the unionist government’s failure to modernise and reform practices which were no longer widely accepted, except under severe pressure, was both inexcusable and ultimately self-defeating.

Although the instances of discrimination against Catholics in the public sector were of both political and individual importance the numbers involved were very small, amounting to less than 400 jobs foregone by a Catholic population of economically active adults of around 250,000. To assess the claim of the Irish government’s New Ireland Forum Report in 1984 that northern Catholics were ‘deprived of the means of social and economic development’ we must turn to the private sector which, during the Stormont years, employed three out every four of those working in Northern Ireland.

The private sector

There are two ways in which Catholics have claimed to be discriminated against in the Northern Ireland private sector. One is in the location of workplaces, the other is through an employer’s preference for Protestants in recruitment, retention or promotion. In the former case nationalists claimed that inward investment projects coming into Northern Ireland were steered to the east and away from the more predominantly Catholic areas west of the Bann. There is no evidence to support Catholic suspicions that unionists attempted to influence incoming firms to locate in predominantly Protestant areas and these were described by Oliver as ‘nonsense’.40 Oliver lists an impressive range of multinational companies who were induced to locate in the west, along with the major infrastructural developments undertaken to assist large international chemical companies such as Du Pont to locate in county Londonderry. One personal experience comes from the head of the British Enkalon company which moved to Antrim in 1957 to eventually to employ 3,000 people who attests that his firm, one of the single largest inward investors, was left completely free to locate where-ever best suited the company. The normal higher rate of grant was available to locate west of the Bann, but the company’s best interests were served by a location close to the east coast ports and the airport, and thus it chose Antrim 15 miles from Belfast.

Bradley, Hewitt and Jefferson in a 1986 study for the Fair Employment Commission found that jobs in in-moving firms were distributed across Northern Ireland in approximate proportion to the population of working age.41 This was particularly the case after 1963 when UK regional policy was stepped up following Labour’s accession to power in Great Britain. Incoming firms did not however choose locations fully in proportion to the distribution of the unemployed who were proportionately most numerous in western areas. Since high unemployment was the main criterion for giving assistance to incoming firms within Great Britain this might be viewed as evidence of bias by the Stormont government.

Any attempt at bias is unlikely since the Stormont government paid a higher rate of grant to attract firms to locate west of the Bann. Grant levels for firms locating in the west were high and any attempt to widen the difference between east and west in the value of grants is likely to have involved lower grant levels in the east. This could have deterred some firms like British Enkalon which although locating in the east attracted recruits from all parts of Northern Ireland. We might also note that during the same period most firms moving into the Republic of Ireland chose east coast locations. In both north and south this was to prove a disadvantage for these eastern areas in the economically difficult 1970’s and 1980’s when many companies closed their Irish branches.

The main allegations of discrimination within the private sector were focused on the major engineering companies in Belfast. These companies, the Harland and Wolff shipyard, the Shorts aircraft factories, and Mackies textile machinery works employed relatively few Catholics despite the proximity of Catholic residential areas. Although more than one thousand Catholics worked in these companies at the end of the Stormont period there can be little doubt that Catholics had, and continued to have, strong difficulties in getting and keeping jobs in these firms. Paddy Devlin, in his autobiography Straight Left, describes how as a young man in the 1930s he obtained a job at Mackies where his fellow workers threw nuts and bolts as well as abuse at him, and he left after a few days and there is little reason to think that these conditions had fully disappeared by the 1960s.42 Protestant workers had similar experiences in Catholic dominated firms and a pattern of job segregation was also common in many areas.

R. G. Cooper, later to become chairman of the Fair Employment Commission, worked in management in the engineering industry in the 1960s and asserts that Catholic job applicants were weeded out at an early stage. Much of the problem seems to have stemmed from shop-floor antagonisms between Catholic and Protestant manual workers. These antagonisms have a long history, including sporadic outbreaks of violence, which were soon to erupt again in the ‘troubles’ from 1969 to the present. The exclusion of many Catholics from these firms can be seen as an aspect of the perennial constitutional dispute and as a kind of cold war. Both management and government made little concerted effort to change this state of affairs and can be blamed in this respect. The difficulties they faced must not be underestimated however. When changes in the balance of advantage between the Catholic and Protestant working classes began to occur in the late 1960s the cold war quickly turned hot.

The pattern of job segregation in parts of the private sector was well established by the 1960s but it played little part in the civil rights movement or in the report of the Cameron Commission. This may have been because it was an accepted part of life for many, or because a rapid flow of new firms was coming into Northern Ireland with unbiased hiring policies. The problem of job discrimination may also not have been as widespread as is often assumed. The entire mechanical and transport engineering sector in Northern Ireland employed under 5%of all those at work in 1971. Nor should it be assumed that active discrimination accounted for all, or even most, of the under-representation of Catholics in these firms. Over a quarter of a century later, following two fair employment acts and many reforms in personnel practice within these companies, the Catholic share of jobs remains under 11%. Active discrimination is no longer an issue but these firms nevertheless retain a predominantly Protestant workforce for a range of other reasons.

The pattern of under and over representation across all sectors at the end of the Stormont period is shown in Table 5.3. The figures represent the percentage excess or deficit of Catholic employment in each sector, relative to the percentage of Catholics among the economically active in each year. The greatest degree of over-representation in 1971 among the sectors separately identified in Table 5.3occurred in the hotel, pubs and clubs industry. In this sector the percentage of Catholics employed was 29% higher than the percentage of Catholics among the economically active in 1971 (34%). This degree of over-representation of Catholics was even greater than their under-representation in the shipbuilding and aircraft engineering or the security services. Catholics were also considerably over represented in construction. Catholic under-representation was greatest in shipbuilding and aircraft engineering, the security services, public utilities and in financial and business services.

The fact that Catholic over-representation in some sectors did not become a political issue may reflect the small-scale organisation of the drink and construction industries which were dominated by small family businesses. It is sometimes argued that the drink and construction industries, which included a number of lower paid jobs, acted as a kind of sink for Catholics excluded from other sectors. Although a common argument, it is almost never thought through and is more complex that it looks. It underestimates the value of such jobs, and ignores the large numbers of Protestants who were in low paid occupations or who were unemployed. We might also note that the Irish in England were also at that time concentrated in construction without any suggestion of discrimination. It is true that even within each sector Catholics tended to be in less well paid occupations.43 However this again does not prove discrimination and could well have been due to social class, educational attainment or other factors. Catholics in Northern Ireland were for instance much better off in this respect than the children of manual workers in Britain where there was also no issue of discrimination — for the British case see J. H. Goldthorpe, Social Mobility and Class Structure in Modern Britain.44

What is striking about the overall level of Catholic under-representation is that it has got worse, not better, since the fall of the unionist government in 1972. Almost 20 years later, after a period in which unionists had minimal political influence, much of industry came under state or external control, the public sector doubled in size, and two fair employment acts were passed, the level of Catholic under-representation had grown from 2.7% in 1971 to 4.4% in 1991. There was also little change in the level of over- or under-representation in several of the most imbalanced sectors. In manufacturing, construction and the public utilities the percentages in 1991 remained much as they had been 20 years earlier. The same is true of shipbuilding and aircraft engineering where Catholic under-representation increased from 23% in 1971 to 27% in 1991. Although the share of jobs in this sector going to Catholics increased over the period, the rise was less than among the wider economically active Catholic population.

What this tells us is that patterns of under-representation in employment are complex and cannot be simply equated with discrimination as has so often been done in Northern Ireland. Employment practices today are tightly controlled and widely viewed as fair and yet imbalances have grown since the days of unionist government. What many observers fail to take into account is that labour forces are continually in flux. If Catholics gain more jobs in a situation of rapid growth and a consequent persistent oversupply of labour, one common result is to increase the number of economically active Catholics.45 As a result the level of imbalance remains the same or even grows.

Table 5.3 Percentage of under/over representation in employment
Private Sectors







Mining & Quarrying








of which: transport engineering








Gas, Electricity, Water




Transport & Communications








Financial & Business Services




Legal Services




Other Professional Services




Hotels, Pubs, Clubs etc.





Public Sector









Government, Administration




RUC, Army, Fire




All Sectors




Source of data: Northern Ireland Census of Population 1971, 1991, Religion Tables.
Note: Representation of Catholics is measured as the percentage of Catholics employed in each sector less the percentage of Catholics among the economically active in Northern Ireland in each year; i.e. 34% in 1971 and 38.2% in 1991. Of those not stating a religion 55% are allocated to the Catholic figures in 1971 and 38% in 1991. In the transport engineering sector it is the Catholic percentage of those stating a religion which is used.


The same issues affect the interpretation of differences between Catholics and Protestants in rates of unemployment. The fact that Catholic unemployment was twice as high as Protestant unemployment has stimulated many to conclude that the reason must be discrimination.46 The major study commissioned from the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) in 1989 by SACHR suggested that around half of the unemployment differential must be due to discrimination because all other influences had been eliminated. President Clinton writing in 1992 similarly assumed that high Catholic unemployment must reflect discrimination in writing that, ‘the British government must do more to oppose the job discrimination that has created unemployment rates two and half times higher for Catholic workers than Protestant workers’.47

In fact the PSI deduction was insupportable, as Wilson and others have observed.48 The PSI study followed a standard approach in taking a wide (but hardly exhaustive) set of personal characteristics for both Catholics and Protestants at a single point in time. These characteristics included such things age and educational qualifications. Having measured the impact of these factors on Catholic and Protestant unemployment, the study implies that any remaining differences are likely to be due to discrimination. However this approach by its very nature was unable to take any account of important factors which unfold over time (rather than being personal characteristics at any one point in time). These include the faster rate of population growth among Catholics and differences between Catholics and Protestants in the response of migration to levels of unemployment.

It is possible to combine these ‘dynamic’ factors with the personal characteristics included in the PSI study and in similar analyses. Gudgin and Breen49 did this using a simple simulation model and claim to show these dynamic factors can interact with the personal characteristics to produce a Catholic unemployment rate double that of Protestants without any need to invoke discrimination. This report provoked strong opposition mainly over technical issues connected with such things as the modelling of migration behaviour.50 What these criticisms overlook however is that it is only necessary to demonstrate a single plausible mechanism by which unemployment rates can diverge considerably between Catholics and Protestants to show that such divergence need not necessarily imply the presence of discrimination. Gudgin and Breen pointed out that this does not of course disprove the existence of discrimination, either now or in the past, but it does invalidate the tendency for people to argue that high Catholic unemployment must indicate discrimination both today and a fortiori in previous years. Those who believe that discrimination is or was an issue can no longer rely on the circumstantial evidence of unemployment, but must find more direct evidence.

There are now in essence two competing hypotheses to explain the large gap between Catholic and Protestant unemployment. One view is that discrimination is responsible. The other view is that the more rapid growth of population in the Catholic community has caused a chronic oversupply of labour which required out-migration to prevent a continuously rising rate of competiveness in the labour market, and on the sensitivity of each community’s migration to its rate of unemployment. They argue that although the rate of migration has been higher for Catholics than for Protestants, Catholic migration has been less responsive to high unemployment than has been the case for Protestants. As a result Catholic unemployment rates rise above those of Protestants, not only at a province-wide scale, but also in all areas where there are Catholic majorities, despite the generally superior record of job creation in these areas.

There is evidence to show that unemployment rates do differ in circumstances where discrimination is not an issue. Unemployment rates for Church of Ireland Protestants are for instance 45% higher than for Presbyterians in Northern Ireland, and differences in personal characteristics are unable to account for all of this gap, yet no-one has suggested that discrimination occurs between Protestant denominations. Similarly, unemployment rates for the Catholic majority in the Republic of Ireland are 70% higher than for the Protestant minority in the Republic.51 The unemployment gap between Catholics and Protestants living in the southern border counties is larger than in the adjoining counties in Northern Ireland. Again personal differences between Catholics and Protestants cannot account for all of the gap in unemployment rates.

Because religion tables from Northern Ireland censuses were not published until 1975, the size of the unemployment gap between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland was not recognised until after the fall of the Stormont government. As a result unemployment differences did not play an explicit role in the civil rights protests. Instead the later discovery that Catholic unemployment rates in 1971 were double those of Protestants has been subsequently used to reinforce the presumption that widespread discrimination was occurring. The persistence of the unemployment gap has led many, including the present Secretary of State, to conclude that discrimination still remains a problem, thus reinforcing the presumption that it is likely also to have been a problem in the past.

As with housing our conclusion is that despite the fall of the Stormont regime and many subsequent reforms, remarkably little has changed in the religious balance of employment and unemployment. The Catholic share of jobs and population has continued to grow but Catholics remain more under-represented in employment than in 1971 and the unemployment gap is as large as ever. If the degree of imbalance today is not regarded as indicative of discrimination, at least by most practitioners in the field of fair employment, then it would be illogical to regard a similar degree of imbalance 30 years ago as likely in itself to indicate discrimination. This is not to deny the existence of some discrimination as recorded by Devlin, Cooper and others, nor to diminish the impact of discrimination on those individuals who were directly affected. It would however undermine the unsubstantiated judgement made by the 1986 New Ireland Forum and quoted above, that Catholics were deprived of the means of economic development.

This subject remains controversial and more research would be valuable. The working of labour markets containing two communities with different birth-rates remains poorly understood. In Northern Ireland further understanding is too often resisted with many preferring to fall back on the simple deduction that higher Catholic than Protestant unemployment must in part at least reflect both ongoing and past discrimination. One of the ironies of Northern Ireland is that under conditions of fair employment, high Catholic birth rates will displace Protestants from jobs that they would have otherwise been likely to gain. It is a little known fact that all of the net increase in jobs between the 1971 and 1991 censuses went to Roman Catholics while the number of Protestants in jobs declined. Fair Employment Commission data shows that this tendency for the Catholic community to gain most of the net addition to the total of jobs has continued into the 1990s despite an acceleration in job creation.



Having undertaken this review of the evidence it is difficult to disagree with the conclusion of Oliver that

those of us who served in the [Stormont] administration are convinced both from our own experiences and from those totally impartial judgements, [i.e. the ombudsman, commissioner for complaints, and the royal commission on the constitution, 1973] that the so-called grievances and complaints that have been publicised all over the world have been hugely exaggerated.52

Oliver notes that the grievances began before the Stormont regime had made any decisions and have continued long after its demise. In his view the faults, mistakes and shortcomings of the regime were used by nationalists to denigrate the state and to try to pull it down.

This is not to deny the clear abuse of local powers by a limited number of local authorities mainly in border areas, or the atmosphere of communal hostility with which some private employers had to contend. Lord Cameron, writing in the report of the Cameron Commission, had some sympathy for the position in which unionists found themselves particularly in western local authorities

It is in a sense understandable that, given the political history of Northern Ireland, in certain areas in particular, local unionist groups should seek to preserve themselves in power by ensuring that local authority housing is developed and allocated in ways which will not disturb their electoral supremacy.53

In reference to the disturbances which we now know led on to 30 years of violence he added, ‘It is however natural that most Catholics should feel that the basis of administration in such areas is radically unfair’.

With the considerable benefit of hindsight it seems likely that although Lord Cameron was well aware of the political dimension to the protests again discrimination, and had information on IRA influence at protest rallies, he underestimated the extent to which civil rights protests would mutate into more direct nationalist ambitions. His hope that the reforms announced by the government in response to the civil rights movement would constitute an important step towards ‘eliminating causes of division and sectarian strife...helping to unite the people of Northern Ireland’ looks naive in retrospect.54

It is also possible to agree with Oliver that nationalists made a blunder in not throwing in their lot with the state before 1945 as they have under different circumstances in 1998. Their decision not to put their aspiration for Irish unity ‘on ice’, until too late, led inevitably to a culture of grievance which at the very least made the emergence of the troubles more likely. At the same time Oliver is surely correct in his assessment that the unionists political short-fall was if anything greater, since they failed to take what opportunities they had to bring the nationalists into the political system to offer them a greater stake in the future of the province and to reform the outmoded system of local elections. The history of the 1950s and 1960s contains many examples of a hard line when greater generosity would surely have paid dividends.55 Both unionists and nationalists were in some senses trapped by a ‘turbulent history and an intricate geography’ and crippled by an unnecessary constitutional uncertainty (all of which remain with us) but the quality of their struggle against these difficulties prior to 1972 left much to be desired.

Finally, writing this in the week of the tragic Omagh bombing causing the death of 29 people, including many women and children, it is poignant but easy to agree with Patrick Shea’s conclusion after a lifetime in the Northern Ireland civil service

I am totally convinced that whatever may be said about the righting of past wrongs or the maintenance of inherited power and privilege, there has been no moral justification for violence or threat of violence for political ends in Ireland at any time in the present century.56



1. J. Bowyer Bell, The Irish Troubles, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 1993, p.10

2. JJ. Lee, Ireland 1912-85: Politics and Society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,1989, pp. 79, 421, 596.

3. B. O’Leary and J. McGarry, The Politics of Antagonism: Understanding Northern Ireland, Athlone Press, London, p. 129.

4. See M. Farrell, Northern Ireland: The Orange State, Pluto Press, London, 1976 and E. McCann, War and an Irish Town, Harmondsworth, Penguin, London, 1974. This was Whyte’s summary of Farrell and McCann’s views in J. Whyte, ‘How much discrimination was there under the unionist regime’, in T. Gallagher and J. O’Connell (eds.), Contemporary Irish Studies, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1983, p.29.

5. P. Foot, Ireland: Why Britain Must Get Out, Chatto Counterblasts No.2, Chatto, London, 1989, p. 3.

6. New Ireland Forum Report, Dublin, 1984.

7. See A. Alcock, Understanding Ulster, Ulster Society, Belfast, 1994; B. Bardon, A History of Ulster, Blackstaff press, Belfast, 1992; T. Hennessey, A History of Northern Ireland, 1920-96, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 1997; C. Hewitt, ‘The roots of violence: Catholic grievances and Irish nationalism during the civil rights period’, in P.J. Roche and B. Barton (eds.), The Northern Ireland Question: Myth and Reality, Avebury, Aldershot, 1991 and C. Hewitt, Catholic grievances, Catholic nationalism and violence in Northern Ireland, British Journal of Sociology, vol. 34, no.3, 1981; J. Oliver, ‘The Stormont administration’ in P. J. Roche and B. Barton op. cit.

8. J. Whyte, op. cit.

9. T. Wilson, Ulster: Conflict and Consent, Blackwell, Oxford, 1989, p. 124.

10. Disturbances in Northern Ireland, Report of the Cameron Commission appointed by the Governor of Northern Ireland, Cmnd 532, HMSO, London, 1969, p. 21.

11. J. Bowyer Bell, op. cit., p.49.

12. R. Rose, Governing without Consensus: An Irish Perspective, Faber and Faber, London, 197l, p.293.

13. T. Wilson, op. cit., p. 125.

14. See M. Hayes, Minority Verdict: Experiences of a Catholic Public Servant, Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1995.

15. See D. P. Baritt and C. F. Carter, The Northern Ireland Problem: A Study in Group Relations, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1962.

16. J. Bardon, op. cit.,p.638.

17. D. Kennedy, Belfast Telegraph, 1968.

18. C. E. B. Brett, Housing in a Divided Community, Dublin and Belfast, 1986.

19. J. Oliver, op. cit., p.92.

20. Disturbances in Northern Ireland, op. cit., para. 140.

21. Report of the Northern Ireland Parliamentary Commission for Administration, 1971, p.4.

22. J. Oliver, op. cit., p.93.

23. M. Farrell, op. cit., p. 87.

24. B. Bardon, op. cit.

25. F. O’Connor, In Search of a State: Catholics in Northern Ireland, Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1993, p. 182.

26. See P. Shea, Voices and the Sound of Drums: An Irish Autobiography, Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1981; M. Hayes, op. cit; K. Bloomfield, Stormont: in Crisis: A Memoir, Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1994; J. Oliver, 'The Stormont administration', in P. J. Roche and B. Barton (eds.), op. cit.

27. I am grateful to Arthur Green, formerly under secretary in the department of education, for this point.

28. P. Shea, op. cit., p.196.

29. Oliver, op. cit., p.90.

30. P. Shea, op. cit’. p. 196.

31. J. Oliver, op. cit., p. 89.

32. K. Boyle and T. Hadden, Northern Ireland: The Choice, Penguin, London, 1994, p. 45.

33. R O’Malley, The Uncivil Wars, Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1983, p. 149.

34. Census of Population, 1971.

35. Cameron Report; Disturbances in Northern Ireland, Report of the Commission appointed by the Governor of Northern Ireland, Cmnd 532, HMSO, Belfast, 1969, para. 138.

36. T. Hennessey, op. cit., p. 113.

37. Cameron Report, op. cit., para. 138.

38. F. Gallagher, The Indivisible Island, Gollancz, London, 1957.

39. J. Bardon, op. cit., p.639.

40. J. Oliver, op. cit., p. 84.

41. J. Bradley, V. Hewitt and C. Jefferson, Industrial Location Policy and Equality of Opportunity in Northern Ireland, Research Paper No. 10, Fair Employment Agency, Belfast, 1986.

42. P. Devlin, Straight Left: An Autobiography, Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1993.

43. E. A. Aunger, ‘Religion and class: an analysis of 1971 data’, in R.J. Cormack and RD. Osborne (eds.), Religion, Education and Employment Aspects of Equal Opportunity in Northern Ireland, Appletree Press, Belfast, 1986.

44. H. Goldthorpe, Social Mobility and Class Structure in Modern Britain, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1980, Table 2.2.

45. Increase in the number of economically active people can occur because out-migration is reduced, in-migration rises or the number of people seeking work expands.

46. B. O’Leary and I. McGarry, op. cit., pp. 129-30.

47. C. O’Clery, The Greening of the White House, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 1996, p.22.

48. T. Wilson, op. cit.

49. G. Gudgin and R. Breen, ‘Evaluation of the Ratio of Unemployed Rates as an Indicator of Fair Employment’, Central Community Relations Unit, Belfast, 1996.

50. A. Murphy, Comments, in 0. Gudgin and R. Breen, op. cit. and V.K. Borooah, ‘Is there a penalty to being a Catholic in Northern Ireland’, forthcoming in The European Journal of Political Economy.

51. G. Gudgin, ‘Catholic and Protestant Unemployment in Ireland, North and South’, Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre Working Paper, No. 10, Belfast 1994.

52. J. Oliver, op. cit., p. 96.

53. Cameron Report, op. cit., para. 141.

54. Ibid., para. 131.

55. See for instance H. Patterson, Party versus Order: Ulster Unionism and the Flags and Emblems Act, forthcoming in Contemporary British History.

56. P. Shea, op. cit., p. 201.


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