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The ‘Myth’ of partial ‘disadvantage’ in Loyalist communities


Loyalists march outside Belfast City Hall over flag dispute

With Belfast under siege from Loyalist intimidation, riots and violence for this past month, it’s interesting that the media has facilitated the revival of the unionist grievance narrative that emphasises the exclusive marginalisation being ‘suffered’ by the unionist community since the onset of the peace process. In recent weeks, we’ve heard unionist politicians, recognised loyalists, ‘community workers’, church representatives and prominent reporters trying to

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‘explain’ the daily destr
uction within the context of apparent disadvantage being forced on loyalist areas.

According to this false analysis, we’re led to believe that the new dispensation has fostered unique discrimination against the unionist working-class while funding resources, investment and employment has been re-directed towards the nationalist community. All the available objective evidence, however, indicates that nationalist communities suffer disproportionately amongst the poorest neighbourhoods in the six counties.


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Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency (NISRA) undertake extensive analysis o

f the various figures that highlight multiple deprivation in the 582 wards in the North. The status of these wards are ranked according to indicators such as income, employment, health, disability, education and training.

Although each particular indicator is classified individually, all the respective data is accumulated and assessed comparatively thereby drawing a very comprehensive picture of the most socio-economically deprived communities in this statelet. This cross-thematic measurement underlined the fact that eight of the ten most deprived areas and fourteen of the top twenty are situated in nationalist communities in comparison to only four in unionist areas and two that constitute demographically mixed areas.

The same patterns were clear and even more demonstrable in crucial indicators such as family income and employment where 16 of the 20 poorest wards are based in nationalist areas with North and West Belfast and Derry City particularly prominent. These figures were endorsed by the Peace Monitoring Report 2012 which stated that the proportion of people who are in low-income households is much higher among Catholics (26%) than among Protestants (16%).”

There are undoubtedly socio-economically disadvantaged loyalist areas that have been left behind, and this inequality requires urgent action. The above figures prove, however, that there is no substance to the mythological claims that the unionist working-class are losing out to their nationalist neighbours, who remain predominately out in front in every measurable criteria that assess objective disadvantage in the North of Ireland.

Inaccurate and false analyses to the contrary serve only to sectarianise poverty and ghetto warfare while also stifling honest efforts to build grassroots community reconciliation between marginalised working class unionist and nationalist communities that bore the brunt of the political conflict in the North.

Such a divisive agenda must be challenged to ensure that the political establishment, its state departments and statutory agencies understand that such blatant disregard of the facts simply isn’t acceptable. The authorities are statutorily obligated to tackle marginalisation and disadvantage in the poorest communities regardless of religious affiliation. This entails focusing on accurate facts and objective need when distributing the requisite resources that our citizens are entitled too.

Loyalists march outside Belfast City Hall over flag dispute

Le Béal Feirste faoi léigear ag imeaglú, círéibeanna agus foréigean dílseach le mí anuas, tá sé suimiúil go ndearnadh athghabháil sna meáin chumarsáide ar an mhiotaseolaíocht faoin imeallú leataobhach a ‘fhulaingíonn’ an pobal aontachtach ó tháinig ann don phróiseas síochána. Le seachtainí beaga anuas, chuala muid polaiteoirí aontachtacha, dílseoirí

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aitheanta, oibrithe pobail, ionadaithe eaglaise agus tuairisceoirí áirithe ag déanamh iarrachta an léirscrios laethúil seo a mhíniú i gcomhthéacs an mhíbhuntáiste fhollasaigh a bhrúitear ar cheantair dhílseacha.

Sa bhréaganailís seo, deirtear linn go ndearna an dispeansáid úr idirdhealú ar leith ar an chosmhuintir aontachtach agus gur treoraíodh na hacmhainní maoinithe, an infheistíocht,

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agus an fhostaíocht i dtreo an phobail náisiúnaigh. Léiríonn an fhianaise oibiachtúil, áfach, gurb iad na ceantair náisiúnacha a fhulaingíonn go díréireach i measc na gcomharsanachtaí is boichte sna sé chontae. Déanann Gníomhaireacht Thuaisceart Éireann um Staidreamh agus um Thaighde (NISRA) scagadh ar na figiúirí éagsúla a bhaineann le díth inchineálach sna 582 barda ó thuaidh.

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mbardaí seo a rangú de réir réimsí ar nós ioncaim, fostaíochta, sláinte, míchumais, oideachais, agus traenála.

Bíodh is go ndéantar rangú aonarach in achan réimse, déantar measúnú ilchineálach ar na réimsí ar fad trí chéile ar bhonn comparáide agus foilseofar pictiúr cuimsitheach de na ceantair is mó atá thíos leis an éagothromas socheacnamaíochta sa stáitín seo. Sa mheasúnú tras-réimse, léiríodh go bhfuil ocht mbard ón deichniúr is boichte agus ceithre cinn déag ón bharr fiche lonnaithe i gceantar náisiúnach i gcomparáid le ceathrar i gceantair aontachacha agus dhá cheantar eile atá measctha go déimeagrafach.

Tá an patrún céanna le feiceáil agus níos soiléire arís i rannóga ríthábhachtacha eile ar nós ioncam teaghlaigh agus fostaíochta ina bhfuil seisear déag ón fiche bard is boichte lonnaithe i gceantair náisiúnacha le Béal Feirste thuaidh agus thiar comh maith le cathair Dhoire go mór chun tosaigh. Dearbhaíodh na figiúirí seo sa Tuairisc Monatóireacha Síochána 2012 a dúirt go raibh “the proportion of people who are in low-income households is much higher among Catholics (26%) than among Protestants (16%).”

Is cinnte go bhfuil ceantair dhílseacha ar fágadh ar an trá fhólamh, atá faoi mhíbhuntáiste socheacnamaíochta agus caithfear aghaidh a thabhairt ar an éagóir seo. Léiríonn na figiúirí thuasluaite, áfach, nach bhfuil aon substaint leis an mhiotaseolaíocht a deir go bhfuil an chosmhuintir aontachtach ag cailleadh amach dá gcomharsana náisiúnacha, a mhaireann chun tosaigh go fóill in achan critéir mheasúnaithe a dhíríonn ar tháscairí míbhuntáistí ó thuaidh.

Feidhmíonn an bhréaganailís a deir a mhalairt chun ceist sheicteach a dhéanamh den bhochtanas a dhaingníonn cogaíocht an gheiteo agus a chuireann bac roimh iarrachtaí ionraice chun athmhuintearas a chothú idir na ceantair bhunaicmeacha i gceantair náisiúnacha agus aontachtacha a d’fhulaing an méid is mó sa choimhlint ó thuaidh.

Ní mór go gcuirtear dúshlán roimh an chlár oibre scoilteach seo le go dtuigfidh an bhunaíocht pholaitiúil agus a gcuid áisíneachtaí reachtúla nach bhfuil sé inghlactha neamhaird a dhéanamh ar na fíricí. Tá dualgaisí reachtúla ar na húdárais dul i ngleic le himeallú agus míbhuntáiste sna ceantair is boichte beag beann ar chúrsaí creidimh. Ciallaíonn seo go ndíreofar ar fhigiúirí beachta agus riachtanas oibiachtúil agus iad ag dáileadh amach na n-acmhainní cuí a bhfuil teidlíocht ag saoránaigh s’againne orthu.