Progress in reducing catholic disadvantage in Northern Ireland

Yaojun Li, Richard O'Leary

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In this chapter on Northern Ireland our focus is not on ethnic minorities of recent immigrant origin but rather on the indigenous Catholic and Protestant populations who can be viewed as ethno-religious groups. The historically disadvantaged position of the Catholic population continued after the partition of Ireland and the establishment of Northern Ireland in 1921 and the differences with respect to their position in the labour market, especially unemployment rates, have long been a symbol of contention and a matter of political importance. Comparing data from the Continuous Household Surveys in 1985/6 and 2002/3 we find substantial improvement for Catholic men in terms of avoidance of unemployment. This is consistent with the positive impact of the improving economy and the British government's fair employment legislation (Acts of 1976, 1989 and 1998). The class situations of Catholic women have also improved over the period covered. However, we find that Catholic men are still disadvantaged in accessing the salariat and in their labour-market earnings. While there is an increase in the absolute numbers of Catholic males working in the professional and managerial posts that make up the salariat in Northern Ireland, relative to Protestant males they are still not achieving a comparable degree of success in gaining access to the salariat. Copyright © British Academy 2007 - all rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the British Academy|Proc. Br. Acad.
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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