>> 20 Oct 2004

Nationalists Whinge Again

Catriona Ruane, Sinn Fein's 'Equality' (presumably the word 'equality' means the equal right of everyone to be on an IRA hit list) Spokeswoman has called for urgent action to address the differential between unemployment rates for Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. Time and time again, nationalists have fallen for the lie that institutionalised discrimination in Ulster is responsible for their plight. Never do they admit that breeding like rabbits up until the mid-1980's had anything to do with it.

Let me put my vernacular stereotype into context. Picture two families in Belfast at the beginning of the 1980's. Mr and Mrs Smyth (Protestants) have three children - William, Mary and Ian. William and Mary are both in employment, though Ian has struggled to find a job. In other words, 33% of the Smyth family's children are affected by unemployment. Across the peace line we have Mr and Mrs O'Grady (Catholics). They have four children - Paddy, Seamus, Sinead and Megan. Megan and Seamus have worked since leaving school. However, Paddy and Sinead suffer from joblessness. The unemployment rate for their children is 50% (almost double the rate for the Smyth family).

Thus, the Smyth's and the O'Grady's both have two of their children in work. However, because the Catholic family had more children, the higher the unemployment rate for their household. Without beating about the bush, Ulster's Catholics had utterly nonsensical breeding habits up until around two decades ago. Even today it is far from rare to read about a 'Catholic father-of-twelve' or 'a Catholic mother-of-six'). Demographically, Ulster's Catholic population has only comparatively recently started to emulate the birthrates across comparable groups in other parts of the European Union. Notwithstanding the rapid fall in the Catholic birthrate since the early 1990's in particular, the rate is still higher than that for Ulster's Protestant population. What is more, the Catholic rate will not reach parity with that of non-Catholics until the end of the decade. Unfortunately, nobody told Northern Catholics long ago there would be a price to pay for rigid adherence to the teachings of their celibate clergy. That price was a stubborn unemployment differential: a phenomenon which will only be cured when Catholic demographic patterns fully fit the European norm.


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