Category: Archive

NI tolerance levels decline, survey finds

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Robinson told the university’s School of Policy Studies on Monday that Protestants and Catholics now showed a much greater preference for living apart.
Robinson’s findings confirm a pattern of segregation, but are still shocking.
By 2001, the desire between both communities to live in mixed-religion neighborhoods had fallen to an all-time low. In the five years from 1996-2001, Protestant support for mixed neighborhoods fell from 81 percent to 59 percent with a corresponding drop from 85 percent to 72 percent among Catholics.
In the same period support for mixed-religion workplaces fell by 25 percentage points among Protestants and 15 percentage points among Catholics.
Robinson said: “While it is clear that a large majority of the population does prefer mixed religion neighborhoods and mixed religion workplaces, it is equally clear that support has been significantly dented in recent years, particularly among the Protestant community.”
She added: “The indicators suggest a marked deterioration in community relations and a distinct retreat towards single-identity environments among both communities since 1996. Moreover, the survey evidence also indicates that since 1996 the Catholic and Protestant communities have developed notably different attitudes on a range of issues.”
Robinson also said that Catholics showed a somewhat greater willingness to interact with Protestants, but that “the general optimism inherent in Catholic responses is, however, tempered by a growing sense of distrust and unease within the Protestant community.”
She concluded by saying that in spite of the spirit of inclusiveness and cooperation that the Good Friday agreement is supposed to engender, “many Protestants, it would seem do not believe that their rights and culture have been accorded the same degree of legitimacy as the Catholic community.”

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