Demographic Change and Conflict in Northern

Report
Demographic Change and Conflict in
Northern Ireland: Reconciling
Qualitative and Quantitative
Evidence
Eric Kaufmann
Department of Politics
Birkbeck College
[email protected]
Unionist Pressure and Catholic
Emigration
• ‘Protesting strongly against the action of our Ulster and Protestant
government in permitting the appointment of a Roman Catholic to be in
charge of the allocation of houses built in county Tyrone, Fermanagh,
South Derry and a large part of the county of Armagh [areas with an even
ethnic balance]....We feel that all our endeavours to increase the Unionist
majority have been brought to nought by the action of this unacceptable
person who has for instance allocated over 90 percent of houses in Keady
[a South Armagh town with a Catholic majority of 79 percent in
1971] to RC Republicans. We demand their immediate withdrawal from
their position of responsibility.' – N. Armagh Unionist party branch to
Glengall St. headquarters, 1950 (Patterson & Kaufmann 2007: 50)
Also a reference from Fermanagh Orange county minute book of
1951 to land being bought by minister of agriculture and sold to Catholics
'in areas where [we] could ill afford to lose property to the other side'
because our ‘majority was very slender’
Catholic Emigration
• “Though they formed just 35 percent of
Northern Ireland's population, Catholics made
up 60 percent of its emigrants. The
disproportionate losses among Catholics in
the 15-40 age cohort reversed the gains that
would otherwise have accrued to the Catholic
community. Indeed, the 20-24 age cohort was
25 percent smaller than the 15-19 cohort in
1971.” – Leuprecht 2012
Proportion Protestant by County, Northern Ireland, 1881-1971
44.5%
45.4%
45.3%
55.6%
55.4%
58.6%
45.5%
45.3%
44.2%
44.6%
44.6%
44.6%
44.8%
45.2%
57.6%
57.1%
44.3%
58.5%
58.0%
44.8%
43.8%
41.7%
40.3%
38.5%
44.7%
43.8%
44.0%
44.3%
44.2%
68.4%
69.7%
69.1%
70.3%
68.7%
53.6%
53.9%
54.8%
54.7%
54.1%
68.9%
53.8%
45.3%
69.5%
53.3%
Tyrone
57.4%
54.8%
32.6%
46.6%
70.8%
24.1%
45.3%
71.0%
Co. Londonderry
Derry City
Fermanagh
Down
Armagh
52.0%
48.5%
71.2%
73.7%
75.7%
75.9%
77.8%
77.0%
74.6%
71.5%
68.9%
77.3%
78.2%
79.4%
79.5%
80.0%
79.7%
78.2%
74.8%
71.7%
1881
1891
1901
1911
1926
1937
1951
1961
1971
Belfast
Antrim
Demography and Ethnic Conflict:
Northern Ireland
• "The basic fear of
Protestants in Northern
Ireland is that they will
be outbred by the Roman
Catholics. It is as simple
as that." - Terence O’
Neill, Unionist PM of
Northern Ireland after
resigning, 1969
Protestant Population Change and Catholic Fatalities,
1969-2005
60%
900
800
40%
700
20%
R
a
t
e
0%
-20%
600 D
e
500
a
400 t
h
300 s
Protestant
growth
rate 192671
RC Death
Rate(para)
x 50
RC Deaths
(para)
200
-40%
100
-60%
0
RC Deaths
(tot)
Moderate Orangemen West of Bann
• ‘Many of the [Tyrone] towns and villages now had
Protestant minorities and it was felt that we
would only be adding to our own local future
problems if we were to protest in many of the
Districts...the recent atrocity in Omagh [bombing
of centre] has caused so much grief within all
sections of the community that any immediate
action over these next weeks and months would
be seen as very insensitive'.- Co. Tyrone Orange
Lodge reply to GOLI Parades Strategy Committee,
26/08/98
If you look at Glenbryn it is really a very
small community surrounded by a
much larger republican one. People
there are hemmed in and they see
Ardoyne expanding constantly.
Continual talk of the rising nationalist
population makes people feel that
even more. To Protestants in Glenbryn
it feels that if they give away any more
ground they will be wiped out as a
community. People there are always
on the defensive and feel their plight
is ignored. The [Holy Cross] protest
was a disaster in terms of putting their
cause forward but it was a genuine
expression of their anger and
frustration and fear over what is
happening in that part of North
Belfast.
People are apprehensive about the future, they don't
know what it is going to bring and often that fear can
manifest itself in violence. Before the cease-fires that
anger expressed itself in shootings and bombings, and
even if people didn't go out and join organisations like
the UVF or the UDA they felt that their interests were
being looked after by them. Since 1994 people haven't
had that and I believe that is part of the reason for the
rise in sectarianism at the interfaces. No-one is going
out and doing the shootings or the bombings so
people from interface areas are more likely to vent
their anger on each other.
Catholic Demography and Peace?
• “It was possible to persuade
The Army that there was an
alternative path to a United
Ireland than through
fighting. If Catholics had
still been at 33% of the
population it would have
been hard to make the case
to them to lay down their
weapons.” - Paul Morland,
interview with Mitchel
McLaughlin, 21st February
2012
• “Irish Unification will
happen… The Good Friday
Agreement provides a
legislative, peaceful and
democratic route to achieve
this. And the economic and
demographic dynamics in
Ireland make Irish
reunification a realistic
objective within a reasonable
timescale.” Sinn Fein
Breaking News 25th June 2008
http://www.sinnfein.ie/conte
nts/13065
Conclusion
• Demography matters for violence, but often not
directly, viz:
– I.e. Ethno-demographic variation over place →
Protestant mobilisation in Border counties → Unionist
resistance to Catholic civil rights → some Catholic
support for the IRA → IRA violence.
– Catholic demographic growth → Shifting calculation of
ballot box v armalite → IRA demilitarise
– Catholic growth → Public Housing Decisions →
Territorial pressure on interfaces → Unionist violence
Shameless plug

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