Centre for the Study of Conflict
School of History, Philosophy and Politics,
Faculty of Humanities, University of Ulster
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Majority Minority Review 3: Housing and Religion in Northern Ireland
by Martin Melaugh
Out of Print
Majority Minority Review 3
by Martin Melaugh
Centre for the Study of Conflict
The Centre for the Study of Conflict is a research centre based in the University of Ulster. Its main work is the promotion and encouragement of research on the community conflict and to this end it concentrates on practical issues to do with institutional and community structures and change. It publishes papers and books arising out of this work including: a series of research papers particularly designed to make available research data and reports; a series of Majority-Minority reports; and a series of occasional papers by distinguished academics in the field of conflict. It has recently published a Register of Research on Northern Ireland which has been widely praised, and a termly newsletter on current research called Research Briefing.
This new series of six research reports and papers on aspects of the Northern Ireland conflict represents the results of recent work as well as a reprint of an earlier work still much in demand.
It includes the extensive evaluation work of Colin Knox and his colleagues on the Community Relations and Local Government initiative, a major experiment in the promotion and encouragement of inter-community activity through the medium of district councils; a ground-breaking report by Valerie Morgan and Grace Fraser (carried out in association with the Centre for Research on Women) called The Company We Keep: Women, Community and Organisations, on the role and influence and cross-community activities of women in small towns and rural communities; the first in a new series of reports on the concept and experience of alienation, called Protestant Alienation in Northern Ireland; the most recent Majority-Minority report (joining earlier reports on education and on employment/unemployment) this one by Martin Melaugh on Housing and Religion in Northern Ireland; a paper by Ed Cairns on Psychology and the Northern Ireland Conflict, one in the series of occasional papers written by distinguished scholars. Finally, a reprint of the much discussed report by Duncan Morrow and his colleagues on The Churches and Intercommunity Relationships first published in 1991.
The Majority Minority Review is a series published by the Centre for the Study of Conflict, University of Ulster. The series reviews published research on the comparative material conditions of the two main communities in Northern Ireland. The first issue of the Review focused on education and the second examined research evidence on the relationship between religion and employment and unemployment in Northern Ireland. This issue, the third in the series, considers the relationship between religion and housing. Future issues will consider deprivation and health, and the administration of justice. The aim of the series is to provide an impartial commentary which will inform readers of up-to-date research findings and enable them to monitor developments over a period of time. The Centre for the Study of Conflict has a long-term commitment to publish the Review.
Each issue of the Review is advised by consultants. The Centre wishes to thank Professor Derek Birrell, head of the Department of Social Administration and Policy, University of Ulster, and Joan McCrum, Director of the Housing Rights Service, who provided assistance during the preparation of this issue. The assistance of Dr John Power, School of Geosciences, The Queen's University of Belfast, who provided data from the 1971 Census is gratefully acknowledged. The Centre would also like to thank, David Simpson, Audio-Visual Services, University of Ulster, for maps used in this issue; John McPeake, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, for advice and comments on a first draft; and staff at The Linenhall Library, Belfast, for access to the political collection. Special thanks are due to Ciarán Ó Máolain for providing editorial assistance.
The Majority Minority project is supported by funding from the Central Community Relations Unit and the Policy Planning and Research Unit, both of which are part of the Department of Finance and Personnel. The Centre is grateful to Dr Dennis McCoy, Central Community Relations Unit, for help during production of this review.
The content of all the reviews in this series is determined to a large extent by the published material that is available. During the Civil Rights campaign of the late 1960s, allegations of discrimination and maladministration in public sector housing were considered to be an important cause of grievance in the Catholic community. Given this focus of attention it is not surprising therefore that much of the material that is available on housing and religion relates to the public sector.
Anyone attempting to take a wider view of housing in the region quickly becomes aware that there are many areas where information or research is lacking, and where this is the case this absence of research will be highlighted.
By its very nature the housing stock in Northern Ireland is relatively durable with a long average replacement cycle. Given this, the characteristics of the current stock, and any differences in housing between the two communities, will be the result of decisions which have been taken over many decades. It is necessary, therefore, to include a review of background material which provides a historical context for the examination of more recent years. Material which provides information on the housing situation in Northern Ireland up to the formation of the NIHE is reviewed in Section One. Section Two reviews material on the Northern Ireland Housing Trust and also examines some of the incidents that led to allegations of discrimination in the administration of public sector housing during the 1960s.
Section Three considers information contained in the Religion Report of the 1971 Census, together with data from the Household and Summary Reports. Section Four reviews material related to the problems faced by the NIHE during the 1970s and also looks at the results of the 1974 and 1979 House Condition Surveys. Section Five considers the information contained in the 1981 Census and also examines some of the changes that occurred since the 1971 Census.
Section Six looks at material related to housing issues of the 1980s and also assesses the results of the 1984 and 1987 House Condition Surveys. This section also includes a review of one of the few studies to consider the impact of NIHE policy in terms of its effect on the two communities. Some of the findings of the Continuous Household Survey are considered in Section Seven, as are other recent household and tenant surveys. Section Eight considers information from the Second Report of the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights and also the findings of the Policy Studies Institute report on public housing which was carried out on behalf of the Commission. Information from the 1991 Census and the 1991 House Condition Survey is presented in Section Nine. Finally, Section Ten looks at some areas which could form the basis for further research and also highlights some remaining housing issues.
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