Friday, April 14, 2006

An official index of the most deprived areas in the North of Ireland is dominated by indigenous Irish nationalist communities

Marie Louise McCrory:

Areas around the Whiterock, Falls and Crumlin Roads in west and north Belfast rank among the top five 'most deprived' districts.

A report last year by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) also suggested that of the 50 most deprived small areas in the north, the number of predominantly Catholic areas was twice that of Protestant areas. Parts of the Whiterock in west Belfast topped the index, with the Shankill in second place. Of the top 10, eight were nationalist areas.

The report took into account 43 indicators of deprivation, such as receipt of social welfare benefits, crime rates and housing quality.

Meanwhile, a consultants' report for the Department for Social Development last year found that Catholics are more likely to live in areas of weak community infrastructure.

Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers also appears to dispute claims that Protestants are less likely than Catholics to get EU funding to build up community infrastructure. The study found that of 61 bids for 'Peace II' funding from Protestant communities, 37 were successful. Catholic areas put in 60 bids and exactly half were funded.

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