Saturday, February 28, 2015

Schools Census 2014/2015

Today's school children are tomorrows voters. The strong correlation between voting trends and religious affiliation advocates the use of current demographic data to determine future voting patterns.
The Schools Census 2014/2015 published by the Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI) provides a breakdown of the religion of school children in nursery, primary, post primary and special schools in the North of Ireland.
As the Schools Census is published annually a trend has emerged of an increasing proportion of Catholics and Others (No Religion/Not Recorded) and a year on year reduction in the proportion of Protestants. Page 27 of this years report shows that these trends are continuing. Catholics now make up 51.3% (+0.2%) of pupils. The Protestant percentage has declined to 38.8% (-0.4%) while the Others have increased to 9.9% (+0.2%).

The figures above are similar to figures in table DC2116NI of the 2011 Census in that they are based on the stated 'Religion'. The 2011 Census also produced table DC2117NI which determines the 'Community Background' of the population. Basically a proportion of 'Others' in table DC2116NI have been allocated to the two main blocks to produce table DC2117NI.

This can be replicated in the Schools Census. Primary school children are generally aged between 5 to 11 years and secondary school children are aged between 12 and 18. At the time of the 2011 Census todays 5 to 11 year olds were aged 1 to 7 and todays 12 to 18 year olds were aged 8 to 14.

The allocation of 'Others' in table DC2116NI (Religion) to produce table DC2117NI (Community Background) shows the following allocation for todays school children:
  • School children aged 1-7: 20.3% to Catholic. 20.2% to Protestant.
  • School children aged 8-14: 22.0% to Catholic. 23.8% to Protestant.
Using these figures to reallocate 'Others' in the Schools Census to provide a truer reflection of the community background of students, we find that Catholics make up 53.4%, Protestants 40.9% and Others 5.7%

Leaving aside the 5.7% 'Others' not identified as belonging to either the Catholic or Protestant community backgrounds, the religious split in the schools is 57% Catholic and 43% Protestant.

So in a week where we find that extreme elements of Unionism are so worried about changing demographics that they are using land funds to prevent Catholics from buying homes, we can determine that the trend towards a 60:40 demographic make up of the North's population shows no sign of abating. If the correlation between voting trends and religious affiliation remains strong, inevitably Nationalism's day will come.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Protestant Land for Protestant People


A recent BBC Spotlight programme highlighted land funds controlled by the Orange Order. It is alleged that these land funds are being used by companies linked directly or indirectly to the OO, to purchase land in rural parts of the North in order to keep the land in Protestant hands, or more accurately to keep out of the reach of Catholics.

The alleged "landholding body of the Loyal Orange Institution" is the Ulster Land and Property Company (ULPC) whose motto is "Ulster is being sold, help us buy it." ULPC was formed in 1995 at the height of the Drumcree standoff, to block Catholics buying land.

Of course this type of sectarian skewing of the property market has been going on for decades. In 1920 acres of land was reserved for thousands of Protestants in nearby Cavan and Monaghan who found themselves on the "wrong side" of the new gerrymandered border.

So what have Unionist "leaders" have to say about a practice which effectively seeks to prevent Catholic families from buying homes and in doing so skews the property market. The silence has been deafening. You would have to go back to a row in the Assembly in 2013 where First Minister and leader of the largest Unionist party, Peter Robinson berated Jim Allister of the TUV for selling land to "Republicans", by which of course he meant "Catholics."

"And he chides me for doing business with republicans, but then secretly and, outside of this house, the member as executor of a will, is selling land to republicans in County Fermanagh to benefit his own family"

Imagine for one moment, an organisation made up largely of Catholics such as the GAA (and I am not for one minute comparing the GAA with the Orange Order) purchased land from Catholics in order to ensure it could be sold to other Catholics north or south of the border. Imagine the organisation purchased land from Protestants so it could turn the "colour code" of the land from orange to green. Imagine if they were providing loans and grants to Catholics to ensure the land stayed in the right hands. Imagine the reaction!

There would be calls for a full investigation. There would be calls for the introduction of new legislation. There would be calls for an investigation into how reconciliation funding (including funding provided by the Irish government!) is being used and there would certainly be calls for all future public and reconciliation funding to stop.

It is worth noting that the recent property crash has hit all property companies hard and the Orange Order will not have escaped. In fact it can be said without fear of contradiction that NAMA owns more land north of the border than the Orange Order ever will.