Posted By: August 23, 2013

CAPITOL HIL. FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2013 — “If Irish-Americans think they can forget about Northern Ireland and its bad old days of anti-Catholic discrimination, they better think again.”

That is how Fr. Sean Mc Manus –- President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus – reacted to a damning Report on the way Catholics are still being discriminated against in housing.

The Report, “Equality Can’t Wait” by the United Nations-recognized  “ Participation And The Practice of Rights (PPR),” has found “ chronic” housing shortages, that “a series of ministerial, statutory and council failures have compounded religious inequality in housing across North Belfast” and that “these failures have adversely impacted on the Catholic community”.

The Report also found:

• A £133 million North Belfast Housing Strategy to tackle inequality failed

• “Engineering” of a Belfast city center ‘shared space’ is being prioritized over tackling Catholic housing need, and

• Protections which ring-fenced new social homes for areas impacted by religious inequality have been removed.

The Report charges that the way the religious background of people in housing need is measured has been deceptively altered to reduce the number of Catholics facing “housing stress”.

PPR policy and research support officer Kate Ward added their findings show that “Catholics in North Belfast in need of housing have been repeatedly disadvantaged”.

Fr. Mc Manus conclude: “ Blatant anti-Catholic housing discrimination was one of the injustices that propelled the launching of the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland in 1968. The PPR was founded by the late Inez Mc Cormack, one of the four Mac Bride Principles signatories. How sadly ironic is that? The work of the Irish National Caucus is, therefore, now more important than ever.”