Number of young people who do not socialize with different religion rising

Posted By: October 06, 2018

Bimpe Archer. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, October 5, 2018

The names of murdered PSNI officers and prison officers on a republican bonfire built in the Bogside of Derry which was burnt on Wednesday night. The bonfire is built by local youths to celebrate the 15th of August Feast of the Assumption in Ireland. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 15-8-18.

A QUARTER of people believe Protestants and Catholics in their area use different shops and services, while the number of young people who “never… socialize or play sport with people from a different religious community” is rising, according to government


The executive’s latest Good Relations Indicator report includes several troubling findings for the government which introduced a strategy in May 2013 setting out a range of actions and commitments for government departments, communities, and individuals to “work together to build a  united community.”

Since then, the number of young people who “very often… socialize or play sport with people from a different religious community” has fallen by five percentage points to just 38 percent and the number who “never” do so has risen by three percentage points to 14 percent.

The report contains 2017 statistics on community relations – including numbers of hate crimes – and attitudes towards mixing in schools, neighborhoods and the workplace.

It monitors four key priorities of the executive strategy: children and young people; shared community; safe community and

cultural expression.

Among the findings are that less than half of people think relationships between Protestants and Catholics are better now than they were five years ago – a reduction of 10 percentage points among adults and six among young people from the previous year.

This is despite 70 percent of young people having “done projects” with pupils from other schools and 60 percent having “shared classes.”

Significantly, just 48 percent have “shared sports facilities or equipment.” And while 89 percent of respondents said they would prefer a mixed religion workplace, the number dropped to 78 percent supporting a mixed religion neighborhood and 68 percent for mixed-religion schools.

The report also contains police figures released last year which revealed that for the first time the number of racially motivated hate crimes (609) had surpassed that of sectarian hate crimes (576), although both are lower than the previous year – a fall of 51 racially motivated and 118 sectarian hate crimes.

The majority of households presenting as homeless due to intimidation (72 percent) did so due to fear of paramilitaries.

Meanwhile, 80 percent of respondents think that the culture and traditions of Catholic and Protestant communities “add to the richness and diversity of Northern Ireland society,” but a “significantly lower proportion” (68 percent) think the same about minority ethnic communities.

Fewer adults reported feeling their own cultural identity is respected by society – a “significant decrease” of six percentage points since the previous year.

Dr. Michael Wardlow, the chief commissioner of the Equality Commission, said some of the findings were “encouraging.”

“The reduction in the percentage of adults and young people who think that relations between Protestants and Catholics are better now than they were five years ago is a concern. “Encouraging sharing, particularly in schools and housing, is key to developing a shared society.”