City Children ‘Living In Poverty’

Up to 80% of children in west Belfast’s most deprived areas are living in poverty, an academic has claimed. Eilish Rooney from the University of Ulster said poor Catholics and Protestants were missing out on Northern Ireland’s peace payoff.

She told the West Belfast Festival those living in parts of the Falls and Shankill experienced severe hardship. The lecturer was giving the Frank Cahill Memorial lecture at Conway Mill, off the Falls Road on Monday evening.

“The data shows that workless Protestant households are closing the gap with their Catholic counterparts,” she said. “This means that there is a levelling – but it is a levelling downwards.” She added: “In the area we are in 80% of the children live in poverty in eight of the constituency’s 17 electoral areas.”

She said the Equality Commission had not carried out enough research into marginalised groups like women. “It was shocking to find out that there has been no study into women’s poverty in the north,” she added.

“Whilst all the focus of the equality debate has been on Catholic and Protestant male unemployment differentials, no study has examined the over-time impact on women and children of these differentials.”