UUP challenges poverty study

Professor Mike Tomlison
Professor Mike Tomlison

The UUP has challenged a professor at Queen’s University Belfast about claims that experience of the Troubles is linked to deprivation.

Prof Mike Tomlinson from Queen’s School of Sociology led a UK-wide study in Northern Ireland which found that over 25 per cent of adults here live without basic necessities like food, heat or clothing.

The details are in the report, Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK.

The amount of people who suffer similar multiple deprivation soars to 36 per cent if they personally experienced violent events, threats and intimidation during the Troubles, the report concluded.

Prof Tomlinson said: “Dealing with the past needs to include tackling the deprivation of those whose lives are most blighted by the years of conflict.”

But UUP councillor Stephen Nicholl, who spent many years working in inner north Belfast, challenged what he sees as the report’s conclusions that the Troubles caused much deprivation.

“Rather than coming after the Troubles, deprivation preceded it,” he said.

Prof Tomlinson responded that “over and above long-term persisting deprivation, high and moderate experience of the conflict significantly increases a person’s deprivation rate”.