Graham Gudgin (‘Claims of anti Catholic bias by the old Stormont regime are hugely exaggerated,’ October 12) effectively demolishes the bogus claims about housing bias under the Stormont regime.
As he points out the 1971 census “shows clearly that Catholics were over-represented in state-owned housing across Northern Ireland and not under-represented as usually assumed”. He also refers to the authoritative research by the American Professor Richard Rose which backs up these findings (whose book ‘Governing Without Consensus’ I read some years ago).
One revealing comparison not mentioned by Graham Gudgin, is that in the 1960s both Northern Ireland and the Republic were building some 10,000 plus state owned houses per annum. As Professor Rose pointed out some 52% of post-war public housing in Northern Ireland was allocated to Catholics in the period to 1968. Taking into account the relative populations of the two jurisdictions then it is clear that Catholics in Northern Ireland were much better housed than their counterpart in the Republic.
Graham Gudgin recounts his fruitless attempts to engage in discussing these issues with Colum Eastwood of the SDLP and the journalist Paul McFadden on BBC Sunday Politics.
The whole subject of alleged unionist discrimination is dominated by a rigid adherence to a pre-conceived viewpoint that at times seems impervious to the facts or rational debate.
It is also relevant to point out, as Gregory Campbell MP has done, that the IRA were bombing for a united Ireland, not council housing.
Graham Gudgin lays the blame for the poor quality of debate on discrimination on unionists and the claim has merit.
Unionist public representatives are frequently under-informed, often lacking a firm grasp of the ‘killer facts,’ as cited by Graham Gudgin, that would counter the distorted nationalist narrative.
Robert Morton, Ballymena