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Catholics outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland for first time since its creation | UK News



For the first time in Northern Ireland’s history, Catholics outnumber Protestants, according to the latest census figures.

The number of people designated as Catholic rose 0.6 percent to 45.1%, while the number of people designated as Protestant fell 4.9% to 43.5%.

Sam McBride, Belfast Telegraph’s Northern Ireland Editor, said: “Northern Ireland is a country whose boundaries were drawn in 1921 to ensure a Protestant majority but both are now ethnic minorities. number.

“This is a historic shift, and one that will have political implications, but it doesn’t mean what it will mean in 1921 – religion is no longer a simple expression. of constitutional preference.”

While not every Catholic who voted for Irish unity or every Protestant for Northern Ireland remains British, the result has significant implications in the year of victory in the historic election. Sinn Fein history.

In terms of nationality, again, there is no single majority group – 31.9% identified only as British, 29.1% as Irish only and 19.8% as Northern Irish only.

The census, which recorded the highest population ever of 1,903,175, shows Northern Ireland has become a much more diverse society, with people born outside the UK and Ireland up to one person out of 15.

Drama students at Shelley Lowry School in County Armagh, who are now re-enacting a play about past sectarian divisions, told us that religion doesn’t matter to them.

“In my group of friends at school, two are Protestant, two are Catholic and two are from elsewhere,” said one student.

“At the end of the day, we’re all just human beings,” he added.

“Whenever you meet someone, you don’t think they’re Protestant or Catholic. It’s just whether they’re a nice person or not,” another student said.

Shelley Lowry, who coached Jude Hill, the 11-year-old who played Buddy in Sir Kenneth Brannagh’s Belfast, wrote the play herself.

“We don’t want to romanticize the past, we don’t want to romanticize the troubles, but we need to be very clear this is where we came from, it wasn’t that long ago and we’re not,” she said. can ever go back.

“It’s important that these young people continue with the growth and maturity we’ve seen over the past 25 years.

“Northern Ireland is more than tribal and community politics as divided as it once was.”



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