Gonzo’s thread on Ballymena was eventually dominated by speculation, sparked originally by a statement from North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan, that Ballymena based Wrightbus discriminated against Catholics. In the Newsletter, Ian Paisley Junior has refuted the allegation citing employment figures that seem to contradict the two per cent Catholic employment figure mentioned by McGuigan. Paisley went on to suggest it had been an attempt to put in jeopardy a multimillion pound contract Regional Transportation Commission in Southern Nevada.
On Friday, I met with the industrialist William Wright and discussed the employment situation. The facts are as follows: From 2004 to 2006, the Protestant workforce has declined from 93.2 per cent to 81.7 per cent. That’s a 10 per cent decline in the Protestant employees. During the same period, the Roman Catholic workforce has increased from 4.6 per cent to 14 per cent. The population of Ballymena roughly breaks down 80 per cent Protestant and 20 per cent Catholic, thus making the employment record of the company in line with local population requirements. Charges of discrimination simply just don’t add up.”
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty