“…institutionalising prejudice”

NIO Minister Paul Goggins has revealed it will be 2011 before the government expects to reach the Patten target of 30% Roman Catholic membership using the discriminatory 50:50 rule. This may involve the extension of the rule for a further year. This would mean the “temporary” measure will have been in operation for 11 years. The rule was partially to address the lack of RC applicants but the latest round showed a jump in RC applicants to 41%, only a few % short of the expected community distribution. Lib Dem NI spokesperson, Lembit Opik attacked the rule as “prejudice” and the DUP’s Gregory Campbell highlighted that other areas of the public sector with similar levels of under-representation of Protestants had not led to comparable measures.Opik argued that:

“Since everybody now agrees that anti-Catholic discrimination is at an end in the police service, why do the Government insist on institutionalising prejudice in the form of positive discrimination, which has done little to allow ethnic minorities into the police?”

Campbell highlighted that:

“When will the minister concede that using quotas is wrong, given that statistically in 2007 Catholics are now more likely to become police officers than Protestants are to become housing officers in the Housing Executive? Having failed to assist Protestants in one branch of the public sector, will the minister now reintroduce the merit principle for all branches of the public sector in Northern Ireland?”

  • lib2016

    Only a few days after it has been decreed that named police officers guilty, according to official enquiries, of collusion are not only not to be prosecuted but even allowed to continue in the force how on earth does Opik come to the conclusion that ‘there is no discrimination’?

    If Campbell wants positive discrimination for Protestants then he should say so. What he actually wants is an end to fair employment laws which is quite a different thing.

    Too cute by half but then that’s just another reason why the DUP will get on well with the ‘cute hoors’ in Dublin in another few years.

  • Richard James

    “If Campbell wants positive discrimination for Protestants then he should say so. What he actually wants is an end to fair employment laws which is quite a different thing.”

    So refusing a perfectly qualified candidate a job on the grounds they aren’t a Catholic is ‘fair employment’. Tells us all we need to know about Nationalist complaints about discrimination, doesn’t it?

  • Newton Emerson

    The DUP needs to decide exactly where it stands on this issue. In this press release:

    http://www.dup.org.uk/articles.asp?Article_ID=2692

    …Gregory Campbell manages to complain about SF calls for positive discrimination, make a DUP call for positive discrimination and complain again about positive discrimination in the PSNI – all in the space of about two paragraphs.

    The only consistency in his position is his tribalism.

    Campbell is turning out to be short leg on the DUP’s top table but he’s only exposing the fact that the party itself hasn’t thought the thing through.

    SF is having a similar problem on the same issue. Martin McGuinness assured the assembly on Monday that public-sector employment must be “on merit”. But Martina Anderson has called for “affirmative action” in the public sector. So which is it? And why are both parties treating public sector jobs as a panacea to unemployment when both of them know that public sector jobs will have to be cut?

  • lib2016

    Newt,

    Maybe you should consider that there aren’t nice neat one-size-fits-all answers to problems in the real world?

    The police had to be reformed in such a way as to represent all the people. ‘Affirmative action’ was a compromise in place of the original nationalist demand that they should all be fired and only re-hired for a new force after rigorous screening.

    Nobody thinks public sector jobs are a panaces. There is a real problem that too many over-qualified Nationalist women are increasingly dominating the Civil Service, partly because the wages are so low that not enough well qualified men are applying. The same thing has already happened among Primary school teachers. Do you really feel that the market is the only way to solve every problem?

    Surely the jobs market should be regulated in the same way any other market is?

  • Newton Emerson

    No, I certainly don’t feel that the market is the solution to all of life’s problems, and I support the 50:50 rule. But if you’re going to advocate something as difficult as positive discrimination you should have a consistent, not to mention a positive, position, surely? The 50:50 rule addresses a serious political problem, the prevalence of female primary school teachers also poses a serious social problem. Campbell’s main problem simply appears to be: “Themmuns gets everything”.

  • kensei

    “SF is having a similar problem on the same issue. Martin McGuinness assured the assembly on Monday that public-sector employment must be “on merit”. But Martina Anderson has called for “affirmative action” in the public sector.”

    Not entirely incompatible. Affirmative action can stop well short of positive discrimination. I would say the police force is a separate case though, given the history and social impact.

    It’ll take time for the DUP and SF to take up less tribal positions, even if they are trying.

    FD

    Done this a billion times before. I believe I said last time it might need a wee beyond the ten years, but not much. It’ll hit 305 then stop. You know it, I know it, please get on with something productive rather than whining about a situation that is both necessary and you will not be able to change.

    Look up “temporary” (without the quotes) in a dictionary, by the way – 11 years can indeed be temporary.

  • k

    Basically Unionists will never have the right to complain about quotas or positive discrimination. This statelet which has been imposed upon us was worked out on a ‘how much can we get with a workable majority’ basis. Unionists can never complain about social engineering as it the basis of their entire belief/political system.
    The fundamental reason why there are now more catholics in public sector bodies such as the ‘equality commission’ is that most qualified unionists choose to earn more in the private sector and don’t agree with the ethos of such institutions (which I personally think serve no useful purpose). Discrimination my hole!

  • Shore Road Resident

    Dinosaur alert.