When does it stop being the ‘Brits’ fault?

The ATN raises the major problem of unemployment in West Belfast now running at 40%. They haven’t sought to hold local elected reps including, an MP, and a host of MLAs and Councillors to account. But after their previous humiliating climb-down that is hardly a surprise.

  • frustrated democrat

    This is truly a shocking statistic, and we need to understand why this area of Belfast has such apalling figures while other areas are only at about 1/5 of that level.

    Since Belfast is such a small geographic area it must mean they either, are not qualified to work or do not want to work for whatever reason. I suspect many may be ‘neets’ and that is a legacy that we must prevent from being sustained into another generation.

    Unfortunately a recession is a bad place to start

  • slug

    Is unemployment REALLY 40% in West Belfast?

    Unemployment is around 5% in NI as a whole so I find the figure hard to believe.


    It says an awful lot about the political party representing West Belfast. The Andersonstown News, before it was forced to back down, correctly called Adam’s record into question and nothing has changed. Sinn Fein is neither collectively or individually capable of representing that area or indeed any other part of Belfast. Sinn Fein represents itself or more accurately the republican heirarchy. It has long since abandoned it’s own core beliefs and doesn’t listen to members on the ground. As the bearded one’s desperate performance on RTE’s Questions & Answers prior to the Southern election showed the Shinners don’t have the intellectual capacity or intelligence to even talk about unemployment, economic or investment matters. They are quite happy for Republicans & Nationalists in these areas to play the downtrodden victim for ever and a day AND I say that as a Nationalist. It’s no wonder there is a scrounging dependency benefit culture in West & North Belfast when the main political party encourages it. Sinn Fein are very good at filling out DLA & Income Support forms but little else.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    When does it stop being the ‘Brits’ fault?

    Lets say – about a couple of days after they complete their withdrawal.

  • PaddyReilly

    “Does anyone with a job vote Sinn Fein?”

    Well yes, 70% of West Belfast’s population vote SF, and only 40% are unemployed etc.

    For all we know half the unemployed are DUP and SDLP voters.

  • Mick Fealty


    Don’t feed the trolls! The two obit threads recently demonstrate to me just how far people are prepared to let sloganised blog rioting take the place of debate adn reason in these parts.

    Let’s do some good here; and try and take the problem seriously?

    Like finding out just where does the 40% come from?

  • veritas

    the 40% includes the Shankill, so the trolls need to do some research before posting..

  • KieranJ

    You didn’t have to remove my post, Mick.

    A picture of a Union Jack in place of it would have delivered the message.

    This is a good sight but I think it only fair to label it a Unionist one so folks can be wary when they log in.

  • gerrymugabe

    Shocking figures and yeah the party contro…sorry the party representing West Belfast really have a lot to answer for.

    What have they delivered for West Belfast? What have they delivered for Ireland come to think of it?

    Oh wait, didn’t Conor Murphy deliver a ‘rapid transit system?’ Well no it will take over three years and it is only a bus system when you think about it. A sign of his failure to deliver light rail one thinks.

    But give him his dues…he did deliver the biggest swimming pool in Ireland to West Belfast when he approved a blatantly flawed Under pass.

    KieranJ I’m not too sure what your trying to get at? Criticising SF in West Belfast makes you a Unionist? really?

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Fealty, in your old age, you’re becoming ever more po-faced. If you want to call me a “troll”, go right ahead, but you’ll have to indulge me when I now henceforth think of of you as a humorless, self-righteous bore.

  • Driftwood

    My post was removed, because I dared to suggest, that all those on DLA/ Incapacity Benefit may not be totally unemployable???
    But it shows that slugger is desperately trying not to offend vested interests. 1 reason an MA student and a PHD at Dun Laoghrie down south chose to take it off their dissertations as a site outside the MSM. And another reason why NI needs a truly independent blog. pity. A once decent website going down the plughole. Lets hope a good replacement arrives soon.

  • Mr Angry

    Just 40%?

  • PaddyReilly

    In any sensibly ordered society a large proportion of the population will not be in the workforce because they are 1) old or 2) engaged in childcare.

    West Belfast has a very high rate of unmarried mothers. I would suggest that they form a large part of West Belfast’s unemployed. What has happened is that wages for working class males have fallen to the extent that they are no longer considered a “catch” by working class females, who see that they are better off being supported by the state.

    Where formerly working men took the whole of their wage home to their wife, and widows and women who were no better than they should be faced near starvation which could only be relieved by giving their children up for adoption, now working men are taxed in order to keep unmarried mothers in a reasonable standard of living.

    At the same time, an efficient system of collecting alimony and generous divorce settlements means many women no longer need to perform any useful service for their husband: they can take his money and boot him out.

    As a result, family structures change: men become visiting impregnators and women live separately from them, supported by the state.

    The victim of the old society was the woman who was abandoned by her husband/impregnator; the victim of the new is any male whose income is not large enough to be attractive. (And even those with assets may find they have to surrender them).

    The answer lies in reforming these structures: but someone has to suffer: our society has ensured that it is the male breadwinner, not the female with care of children.

    Don’t feed the trolls

    The so called trolls in this case are on topic. Yet Greenflag gets away with introducing repartition into just about everything. Couldn’t you have a permanently running repartition thread in order to keep his remarks somewhere where they are relevant?



    Hats off for trying to defend the indefensible but the truth is this society is full of lazy, work shy, scrounging, benefit dependent no good low lifes. They arse about all day doing nothing but sponging off our taxes and specialise in annoying those of us who get up in the morning and go out to work. I am sick to the back teeth with do-gooders apologising for their couch potato lives and ‘world owes me a living’ mentality. I would say however, as someone with experience of the benefits system, this is NOT confined to West & North Belfast. Believe me there are as many false claims in Larne, Carrick, Portadown and the Shankill as there is in ANY Nationalist area but some folk refuse to see that.

  • Mick Fealty


    Just play the bleedin’ ball. That’s all!

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Just play the bleedin’ ball.’

    Bit of a jackeen lilt there Mick, ‘whats the story n all n neways !’

    Surely the 40% could be cut down if the MLA’s/MP’s quit double jobbing and vacated one or the other 😉

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    One of my mates from West Belfast was doing a PhD at QUB. She told me that her mates thought she was bonkers when they discovered her yearly stipend was a mere 12k. Seemingly they can ‘earn’ that on benefits!!

  • Get up off your hole

    Are SF a job creation agency now? Whatever next? Soon they’ll be expected to supply jobs for unemployed ex-IRA members…

  • slug

    Still waiting for the official source of this 40% figure. I don’t believe this is correct for the West Belfast constituency. NI has one of the lowest rate of unemployment in the UK and the rate is lower than that in the ROI.

  • When the decision was taken by Sinn Féin members of Foras na Gaeilge, among others, to close Lá Nua, the Irish language daily newspaper, this was the response of West Belfast MP, Gerry Adams, to the loss of 8 jobs in his constituency:
    “There is no escaping the fact that there will be disruption in the employment of some. It is our hope that this will be short-lived and that anybody unfortunate to lose their job will find alternative position without undue delay.”

    So really Gerry is a hopemonger – but he does very little to generate optimism – or employment – in his own constituency. Sure there are plenty of pipe dreams, not least of which was launched recently in West Belfast by The West Belfast Enterprise Council – but when it comes from turning that hot air into concrete, the MP is on the missing list.

  • PaddyReilly

    Hats off for trying to defend the indefensible

    I don’t think defending comes into anything, one should be working on explaining. Obviously money flows to where it is cheapest, and labour flows to where it is best rewarded for the least work. We live in a society in which it is extremely hard to get a job, especially one that will support a family, but frighteningly easy to sign on. One friend of mine said he worked so hard on his job application (for a post in the IT industry) that when he actually got into a job it was like a holiday. Not everyone is so dedicated.

    The lady who managed to get a stipend to do a PhD at QUB was very lucky (are you sure it was not a loan?). The British state does not usually like to subsidise attempts at self-improvement, preferring to stipend the unqualified in the fatuous hope that they will get a job without qualification.

    Surely the 40% could be cut down if the MLA’s/MP’s quit double jobbing and vacated one or the other

    Too true. The bourgeoisie are ripping off the state/system much more effectively.

    I feel sorry for the mother of Shannon Matthews, who could think of no way to raise £25,000 other than have her daughter pretend-kidnapped. How quickly the lawyers who prosecuted her would have made that, and how badly paid they would be compared to non-criminal lawyers. And how much the state is going to have to waste imprisoning her and paying to have her six children looked after in her absence.

  • Alan

    The figure seems to come from a report or oral briefing by the Employment Services Board ( used to be the W Belfast and Greater Shankill Task forces ?)to the DETI committee on the 11 Dec.

    The figure of 40% is odd, it depends what is being measured.

    The HOC Library Report for November 2008 suggests that the JSA claimant rate is 11.6 %.

    http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2008/rp08-092.pdf )

  • slug


    Thanks. There we have it from your official stats:

    Belfast West 11%
    Belfast East 4%
    Belast South 3%
    Belfast North 7%

    The 40% figure ATN cite does not seem to relate to the constituency but to a sub-part of it. Remember furthermore that people in West Belfast can work in the city centre etc. i.e. it is not far to go to get a job there. So its not that there is a lack of jobs in Belfast. There is something else going on.

  • eranu

    “There is something else going on.”

    sounds like more wallowing in self pity to me.

  • Glencoppagagh

    “They haven’t sought to hold local elected reps including, an MP, and a host of MLAs and Councillors to account.”
    It’s not the ‘job’ of elected reps to ‘create’ jobs apart from the indoor relief scheme that is the public sector which is more than large enough already.
    Elected reps should restrict themselves to creating conditions that are most favourable to private enterprise. Unfortunatley, that might include telling your voters that their problems can’t entirely be blamed on others.
    Still, its encouraging that the discrimination excuse had yet to be trotted out on this thread after 24 posts.

  • DC

    “So really Gerry is a hopemonger – but he does very little to generate optimism – or employment – in his own constituency.”

    Well spotted Concubhar. Hopemongering it does seem like.

    But here is some more hopemongering by McGuinness during the recent debate on the impact of economic donwturn.

    The current economic downturn will not last for ever; it will pass. The Assembly must emerge from it with a stronger economy and a more prosperous community. To accomplish that, however, we must not focus only on the credit crunch. To underpin the economic prospects, the Assembly must look beyond the next six to 12 months and concentrate on delivering the Budget, the Programme for Government and the investment strategy.

    So, there we have it. The economic downturn will not last forever folks. Nevermind, just wait till it finishes, yea. In the meantime we will just spend our PfG budget. Goodbye and goodnight all. See you after our long Christmas break (NB potential walkouts and deadlocks may interfere with this return).

  • Ulsters my homeland

    If we draw comparisons with those who were and will continue to be unemployed because there’s no demand for mass-production/manufacturing in the UK, we’ll see that the government never provided re-educating and re-training to those companies and employees at the time of emploment, but only provided the company with financial support to keep them afloat. It’s cheaper to keep the company afloat than to re-educate and re-train the employees into a different sector of work.

    No one would agree the unemployed should be treated any better than these people who have unfortunately lost their jobs because business is re-locating to other countries.

    So why should there be special conditions set out for areas which are worse off than others? If you think the area you live in doesn’t help your employment chances, MOVE.

    If you think your area is responsible for your unemployment, sue the local terrorist organisation/political party who brought your area down.

  • Scorn not my simplicity

    Never.Why are yis trying to be so complicated?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Why are yis trying to be so complicated?

    It’s not about being complicated, it’s about being equal. Will the majority of West Belfast change professions?, like the men and women who have been trained in working mass production plants?

  • DK

    UMH – a lot have moved. It’s why west belfast is the smallest constituency by population in NI & has to get bits added to it recently to make it viable.

  • Alan

    It is the travel to work area that is important in getting people off the dole. You can’t depend upon local jobs.

    I once worked with a group who started to take unemployed young men ( mainly ) out to places like Mallusk to visit factories and warehouses. Most of them had never been near a factory, had never thought about how they might get a bus to get to work, had rarely even traveled into the centre of Belfast. They didn’t know the place and often felt threatened because of that, they were very insecure.

    The idea of taking them to see the facilities was to try and get over that insecurity. We even arranged for any oif their neighbours who worked in those factories to meet them and talk about how they found working there. Within a month of the first couple of trips 35 of them had jobs.

    Much harder to do in a recession.

  • topdeckomnibus

    The problem, of course, is either that you Irish are too honest or too lacking in status manipulative skills.

    Happily TD is here to guide you.


    PAY SELF EMPLOYED STAMP (about two quid a week)


    AND ?


    Remember the old English saying “Better an extra quid in your pocket than statistical significance on someone else’s mind”

    Hope this is helpful and Merry Christmas

  • topdeckomnibus

    Oh I better explain another statistic to you too.

    More women are going into self employment than men.

    If you are a sociologist perhaps you think this is a healthy sign of burgeoning entrepeneurship on the distaff side.

    However it is more likely to be if they self employed part time and claiming working tax credit (plus local housing allowance, child tax credit, council tax benefits) they are not required to cooperate with CSA in naming or pursuing the father of their child(ren). Hence the man pays her a bit of money straight in her hand. Cohabits now and then. His money gifts are not deducted from her benefits and he is not stung by the CSA.

    Often the woman’s or man’s mother will get in on the act (Shotguns out to prevent any ideas of marriage) and will advertise (try Gumtree for a look) for a house to rent for the mother of her son’s children. Informing prospective landlords (of which TD the hypocritical new Thatcherite is one such) that “She can get housing benefits” and “My son is good at DIY”

    So she will get the rent from the council for you and her absent partner and father of her kids will somehow decorate the gaff too. Win win from an exploitative Thatcherite landlord perspective.

    Welcome it’s a great country. As long as the landlord doesn’t get the rent paid direct from council then if the new age family is caught fiddling the council cannot recover the overpaid money from the landlord. Win win win.

    We are all Thatcherites now.

    That miner’s strike seems so long ago and in its aftermath losing the home and living on a campsite as part of the price Maggie told us was well worth paying. Good old days. Thumping bailliffs and then thumping the coppers who turned out to protect the bailliffs. My mate quit MENSA when they would not publish his letters as a striking mine electrician in their mag. He was so left wing then. Now he is master of two masonic lodges and MD of his own company. I particularly enjoy his rants about New Labour.

    Funny how in no such thing as society so many people are making a living out of it ?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]The problem, of course, is either that you Irish are too honest or too lacking in status manipulative skills.”[/i]

    topdeckomnibus, there’s a large section of the N.Ireland community who don’t see themselves as Irish, including myself, so could you be so kind in the future to respect our wishes when classifying everyone in N.Ireland or the entire island as being Irish? Thankyou.

  • topdeckomnibus

    If you are not Irish then the comment could not have applied to you and you would not have answered.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    ” If you are not Irish then the comment could not have applied to you and you would not have answered.”

    Posted by topdeckomnibus’

    That doesn’t give any rights to anyone who isn’t Irish, only those who claim irishness. sounds Irish to me!

  • PaddyReilly

    If you are not Irish then the comment could not have applied to you and you would not have answered.

    That’s right TD you tell him. Is you only ere on oliday?

    I think we can regard the matter as solved now. The reason why West Belfast appears to have such high unemployment is that they are too illiterate to claim Working Tax Credit.