The MLAs who didn’t make their own private members motion…

On today’s schedule at Stormont was a private members motion entitled: Protestant Student Exodus…

– Proposed: That this Assembly calls on the Minister for Employment and Learning to bring forward measures to attract, and ensure that, students from a Protestant background are encouraged to opt for universities in Northern Ireland as their first choice, rather than universities in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Only, in the event, neither member actually made it to the house for the beginning of the debate and so it was dropped… Alex Easton was delayed by an interview on U105, and made his apologies… No excuses were heard from Jonathan Craig, the DUP member for Lagan Valley… It’s worth noting that Chekov at 3000 Versts took a fairly dim view of the motion in the first place:

If Easton and Craig consider Queens, or the University of Ulster, bastions of Irish republicanism, they should attempt to foster persuasive, constructive unionism amongst the student body, rather than suggesting recruitment drives based on religious background.

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  • otto

    My theory (based on my own decision to join the “exodus”) is that Belfast’s just too close to home, and boringly familiar for our east Ulster prod community. For people from the West of our region it might be enough of an upgrade on whatever country town they come from to be attractive.

    If you’re from around the Belfast Lough then going to Queen’s must be like joining Upper Upper Sixth. Where’s the fun in that?

    If you want Prods to stay in Ireland point them in the direction of Trinity and the South.

  • Glensman

    Being from North Antrim I found Queens to close to home and would class Jordanstown and Coleraine as second and third rate colleges respectively.

    If prods do want to stay closer to home then they would be very welcome in any of the Dublin colleges… I myself opted for Galway.

  • Glencoppagagh

    Queen’s should be doing more to attract undergraduates from the rest of the UK and beyond if it wants to maintain its status. The student body is far too parochial and most NI students seem to regard a university education as purely vocational training. I suspect that would be less the case for the UK as a whole especially for Russell Group universities.
    Unfortunately, I suppose limiting the proportion of entrants from NI would be legally impossible.
    Of course, the proposal in question emanates from the little Ulster party. They wouldn’t grasp the possibility that other people’s children might want a change of scenery.

  • Thereyouarenow

    These politicians do not mind looking desperate do they. Its a wonder that they did not want Catholic students sent (educated) in Van Demons Land.

  • Thereyouarenow

    Oops that should be Van Diemens Land.

  • Try Melbourne

    If the Prods are going back to their real home – Britain, is it not a tad ironic that the UU was set up at Coleraine to discriminate against Derry’s RC majority.

    Prods leaving is a good thing – not that Russell group unis are up to much. Queen’s I guess is there only to keep up the UK farce – a parochial backhole.

  • DC

    Isn’t the problem in numbers in that there is a cap on the number of places set by government so that even if Queens wanted to expand it couldn’t.

    Like say for instance money was magically saved form other areas, I know it is nigh impossible to imagine with our lot, and a new expanded Uni was proposed is there not a Government policy capping places?

    Basically there is a need for those that want to stay here to get strong results, but as per above there is always the inclination to go to Britain re new life and a more open mind from unionists. However, there is still a significant number or proportion of nationalists that move and don’t come back.

    Maybe I have picked the capping issue up wrongly, but even before the crash I was told that capping prevented any needed expansion and increase in places.

  • aquifer

    So the rabble rousers don’t even have the strength of their convictions. D minus.

  • Padraig

    Those students intelligent enough to leave the sinking Protestant Statelet experiment should be permitted to abandon the leaky vessel rather than stay with the older captains.

  • Sam Thompson

    Being from Portstewart, I wish they had built the new university in Derry, and I wouldnt have our students pishing into my parents garden at 3am…

    however, on this: ‘is it not a tad ironic that the UU was set up at Coleraine to discriminate against Derry’s RC majority’

    has it never crossed anyone’s mind that it was sited in Coleraine because at the time, that town had good community relations and no segregation of housing. Derry meanwhile… no, mustnt have been, unionist discrimination, downtrodden nationalists, derry a fine site, great place, ideal for the education of our young talent

  • exile

    Sam, as much as I loathe mopery you are completely incorrect on this one.

    Yes, Coleraine may have had fine “community relations” at the time and no “segregation of housing”: easy in a relatively affluent town where there’s not a Catholic about the place.

  • barnshee

    1″1.Sam, as much as I loathe mopery you are completely incorrect on this one.

    Yes, Coleraine may have had fine “community relations” at the time and no “segregation of housing”: easy in a relatively affluent town where there’s not a Catholic about the place. ”

    Coleraine was ((and remains) about 35% mick– its big advantages in the dark ages were small size (circ 10000) and integrated housing Milburn and Kilowen–“the heights”–ruined by spides from belfast(prod) and derry(mick) –Ably supported by shit stirring politicans

  • DC

    You left out the word career before ‘politicians’.

  • Jim

    Barnshee,

    Only 23 percent Catholic in 2001(NINIS). No mention of Ballysalley?

  • exile

    [i]Coleraine was ((and remains) about 35% mick[/i]

    Rubbish! Anyways, and like I’ve said, it’s easy to have nice community relations in a very middle class town.

  • Jim

    Exile,

    It has a lot of tough estates Ballysalley, Windyhall Heights etc. Looking from the outside its had big problems with sectarian violence for a long time. People forget a Catholic was shot by the UDA back in 2001 in Ballysalley and a host of pipe bombings during those years.

  • exile

    I don’t deny that Jim. But relatively speaking the place is fairly affluent and is in much better shape than the homogeneous shithole from which I hail.

    Anyways, to get back on topic I have to agree with otto. For the vast majority of 18 year old Catholics (at least from west of the Bann anyways) it’s a straight choice: Belfast or Liverpool. To be fair, if you’re from my area then going to Liverpool is also like joining Upper Upper Sixth.

    With regard to Belfast: the thought of running home to mammy every weekend, or even every Weds/Thurs, to get the washing done and the dinner made – combined with the fear of the unknown ‘across the water’ – proves irrestible.

    Those who do leave the place and decide to go to England or Scotland – especially, in my experience, those from a Protestant background – tend not to return.

  • Jim

    Exile,

    You could add in ROI for the Catholic students as well. I think you are certainly limiting yourself in terms of job prospects by staying here.

    What the two MLAS also failed to mention was that Catholic form a clear and growing majority in the school census and that both Catholic grammer and secondary schools are outperforming state schools in the league tables for quite some time. If the MLAS got to grips with the second problem of poor educational performance in some state schools then the gap would’nt be as wide as it is.

    Then they didn’t even turn up after they got coverage in both the BT and Newsletter. Either they are poor time-managers or a word was had in their ear about fighting silly battles.

  • Jim

    Exile,

    You could add in ROI for the Catholic students as well. I think you are certainly limiting yourself in terms of job prospects by staying here.

    What the two MLAS also failed to mention was that Catholic form a clear and growing majority in the school census and that both Catholic grammer and secondary schools are outperforming state schools in the league tables for quite some time. If the MLAS got to grips with the second problem of poor educational performance in some state schools then the gap would’nt be as wide as it is.

    Then they didn’t even turn up after they got coverage in both the BT and Newsletter. Either they are poor time-managers or a word was had in their ear about fighting silly battles.

  • boss hogg

    2007/2008
    Protestants Catholic Other Not know
    Queens 6735 8245 1105 3540
    UU Magee 530 2090 15 295
    UU Belfast 450 545 25 100
    UU Coleraine 2110 1760 60 315
    UU Jordanstown 3685 6105 105 2010
    Stranmilis 16.5%
    St Marys 1,5%

  • Mortimer

    ‘Those who do leave the place and decide to go to England or Scotland – especially, in my experience, those from a Protestant background – tend not to return’

    I did return… and bitterly regret it. Anyone contemplating moving back should consider long and hard before commiting to a return. This place is still a shithole…. and is unlikely to improve for many generations.

  • Peter

    With some catholic students the love of GAA is bound to play a part. So many seem to travel home for training whereever that may be. The behaviour in the Holylands also shows us some culchies are excited enough about seeing the big smoke, there is no need to unleash this people on the wider world, they surely would not forgive us. Though for those dup members who feel like QUB is a bastion of nationalism, I am in the library and not one GAA top in my line of site, it is not as bad as we are made to believe.

  • Glencppagagh

    Peter
    I think it’s just parochialsim rather than attachment to the GAA which is after all mainly a summer sport.
    By the way, as a student would you hazard a guess as to the proportion of undergrads who don’t come from NI or RoI?
    I’m assuming it’s virtually zero but I may be a bit too pessimistic.
    But the hobgoblins who are permanently attired in GAA shirts make Queen’s particularly unattractive to students from the rest of the UK. I can’t imagine them being very friendly towards privately educated English students in particular.

  • Sam Thompson

    exile

    ‘easy in a relatively affluent town where there’s not a Catholic about the place’

    Coleraine had a sizeable Catholic minority in the sixties, I wouldn’t imagine it was much less than Derry’s Protestant minority in percentage terms. The affluent bit strikes me though – an industrial town in decline is affluent? Right. Derry was no more or less affluent, but it couldn’t keep a lid on the divisions it had. Should i say its a town where there’s not a Protestant about the place because they only made up 20% of population?

    On another issue, I have found that QUB has become a much more welcoming place in the 5 years since i first enrolled. There are a few vocal mouthpieces, but you get them everywhere. The problem may lie with the unionist political bodies at QUB, they are rather on the hardline side – not representing many unionist students, and this has fed into this crazy motion put before the house by Easton.

  • Jim

    BH,

    Thanks for those stat it has cleared that up for me.

    Glen,

    Whilst there are a lot of guys wearing GAA shirts that in itself should not be a problem for Protestant/Unionist students. Guys wearing Ramgers/Northern Ireland shirts never bothered me at Queens and UU when I was there. It should only be a problem if the Gaels are being sectarian in words or deeds. As sam says the young Unionists at Queens are quite hardline and have a dislike of Irish Nationalist culture. They seem to yearn for the 50s when Queens was a Unionist bastion.

  • Glencoppagagh

    Jim
    I’m afraid I have a problem on aesthetic grounds with people wearing sports shirts of nastiest nylon. They can’t do much for personal hygiene either. GAA ones just tend to be a bit more lurid in design and therefore slightly more offensive to good taste.
    It’s probably related to Queen’s higher proportion of students from the proletarian classes. You’d probably see fewer such garments worn around Oxford or St Andrew’s

  • Jim

    Glen,

    Yeah you would probably see more rubgy and old school garments at the likes of Oxford and St Andrew’s. I think you making assumptions about the GAA shirts and the Proletarian classes. Most are MC kids from the country and not from WC backgrounds. I would like to see more of the Proletarian classes at Oxford, Cambridge etc, don’t you agree?