Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

The Young: Reaching out - 63% believe that community barriers coming down

They may feel no connection with their elected representatives and politics generally, but young people feel that overall life in Northern Ireland is getting better.

Yet Protestant young men and women are less positive about progress in recent years than their Catholic counterparts.

Overall a huge majority of young people believe that community relations in Northern Ireland were improving, the poll shows.

A total of 34.5% of the sample – almost 190 young people – said they are "improving greatly".

And a further 28.4 % (156 people) chose the response that community relations were "improving".

Again, however, a drill-down analysis by religion shows that proportionately more Catholics thought community relations across the province had improved compared to young Protestants.

Almost 57% of the Catholic respondents to the poll chose the top two answers – "greatly improving" or "improving" – compared to just 43.1% of Protestants. Overall, just 13.5% said that they believed community relations were "getting worse".

But again a third of Catholics (33% ) chose the lower two grades compared to 67% of Protestants.

"This is a relatively positive result in terms of young people believing that community relations are improving," the poll organisation LucidTalk concluded.

The findings come against the backdrop of last week's peace monitoring report by the Community Relations Council, which reaffirmed that Catholic numbers were steadily rising and that Catholics were already in the majority of the population under the age of 40.

It also quoted polls – including the census and the Belfast Telegraph's LucidTalk survey from last year – to show that, despite the increasing number of Catholics, support for Irish unity is at the lowest level ever recorded.

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