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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 06:15 GMT 07:15 UK
NI community attitudes 'hardening'
Peace wall at Short Strand
Walls have been erected between communities
There is an increasing hardening of attitudes by Northern Ireland's Protestants and Catholics towards living, working and learning together, according to a university survey.

The University of Ulster report, which is based on the annual Life and Times Survey, was published on Tuesday.

The survey found perceptions had become more negative since 1996.


Fewer people think that relations between Protestant and Catholics are better now

Life and Times survey

It showed that Protestants had less confidence in the peace process, with 39% believing they were now treated worse than they were six years ago.

Fewer people thought that relations between Protestant and Catholics were better now.

In 1996, 44% of Protestants and 47% of Catholics thought inter-community relationships were better than five years previously.

These totals have slumped to 25% and 33% respectively.

Equality laws

In 1999, 12% of Protestants and 6% of Catholics wanted own religion workplaces, figures which have risen to 21% and 14%.

A similar trend emerged on the question of own religion schools with 29% of Protestants and 21% of Catholics favouring this option in 1999, rising to 37% and 29% in 2002.

The survey of 1,800 adults across Northern Ireland showed broad support for equality laws in the province with 63% of respondents disagreeing with the statement "there is no need for equality laws".

However, both communities agreed that Catholics benefited most from such laws.

More than 90% of Protestants and Catholics believed Catholics were treated better or the same as six years ago compared to 73% who said Protestants were treated better or the same.

Only 3% of respondents believed they had been refused a job because of their religion, while 95% thought they had not been unfairly treated when applying for promotion.

There have been violent sectarian clashes on the streets of north and east Belfast over the last few months.

Police said some of the disturbances were the worst they had to deal with in years.

So-called peace walls have been extended and heightened in some areas in an attempt to protect Protestant and Catholic communities from each other.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Louise Cullen:
"The survey found a growing negative perception between the two communities since 1996"
See also:

04 Jun 02 | N Ireland
04 Jun 02 | N Ireland
02 Jun 02 | N Ireland
17 Jul 01 | N Ireland
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