Sunday 25 June 2017

Radical change needed as Protestants play catch-up to Catholics in education

Seamus Heaney was a celebrated example of a generation of Catholics who used education to better themselves. Photo: Steve Pyke/Getty Images
Seamus Heaney was a celebrated example of a generation of Catholics who used education to better themselves. Photo: Steve Pyke/Getty Images
Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

'We are a Protestant parliament and a Protestant state," said James Craig, first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. But something has been hatching in the eight decades since those words were heard - an evolution which would have dismayed the Northern state's founders. The province is turning greener.

Population studies show there are currently more Catholic teenagers than their Protestant counterparts, leading to the inevitable conclusion of a Catholic majority within 10 years.

Another notable development is that it will not just be a majority, but a well-educated one. More Catholics than Protestants are proceeding to third-level education. They outnumber Protestants on campus by significant proportions, for example by 15pc at Queen's University.

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