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Life in Two Enclave Areas
Chapter 5: Perceived problems in each area



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Text: Ruth Moore and Marie Smyth ... Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna

5. PERCEIVED PROBLEMS IN EACH AREA

Question 7 asked respondents, " Does living in this community cause you or your family any problems in getting to any of the following in the larger Waterside/ cityside area?" Gobnascale respondent were asked about access to the Waterside area, and Fountain residents to the cityside area. Respondents were asked to tick any items with which they had experienced problems. Responses from both areas are shown in the table below.

Table 52 : Access problems in each area
Percentages in each community responding in each category.

. Gobna
scale
%
Foun
tain
%
Gobn
ascale
rank
Foun
tain
rank
significan
-ce of
difference
1. shops for daily shopping
3
3
12
9
NS
2. shops for weekly or monthly
shopping
7
2
10
9
.03
3. entertainment facilities
23
13
2
6
.005
4. friends or relatives
8
2
9
9
.04
5. church
2
2
14
9
NS
6. health services
9
2
8
9
.005
7. parks or open spaces
10
13
5
5
NS
8. play areas or facilities for
under 5's
16
18
4
2
NS
9. play areas or facilities for older
children (5-14)
14
14
5
3
NS
10. leisure centres
21
14
3
3
NS
11. public transport services
7
2
10
9
.03
12. supervise children at play
10
5
5
7
NS
13. children's school or nursery
2
0
14
16
NS
14. work (if employed)
3
2
12
10
NS
15. young people and adults
training/educational facilities
10
4
5
8
.04
16. no problems in access to
any of the above
51
53
1
1
NS
17. No response
5
11
-
-
.

Responses to question 7 again showed a degree of similarity between the two areas, with 10 of the 16 possible responses showing no significant differences between the two areas, yet there were some differences. However, the largest number of respondents in both areas said that they had no access problems (Gobnascale 51% and Fountain 53%). When the problems reported in each area are ranked, the rank order for each area shows a degree of similarity: "access to play areas for the under 5s" ranked second in the Fountain (18%) and fourth in Gobnascale (16%), whilst "access to entertainment" ranked second in Gobnascale (23%) and sixth in the Fountain (13%). Gobnascale's remoteness from the major cinemas and city centre venues may explain the response on this question. One would expect The Fountain, as a city centre community, to have no such problems. What reports there are of Fountain respondents' problems with accessing entertainment could be explained by referring to the qualitative data, in which residents spoke of fear of using city centre facilities on occasion, because of the risk of being identified as a Fountain resident, and perhaps attracting unwanted attention or attack.

Overall, however, in cases where there were five areas of significant difference between the two communities in access problems. Gobnascale respondents reported more access problems than the Fountain, with the exception of access to parks and open spaces - no doubt related to Gobnascale's location on the edge of the city, adjacent to open fields and countryside. Some of the other access problems reported in both communities could be related to community development - or the lack of it- in the area, where facilities for under 5s could be provided by local community groups, whereas other issues, such as public transport or shops are not traditionally seen as within the remit of community organisations.

Question 8 instructed respondents as follows: "Here is a list of problems that have occurred in areas similar to this one. Could you go down the list and tick one box showing whether you think each item is a major problem, now is minor problem, was a problem in the past but not now, or has never been a problem in this area? The following table shows the percentage response in each area."


Table 53 : Perceived problems in each area:
Percentages in each community responding in each category

.MAJOR
PROBLEM
IN THIS
AREA NOW
MINOR
PROBLEM
IN THIS
AREA NOW
WAS A
PROBLEM
IN THE PAST
NEVER
BEEN A
PROBLEM
IN THIS
AREA
NO
RESP
-ONSE
.
%
Gobna
-scale
%
Fount
-ain
%
Gobna
-scale
%
Fount
-ain
%
Gobna
scale
%
Fount
ain
%
Gobna
scale
%
Fount
-ain
%
Gobna
scale
%
Foun
tain
stone, bottle or
paint throwing
19
12
21
32
39
35
13
12
8
10
petrol bomb throwing
2
0
8
2
58
40
19
33
14
24
shootings or bombings
0
0
1
2
49
49
26
23
25
24
violent attacks on people or property
8
10
15
20
21
30
29
15
28
26
rioting between security forces and local people
3
2
12
7
47
20
18
40
20
32
rioting between Protestants and Catholics
3
8
11
23
35
38
26
13
25
17
vandalism to cars or
other property
16
19
27
32
21
23
17
10
20
16
personal intimidation
5
7
13
13
11
12
44
42
27
26
hate mail or telephone calls
1
2
6
7
6
7
57
60
31
29
verbal taunts or abuse
9
9
13
23
7
11
43
34
28
23
broken street lighting
16
17
29
21
15
13
21
25
19
25
locals taunting
security forces
security force
7
3
25
11
23
16
21
44
23
26
intimidation or harassment
of local population
14
2
22
11
25
19
20
40
19
27
bricked up dwellings and
vacant land
16
26
16
16
26
19
25
15
18
25




Table 54 : Question 8: Significance of differences
between two areas

stone, bottle or
paint throwing
NS
petrol bomb throwing.0001
shootings or bombingsNS
violent attacks on people
or property

.03
rioting between security
forces and local people

.0
rioting between
Protestants and Catholics

.0002
vandalism to cars or
other property

NS
personal intimidationNS
hate mail or telephone callsNS
verbal taunts or abuse.05
broken street lightingNS
locals taunting security forces .00001
security force intimidation
or harassment of local population

.0
bricked up dwellings and
vacant land

.02

Perceived major problems in each area

There was agreement between the two areas that "shootings or bombings" were not a problem for the vast majority of respondents in either area currently, nor was "hate mail or telephone calls". "Petrol bomb throwing" was perceived by 2% of Gobnascale residents as a problem now, and by no Fountain residents, and this difference is significant. "Rioting between security forces and local people" was similarly perceived as a problem by very few respondents - 3% in Gobnascale and 2% in The Fountain, although again the difference between the two areas is significant. It is on issues related to the experience of and attitude to the security forces that the largest differences between the two communities occur.

According to the rank ordering of problems within each area, there was agreement between the two areas about what constituted the major problems in each area, although the priority in each community varies and they are ranked in slightly different order. The biggest problem for Gobnascale residents was "stone, bottle or paint throwing"(19%) whereas the biggest problem for Fountain residents was "vandalism to cars or other property" (19%) and there were no differences between the areas on these two issues. The next most frequently mentioned problem for Fountain residents was "broken street lighting" (17%) whereas the next priorities for Gobnascale residents were jointly "broken street lighting"; "vandalism to property and cars" and "bricked up dwellings"- all 16%. Only on the last of these - "bricked up dwellings" - is there a significant difference between the two areas. Sixteen percent of Fountain residents also mentioned "bricked up dwellings", which ranked third in priority on the Fountain result. Further down the frequency rating, the interpersonal aspects of conflict, ratings in each community, on "personal intimidation (Gobnascale 5% and Fountain 7%) showed no significant difference between the two areas, but "violent attacks on people or property" (Gobnascale 8% and Fountain 10%) was significantly different, with the Fountain community rating it higher than the Gobnascale community.

Perceived minor problems in each area

The most frequently mentioned minor problem in Gobnascale was "broken street lighting", whereas in the Fountain it was "stone, bottle or paint throwing" and "vandalism to cars or other property". "Rioting between Protestants and Catholics" and "verbal taunts and abuse" were next on the Fountain list of minor problems, whereas"bricked up dwellings and vacant land" - which had been a problem in Gobnascale in the past - came next on the Gobnascale list of minor problems in the present. Fountain residents also live in close proximity to the site of disputes about apprentice Boys marches and this perhaps partly explains their significantly higher response to the questions about rioting and verbal abuse. Our qualitative data contains accounts of verbal taunts and attacks on Fountain residents in the city centre, and Fountain young people particularly complain about verbal abuse, and this may also account for this response. Gobnascale's more remote location perhaps reduced the likelihood of residents having these experiences in the past.

Significant differences between the responses in the two areas again emerge on the issue of policing, with 25% of Gobnascale residents saying that "locals taunting the security forces" was a minor problem in their area, whereas only 11% of Fountain residents thought it was a problem in the Fountain; 22% of Gobnascale residents indicated that "security force intimidation or harassment of local population" was a minor problem, whereas only 11% of Fountain residents thought it was a minor problem in the Fountain; 12% of Gobnascale residents thought that "rioting between security forces and local people" was a minor problem , whereas only 7% of Fountain residents thought that it was a problem in the Fountain. "Shootings and bombings" came low on the list for both areas, and showed no significant difference.

Perceived past problems

A similar clustering of responses was noted in both areas responses to the question about in the past, with significant, if predictable differences between them. The rank order of responses to this question is presented in the table below.

Again, the predictable significant differences between the two areas in their experience and accounts of the security forces become apparent, with Gobnascale residents ranking rioting with the security forces as a significant problem in the past, yet it doesn't appear on the Fountain list, whilst both areas say that shootings and bombings and stone throwing were problems in the past. Both areas also said that petrol bombing and rioting were problems in the past, although there were significant differences between the scores in the two areas on these issues, with Gobnascale scoring higher in both cases.

Rank order of responses: Gobnascale and Fountain

GobnascaleFountain

petrol bomb throwing

58%

shootings or bombings

49%

shootings or bombings

49%

petrol bomb throwing

40%
rioting between
security forces and local people

47%
rioting between Protestant
and Catholics

38%
stone paint or bottle
throwing

39%
stone, paint or bottle
throwing

35%
rioting between Protestants
and Catholics

35%
violent attacks on people
or property

30%



Perceptions of issues which have never been a problem

The responses to this part of the question cluster in each area, with a larger cluster of responses in the Fountain, and again, the issue of the security forces and relationship between them and the local community emerge as different in the two areas, with a substantial percentage of Fountain residents indicating that this relationship was not problematic. The Gobnascale percentages are given in brackets after the Fountain figures.

GobnascaleFountain
hate mail or telephone calls57% hate mail or telephone calls60%

personal intimidation

44%
locals taunting security forces
44%(G=21%)
verbal abuse or taunts43% (F=34%) personal intimidation42%
rioting between security forces and local people
40% (G=1%)
security force intimidation or harassment
40% (G=20%)



Response rate

The response rate to this question was related in part to the question design, with respondents asked to tick one box for each issue. From feedback on the survey, we know that some respondents found this an off-putting exercise, thus possibly explaining the relatively low response rates to some questions. (31% on "hate mail" in Gobnascale, and 32% on "rioting between security forces and local people" in the Fountain).


Question 9 instructed respondents: " Thinking of the future, which three of the following would you most like to see in this area?" The percentages responding in each cell are shown in the table below:

Table 55 : Desired changes and improvement in the area
percentages responding in each community

Gobna
-scale


G
Fount
-ain


F
%
rank
%
rank
vacant dwellings put to use
37
2
31
3
vacant land developed
25
6
15
8
security fence/boundary round the area lengthened or heightened
1
18
11
12
security fence/boundary round the area reduced or removed
0
-
9
13
more community responses & initiatives to problems.
27
5
17
5
improvements to local environment
35
3
36
2
more political leadership & representation from this area
21
7
9
14
more police
5
16
17
5
less police
12
11
2
18
more contact between churches
9
13
7
15
better working relationship with all public authorities
20
8
12
11
more acceptance of your community by other community
14
9
12
8
improvement to housing stock & conditions
46
1
59
1
more contact between Protestants & Catholics in general
29
4
30
4
more contact between two communities about specific concerns
13
10
16
7
Generally, are there other improvements you would like to see
in the future which would help solve the problems?

7

15

12

10
facilities for younger people
10
12
7
15
more shops needed
1
18
2
18
other requirements.*..
8
14
5
17
No response
4
17
2
16

* these include more pensioners' facilities, more traffic control, a community centre, and control dogs in area.

Although significant differences occur between the two areas on half of these issues, (see the next table), there is a remarkable similarity of response in the two areas when we compare the rank order of the list for residents in each area. Improvements to housing stock and conditions ranked first as the most important change which residents in both areas wished to see. Vacant dwellings put to use was second in the Gobnascale rank order and third in The Fountain; improvements to the environment was third in Gobnascale and second in The Fountain; more contacts between Catholics and Protestants in general ranked fourth in both areas; more community responses and initiative to problems in the area was fifth in both areas; vacant land developed was sixth in Gobnascale and eighth in The Fountain; more acceptance of your community by the other community was ninth in Gobnascale and eighth in The Fountain.

Table 56 : Desired changes and improvement in the area
percentages responding in each community

vacant dwellings put to use NS
vacant land developed .03
security fence/boundary round the area lengthened or heightened .00001
security fence/boundary round the area reduced or removed .0
more community responses & initiatives to problems .04
improvements to local environment NS
more political leadership & representation from this area .003
more police .0001
less police .0007
more contact between churches NS
better working relationship with all public authorities .03
more acceptance of your community by other community NS
improvement to housing stock & conditions .02
more contact between Protestants & Catholics in general NS
more contact between two communities about specific concerns NS
Generally, are there other improvements you would like to see
in the future which would help solve the problems?

-
facilities for younger people NS
more shops needed NS
other requirements NS


Differences between the two communities emerged on the issue of wanting vacant land developed, with Gobnascale scoring significantly higher on this issue that the Fountain, since there is vacant land to be developed in Gobnascale. On the issue of the removal of the security fence, or boundary around the area, 9% of Fountain respondents selected this item, making the ranking of this issue thirteenth overall on the Fountain list. This can be accounted for by the fact that there is a security fence around the Fountain, whereas Gobnascale does not have a similar arrangement. Differences also emerged between the two areas in relation to political leadership. 21% of Gobnascale residents wished to see more political leadership and representation from the area, whereas only 9% of Fountain residents expressed a similar wish. Attitudes to the police also diverged, with 5% of Gobnascale residents wanting more police, compared with 17% of Fountain residents: conversely 12% of Gobnascale residents wanted less police, compared to only 2% of Fountain residents.

The issue of policing (more police) was fifth in the Fountain rank order, whereas the issue, both on the question of more police and of less police, ranked only eleventh and fourteenth in the Gobnascale ranking. These differences can be perhaps explained by the decrease in police presence in Gobnascale since the cease-fires, making policing less of an issue for residents there, whereas Fountain residents still complain of difficulty in getting responses from the police when they are called by Fountain residents as a result of stoning or window-breaking incidents in the area.

Other differences which emerged on this question were on the issue of better working relationships with public authorities, and 20% Gobnascale residents indicated that this was a concern, whereas only 12% of Fountain residents selected this issue. There are several possible reasons for this difference - perhaps Gobnascale residents believe there is more of a problem in their relationships with public authorities, or perhaps Fountain residents have no expectation of being consulted by public authorities, or again, perhaps they have no faith in public authorities, and see no point in improving relationships with them. Conversely, perhaps they have more faith in them, and are content to let the authorities proceed in the present status quo. From our qualitative evidence, we suggest that the latter explanation is unlikely, and a disengaged relationship between the public authorities and Fountain residents is a more likely explanation. Conversely, Gobnascale residents groups have experience of negotiating directly with the public authorities in matters relating to improvements in the area, and a number of marked changes have taken place in the area over the last ten years. Fountain residents, on the other hand, are a different stage both in this process and consequently in their relationships with the public authorities, although our qualitative evidence would suggest that this is changing.

On the issue of community relations, although there were similarities between the two communities- both ranked "more contact between Catholics and Protestants" as fourth in rank order and there was no significant differences between them on "more contacts between the two communities about specific concerns". This is interesting in the light of the context in which the research was conducted. The survey was taken during a period when conflict arose about marching, specifically the Apprentice Boys march on August 12 on the edge of the Fountain. A conflict emerged between those who claimed the "right to march" and those who demanded that affected Catholic communities should be allowed to veto marches through their areas.

Finally, we asked respondents in both areas "What is the most serious problem in the area?" giving them a list of problems to choose from. To this list we have added the last three response categories to take account of responses made by respondents in the "other" option. The total responses for both communities are shown in the table below.


Table 57 : The most serious problem in the area
Percentages in each community responding in each category

.
Gobnascale
%
Fountain
%
Gobna
-scale
rank
Fount
-ain
rank
signific-
ance of
diff.
unemployment
56
20
1
2
.00
lack of amenities for children
and young people

31

25

2

1

NS
lack of amenities for adults and
elderly

12

5

3

7

.03
transport
2
1
9
10
NS
car parking
3
13
6
3
.0001
sectarian attacks
2
2
9
9
NS
shortage of housing
6
9
4
5
NS
vacant houses
3
1
6
10
NS
loss of population/
people leaving

1

7

12

6

.0002
people from other community
moving into the area

2

3

9

8

NS
dogs
0
0
13
-
NS
vandalism/stone throwing
3
1
6
10
NS
traffic problems
1
1
12
10
NS


Again, there is quite an overlap between the highest ranked problems in Gobnascale and The Fountain. The top three problems for Gobnascale are unemployment, lack of amenities for children and young people and lack of amenities for adults and older people, although there are also significant differences between the two communities on all of these issues except lack of amenities for children. In all cases the proportion of Gobnascale respondents selecting these issues is greater than the proportion in the Fountain. In the Fountain, the three top ranked problems are lack of amenities for children and young people, unemployment, and car parking. In responses from the two areas, unemployment and lack of amenities for children and young people are ranked as the most serious problem in their area. with Gobnascale respondents scoring unemployment significantly higher as a concern.

The divergence on the issue of car parking is explained by the location of The Fountain in the city centre and the tendency for shoppers to use the Fountain for parking whilst shopping.

Only 3% of Gobnascale respondents indicated that there was a problem with car parking compared with 13% of Fountain residents. Another area of divergence was on the issue of loss of population, which is again explained by the different population trends in each area - The Fountain is characterised by a dwindling population, whereas the Gobnascale population has now stabilised. Three categories were added to our original list as a result of analysis of the "other" response on the returned questionnaires. One respondent in Gobnascale felt that "dogs" were the most serious problem in the area, seven Gobnascale respondents, and one Fountain respondent felt that vandalism and stone throwing were the most serious problem in their area and one Fountain resident and two Gobnascale residents felt that traffic through the area was the most serious problem.

 

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