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Life in Two Enclave Areas - Conclusions



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

Conclusions

This survey was one of a range of methods used to examine in detail the quality of life and experiences of residents in two enclave areas, and its results should be read in the context of the other outputs from the project. The survey aimed to establish how residents saw themselves and their communities, and to collect residents' views about staying or leaving their area, uncovering factors which influenced their decisions to stay or go, and factors which would contribute to improvements in their quality of life. At this stage, the followings conclusions emerge from this first examination of the data.

There is divergence between the two areas on a range of factors related to political, religious and national identity, which is, in turn, related to and influences the community's experience of the security forces; a resolution of the difficulties surrounding attitudes to policing and the police force would contribute substantially to reducing the polarisation in attitude and experience between the two communities.

Divergence between the two areas occurs on factors related to the built environment, which is, in turn, related to the substantial differences in the built environment itself (and the parts that have yet to be built) in both areas. A successful resolution to Fountain residents' difficulties with car parking and city centre vandalism would allow them to fully enjoy the advantages of being in the city centre. Similarly, amelioration of Gobnascale residents' problems with lack of access to amenities, by providing more locally based amenities and mobile amenities would allow Gobnascale residents to unequivocally enjoy their access to open space, and the panoramic view of the city. Facilities for children in both areas require development, and attention should be given to the needs of those in single households, particularly older people living alone in the Fountain, and consideration should be given to developing services to address issues of isolation and home support services.

Unemployment and low income are problems in both areas, and much wanted economic development strategies which create employment and are designed to meet the local needs of communities would contribute positively to both communities' cohesiveness and self confidence.

More Fountain than Gobnascale residents surveyed felt part of a minority. Those surveyed tended to refer to the context of the city, rather than the context of the country or the island when defining whether or not they felt in the minority, and this has important implications for those with responsibility for shaping city policies. It will be a challenge to develop a culture of inclusiveness in the city, given the significant differences in attitude between the two communities on the movement of Protestants out of the city. From qualitative work undertaken, it seems as if the attitude found in Gobnascale may be representative of the attitude among other Catholics in the city, and further research would help establish this.

Both areas were conscious of the stigma of living in an enclave, although they responded differently to troubles-related pressures. Fountain residents were more likely to want to resist intimidation, whereas Gobnascale residents were more likely to want to move due to troubles related factors. A pro-active community relations policy which engages in public education on, for example, sectarian verbal abuse, would raise public consciousness on some of the issues which press on these two areas. Fountain residents mixed with Catholics more than Gobnascale residents mixed with Protestants, and a substantial percentage in both communities saw segregation as a loss of opportunity for friendship and exchange with the other community. At a general policy level, more thought and energy is required to develop policy on segregation in ways which ensure the safety and integrity of communities under threat, whilst minimising the isolation, stigma and other negative effects of segregation.

 

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