Further memorandum from the Northern Ireland
The purpose of this memorandum is to respond
to queries raised during the Northern Ireland Economic Council's
appearance before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on Wednesday
27 January 1999. However, we first wish to clarify a number of
issues in order that the Committee can be better informed about
the Council's remit and the definition of clusters.
2. NORTHERN IRELAND
The Northern Ireland Economic Council is an
independent advisory body, set up by the Secretary of State for
Northern Ireland in 1977. The Council has a wide remit to provide
independent advice to the Secretary of State on the development
of economic policy for Northern Ireland.
It carries out this role through four series
of publications. Reports generally make specific policy recommendations
endorsed by the Council. Occasional papers are intended to promote
discussion on topical issues while commissioned research monographs
are published under the author's name. Finally, Council responses
to consultation documents are included in the advice and comment
Several of these publications are relevant to
issues raised during the Council's appearance before the Committee.
3. "Through Peace to Prosperity".
Proceedings of the Peace Seminar hosted by the Economic Council
4. The Economic Implications of Peace and
Political Stability for Northern Ireland (June 1995)
8. Towards Resolving Long-Term Unemployment
in Northern Ireland A Response to Long-Term Unemployment (June
9. The Impact of National Minimum Wage on
the Northern Ireland Economy. A Response to the Low Pay Commission
11. Growth with Development. A Response
to New TSN (December 1998)
3. Successful European Regions: Northern
Ireland Learning from Others by Michael Dunford and Ray Hudson;
with a Statement by the Economic Council (November 1996)
4. Educational Achievement in Northern Ireland:
Patterns and Prospects by Tony Gallagher, Ian Shuttleworth and
Colette Gray; with a Statement by the Economic Council (December
7. Improving Schools in Northern Ireland
by Tony Gallagher, Ian Shuttleworth and Colette Gray; with a Statement
by the Economic Council (August 1998)
Copies of these publications are available from
The Council also publishes an Annual Report
and the text of the annual Sir Charles Carter Lecture, which the
Council sponsors in honour of its first chairman. It also holds
seminars and conferences designed to promote debate, whose proceedings
may from time to time be published.
The Council is composed of 15 members, one of
whom is the Chairman who is appointed by the Secretary of State.
Janet M Trewsdale is currently Acting Chairman. There are four
other independent members. Five members represent trade union
interests and are nominated by the Northern Ireland Committee
of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Five members represent
industrial and commercial interests and are nominated jointly
by the Confederation of British Industry for Northern Ireland
and the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Members
serve four year terms, which may be renewed. A list of members
The Council has a small staff, including the
Director, Dr Gorecki, economists and administration support staff
(including the Secretary to the Council). Council publications
are normally prepared by the economists, but outside consultants
are also engaged for particular projects. All publications go
before the Council for comment prior to publication. It is the
Council which bears final responsibility for their publication
but not necessarily for the content or recommendations of commissioned
Clusters have been defined as follows
"A group of companies, interrelated and
situated in a limited geographic zone which develop their activities
in common or complementary areas and count on the support of service
companies, forming between them an inter-active system".
(P Cooke and K Morgan, 1998, The Associational Economy, Oxford:
Oxford University Press, p 187).
While a substantial body of research has been
commissioned and published by the Standing Advisory Commission
on Human Rights (SACHR) and the Central Community Relations Unit,
there is also an academic literature on the issue of fair employment.
Examples of the latter include:
Bew, P, Patterson and Teague, P (1997) Chapter
5 "Catholics and Protestants in the Northern Ireland Labour
Market". In Between War and Peace. The Political Future
of Northern Ireland. London: Lawrence & Wishart Limited.
Borooah, V, McKee, P Heaton, N and Collins, G
(1995) "Catholic Protestant Income Differences in Northern
Ireland". Review of Income and Wealth. Series 41,
No 1, pp 41-56.
Bradley, J (1997) "Evaluation of the Ratio
of Unemployment Rates as an Indicator of Fair Employment: A Critique".
The Economic and Social Review. Vol 28, No 2, pp 85-104.
Breen, R (1998) "The Ratio of Unemployment
Rates and Fair Employment: A Reply to John Bradley". The
Economic and Social Review. Vol 29, No 1, pp 87-93.
Bradley, J (1998) "The Ratio of Unemployment
Rates and Fair Employment: A Response to Richard Breen" The
Economic and Social Review. Vol 29, No 1, pp 95-97.
Compton, P (1981) "Demographic and Geographical
Aspects of the Unemployment Differential Between Protestants and
Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland". In Compton, P (ed)
The Contemporary Population of Northern Ireland & Population-Related
Issues. Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen's University
Cormack, R, Gallagher, A and Osborne, R (1997)
"Higher Education Participation in Northern Ireland".
Higher Education Quarterly. Vol 51, No 1, pp 68-85.
Eversley, D (1989) Religion and Employment
in Northern Ireland. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Miller, R L, Osborne, R D, Cormack, R J and Williamson,
A P (1990) Higher Education and Labour Market Entry: The Differing
Experiences of Northern Irish Protestants and Catholics: Research
Paper No 1. Coleraine: Centre for Policy Research.
Northern Ireland Higher Education Council (1995)
Report of the Sub-Group on Access, Participation & Student
Migration. Bangor: Northern Ireland Higher Education Council.
Sheehan, M (1995) "Fair Employment: an issue
for the peace process". Race & Class. Vol 37,No
1, pp 71-82.
Smith, D and Chambers, G (1991) Inequality
in Northern Ireland. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Teague, P (1993) "Discrimination and Fair
Employment in Northern Ireland". In Teage, P (ed) The
Economy of Northern Ireland. Perspectives for Structural Change.
London: Lawrence and Wishart.
5. SUBJECT CHOICE
SACHR, in its report for 1991-92, summarised
research it had commissioned on subject choice by pupils in Catholic
and Protestant schools as follows:
"17. This [Secondary Analysis of
the DENI Curriculum Survey by R. Cormack and colleagues] is
a valuable commentary on what might be termed the "subject
profile differences" of the Protestent and Catholic school
systems as revealed in examination outputs. The consultants clearly
demonstrate that, although there is some evidence of a continuing
bias at "A" level in Catholic schools towards the arts
and humanities rather than science and technology, this gap has
been narrowing in recent years.
18. More significantly differences can be
observed in relation to the contrasting curriculum experienced
by grammar compared to secondary intermediate schools. Thereafter
the most significant observable difference appears to lie in the
curriculum experience of boys and girls. In general this manifests
itself in the form of under representation by girls in science
and technology, particularly beyond the third year when these
subjects become no longer compulsory.
19. The consultants indicate that the differential
in the amount of time spent on science and technology in the two
sectors appears to have narrowed at all levels including stage
three. However, attention is drawn to previous research by Bell
which demonstrated that the performance of 15-year old pupils
in Northern Ireland on the APU science test was inferior to that
of their contempories in England. This was linked to inferior
provision and a lesser degree of uptake particularly in relation
to pupils attending secondary intermediate schools.
20. The curriculum reforms are probably already
bringing about change in this area but the importance of monitoring
the effect of these changes on attainment levels in the two communities
cannot be under-estimated. Furthermore, the implementation of
the Northern Ireland curriculum particularly in science and technology
may have implications for Catholic schools both secondary and
grammar, in terms of the scale of capital outlay involved in providing
new and refurbished facilities. This raises questions in respect
of the voluntary contribution and its continued existence.".
More recent analysis of subject choice does
not appear to be available. However, as noted above, the introduction
of the national curriculum will likely have led to further narrowing
between the two systems in subject choice up to the age of 16.
6. IDB GRANT
The 1997-98 Annual Report of the Industrial
Development Board provides an indication of the higher grant (or
contribution) rates offered to firms locating in Targeting Social
A significant amount of IDB's budget is used
to provide selective financial assistance to client companies
. . . Enhanced assistance may be offered to encourage companies
to locate in TSN areas. In the period April 1995-March 1998, the
average IDB contribution to projects locating in TSN areas was
23.9 per cent compared to an average of 19.4 per cent for non-TSN
areas. (p 34)
7. STUDENT MIGRATION
A recent report for Northern Ireland Higher
Education Council on Access, Participation and Student Migration
In 1993 there were 11,786 new entrants
from NI to full-time undergraduate level higher education courses
at institutions throughout the UK and RoI, an increase of almost
80 per cent from 6,598 new entrants in 1985.
Participation rates by young new
entrants (under 21) in full-time undergraduate level courses in
UK and RoI almost doubled from 19.6 per cent of the relevant age
cohort in 1985 to 38.3 per cent in 1993.
The proportion of women new entrants
increased from 49 per cent in 1985 to 51 per cent in 1993.
Representation from Roman Catholics
has continued to rise to around 50 per cent.
The proportion of NI new entrants
to UK universities from the lower socio-economic classes was 29
per cent in 1992 compared with the equivalent proportion of 22
per cent for UK new entrants to UK universities.
In 1993, 39 per cent of NI full-time
undergraduate new entrants went to institutions in either GB or
RoI. [By 1997 this had increased to 42.2 per cent.].
The most significant growth was in
NI new entrants to the former GB polytechnics and colleges sector,
where numbers increased by 170 per cent from 932 in 1985 to 2,517
. . . about 85 per cent of those
students who leave NI for higher education do not return. This
represents an annual net loss of talent of over 11 per cent of
that age cohort from the community representing for the most part
its more intellectually able segment. (pp i-iv)
Professor Osborne, University of Ulster, is
currently conducting a survey of Northern Ireland domiciled entrants
to university in 1991, in either Northern Ireland or elsewhere
in the UK.
8. WORKING CLASS
It appears that no research was undertaken for
the 1997 Dearing Report or National Committee of Inquiry into
Higher Education on working class attitudes to debt. In Appendix
1, Report on Northern Ireland, for example, it is stated
It is often argued that students who come from
homes where family incomes are low are likely to be more averse
to pursuing university education if it involves an accumulation
of debt and the responsibility to repay later. (p 452)
No reference appears to any hard research to
support this view.
9. REPUBLIC OF
The importance of Republic of Ireland domiciled
entrants into Northern Ireland's two universities is as follows:
FULL-TIME UNDERGRADUATE ENTRANTS TO NORTHERN IRELAND
UNIVERSITIES BY DOMICILE, 1985, 1990, 1993
|GB Domicile|| 379||(8.4)
|| 268||(4.6)|| 190
|RoI Domicile|| 152||(3.4)
|| 532||(9.1)|| 801
|Other EC|| 50||(1.1)
|| 167||(2.8)|| 302
(Source: Report of the Sub-group on Access, Participation
& Student Migration, 1995, Table 3.3, p 16)
This pattern may change with the recent announcement of an
additional 2,000 university places in Northern Ireland.
24 February 1999
Bell, J. (1991) Science Performance and Up-take 15 year-old pupils,
in Northern Ireland Educational Research, 33, 2, pp 93-102. Back