Billy Webb comments on public attitudes towards integration

Alliance Newtownabbey Councillor Billy Webb has noted the publication of OFMDFM’s Good Relations Indicators and was encouraged that Alliance’s message on the benefits of a shared society finds favour with the vast majority of the community.

Cllr Billy Webb said: “The report from OFMDFM found that 88% thought better relations between Protestants and Catholics would be achieved through more mixing of the two sides of the community rather than separation. Support for mixed-religion neighbourhoods continues to be high, with 8 in 10 saying they would favour living in neighbourhoods with a mix of Protestants and Catholics.

“While these results are encouraging, much needs to be done to secure a shared future. While I welcome the positive results in the survey, it is frustrating to read the finding that casualties as a result of paramilitary-style attacks have more than doubled – in 2009 there were 122 casualties of paramilitary style shootings and assaults compared to 56 the previous year. In 2009/10 the numbers presenting as homeless due to intimidation was up by a third on the 2008/09 figure; 774 compared to 580.

“These results show that the public mood on a shared society is actually ahead of those organisations given responsibility for running our communities. I hope that they wake up to the thoughts of the public and if they have not already done so, then they should ensure that sharing and integration is promoted within their organisation.

“Alliance has for a long time being calling for action on this issue so I am glad that public support for our position is now at such a large scale.”


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