Dr Elizabeth De Young’s new book, ‘Power, Politics and Territory in the ‘New Northern Ireland’ – Girdwood Barracks and the Story of the Peace Process’ is now added to the growing library of research into multimillion pound political scandals that would end careers in many other jurisdictions. Not so for ‘New Northern Ireland’ - land of the Red Sky and Renewable Heat Incentive - where, no matter how much public money is wasted or hardship inflicted upon the population through corruption, greed or ineptitude, no heads roll.
‘New Northern Ireland’ – the state and all of its institutions, originally designed to deliver a British Unionist political agenda, maintained in perpetuity by a Gerrymandered British Unionist majority – now put on ice by the main British Unionist political party who refuse to participate in its parliament. Up is down, left is right.
The ‘New Northern Ireland’ a global leader in all expenses paid international junkets selling Peace Process PLC to multinationals and societies emerging from conflict everywhere – but don’t mention deepening poverty, homelessness or inequality, the enormous security walls and the odd riot over Brexit.
The ‘New Northern Ireland’ – where, despite multiple converging crises compounded by our dysfunctional political system, our chirpy resilience shines through - we still know how to have a laugh. Remember when the North Belfast based Housing Minister, Nelson McCausland, was able to use the privileges of parliament for a bit of craic, referring to the South American based United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik as a ‘Marxist Brazil Nut’ when she shared her thoughts on religious inequality in social housing provision in his constituency? LOL, Cracker!
In the past, Unionists, whose power was threatened by the concept of equal rights for the discriminated against Catholic population, were the driving force behind housing inequality. Today, however, the demographics have changed, power has shifted, the Unionist majority is over and for the first time in history the electorate have returned an Irish Republican, Michelle O’Neill, as first Minister – albeit without a functioning parliament to minister over.
At the macro and micro level political power has been changing hands for more than two decades.
How then has the housing crisis continuously worsened no matter who was in power? And what can we do about it? The Take Back The City campaign are teaming up with our allies to hold a series of events this year looking at this question, and at how political institutions and public services are responding to community led campaigns for housing rights.
Join us for the first of these conversations this month in Belfast where Dr Elizabeth De Young will present the findings of her new book in public discussions at An Cultúrlann MacAdam ’Fiach on the 27th January at 12pm (Lunch provided) and Queens University Belfast at 4pm on the 29th January – register here
Click here to support the Take Back The City Plan - Belfast’s first community led master plan for a sustainable and inclusive neighbourhood.