Northern Ireland

Deprivation 'is legacy of Troubles'

More than a quarter of adults in Northern Ireland live with multiple deprivation, a study has suggested.

A barometer of poverty, it takes into account a wide range of elements like access to services, levels of education, health and housing.

Those lacking three or more basic necessities like food or heating are said to live with multiple deprivation.

The figure rises sharply for those directly affected by the Troubles, said Queen's University Belfast researchers.

'Lives blighted'

Universities across the UK, led by the University of Bristol, have been involved in compiling the Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK project, which they say is the largest ever study of its kind.

The Northern Ireland part of the study, which included a section on people's experience of violence during the Troubles, found:

  • The deprivation rate for those who lost a close friend during the Troubles rose to 36%
  • For those who had a close relative injured, it was 38%
  • If someone witnessed an assault, it was 43%
  • If a close relative had spent time in prison, it was 45%
  • Those who had their house searched by the police or army had a deprivation rate of 56%
  • The deprivation rate for those who moved house due to attack, intimidation, threats or harassment was 58%

Professor Mike Tomlinson of Queen's University, who led the study in Northern Ireland, said: "Experience of violent events in the past increased the chances of suffering from multiple deprivation in the present.

"Research in many parts of the world has shown that violent conflicts can result in long-term problems of poverty and deprivation.

"This is what has happened in Northern Ireland - the evidence is clear.

"Dealing with the past needs to include tackling the deprivation of those whose lives are most blighted by the years of conflict."

The Northern Ireland study was based on two surveys conducted in 2012, in which more than 3,300 people were interviewed.

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