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1989-2009: Equality measures and the reduction of conflict? Lessons from Northern Ireland, lessons for Northern Ireland

Newman House, Dublin
26 February 2009

Niall Crowley speaking at the Equality seminar

Niall Crowley speaking at the Equality seminar

The major successes in the recent history of Northern Ireland include the achievement of substantive equality of condition between Protestant and Catholic in employment profiles, the steps towards remedying the less-obvious and less-measurable cultural inequalities, in the movement towards ‘parity of esteem’, and of course the quite radical reforms of policing, security and justice. This movement towards equalisation gave a context in which the political institutions of the 1998 Good Friday ( Belfast) Agreement could function in a very different way than the superficially similar power-sharing executive of 1973-4.

In our recent 6 February IBIS conference on the ‘Impact of Devolution on Everyday Life: 1999-2009’, many speakers spoke of contrast between the success of policy in two areas – equality and policing – and the failures in the sphere of community relations, the reduction of sectarianism. This evening seminar provided an opportunity to look more closely at the sphere of equality, equality legislation, and equality outcomes from the perspective of policy makers, practitioners and academic experts in the field.

The seminar explored how far equalisation in Northern Ireland has contributed to a reduction of conflict and the relative stability of settlement. Speakers included Bob Collins, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland; Niall Crowley, former CEO of the Equality Authority and Frances Stewart, Professor of Developmental Economics at Oxford and Director of the Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity.

 Programme  Speakers and Chair
 F Stewart Presentation