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By Ian Budge, Cornelius O'Leary

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Extra resources for Belfast: Approach to Crisis: A Study of Belfast Politics 1613–1970

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There is no evidence of job competition in the 182os (we will see later whether it was relevant in the 185os): the Catholics came in at the lowest rung of the economic ladder - unskilled labouring. As to O'Connell's responsibility for provoking a hostile reaction in the city, the first religious disturbance occurred ten years before the founding of the Catholic Association, which may be regarded as a cause of continuing the religious antipathy, but scarcely as a primary cause. All these writers 98 appear to have underestimated the divisive influence of the Orange Order, and the possibility that to its development rather than to any of the causes assigned above may be attributed the growth, if not the inception, of religious rivalry in Belfast.

I4 Belfast: Approach to Crisis It is impossible to conjecture just how many Ulster Presbyterians were genuinely in favour of the Catholic claims. s3 The one significant group which was incontrovertibly tolerant and egalitarian was the United Irishmen and their main centre was Belfast,s4 the 'headquarters of disaffection in the north' as Castlereagh called it. But the United Irishmen were an elitist group, recruited from the professional classes. It is also clear that in the I 790s Belfast had fewer Catholics than any Ulster town; while in the rural areas, like Armagh (where it originated) the Orange Order greatly flourished.

Static population is associated in part with the unchanged political boundaries of the borough in this period, but much more strongly with industrial stagnation, decline, and high unemployment, during these forty years. We shall discuss these, as background to political developments, in the following chapters. Just as the twentieth-century equilibrium was associated with unchanging municipal boundaries, so nineteenth-century expansion followed in part from extensions to the boundaries 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1951 Decade 71 83 102 144 183 233 296 344 401 478 522 1,113 Birmingham 444 19 28 37 53 70 87 122 174 208 256 349 Belfast ~ 77 101 147 202 275 345 420 522 587 658 762 1,090 Glasgow 75 89 126 182 235 303 339 351 (341) 462"' 505 544 703 Manchester "' Area change.

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