Medicine in Ulster in relation to the great famine and “the troubles”BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7225.1636 (Published 18 December 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1636
All rapid responses
In reply to your recent article I think the biggest victim of the
troubles has been overlooked that being North Belfast.
In an area of 0.2% of Northern Ireland with 5% of the population
there has been 20% of all the deaths in N. Ireland.
The two main postcodes for North Belfast being BT14 and BT15.
BT14 has the highest percentage of Northern Irish deaths and BT15 has
the fourth highest percentage of deaths.
There have been almost 10,000 injuries from the troubles in North
Belfast out of a population of 65,000--that is, ~15% of the population.
There have been almost 700 people killed.
While these figures are similar to West Belfast the ability for North
Belfast to recover is less and the lasting effect has been greater.
North Belfast, once a vibrant area of Belfast has disintegrated into an
patchwork quilt of 20 isolated communities. It has eight of the official Belfast Peace Lines.
There is no working together that other communities have
Without taking away from what other areas in N.Ireland have suffered some
thoughts come to mind.
Despite having the equivalent of one Omagh bomb going off here in North
Belfast every 18 months no famous football teams come to play our local
team , no charity concerts are held on our behalf. and
North Belfast does not gets visits from Presidents or Prime Ministers.
People in Northern Ireland view North Belfast with the same jaundiced
view as the UK viewed
Northern Ireland only a couple of years ago.
Has this left any effect? Well yes, as a manifestation of being
one of the most deprived areas in N.Ireland some of the the indices that
could be considered are
we have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe. This is
three times the rate of the Greater Belfast average
60% of the population live in deprived conditions.
Long term employment is 55% above the Northern Ireland average.
Lung cancer is 2.5 times higher than the Northern Ireland average.
We have over 3 times the mental health contacts with health professionals
than the Belfast average
I have not been making these figures up , they are all from official
government publications but who is doing anything about it.?
The worst thing is that a lot of the figures are based on the 1991
census and people working in the area have no doubt come the 2001 census
the deprivation figures will be worse.
Spare a thought for the forgotten victim of the troubles - North
Belfast - in the new Millennium.
C M Loughrey
Competing interests: No competing interests