During the political violence of the last third of the 20th century, many Protestants moved away from western and border areas of Northern Ireland. Mr Nolan pointed out that although 45 per cent identified in the 2011 census as being from a Catholic background, only 25 per cent claimed an exclusively Irish identity. This has the potential to significantly destabilize Northern Irish politics. Northern Ireland The solution to the original pre-1922 Irish problem, and the modern Northern Ireland problem, and almost every conflict in the world, is the same: Every country should tolerate diversity. Gerry Moriarty . This blog is not a proper statistical study, a full analysis would use far more detailed data and sophisticated analysis with a package like SPSS. "I think the more that gets unpacked, the more opinion will move back and forward. The school population in Northern Ireland, through University level, has been heavily Catholic for many years, so it is only a matter of time before there will be a Catholic majority in the six counties. "Three years from now we will end up, I think, in the ironic situation on the centenary of the state where we actually have a state that has a Catholic majority," he said. Get the day's headlines delivered directly to your inbox, DUP leader Arlene Foster said she would probably' leave in the event of a united Ireland. In Northern Ireland, Brexit is once again raising difficult questions of identity: Catholic vs. Protestant, Irish vs. British, nationalist vs. unionist. He said there is no need for this prediction to cause undue alarm among unionists as being a Catholic does not necessarily mean supporting a united Ireland. At the 2011 census, the prevalence rates for the main religions were: Catholic; Presbyterian; Church of Ireland; Methodist; Other Christian or Christian-related denominations; other Religions and Philosophies and those declaring no religion or religion not stated 16.9%. Founded in 1921, Northern Ireland has always had a Protestant majority. The 2011 official census figures put the Protestant population at 48 per cent and Catholics at 45 per cent, while more recent figures from 2016 show 44 per cent of working age adults are Catholic and 40 per cent Protestant. According to the last census in 2011, Protestants outnumbered Catholics in Northern Ireland by just three percent. He said that although 45 percent identified as being Catholic in the 2011 census, only 25 percent of those surveyed claimed an exclusively Irish identity, the Irish News reports. This is more back of the envelope and a “straw man” in nature and is in no way definitive. "For my part though, I would never leave this island," he said. A report this week by the Catholic News Agency suggests that according to census data, Protestants outnumbered Catholics by just three percent in 2011, while more recent data show a Catholic majority “in every age group of the population, except for those over 60.”. “Three years from now we will end up, I think, in the ironic situation on the centenary of the state where we actually have a state that has a Catholic majority,” he told BBC News NI. In fact, at current rates, the Catholics will be a majority after 2016. This is attributed to the new generation that no longer views religion as a contentious issue between Ireland and Northern Ireland. “In other words people who do not identify with the traditional trappings of unionism; people who would give their support for a UK government framework and that’s a sizeable proportion of Catholics provided they are not alienated by any form of triumphalism or anything that seems to be a rejection of their cultural identity as nationalists.”, Nolan suggested that this will lead to "more examination of what a United Ireland might mean.”, Read More: If Ireland is re-united, North's First Minister Arlene Foster would pack her bags. Nolan points out that a Catholic majority does not necessarily mean that all will support a united Ireland. He suggested it is likely debate on a future United Ireland would move to whether it might mean "two parliaments - one in Belfast and one in Dublin". 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