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“I’d rather go to Spain or something, to tell you the truth,” says Martin, a 29-year-old who lives near the Falls Road in Belfast.
Surveys find that about a third of the population considers itself British, a slightly smaller share says Irish, and around the same reports itself to be neither, but rather Northern Irish.
Catholics hold nearly half the jobs in both the public and private sectors, in line with their share of the population. Catholics hold high-profile public offices, including those of attorney-general and Lord Chief Justice.Paramilitary gangs on both sides of the sectarian divide are active in organised crime.Their “punishment” beatings and shootings of drug-dealers, pimps and loan-sharks purport to be for the protection of “their” communities, but often they simply want the business for themselves.Under the agreement Ireland gave up its claim on the north and Britain agreed to a mechanism by which Northern Ireland could secede via a future referendum.The Northern Irish gained the right to citizenship of the United Kingdom, Ireland, or both.