From the outset there was no consensus within the government of Northern Ireland on the role of the state. This ambiguity might be traced back to the differences between Liberal and Conservative groups within the Ulster Unionist alliance, as this developed in the later nineteenth century. This, together with the multiplicity of local authorities in Northern Ireland, led to inertia and also to important regional variations in service provision. The introduction of the National Health Service in Northern Ireland was a major breakthrough. The imposition of direct rule in 1972 had significant implications for health, housing and employment policies. With regard to other indicators, such as consumer spending, there was considerable convergence between Northern Ireland and Britain so that by the early twenty-first century, levels of ownership of goods such as computers, microwaves, and satellite and cable television, matched those in Britain.
Keywords: social policy; national health service; health; housing; employment; consumer goods; consensus; unionism
Chapter. 7804 words.
Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
Full text: subscription required