Sir, – The significant reduction in the differences in both employment and unemployment rates between the two communities in Northern Ireland over the past 30 years, as recorded in the annual Labour Force Survey Religion Report, was achieved by both fair employment legislation and an active fair employment agency ensuring its rigorous implementation. The SDLP did not support a policy of positive discrimination to correct these sectarian differences in the job market as it would be unfair to better qualified members of the unionist community.
The decision by the Minister of State for Higher Education to approve gender-specific professorships will potentially have a similar detrimental effect on better-qualified male applicants. Perhaps she should have looked North for a fairer solution to the problem of gender inequality in higher education. – Yours, etc,
Ranelagh, Dublin 6.