From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Irish Identity and Health in Glasgow

Glasgow attracted Irish migrants from both Protestant and Catholic traditions, and also has a Scottish Catholic population, so permits an analysis of the ways in which religion and ethnicity may be linked or separated, and of the risk factors mediating between each mix of religious and ethnic identification and health. The study, initiated in late 1996, has involved:


• a sample recruited for informal unstructured interviews, derived by snowballing from Irish and church organisations.

• a sample drawn from the Twenty-07 Study localities sample, recruited for formal interviews, in which the four ethnic/religious groups are equally represented, with controls matched by gender and class.


Qualitative analyses focusing on the more representative second sample have shown the Catholic identifier to be dominant in west Scotland, and have described the family, community and working situations of Catholics. Papers have been written about the extent of anti-Catholic discrimination in west Scotland, and on sources of stress in the working situations of Catholics.



Researchers: Paddy Walls and Rory Williams.



Walls P, Williams R. Religious discrimination in Scotland: a rebuttal of Bruce et al.'s claim that sectarianism is a myth. Ethnic and Racial Studies 2005;28:759-767

Walls P. The health of Irish-descended Catholics in Glasgow: a qualitative study of the links between health risk and ethnic and religious identities [PhD], MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit 2005.


Walls P, Williams R. Accounting for Irish Catholic ill health in Scotland: a qualitative exploration of some links between 'religion' class and health. Sociology of Health & Illness 2004;26:527-556



Walls P, Williams R. Sectarianism at work: accounts of employment discriminating against Irish Catholics in Scotland. Ethnic and Racial Studies 2003;26:632-661