Are 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast HMOs?

CLAIM: About 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast are HMOs. 

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. FactCheckNI has estimated that 45% of properties in the Holylands are licensed as HMOs, and Belfast City Council report a figure of 40% for the larger Botanic, Holylands and Rugby policy area. Continue reading Are 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast HMOs?

Is there 90% compliance with wearing face coverings in retail settings in Northern Ireland?

CLAIM: At a Northern Ireland Policing Board meeting, the PSNI’s Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said that there was 90% compliance with people wearing face coverings in retail settings.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. Constable Alan Todd has clarified that this figure was an estimate.

Continue reading Is there 90% compliance with wearing face coverings in retail settings in Northern Ireland?

What’s the accuracy of claims regarding COVID-19 featured in a leaflet distributed in parts of Lagan Valley constituency?

CLAIMS: 

    1. Covid-19 was downgraded from high-consequence infectious disease (HCID) status by the UK government on 19th March, 2020.
    2. Death rates are no higher this year than in a bad flu season.
    3. Covid-19 is being put on death certificates fraudulently, without a test having been carried out and when the patient died of something else.

CONCLUSION: A mixture of ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION, UNSUBSTANTIATED, and INACCURATE claims that use non-specific phrases, missing context, and words that provoke an emotional reaction to the claims rather than a rational, evidence-based one. Continue reading What’s the accuracy of claims regarding COVID-19 featured in a leaflet distributed in parts of Lagan Valley constituency?

Does the tech sector employ 26% of the workforce in Belfast?

CLAIM: In Belfast, the digital sector employs 26 per cent of the workforce.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The newspaper article misinterprets the Tech Nation “Jobs and Skills Report 2020”, which states that for Belfast, from June to August 2020, 26% of job adverts at the online search site Adzuna were in the category of IT and engineering jobs. Using the most recent figures available from NISRA, we estimate that 8% of the workforce in Belfast is employed in jobs that fall into this category.

UPDATE: The Times corrected its article, in response to our request. Its updated article states that in Belfast, the tech sector makes up 26 per cent of vacancies, not overall employment.

Continue reading Does the tech sector employ 26% of the workforce in Belfast?

Did 33 people die by suicide during the first week of September 2020 in Northern Ireland?

CLAIM: 33 people died by suicide during the first week of September in Northern Ireland.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. There are no official statistics or evidence to support the claim that 33 people died by suicide in Northern Ireland (or any specific area of it) during the first week of September 2020. Continue reading Did 33 people die by suicide during the first week of September 2020 in Northern Ireland?

Does Belfast/Good Friday Agreement forbid cross-border barriers?

CLAIM: The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement does not forbid the provision of barrier controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement does not exclude governments’ border measures, but aims for ‘normal security arrangements’. The UK Withdrawal Agreement seeks to minimise physical border controls. Continue reading Does Belfast/Good Friday Agreement forbid cross-border barriers?