Press Release 20 November, 2019 The Stop Attacks Forum calls for a total end of all paramilitary attacks on men, women and children. On the 30thanniversary of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) the Forum wishes to emphasize especially the rights of every child and young person to grow up in … Continue reading 30 Years of Protecting Children’s Rights – Well, Some Children…
In a recent conversation with journalist Brian Rowan about the 'societal shrug' around the plethora of brutal beatings and shootings carried out by so-called 'paramilitary' organisations against members of their communities, he suggested to me that there is also a political shrug. That actors from the UK and Irish Governments to the local political parties deliberately … Continue reading Are We Really Not Better Than This?
Over the summer I attended an engaging seminar run by Corrymeela with a range of local and international participants examining the challenges of tackling paramilitarism in our society. A participant from England (who is active in tackling extremism there) related how he sensed a palpable fear in the room. People from a range of public … Continue reading Time for ‘Civic Courage’
A number of reports like this one have appeared in the press today. The stories tell of a teenager apparently out of control, going on some sort of violent rampage, who allegedly (he hasn't been convicted of anything yet) attacked a Range Rover car with a baseball bat. The boy (he is 17) has now been … Continue reading Careless State
Imagine - being a short female youth worker, and desperately gripping the legs of a young person who is trying to hang himself outside your youth club. Pushing up for all your might to stop the life slipping from him. Imagine, being told to choose between being shot in the knees, ankles and hands with … Continue reading Imagine – Something Else
The story of a young man who recently met the 'justice' of a paramilitary 'punishment shooting'. Let’s call him Jacko. He told me he remembers when he was 4 being sent to the shops by his drunken mother and seeing a pile of old wood including a piece with a large nail sticking through … Continue reading He Jumped on It “…to see what it would feel like”
I am delighted to have been awarded a contract by the Building Change Trust to write an opinion piece on the future of youth work here. I say youth work rather than 'The Youth Service' - as I believe the latter should be designed in service of the former. I have been involved in youth … Continue reading Where Now for Youth Work?
If you've been following me, or other youth workers on Twitter and Facebook, then you will know that there has been a funding crisis over the past several months in the sector. This crisis started when the former Education Minister Peter Weir, failed to extend funding known as 'Extended Provision' into another financial year. There … Continue reading It Feels Like Contempt!
The recent resignation of Martin McGuinness as Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister reminded me of this photo and of an extraordinary meeting I had with him, the late Ian Paisley and Miren Azkarate Villar - the former Basque Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport in late 2007. It was toward the end of the 'Bromance' … Continue reading Don’t Forget to Chuckle!
As you may know, one of the campaigns run by young people through Public Achievement's WIMPS project was the 'Stop Attacks' campaign. Young people campaigned to raise the scourge of so-called 'punishment beatings' which were happening in a regular basis in their communities. This is one of the most significant human rights abuses going on … Continue reading Let’s Stop This!