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!