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’
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!
I was more than a little surprised to find out that I had been mentioned in the Belfast Newsletter today - in an article that seems aimed at damaging the reputation of the Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker, Robin Newton MLA. I had always assumed that if you were to be mentioned in a Newspaper article … Continue reading Responding to the Newsletter article, 29 November 2016
Many of you will know that since the summer I have been working for the neighbourhood based social network 'Nextdoor'. The invitation to work for them came at an opportune time for me as I continue to adjust to life post Public Achievement. This week I am talking about Nextdoor as part of Belfast Design … Continue reading Why Nextdoor is the Right Social Network for Belfast
A lot of people tell me how shocked they were at the sudden closure of Public Achievement and our sister social enterprise - Achieve Enterprises. In many ways no one was more shocked than those of us who worked there. The end came like a tidal wave. For me it has been a bereavement - … Continue reading On the Closure of Public Achievement
It is very difficult to avoid the ‘N’ word. It is written into European and UK policy, and used very widely – including by government agencies, policy makers and even youth workers. Indeed, I’ve even heard young people use the term as a noun to describe themselves. It even sounds horrible and it makes me … Continue reading We Need to Talk About the ‘N’ Word!