What the young people really think of Lurgan

Press Release Image'NO FEE''Press Eye Photography'Photographer   / presseye.com'22nd May 2013 ''Segregation remains one of the biggest concerns for Lurgan's young people according to a report launched today by Lurgan Town Project and funded by the International Fund for Ireland. The study also found that while many young people felt that the older generations' 'bitterness' and focus on the past was a key inhibitor to building cross-community relationships.'Pictured at the launch of the Lurgan Town Project's Community Dialogue Tool report areDr Duncan Morrow, University of Ulster; Colm Fitzpatrick; Eamonn Fleming, Youth Officer, Lurgan Town Project; Saffron Lyness; Billy Gamble, International Fund for Ireland; and Plunkett Campbell, SELB Chairperson
Press Release Image'NO FEE''Press Eye Photography'Photographer / presseye.com'22nd May 2013 ''Segregation remains one of the biggest concerns for Lurgan's young people according to a report launched today by Lurgan Town Project and funded by the International Fund for Ireland. The study also found that while many young people felt that the older generations' 'bitterness' and focus on the past was a key inhibitor to building cross-community relationships.'Pictured at the launch of the Lurgan Town Project's Community Dialogue Tool report areDr Duncan Morrow, University of Ulster; Colm Fitzpatrick; Eamonn Fleming, Youth Officer, Lurgan Town Project; Saffron Lyness; Billy Gamble, International Fund for Ireland; and Plunkett Campbell, SELB Chairperson

WITH just 8% of young people in Lurgan regarding the town centre as a shared space, segregation has been revealed as a primary concern. An report commissioned by the Southern Education and Library Board as part of the wider Lurgan Town Project revealed the opinions of many of the 14-21 year olds interviewed . Organised by the Institute of Conflict Research, the Mail has published just some of the views of those involved.

“My granny’s a Protestant – that’s my dad’s Mum. But my dad was raised Catholic” (Boy 15 C), “Are you serious?” (none of the other participants in the focus group believe him and joke:) “Does she support Rangers?” (Boy 15 C).

“I think businesses struggle – there’s shops closing down all the time.” (Boy 15 P) “I don’t want to identify with it anymore.” (Girl 16 C)

“If people ask where you’re from you say, ‘near the Lough’, or ‘near Armagh’ – cos it’s more normal.” (Girl 16 C)

“I go to Craigmore, it’s a Methodist youth club. I don’t have a problem going in there at all. Like I say the area I live in is 97% Protestant – but they all know who I am, where I go to school and they all see me on the bus coming to Lurgan in my uniform.” (Girl 16 C)

“If you live in areas you get used to the murals, people that live there it doesn’t bother them, but for people like us, it’s intimidating. It’s not even going into their areas, it just feels uncomfortable. In the country people don’t know if you’re a Catholic or a Protestant.” (Girl C 16)

“Whenever you hear anything about Lurgan on the English news, it makes you feel bad about this area, you don’t want to be associated with it.” (Boy 17 C)

“It’s easier for girls, boys wouldn’t really do that. If a Catholic boy walked into (names an estate) they’d get beat up straight away.” (Boy 17 C)

“I live in Kilwilkie and it’s really not that bad. It’s not as bad as Mourneview up the town. It’s only the bus shelter crew who are the ones who drink and do drugs.” (Girl 15 C)

“See if I was to tell my mummy or daddy I was going into Mourneview, they’d say ‘I don’t like you going in there’. It’s not because it’s a Protestant area, it’s that they’re afraid of something happening to me. I think it is because of my name - it’s so Catholic. You’d know straight away from my name that I was Catholic. But I just go in anyway, just to rebel against them (laughter).” (Girl C 18)

“Yes, they come round to my house and I go to theirs. But like I know they feel uncomfortable walking through it (Mourneview).” (Girl 18 P)

“It’s all the Skanks live in Shankill. It’s very druggie” (Girl 15 P), “Shankill’s bad for stabbings” (Boy 16 C), “It’s the most area you’d find drugs in.” (Girl 14 C), “They tie shoes on the electric wires outside my window to let you know that there’re dealers there. You don’t know which house to go to, but you just hang about there and they’ll find you.” (Girl 16 C)

“You’re not allowed to drink there (Shankill) now, we were asked to move on - the Continuity shifted us” (Boy 15 C).

“We were just casually driving that way (Shankill) with my dad. It was about 7 o’clock and the next thing you know all these boys came out from nowhere. With the hoods up and the scarves up.” (Boy 16 C)

“The flats (Tagnevan) is full of alcos and druggies you wouldn’t go near them.” (Girl C 18)

“I was away on a trip with a youth club and we had to drop off a Catholic boy there (Kilwilkee). I was s***ing myself. The second time I walked in for 5 minutes like just around the street with my granda delivering Christian leaflets like and I had to beg him to go home. I didn’t feel safe at all. And this was probably 1 o’clock in the afternoon.” (Boy 15 P)

“A few months ago there was really bad trouble and my mummy told me not to go up the town even though I was OK about it.” (Girl 15 P)

“If I was to go to Waves I’d walk through Lurgan Park. There’s no way I’d walk through the town.” (Girl 15 C)

“I would never walk through the town in my uniform, cos that’s where all the Lurgan Junior High ones are.” (Girl 16 C)

“There’s like a split. See as soon as you get to William Street/North Street, past the Celtic club that would be our (Catholic) end and then there is the middle of the town and on past that is like Mourneview. The town centre’s nice like. But you wouldn’t walk through it on a Friday night like. Not by yourself. See Castle Lane where the Old Tescos is? Definitely not there ‘cos there’s a load of people would stand out there out the back of Heaton’s and if you were walking past they would just come over.” (Boy 15 C)

“We are moving out just because of all the trouble - it was fine up until a couple of years ago and then a lot of foreigners moved in and now there’s a lot of drug use and all.” (Girl 17 C)

“My mummy always goes on about the trouble and how it was them ’uns.” (Girl 14 C)

“All my family lived in Belfast before we came here and when I was a wee girl my Granny used to take me up to the riots and make me look at it, all the big water cannons, it was really scary, big water cannons and gunshots everywhere. My granny was a real alcoholic, she’d knock back a big bottle and then take me up to these riots.” (Girl 18 C)

“It’s (The Troubles) affected my family a lot. It was before I was born but you can still feel it in everything today.” (Girl 16 P)

“My mummy always talks about it. I like hearing about it. My mummy always says ‘you don’t know how lucky you are that you can go out late at night ’cos she couldn’t do that because of the Troubles. I think it’s good to talk to young people about these things.” (Girl 15 C)

“I’d never have one of my Protestant friends back at my house, my ma’d have a nervous breakdown, or my daddy would, cos my daddy doesn’t really like Protestants because he grew up in a Catholic area with the Troubles and all.” (Girl 18 C)

“I would be terrified to go there and that’s only because I feel that people would judge you and always pass remarks. I don’t have a problem with them, but I just couldn’t do it.” (Girl 18 P)

“We’re already doing this work, it seems dismissive to bring another group in, and it’s just a way for the politicians to keep on building up their youth wings it’s not really about young people at all.” (Girl 18 P)

“See even if you don’t want to vote here, they will make you. My brother didn’t want to vote and (name withheld) came up and called at my door – he’s part of the IRA.” (Boy 15 C)

“They hand wee leaflets out at the band parades I go to, they have tracts with a couple of verses on it then talk about it – I’d take it like, but I wouldn’t read it. I’d put it in the pocket and give it to the mum and that. If you turned it away you’d sort of feel bad” (Boy 15 P)