Category Archives: Press Coverage

Below is some of the press coverage of issues Senator Daly is working on

Northern Ireland could return to violence, study shows

Romanticising the Troubles contributes to the risk of a return to violence, experts warn

Murals in Republican and loyalist areas can give a one-sided view of the conflict, anti-terrorism experts say. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy

Murals in Republican and loyalist areas can give a one-sided view of the conflict, anti-terrorism experts say. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy

Romanticising the Troubles in Northern Ireland is contributing to the risk of a return to violence, experts have warned.

Some 40 per cent of people in Northern Ireland are under the age of 25 and have no memories of the Troubles which ended in most cases before they were born.

This is leading to “loss of memory of harm” with young people being prone to a one-sided view and a romanticising of the conflict.

The warning is contained in a paper by Prof Mark Brennan and Prof Pat Dolan who are co-founders of the global network of Unesco chairs on children, youth and community. They specialise in the study of violent extremism worldwide.

The paper, commissioned by Senator Mark Daly of the All Party Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, also features Michael Ortiz who was appointed by the Obama Administration to act as an expert on countering violent extremism (CVE).

Professors Brennan and Dolan observe that after violent conflicts, people find it difficult to talk about the things that happened because of personal trauma.

They warn that this can “unintentionally act in favour of those who would prefer to give youth (and particularly vulnerable and impressionable young people) a false, almost romantic, retrospection of the past up to and including a very sectarian analysis.

“This can take the form of only seeing harm as occurring from one side and caused by enemies. This in itself and alone is a very real legacy risk from the Troubles.”

It also says many of the North’s murals depict a “jaundiced version of history that is not fair or objective and again for vulnerable youth this creates a serious risk in terms of their turning to violence towards those who are of a different religion, or living in a different community”.

The pair observed that young people in Northern Ireland are more ethnically isolated than their parents’ generation and live in more segregated localities with less diversity – an environment they warn is “ripe for fostering extreme beliefs, actions, and violence”.

They also note the continued lack of integration in education in Northern Ireland.

“The reality remains unfortunately that young people are (with noteworthy exceptions) not educated together.”

While the older generation believe they are living in a post-conflict society, young people have no such feelings.

Both sides in the Troubles have been accused of glamorising violence in recent days with the Apprentice Boys having to apologise for a flute band which wore the emblem of the Parachute regiment on their uniforms in Derry last week while Republican youths at a Wolfe Tone concert were heard singing IRA slogans.

The pair believe there will be a return to violence in the event of a hard Border “the only issue is the scale of the violence”, but there is also a real risk of violence in loyalist communities in the event of a unity referendum.

“All indications are that without direct efforts to engage youth and citizens of all backgrounds, there will also be a return to violence in the event of a rushed Border poll on the island of Ireland. The only question in both scenarios will be the scale of the violence”.

Mr Orviz said there was an urgent need on the part of the British government to set up a national-level task force involving politicians, police and civil society leaders to examine potential threats and to understand the drivers of violent extremism.

This would lead to a national strategy to deal with the potential for violent extremism with a view to establishing a government agency to deal with it.

Advertisements

Comments Off on Northern Ireland could return to violence, study shows

Filed under Press Coverage

Mark Daly: For sake of the ‘Agreement Generation’ we must not repeat the mistakes made in 1969′

50 years ago, this week Northern Ireland erupted into violence we hope that violence and those dark days are in our past.  However, we all suspect and all fear there will be a return to violence in Northern Ireland as a result of a hard border due to a no deal Brexit or a rushed border poll. This is why the Taoiseach, all shades of politics in this state support the backstop. A report which I complied with Michael Ortiz who served as the first US diplomat focused on countering violent extremism (CVE) policy at the US Department of State and research by  2 UNESCO chairs, Professor Pat Dolan and Professor Mark Brennan, concluded that, ‘it is possible that a hard border could materialize due to a no deal Brexit, triggering a return to violence in Northern Ireland. All indications are that without direct efforts to engage youth and citizens of all backgrounds, there will also be a return to violence in the event of rushed border poll on the island of Ireland. The only question in both scenarios will be the scale of the violence.’

The research report highlights the issue of ‘Loss of memory of harm’, among the ‘Agreement Generation’ a term which applies to the generation born just before or since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. This generation has no first-hand knowledge of the horrors of conflict and some will have been given a romanticised account of the ‘troubles’.

The serious problems of poverty and depredation facing the present generation, especially those who live in the most disadvantaged loyalist and republican areas are exacerbated by the toxic influence of paramilitaries intent on using young people to maintain their criminal and drug empires.

The first person in the Republic of Ireland to be awarded the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement Professor Pat Dolan explains in the research “Firstly, at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland most young people were not involved and were peaceful by nature. Secondly the human harm and damage that can be done by a small population of dissident youth from either or both communities can lead massive harm to people up to and including tragic death. So, this is not a simple matter of scale.” Proof of this tragic truth was shown to be a reality with the murder of Lyra McKee and the growing ability of dissidents in both communities to mobilise young people.

The research highlights the fact that a key element in preventing violent extremism is the role of community level leadership. However, all too often in some areas of Northern Ireland some of those vital community leaders are the ones involved in the radicalisation of the youth.

Professor Brennan, who along with Professor Dolan has been at the forefront of UNESCO research, programming, and policy in the area of Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) explains how this activities are a breach of these young people’s human rights “we argue that where children (and youth) are being supported by adults to willingly or unwillingly become involved in acts of violence in the North, that this is a violation of their human rights under the United Nations.”

The Professors do however acknowledge in the research the much positive work done in Northern Ireland by many individuals, groups, schools and civil society organisations but as we are aware it only takes a small number of people to cause a huge amount of harm.

The Professors address those who are calling for an immediate border poll in the event of a no deal Brexit and a return to a hard border “In anticipation of a future referendum on unification and a new Ireland, regardless of when this emerges, program and policy makers need to establish a basis for cross-society interaction, integrated schooling, and integrated existences (housing, work, and other settings). It is only through this sort of interaction, communication, and experience sharing that all sides realize common, general needs as well as the fact that they have nothing to fear from the ‘other’ side.” Those looking for a rushed border poll would simply not be learning the lesson of Brexit, that all the preparation, engagement and planning needs to be done in advance and then and only then would the referendum be held

Michael Ortiz, who also served as a principal policy advisor on counter terrorism to the National Security Advisor in the Obama White House, outlines how a return to violence can be prevented in advance of a referendum on a new agreed Ireland “Ireland and Northern Ireland have long struggled with terrorism, but have made tremendous progress in recent years. As leaders across the island grapple with the concept of a United Ireland, it is important to consider the ways, in which future violence could be prevented, including the strengthening of counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts, supporting civil society organisations, and religious and educational institutions, and providing citizens with the tools they need to intervene during the radicalization process”

Political leaders must not repeat the mistakes that led to August 1969 and the Troubles where disastrous political decision resulted in decades of death, destruction and a lost generation. The ‘Agreement Generation’ who are the inheritors of the peace process deserve a better future.

The research report ‘Northern Ireland Returning to Violence as a result of a Hard Border due to Brexit or a Rushed Border Poll: Risk to Youth’ is based on one of the recommendations in the report adopted unanimously by the All Party Oireachtas Parliamentary Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, “Brexit and the Future of Ireland, Uniting Ireland and Its People in Peace and Prosperity”  compiled in 2017 by Senator Mark Daly.

Comments Off on Mark Daly: For sake of the ‘Agreement Generation’ we must not repeat the mistakes made in 1969′

Filed under Press Coverage

UN warns return to violence in Northern Ireland with no-deal Brexit

New United Nations and Irish government report points to a return to Ireland in Northern Ireland if theirs is a hard border in place with the Republic or a no-deal Brexit

Northern Ireland will return to violence warns United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chairs, as there is an increasing likelihood of a hard border created by no-deal Brexit, caused by the British Government’s U-turn on the backstop, or a rushed border poll. The report states the only question in both scenarios is the scale of the violence.

Research, based on a recommendation of the first report in the history of the Dáil (Parliament) and the Senate, on uniting Ireland highlights there will be a return to violence in Northern Ireland as a result of a hard border due to a no-deal Brexit and/or a rushed border poll.

The research was conducted by Senator Mark Daly in conjunction with UNESCO Chairs, Professor Pat Dolan and Professor Mark Brennan, with input from Michael Ortiz, who served as the first United States diplomat on the issue of Countering Violent Extremism in the US State Department during president Barack Obama’s administration.

Senator Mark Daly said, “Fifty years ago this week we saw a return to violence on this island and the introduction of British troops to the streets, 50 years later this must be prevented at all costs.”

A memorial to Bloody Sunday, at the Bogside, in Derry.

A memorial to Bloody Sunday, at the Bogside, in Derry.

The report was first released in February when the deadline for the United Kingdom leaving the European Union was six weeks away. The new research concludes, that a hard border materializing due to a no-deal Brexit, would trigger a return to violence in Northern Ireland.

All indications are that without direct efforts to engage youth and citizens of all backgrounds, there will also be a return to violence in the event of a rushed border poll on the island of Ireland. The only question in both scenarios will be the scale of the violence.

Senator Daly commented “This research and report, we have complied, identifies and highlights the responsibility of the UK government to stand by the backstop that they agreed to. This will ensure that the peace process on this island is not jeopardized by a no-deal Brexit related hard border. The EU need to ensure there is no return to a hard border in light of the facts outlined in the UNESCO chairs report.”

Loss of memory harm

The research highlights the issue of “loss of memory of harm”, among the “Agreement Generation”, a term which applies to the generation born just before or since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. This generation has no first-hand knowledge of the horrors of conflict and some will have been given a romanticized account of The Troubles.

Those born after 1994 have no memories of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Those born after 1994 have no memories of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Supporting the youth

The research also emphasizes the serious problems facing the present generation, especially those who live in the most disadvantaged loyalist and republican areas.

Professor Dolan points out “Firstly, at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland most young people were not involved and were peaceful by nature. Secondly, the human harm and damage that can be done by a small population of dissident youth from either or both communities can lead to massive harm to people up to and including tragic death. So, this is not a simple matter of scale.”

Professor Brennan commented “we argue that where children (and youth) are being supported by adults to willingly or unwillingly become involved in acts of violence in the North, that this is a violation of their human rights under the United Nations. Such instances could and should be referred to the UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on child and Armed Conflict.”

An IRA sign in Derry, in 2019.

An IRA sign in Derry, in 2019.

Community leadership and preventing radicalization

The research highlights the fact that a key element in preventing violent extremism is the role of community-level leadership, which can counteract the emergence of violence by providing a space for interaction between different traditions.

However, it stresses that in some areas of Northern Ireland some of those vital community leaders are the ones involved in the radicalization of the youth – and that this critical issue must be tackled as a matter of urgency.  It must also be noted that Professors Dolan and Brennan acknowledge the positive work done in Northern Ireland by many individuals, groups, schools and civil society organizations.

Police investigating the crime scene where Lyra McKee was murdered by the IRA in April 2019.

Police investigating the crime scene where Lyra McKee was murdered by the IRA in April 2019.

The Professors state in the report “In anticipation of a future referendum on unification and a new Ireland, regardless of when this emerges, program and policymakers need to establish a basis for cross-society interaction, integrated schooling, and integrated existences (housing, work, and other settings). It is only through this sort of interaction, communication, and experience sharing that all sides realize common, general needs as well as the fact that they have nothing to fear from the ‘other’ side.”

In the report, Michael Ortiz outlines how a return to violence can be prevented in advance of a border poll. He writes “Ireland and Northern Ireland have long struggled with terrorism but have made tremendous progress in recent years. As leaders across the island grapple with the concept of a United Ireland, it is important to consider the ways, in which future violence could be prevented, including the strengthening of counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts, supporting civil society organizations, and religious and educational institutions, and providing citizens with the tools they need to intervene during the radicalization process.”

* This research is based on one of the recommendations in the report adopted by the Parliamentary Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, “Brexit and the Future of Ireland, Uniting Ireland and Its People in Peace and Prosperity”  compiled in 2017 by Senator Mark Daly.

The full report ‘Northern Ireland Returning to Violence due to a Hard Border as a result of  Brexit or a Rushed Border Poll: Risk to Youth can be accessed here.

Comments Off on UN warns return to violence in Northern Ireland with no-deal Brexit

Filed under Press Coverage

Northern Ireland Returning to Violence Warns UNESCO Chairs as a result of a Hard Border due to increasingly likely no deal Brexit, because of British Government’s U-Turn on the Backstop, or a rushed Border Poll, the only question in Both Scenarios is Scale

Research based on a recommendation of the first report in the history of the Dáil and the Senate on Uniting Ireland highlights there will be a return to violence in Northern Ireland as a result of a Hard Border due to a no deal Brexit and/or a rushed border poll. The research was conducted by Senator Mark Daly in conjunction with UNESCO Chairs, Professor Pat Dolan* and Professor Mark Brennan*, with input from Michael Ortiz*, who served as the first US diplomat on the issue of Countering Violent Extremism in the US State Department during the Obama administration.

Senator Mark Daly said today, “50 years ago this week we saw a return to violence on this island and the introduction of British troops to the streets, 50 years later this must be prevented at all costs”.

The report, which was first released in February when the deadline for the UK leaving the EU was 6 weeks away concludes, that a hard border materialising due to a no deal Brexit, would triggering a return to violence in Northern Ireland. All indications are that without direct efforts to engage youth and citizens of all backgrounds, there will also be a return to violence in the event of rushed border poll on the island of Ireland. The only question in both scenarios will be the scale of the violence.

Senator Daly commented today  “This research and report, we have complied, identifies and highlights the responsibility of the UK government to stand by the backstop that they agreed to. This will ensure that the peace process on this island is not jeopardised by a no deal Brexit related hard border. The EU need to ensure there is no return to a hard border in light of the facts outline in the UNESCO chairs report”.

The research highlights the issue of ‘Loss of memory of harm’, among the ‘Agreement Generation’ a term which applies to the generation born just before or since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. This generation has no first-hand knowledge of the horrors of conflict and some will have been given a romanticised account of the ‘troubles’.

The research also emphasises the serious problems facing the present generation, especially those who live in the most disadvantaged loyalist and republican areas.

Professor Dolan points out “Firstly, at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland most young people were not involved and were peaceful by nature. Secondly the human harm and damage that can be done by a small population of dissident youth from either or both communities can lead to massive harm to people up to and including tragic death. So, this is not a simple matter of scale.”

Professor Brennan commented “we argue that where children (and youth) are being supported by adults to willingly or unwillingly become involved in acts of violence in the North, that this is a violation of their human rights under the United Nations. Such instances could and should be referred to the UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on child and Armed Conflict.”

The research highlights the fact that a key element in preventing violent extremism is the role of community level leadership, which can counteract the emergence of violence by providing a space for interaction between different traditions. However, it stresses that in some areas of Northern Ireland some of those vital community leaders are the ones involved in the radicalisation of the youth – and that this critical issue must be tackled as a matter of urgency.  It must also be noted that Professors Dolan and Brennan acknowledge the positive work done in Northern Ireland by many individuals, groups, schools and civil society organisations.

The Professors state in the report “In anticipation of a future referendum on unification and a new Ireland, regardless of when this emerges, program and policy makers need to establish a basis for cross-society interaction, integrated schooling, and integrated existences (housing, work, and other settings). It is only through this sort of interaction, communication, and experience sharing that all sides realize common, general needs as well as the fact that they have nothing to fear from the ‘other’ side.”

In the report Michael Ortiz states, “Ireland and Northern Ireland have long struggled with terrorism, but have made tremendous progress in recent years. As leaders across the island grapple with the concept of a United Ireland, it is important to consider the ways, in which future violence could be prevented, including the strengthening of counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts, supporting civil society organisations, and religious and educational institutions, and providing citizens with the tools they need to intervene during the radicalization process”

Michael Ortiz outlines how a return to violence can be prevented in advance of a border poll.

This research is based on one of the recommendations in  the report adopted by the Parliamentary Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, “Brexit and the Future of Ireland, Uniting Ireland and Its People in Peace and Prosperity”  compiled in 2017 by Senator Mark Daly.

The full report ‘Northern Ireland Returning to Violence due to a Hard Border as a result of  Brexit or a Rushed Border Poll: Risk to Youth can be accessed here https://senatormarkdaly.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/unesco-chairs-report-brexit-return-to-violence.pdf

 

 

Comments Off on Northern Ireland Returning to Violence Warns UNESCO Chairs as a result of a Hard Border due to increasingly likely no deal Brexit, because of British Government’s U-Turn on the Backstop, or a rushed Border Poll, the only question in Both Scenarios is Scale

Filed under Press Coverage

Senator Mark Daly has called for clarification on the Taoiseach’s recent statement on a united Ireland

Over the last 10 days the Taoiseach has spoken numerous times on the issue of a future referendum on a united Ireland and the National Risk Assessment published by his Department this week for the first time ever addressed the issue. However, the Taoiseach needs to be clear and outline the Government position on any future referendum on a united Ireland.

Senator Daly, who compiled the first ever report on uniting Ireland by a Dáil or Senate Committee today said “The issue of a future referendum on a united Ireland, has clearly become more relevant in recent months and weeks, and it is good to see the Taoiseach is now looking at this issue, however he needs to be clear. Brexit has shown us, referendums should never be held without proper preparation and clarity. I have been calling on the Government to start the preparation work now for a possible referendum, this work will take years and should include all elements of this island.

  1. Speaking in Belfast yesterday the Taoiseach is quoted as saying in reference to a referendum on Irish unity “ There is a chance it would be defeated”
  2. Recently at the MacGill summer school saying “I do think more and more people certainly in the event of no deal, more and more people in Northern Ireland will come to question the union,”.
  3. In the National Risk Assessment published this week by the Taoiseach  and in previous Parliamentary replies by the Taosieach, he has stated “a border poll would not be regarded as a risk”.
  4. In the National Risk Assessment also the impact of Brexit bringing a renewed fear of a return to violence due to increase focus on a border poll “A no deal Brexit also has the potential to become a focus for increased loyalist para-military recruitment and activity, including in response to dissident republican paramilitary actions and an increased public focus on a border poll.”
  5. The National Risk Assessment by the Taoiseach said a referendum should be planned for “The Government has always recognised the need for advance preparations for referenda and this would be of particular importance in the case of a border poll given the potential impact on all the people of the island of Ireland. The lessons of the UK Brexit Referendum are of particular resonance in this.”
  6. At the Feile festival last night saying after a border poll, a united Ireland would be “different state”

Senator Daly commented “I again call on the Taoiseach to implement the recommendation of the report by the All Party Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement entitled ‘Brexit and the Future of Ireland: Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace & Prosperity’, one of the 17 recommendations calls for the establishment of a New Ireland Forum 2, this would be the perfect venue to work out many of the serious issues that will face us in advance of a referendum”.

Comments Off on Senator Mark Daly has called for clarification on the Taoiseach’s recent statement on a united Ireland

Filed under Press Coverage