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Why riot? Community, choices, aspirations
Why riot? Community, choices, aspirations

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1.3 Not just hoods and thugs

One of the issues Matty talks about is how others see boys like him as just ‘hoods and thugs’ because of the recent riots but also because of the history of conflict there. The Shankill is one of many areas deeply affected by the conflict that took place in Northern Ireland. This violence lasted for almost thirty years, from 1969 until 1998 when a political agreement (The Good Friday Agreement) was reached between the main parties involved in the conflict. Like many communities, people in the Shankill experienced terrible violence during the conflict. Families were driven out of their homes, people were shot and even killed or lived in fear of this happening every day. Many young people, from across the different communities, were also drawn into the violence during those times, and some including William, spent many years in prison, for their part in this conflict.

For young people today growing up in the Shankill, as in other areas affected by the conflict, the past often overshadows how both they see themselves and how they and their community are seen, by the media and outsiders.