While Northern Ireland is still recovering from the violent legacy of the 30-year Troubles during a global COVID-19 pandemic, people still experience violence daily. Economic and political inequalities heighten intergroup tensions and insecurity contributing to the promotion of destructive stories. Brexit has escalated the culture wars between the Protestant Unionist Loyalist and Catholic Nationalist Republican communities as Loyalist youth and paramilitary groups protest on Belfast’s streets. Through 120 semi-structured interviews, we explore the experiences and understandings of Civil Society Organization (CSO) peacebuilding and reconciliation workers that liaison with ex-combatants and youth in Derry and the Border area of Northern Ireland. Findings indicate that working-class youth and former combatants continue to suffer from poverty and the legacy of the conflict with few employment opportunities. CSO led projects that empower youth may end when the funding ends as youth and ex-combatants continue to feel disenfranchised.

Author Bio(s)

Mehmet Yavuz is a Ph.D. candidate in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manitoba and a contract faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Winnipeg. His research and praxis interests include 2SLGBTQIA+, post-peace-accord societies, social justice, critical and emancipatory peacebuilding, and conflict transformation. His recent articles were published in the Journal for Peace and Justice Studies and the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Mehmet’s email address is yavuzm3@myumanitoba.ca

Sean Byrne is Professor in the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) Ph.D. and Joint M.A. graduate programs at the Arthur Mauro Institute of Peace and Justice, St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba. His recent book publications are the Routledge Companion to Peace and Conflict Studies (Routledge, 2020), and the Routledge Handbook of Peacebuilding and Ethnic Conflicts (Routledge, 2022). His email address is Sean.Byrne@umanitoba.ca


Brexit, civil society peacebuilding, economic aid, grassroots peacebuilding, Northern Ireland conflict, marginalized communities, peacebuilding.





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