Here’s why ‘bomb scare’ scares me


This was the scene last week when a bomb scare in Belfast caused the evacuation of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops on a busy Friday night.  Some of my friends are in that picture.

This and other bomb scares in the run up to Christmas have reminded me of an incident I witnessed growing up.

When I was 11 I saw a bomb explode in Belfast.  I never want to see another one. 

It was so utterly normal in those days that it didn’t really scare me at the time.  It does now.

I was standing inside the train station at York Road – now Yorkgate – with my school pals, waiting for a train to take us home.  They used to keep all us schoolkids in a big waiting area before letting us on the platform.  We would visit the shop for ice-pops and frozen drinks while we waited.  I remember it was always a scramble to see who could get the best flavours of ice pops before they were all gone.

york road

And that’s where we were that day, dozens of kids waiting for a train to get home, when there was an announcement to get out of the station: ‘bomb scare’.

In those days it happened all the time.  I remember thinking it was no big deal.  In my childhood innocence I thought it was more of an inconvenience than a threat.  We were taken up the road and stood a few hundred yards from the train station, laughing and joking and wondering how long it would be until we could get back into the station and home.

It wasn’t long – maybe ten minutes – before the bomb went off.  I still remember the explosion.  It seemed to go on forever.  Bits of buildings flew up in the air and took an age to come down.  I remember being shocked at how far the debris traveled towards where we were.  There was the rumble of concrete walls and roofs collapsing, and a big dust cloud where it went off.

It turned out the target of the bomb was not the train station but the hotel next to it.  The bomb destroyed the hotel.  I don’t remember how we got home that day but it wasn’t by train.  The train station was so badly damaged it had to be completely rebuilt.

In those days there was supposed to be an early warning system to protect civilians.  In our case it worked.  We were the lucky ones, many others weren’t so fortunate.

That’s why ‘bomb scare’ scares me.  Bomb scares remind me how incredibly lucky I was.  They remind me that life is precious and short, and that we only get one go at it.  They remind me of my moral obligation to help contribute something positive to the place where I grew up to make it a better place to live.  I’ve always believed doing nothing is not an option.  If you live here you are part of the mess.  It is up to all of us to sort it out.

Jager b

It’s also why I find it distasteful that in the last week some bars are offering ‘bomb scare special’ promotions (see picture on right).  While perhaps not as bad as the more reprehensible ‘Irish car bomb’ shots that are sold in some bars in the U.S.,  I refuse to believe that this is the best Belfast can come up with.  We can do better than this.

I am thankful that I am yet to see another bomb go off in Belfast.  We all owe a debt of gratitude to all those who helped build the peace we now enjoy, as well as those who continue to do so.  The peace process may not be perfect but we owe it to them, and all those who were not so lucky, to keep it going.


Where do we go from here: chaos or community?


No matter who you talk to in the political landscape of Northern Ireland there’s a good chance they’ll tell you Martin Luther King, Jr. would be on their side.  Nationalists have long associated themselves with King because of the civil rights movement.  In Republican areas murals of King can be found on walls alongside other iconic figures.  Interestingly, King’s name has also started to be mentioned by Unionists and Loyalists as an example of someone who used civil disobedience to protest against laws he believed were unjust, albeit in different circumstances.  Perhaps they are also aware King was a Protestant minister, and King’s father (known as Martin Luther King, Sr. or ‘Daddy King’) changed both his own name and his son’s name as a tribute to the father of the Protestant reformation.  If so, this will add to the appeal.

In 1967, towards the end of his life, King published the last of his three books about the civil rights movement in the U.S.A., entitled, Where do we go from here: chaos or community?  In it King writes:

‘We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.  This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community.’

The first point to make is that we can safely assume that were King alive today he would have used gender inclusive language.

Secondly, it seems to me that after the violence seen on the streets of Belfast in the past week we could do with asking ourselves the same question as King: Where do we go from here: chaos or community?

Chaos is easy.  In fact, if all we want is chaos then we don’t really have to do much at all.  We can just keep doing what we’re doing year after year after year.  My friend Francis Teeney likes to remind me that Einstein once said: ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’

If we want community we are going to have to take a different path.  Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman describes ‘community’ like this:

‘In here, in the community, we can relax – we are safe, there are no dangers looming in dark corners (to be sure hardly any ‘corner’ here is dark).  In a community, we all understand each other well, we may trust what we hear, we are safe most of the time and hardly ever puzzled or taken aback.  We are never strangers to each other.’  (2001: 1-2)

If we want to ‘understand each other well’ and be ‘never strangers to each other’, then things are going to have to change.  It’s not impossible, but it will take a lot of work.  Listen to the testimony of this political ex-prisoner to see what is possible through hard work:

‘We went, I went to a seminar, conference…. you’re talking about maybe three hundred, four hundred people, at a conference for the weekend.  INLA, UDA, IRA, UVF, I mean, sitting doing work, classes for the weekend.  I mean, first night, after you got your dinner, went into the bar, that was your free night, and to see people from the IRA, UVF, UDA sitting in the bar drinking, talking and telling jokes.  It proves to me that things are changing.  You know what I mean?  People can get on, you know what I mean?  And to me that was a big big thing.’

This didn’t happen overnight.  It started by people talking to each other.  We need leadership from everyone in positions of influence, it’s no good relying on politicians.  On last weeks Sunday Sequence William Crawley rightly rebuked religious leaders on both sides for not leading the way in talking to each other.  After we start talking we might have to have more talks.  And after those talks, we may need more talks.  And so on and so on.  And if this sounds like too much effort, then there is an alternative: chaos – we can just keep doing what we’ve always done.

Those who think the situation is hopeless are ignoring the many examples where dialogue has happened, and accommodation and compromise has been reached.  It’s possible but it won’t be done without hard work.  Both the Orange Order in North Belfast and the local residents groups that oppose them need to ask themselves how the Orange Order manages to have marches in the Republic of Ireland every year with no trouble, as well as in Derry/Londonderry and other areas of the North.  This does not happen by accident.  It is only achieved through dialogue, hard work, and understanding by all involved.  This is the side Martin Luther King would be on.

Reflections on peacebuilding and Loyalist masculinities (genderpeace conference)

The following is the text from my presentation at the genderpeace conference.  It received lots of feedback on the day which I will address in a future post.   

In trying to formulate a narrative approach to gender conscious practice in peacebuilding, I want to offer some reflections on my own peacebuilding practice and share some of the stories that have informed my own research.  Much of my work has been concerned with what the idea of the transformation of masculinities means in ‘post-violent’ Northern Ireland, in particular the case of Loyalist masculinities.

Rather than one singular story I will use a range of stories and quotes that will illustrate some of the features that have characterised Loyalist masculinities.  These should not be viewed as universal or absolute.  It is important to recognise that there are many forms of masculinities and that they are flexible and changing.

I recently wrote a guest blog post for  My presentation will expand on some of the themes that I briefly explored in that piece, and also add some other material.

A lot of men are not interested in talking about gender because it involves asking ourselves difficult questions about the nature of gender injustice and our role in it.  In this short presentation I want to address some of the difficult questions about gender and peacemaking and this means, as a man, asking difficult questions about masculinity, specifically patriarchal masculinity.  For the sake of clarification, I would define patriarchal masculinity as the will to dominate power relationships with women and also other men.

I have been greatly influenced by the African-American feminist writer bell hooks.  In her book Teaching Community (p.xi), hooks writes: ‘We believed then and now that the most important measure of the success of the feminist movement would be the extent to which the feminist thinking and practice that was transforming our consciousness and our lives would have the same impact on ordinary folks.’

As a result of reading hooks, I have reflected on what it means to be successful as an academic and as someone involved in peacemaking.  For me, success is not how many papers we have written, or how many book chapters we’ve contributed, or even how many hits our blog gets.  The only measure of our success that ultimately matters is how much our work impacts the lives of ordinary people.

My research allows me to talk about my research only.  It does not qualify me to speak on behalf of Loyalism or for Loyalism.  It also does not allow me to speak about what is going on in Republican/Nationalist/Catholic communities.  I have not attempted to do any comparative work between the two major communities in Northern Ireland.  My guess is that some of the issues facing Loyalist men are unique to Loyalist communities, and others are the same as other communities.

Before we begin to talk about the issue of masculinity, we also need to acknowledge that gender does not exist in a vacuum.  Unless we understand gender within the wider context of economic injustice and racial injustice we have failed before we begin.  Our concern for justice and equality must always transcend our own interests and our own suffering.  Unless we are concerned with injustice and inequality everywhere we cannot claim to be concerned with addressing gender injustice and inequality.

It is within this context that we can begin to understand the gendered identity of Loyalist men.

The theologian Stanley Hauerwas calls the low-class white male the most voiceless person in our society:

‘The most voiceless person in our society is the low class white male….What it means for them to be voiceless is that they don’t have a story that can make their lives intelligible.  The only stories around are, ‘You must be lazy because you didn’t get ahead,’ and I think that is an extraordinary destructive story….Many [lower class white males] live in a hopeless world so what you do is drink, screw, and die.’    (Iconocast podcast episode 17)

The effects of economic injustice are of course not unique to Loyalist communities.  A Republican ex-prisoner I know tells the story that when conducting a workshop with a group of Republican youth, he asked if any of them had ever been in the same room as a Loyalist before.  One of them replied, ‘For fucks sake, we’ve never even been in the same room as a flipchart before.’

The challenge for Loyalist young men growing up is dealing with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.  My own workshops with Loyalist young men sometimes involve an exercise called ‘What is my dream?’  When faced with this question many young men answer that their dream is to win the lottery or to become a porn star.  Young men are growing up in a place so devoid of hope and opportunity that their greatest dream is to win millions of pounds or to get paid to have sex.

The crisis facing Loyalist communities is one of abandonment: economically; socially; and politically.  It is only when people can see a way out that they will have hope.

In my article on Eamonn Mallie’s website, I described Loyalist masculinity as ‘the elephant in the peace process’, to which someone replied: ‘There are a lot more elephants in that room’.  And that may well be true, but the reason I chose that analogy was because in my view Loyalist masculinity has been mostly ignored, largely maligned, and often misunderstood.

I think there is so little education around masculinities because there is so little understanding about what masculinity is and how it can be approached.

In her book The Will To Change, ‘bell hooks’ argues that if we take away the privileges that patriarchy has given men then we would find that they are suffering just as much as women.  In the case of Loyalism, patriarchal masculinity has left Loyalist men brutalised and suffering, with nowhere to go.

The dominant form of Ulster Loyalism that emerged during the period of ‘the troubles’ was defined by heavily militarised notions of masculinity.  In many areas men were often willing to take up arms, of one sort or another.  For some this meant joining the British army, for others this meant joining Loyalist paramilitary organisations.  In the same way that young men are told that the army will turn them into ‘real men’, so too ‘real men’ joined the ranks of paramilitary organisations.  A UVF ex-prisoner told me:

‘Men in this area would still, always down through the history of this area…always want to be in the army of some sort.’

On the walls of public housing estates and inner-cities, the figure of the Loyalist ‘warrior’ became immortalised in the form of murals.  A UDA ex-prisoner recalled:

‘Gunmen in our estates, and the places where we lived, were idolised.  They were heroes.  They were heroes, full stop.’

Young men growing up in Loyalist areas often had to deal with the triple effects of poverty, an education system which rendered many of them second class by the age of eleven, and the wider effects of deindustrialisation and the loss of jobs.  In this context paramilitary organisations provided many men with a story that gave them both meaning and status that was difficult to attain elsewhere.  The UDA ex-prisoner summed up his attitude towards education growing up:

‘When we grew up, ‘Education’s for fruits!’ You know?  It was for gays. You know?  ‘Pffft, don’t touch that, we want guns!   Gimme guns, gimme guns!’’

He went on to describe the attraction of the figure or the Loyalist ‘warrior’:

‘Bonfires where I grew up, see every eleventh night?  Six, ten, sometimes fifteen Loyalist – UDA – gunmen, out to the bonfire, all machine guns, the lot, all the kit [makes noises of machine guns going off], the full monty.  You’re standing there with wee lads seeing all these big lads coming out with AK47s and all, do you know what I mean?  And giving it large.  It was like rock n roll and toy soldiers right in your front garden, you know what I mean?  Wow, give us some of that!  No more ‘A-team’, I want in there, know what I mean?  That is what you were aspiring to, you were seeing that, you know?  So you had that planted in your head.  Gimme that, gimme that.  And you seen the power it give the men, you know what I mean?  It give them recognition within the community, you know what I mean?  That’s what the kids aspired to do.  Kids wanted to go out and kill Catholics, as simple as that.  That’s it.  We didn’t play cowboys and Indians.  We played Provies and UDA, do you know what I mean?  Seeing who could stiff the most, you know? That’s the way we played it when we were growing up, you know?’

It was while conducting a focus group with Loyalist women that I first became aware of the deep suffering of Loyalist men as a result of patriarchal masculinity.  When asked about men and their emotions, one woman replied:

‘I look at some people now and I think they’re dead behind the eyes.’

Others added that many Loyalist men were:

‘Closed.  Shut.’  ‘Paranoid.’  ‘Switched off.’  ‘Haunted.’  ‘Desensitized.’

Later, a UDA ex-prisoner described to me how this process of emotional detachment took place:

‘Everybody changed in so many ways….And you do become hardened.  Death means nothing to you.  Even life itself, you know, the value of life.  You’re prepared to give your life.  You’re prepared to go to jail.  You’re prepared to give up your freedom and your family.  So you go step by step by step, [from] being what you would call normal to being a soldier, or a hard-line paramilitary.’

One ex-UVF prisoner described how this took its toll on family life:

‘If you harden your heart, well that’s gonna be hardened towards your relationships and other areas, whether it be your wife, your kids or even the way you talk and treat your friends, you know. In them days you didn’t wanna show sign of weakness.  Everybody was fucking John Wayne.’

Loyalist patriarchal masculinity has claimed more victims than many of us want to admit.  It crushed the souls of those who managed to make it out alive and exiled them to a land of emotional disconnection.  More than one Loyalist ex-prisoner has told me they are afraid to sleep because they might wake up screaming in the night.  It is common to hear stories of Loyalist men, decades after their involvement in the conflict, dealing with alcoholism, drug addiction, and other mental health issues.  Others, unable to cope at all, have taken their own lives.

Some might argue that these men chose their own path and now they have to deal with the consequences.  Some might say they deserve what they get.  Many people are so enraged by the suffering caused by Loyalist men that they refuse to acknowledge that Loyalist men have also suffered.  And yet, if we are to all move forward together towards a shared future for everyone, we can not afford to ignore the elephant in the peace process.  Acknowledging the suffering of Loyalist men might provide a point of connection that ultimately leads to transformation of Loyalist masculinity.

So what about the transformation of Loyalist masculinities?

An article on the bbc website recently included a quote from a UDA leader, on how Loyalist masculinity is changing: ‘We say now arm ourselves with education….Five years ago, two people started university within our organisation; this year 16 people. Sixteen young lads and girls started university, so we’ve been on that journey, we’ve been on the journey of education because education is the new power.’

What is interesting about this quote is that it recognizes that patriarchal masculinity and the old belief that education is for girls and gays has not served Loyalist men well.  However, it represents only a partial change from patriarchal values.  Where it maintains a loyalty to patriarchal values is that he describes education as ‘the new power’.  This is a partial transformation from violent patriarchal masculinity to what hooks calls ‘nice-guy’ patriarchal masculinity.  It does not represent a full transformation of patriarchal values but it is a step in the right direction.  True transformation does not take place in a moment but in the context of a post-violent society it is a slow, discontinuous, and uneven process.  Transformation from patriarchal values means more than changing from violent patriarchal masculinity to nice guy patriarchs, it requires transcending power and the will to dominate.

#operationsitin and the peace gathering

peaceIn this post I to want to make a few points about #operationsitin and the peace gathering at the City Hall on Sunday.  You can find a big discussion on the merits of peace rallies on Slugger.  For what it’s worth, this is my ‘two cents’.

Let me first say that I am proud of my friend Adam Turkington who started the #operationsitin hashtag on twitter that got 12,000 tweets in less than a day.

This post is not against #operationsitin, nor is it against peace rallies or marches for peace.   I am also neither apathetic nor cynical about peacebuilding.  In the last five years I have facilitated over sixty workshops on nonviolence with mostly Loyalist young men (and some young women), much of it unpaid.  Some of the participants of those workshops have been involved in helping to keep the current flag protests nonviolent.  I also recently taught a course on peacemaking for the School of Open Learning at Queen’s University.  I say all this because although I have a deep personal commitment to peacebuilding I am frustrated at some of the things being done in the name of peace.

One comment I noticed on facebook was that the peace gathering would make people feel good.  For five minutes, it said, you can yell and scream and dance and laugh.  Well, I fully support this!  For too long many of us had no reason to laugh or dance (Belfast has the second highest rates of anti-depression drugs for any city in western Europe).  Alice Walker was right when she wrote, ‘Hard times require furious dancing’.

My problem with both of these initiatives is not that they are not good, but that they are not good enough.  We need to do better than this.  Much better.  If we only start thinking about how to create peace when violence breaks out then we are thinking about it much too late.

Aside from the cathartic aspect of peace rallies, they can also be symbolically important.  While they are not themselves the answer they are, at their best, a yearning for the answer.  Perhaps we do not even know what the answer is, or even what it is we should do, but what we do know is that something needs to change.  But here’s the problem: peace rallies do not represent change nor do they inevitably facilitate change.  I would go so far as to say that if peace rallies are not coupled with a deep commitment to social transformation then they are nothing more than sanctimonious irrelevancies.

Another problem with these peace rallies specifically is that they have pitched themselves as a kind of counter protest to the flag protests.  The assumption is that all the flag protestors are against peace.  This is a dubious assumption.  Many flag protesters are working very hard to keep the peace.  To have a ‘peace’ rally in opposition to the flag protests is insulting to those who are part of the flag protests and also involved in building the peace.  One Loyalist leader who has battled to keep the protests nonviolent is said to feel betrayed by the counter protests.  Do we really want to demonise all protesters as being anti-peace?  Perhaps we would be better asking him, and others like him, if there is anything he thinks we could do that would be helpful to him?  What is key here is understanding that sometimes even our best intentions can be badly off target when it comes to what is going on ‘on the ground’.

Aside from the emotional catharsis, I also wonder what the purpose of the peace gathering is.  There is a danger we think that if all the flag protesters go home and stop protesting that we are going to have peace.  We’re not.  There are deeply rooted problems in Loyalist communities that require fundamental changes to the power structures of society (some of which are unique to Loyalist communities, some not).  Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it the presence of justice.’  If the rioting stops it does not mean we will have peace, it will just mean the rioting has stopped.

Again, although it might not be the intention, there is also a risk peace rallies can be fundamentalist – in the sense that they seek to convert people to their way of thinking rather than to understand why people are protesting in the first place.  There is a danger the message outsiders will hear is: ‘We are not like you.  We are not the problem.  We have nothing to learn from you.  You’re the problem and you can fix it by being like us’.

Let’s also be realistic, the peace gathering won’t change the protesters minds about the flag.  In response to a previous peace rally one flag protestor said to me, ‘I see they have embraced the tree totally’.  If we want to see real transformation we have to do better than to attend a rally.

Peace is not inevitable.  It has to be created every single day.  It has to be fought for.  Ask anybody who is involved in grassroots peacebuilding and they will tell you it’s a painful, slow process.  It can’t be done from behind a desk or from an ivory tower.  It requires you to get your hands dirty.  Get involved.

Let’s not expect someone else to usher in the peace.  If we do go to the peace gathering, let’s ask ourselves what we can do in addition to it.

‘But what else can we do?’, you may ask?  There are a million things you can do.  It doesn’t have to be in peacemaking or in community relations.  You can mentor a child.  You can volunteer at a homework club or at a youth centre.  You can adopt a grandparent.  You can join a community association.  You can lobby your political representatives for real substantive changes.  And in the absence of real substantive changes to the system you can make small real meaningful change where and when you can.  Perhaps a good approach is to start by listening and then asking yourself the questions, ‘What do I have to offer?’ and ‘What do people need?’  After that the only limits you have are your creativity and imagination.

This is the judgement.  Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?‘ – MLK

So if you go to the peace gathering: yell and scream and laugh and dance.  Do it furiously.  Do it standing on your head if you like.  Then ask yourself, ‘What next?’

a few thoughts on the protests (part 2) – why are they happening?

Loyalists Protest on the Shankill Road 03A few thoughts on the ‘Loyalist’ protests (part 2): This post aims to ask the question, ‘why are people protesting?’ It is not meant to provide a definitive answer but only to give my perspective on what’s happening and invite others to do the same.

In my view, the protests are not fueled by any one specific reason but by a range of reasons. The flag issue at the City Hall in Belfast may have provided the motivation for the protests, but they are not the sole reason for their intensity or longevity.  There are various underlying issues contributing to feelings of dissatisfaction and anger within Loyalist communities. I’ll try to outline what I think a few of them are here.

Before I begin to discuss the reasons for the protests, I’d like to dispel a myth I have heard a few times – it is simply not true to say these protests are about money. They are not about getting funding for Loyalist groups or Loyalist areas (even though both are badly needed). This has been suggested by outsider cynics who are neither connected to Loyalist grassroots communities nor invested in peacebuilding.

So, if the protests are not about money, what are they about? In a general sense, the protests are about a feeling in Loyalist/working class Unionist communities that they have been sold a pig in a poke.  People feel the peace process is not working for them.  They feel they have lost out.  Many Loyalists and Unionists feel like they are being asked to give more than they are getting in return.  There is the perception that the peace process, so far, has been largely a political one which has primarily benefited the middle classes and has yet to filter down to grassroots communities (more on that later).

The first reason I’d like to suggest for the protests is that some Unionists politicians (DUP and UU) called for action and protest over the flag issue.  If they call for action then they need to take their share of responsibility when it goes wrong. History has shown that you can not call people out on to the streets of Northern Ireland and maintain control over everyone. These politicians would, of course, have known this, but they quickly disassociated themselves from the protests when some turned violent.  I wonder why the same politicians did not offer training in nonviolence or unarmed resistance to the protesters? I suspect there are two reasons. Firstly, I don’t think politicians have the leadership or the good sense to think of it.  Secondly, as there is no peace money available for it, no one cares.  Big name ‘peace consultants’ (who charge £500 a day) and directors of ‘peace organisations’ are not interested in working with grassroots communities unless there is big money available to them to do it (this will be the subject of a future post).

Secondly, 2012 was a very important year for both Loyalism and Unionism. There were a number of centenaries celebrated, including the Balmoral Review and the Ulster Covenant. The Union flag at Belfast City Hall is hugely symbolic to both Loyalists and Unionists, perhaps even more so than at Stormont because it is there that the Ulster Covenant was signed 100 years ago. With this in mind, after a summer of fairly high tensions, the decision to reduce the days the flag was flown at Belfast City Hall from 365 days a year to 18 by Belfast City Council was very badly timed.  Many Loyalists and Unionists, who felt they had already compromised a lot in what they felt was supposed to be ‘their’ big year, saw this as a step too far. This poor timing helps to explain why there was not a similar reaction when the same decision was taken over the flag at Lisburn Council or at Stormont.

We also need to understand the protests within the context of what is going on in wider society.

Northern Ireland is still a society coming out of conflict. We’re not there yet. A peace process is by definition a process. It’s a bumpy ride. It’s not an end point. There have been and will be steps backwards along the way. Sections of the media (sensationalist popular tv/radio shows and tabloid newspapers) who paint all Loyalists as the bad guys are ill-informed and making huge error of judgement. There is no doubt there are some Loyalists who haven’t really moved on much since the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), hence the violence. But there are also some Republicans who have not moved on since the GFA. We tend to lump all Loyalists in one box (see previous post) but we go to great lengths to differentiate mainstream Republicanism from dissident Republicanism. The progress made by mainstream Loyalism and its contribution to the peace process has largely gone unacknowledged.

Finally, and the influence of this point is difficult to underestimate, Loyalist and working class Unionist communities have suffered a profound sense of abandonment; politically, economically, and socially. This is what people mean when they say that Loyalist communities have been ‘left behind’.  There is almost no political voice that represents Loyalism (the reasons for this are complex).  The ongoing effects of deindustrialisation (the loss of traditional working class jobs) and lack of educational attainment (the statistics show that the odds are hugely stacked against kids from Loyalist areas making it to grammar school, nevermind university) mean that not only have things not got better for Loyalist areas since the GFA, they have got worse.  Often those who had the capacity to ‘get out’ did, leaving behind those who were unemployed, underemployed, or with little social mobility.  Those in positions of power have little motivation to change things because it would mean them giving up the privileges and advantages they enjoy.

Simply put, Loyalist and working class Unionist communities have yet to experience the peace dividend. Until the peace process filters down so that everyone feels the benefits, little will change.