Yesterday I chaired the launch of “They shoot children, don’t they?”, a report by Professor Liam Kennedy of Queen’s University Belfast on paramilitary attacks on children in Northern Ireland from 1990 to 2013.
You can read the report here:
Overview of report
- Between 1970 and 2005, and to a lesser extent in recent years, loyalist and republican paramilitaries ruled the communities they controlled with an iron rod, sometimes literally so.
- A significant proportion of the victims of vigilante ‘policing’ were children. The ‘punishments’ inflicted on young bodies included shootings and severe beatings using a variety of improvised weapons including iron bars, cudgels, hammers, and hurley sticks.
- We only have detailed age statistics for the period 1990-2013 and, like rape statistics, these are widely acknowledged to be underestimates.
Between 1990 and 2013:
- 94 children were shot by loyalist paramilitaries.
- 73 children were shot by republican paramilitaries.
- 166 children were beaten – some badly mutilated – by loyalist paramilitaries.
- 178 children were beaten by Republican paramilitaries.
- In total, more than 500 children abused by the IRA, UVF, UDA etc.
Professor Liam Kennedy was born in Tipperary and educated at Cistercian College Roscrea, University College Cork and the University of York. He has lived in Belfast since 1976. He has written, edited or co-edited a dozen books on modern Irish history and is emeritus professor of economic history at Queen’s University, Belfast. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy.
I am proud to have worked with Liam over the years on various peace and justice initiatives in Northern Ireland. He has always displayed courage, a passion for justice, and an independent analytical research approach that is reflected in this important report.