The lack of stable government and uncertainty around Brexit are contributing to a climate of uncertainty in which young people in the North can be drawn into paramilitary and other criminal activity, a Belfast-based priest has said.
“We need politicians to resolve their present disagreements and this impasse. We need stable government here again,” Fr Martin Magill told The Irish Catholic.
“For us here, Brexit is a big contributor to uncertainty. There’s no doubt a sense of concern about what that’s going to look like, in terms of young people in the future and that whole sense of the wider context, European travel, European involvement, and getting jobs,” he said.
Conceding that concerns about Brexit’s impact may not be having a direct impact in the day-to-day lives of young people in some of the North’s less well-off communities, Fr Magill nonetheless said it remains “part of the mood music”.
His comments came during a conference on youth workers and paramilitarism, which took place against a background of two paramilitary-style attacks in Belfast the previous night that left a 41-year-old and a 26-year-old with what police have called “potentially life-changing” injuries.
Noting that there was a rise in such attacks last year, Fr Magill said such attacks should not be described as ‘punishment attacks’. “These are abuses of human rights, these are paramilitary attacks, these are life-changing injuries,” he said.