The Ceasefire Generation

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20120912

August 2012 marked the eighteenth anniversary of the IRA ceasefire and the beginning of a process which has culminated in a devolved government at Stormont and an era of relative peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland.

For many school leavers today, Northern Ireland is a place of opportunity, in which they're happy to settle. Many know little of the story for which their homeland is infamous around the world.

Professor of Psychology at Manchester University, Geoffrey Beattie, knows this territory. He grew up in Ligoniel in North Belfast, an area known as the 'murder triangle' where nearly 20% of all the murders in the Troubles took place. Academic excellence enabled him to escape the fate of many of his classmates. 'When I left Ligoniel for university,' he recalls, 'I had the strange experience of reading about my friends on the front pages of newspapers. A number had been murdered, some had become notorious killers, many just got by.'

For those of Beattie's generation, the 'Troubles' were seemingly never ending. Tribal beliefs, handed down from family to family, were unchanging and unchangeable. Violence only served to deepen divisions, not dent them. But then, in the summer of 1994, something remarkable happened. The IRA announced "a complete cessation of military operations."

In this programme Beattie returns home to engage with eighteen year olds from across Northern Ireland to discover what they feel about their country's past and future. Is there any sign that age-old beliefs might finally be changing or is the 'Good Friday Generation' doomed to carry the baggage of the past?

Producer: Owen McFadden.

20120912

August 2012 marked the eighteenth anniversary of the IRA ceasefire and the beginning of a process which has culminated in a devolved government at Stormont and an era of relative peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland.

For many school leavers today, Northern Ireland is a place of opportunity, in which they're happy to settle. Many know little of the story for which their homeland is infamous around the world.

Professor of Psychology at Manchester University, Geoffrey Beattie knows this territory. He grew up in Ligoniel in North Belfast, an area known as the 'murder triangle' where nearly 20% of all the murders in the Troubles took place. Academic excellence enabled him to escape the fate of many of his classmates.

'When I left Ligoniel for university,' he recalls, 'I had the strange experience of reading about my friends on the front pages of newspapers. A number had been murdered, some had become notorious killers, many just got by.' For those of Beattie's generation, the Troubles were seemingly never ending. Tribal beliefs, handed down from family to family, were unchanging and unchangeable. Violence only served to deepen divisions, not dent them.

But then, in the summer of 1994, something remarkable happened. The IRA announced "a complete cessation of military operations."

In this programme Beattie returns home to engage with eighteen year olds from across Northern Ireland to discover what they feel about their country's past and future. Is there any sign that age-old beliefs might finally be changing or is the 'Good Friday Generation' doomed to carry the baggage of the past?

On location, on their turf, Beattie will discover what those who grew up without the backdrop of violence really believe about the past. With the Troubles now part of the GCSE History curriculum, what have they learned about their country's recent history ? What do they know of bombings and bereavement, politics and prejudice ? And how will they behave differently from their parents generation ?

Producer: Owen McFadden.