Belfast Telegraph

The Young: Here are our young editors...and their views on our poll

CALLUM SWEETLOVE

The Media Studies student and community youth worker is planning to enjoy the experience to the full and is interested in finding out more about the arts and film industry here as well as adding to his UCAS personal statement. Callum says:

I want to study here as the particular field that I want to go into is film and TV which is really booming here at the moment. This is a pretty good place to be so I'd consider staying but would consider going to America too.

It is peace, not as younger generations would know it but as the older generations would know it. There's no checkpoints or searching people going into town but there are still flag protests, parades protests and dissident attacks.

I study politics so I know that compared to what it was, it's peaceful.

Considering our current crop of politicians, no, I don't think they can agree a shared future vision. They are just clinging on to the past too much. It will probably take another 15 years, and another generation who have grown up without a troubled past. Only a generation of politicians who know what a peaceful society should be like will be able to change that.

Even though I come from what would be perceived to be a PUL community, I would never vote for a unionist party until they change their policies. The DUP are so old-fashioned. They are really dictated by these strong Christian, outdated views. It is the 21st century now and they are still anti-gay and anti-abortion.

CURTIS HILL

He is an avid online news reader. Aside from the experience from guest editing a leading daily newspaper, he holds that the politicians will take note that there are young people with bright minds and that have ideas and are worth listening to. Curtis says:

I'm hoping to go to university either in England or here depending on my university choices but I want to go into the film and entertainment industries. I am definitely prepared to travel no matter where it takes me, whether it's across to England or America... if it suits me to stay here, then I will.

I think that most people think that there isn't 100% peace but it's better compared to the way it used to be. But it could be better. We can't complain though. It seems better to our parents' time and experiences.

There are no checkpoints or things like that any more, so it's not interrupting our lives in the same way as it did with our parents' lives and it's lot easier to live here now than before.

I don't have a lot of confidence in our politicians as they don't reflect my views. I think that they need to listen more to us and change to reflect our views.

I certainly think that community relations have improved as speaking personally I have more Catholic friends than I would have Protestant. I don't think it's about whether you are a Protestant or Catholic. We get along fine and organise to go out, just like any other group.

KATE UMPHRAY

She is interested in a career in PR or Marketing and views the Belfast Telegraph experience as a way of "getting her name out there" while finding out more about Northern Ireland life. She says:

I would like to stay here in the future. Part of it is to do with the university fees but I've always loved Queen's and always wanted to go there.

It's just where my career takes me. To be honest, I'll go where there's a job.

I honestly do see improvements in peace but it's from what my parents have told me. However, it's a fact that you still have to be careful where you go, who you talk to, what you say, you can't be completely upfront about your identity.

It still isn't completely there, but there is improvement. I still can't walk down the street without getting shouted at, not sectarian comments but generally anti-social behaviour.

In Northern Ireland, politics and religion have definitely got into each other's way. But in other countries it's just not like that. People still segregate people here and put them into Protestant or Catholic groups. Maybe we will see a change in our politics when people from our generation are better represented.

I do think that community relations have definitely improved, everybody still has their own opinion, it's just human nature. But we need to find a way of controlling it so doesn't cause everyone else problems.

CHRISTOPHER SEELEY

Christopher would like to enjoy a career in law in the future. His hope from taking part in this campaign is show some politicians just how out of touch they are with what young people really want. He says:

I hope to study law in the Republic so I suppose I see my future there, as I don't really see a lot of opportunities here. But in my year, the perception is that things are better elsewhere and that it would be good to get away.

I think things are much more peaceful that it used to be but there's still a lot more improvement needed.

I honestly think that the Haass talks could have been another major step towards a bit more peace but they broke down.

In many other countries where you would have one religion going to one school and another going to another would be seen as alien.

Regarding our politicians, anything that goes in front of the Assembly comes down to whether they are unionist or nationalists.

In my school, I know a number of people who are involved in youth politics and if they go on further, that will be positive for the future. I still have an interest in unionism and nationalism but that's not the only thing that I want from my politician. I want a lot more.

Whenever I think of our politicians going over to America for St Patrick's Day, I'm embarrassed to think that they are saying to Barack Obama and other world leaders on our behalf.

MICHAEL MCGRANE

Aside from his interest in journalism as a career, he hopes to use next week to engage with politicians and to hopefully open their eyes to what really needs addressed. He says:

I'm planning to go over to England to do my degree and so my future will be over there for the forseeable future. After that, I'm not really sure where I'll go, but it will depend on job opportunities .

But the majority of people in my year are all heading to England and beyond.

Regarding peace, I think things have definitely been on the up since the Good Friday Agreement but it is still seen as a turbulent society to live in. When you are talking to people from different countries, they are still shocked about what is going on here and don't understand our divisions.

We don't want to hear anything more about unionism and nationalism, the whole community is just stuck in the past. While we are fighting and arguing over stuff, the rest of the world is moving on.

We want a normal political system, not a freak show.

Community relations have definitely improved. I was on a charity trip to Romania recently with students from a Protestant school in Cookstown and there was no issue at all.

We all got on really well and kept in touch. I think it's really a generational issue more regarding not mixing and socialising.

RACHEL ADAMSON

Rachel gets most of her news via Twitter and will be using her experience here to see what possible career she could have in the media. She wants to get the attention of the politicians and encourage young people to get involved in public issues. She says:

I've got all my university offers in so I'm torn between going to Glasgow and Queen's in Belfast. I'm doing English and Film so there's good reason for me to stay here. But when I say I'm staying here it's seen as embarrassing, even in my own school.

There is peace in the sense that things aren't as bad as they used to be but there's still so many divisions. I think the Good Friday Agreement left so many things unresolved. We're still talking about different communities, we should be talking about a community as a whole.

People are more divided and just every year there's rioting, and the flag protests. It just shows that one little thing can set everything off, that's not peace.

We really need to get away from the whole tribal voting thing. I think our politicians are incapable of that.

I live in Holywood and that's a DUP area. I don't support the DUP. Not because they are unionist but I look at their other policies, I just don't agree with them.

They are so in the past, like on issues of gay marriage. That is what young people want their politicians to be doing."

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