Belfast Telegraph

'Politics is imploding... it seems there's been fighting since the vote 20 years ago'

Case Study

Musician Ryan Vail (33) believes that life here has "probably got worse in the last five years".

"Politics is imploding. I never thought the situation was resolved with the Good Friday Agreement, but it looked good on paper," said the Londonderry man, who was 13 when the Agreement was signed.

"I'm not sure that it defined the future for my generation - in our eyes it sometimes doesn't feel that there was an agreement, as it seems that there has been fighting politically ever since.

"I would agree that Northern Ireland isn't a particularly well-managed region. I tour as a full-time musician and I can see that the arts here are scandalously underfunded compared with the rest of Europe.

"But Northern Ireland is still my home, and I'm always going to try and make it better.

"Young people are still going away from Northern Ireland, but a lot of them come home and set up their own businesses, and I think that's what the future here will be, particularly with Brexit.

"I think that in another five years you will see a different kind of Northern Ireland, with more entrepreneurs."

Ryan has concerns around health care and education here.

"Health care is on its knees," he continued.

"My daughter is on the waiting list to get her tonsils out and the wait could be up to two years. In the meantime she is missing quite a lot of school and it has been very hard on her.

"The healthcare system doesn't seem to be able to cope with general, everyday things.

"My wife is a teacher and some schools have very little funding and have to hold fundraisers to survive.

"But I think the education standard is very good and it's still one of the best around."

Ryan said that he remembers the period around the Good Friday Agreement referendum well.

"I remember the relief of my parents when the result came through, they were overwhelmed," he recalled.

"My dad was a musician and had to cross the border, and my mum was scared for him. A lot of things changed.

"I remember having to cross an Army checkpoint to get to the beaches in Donegal when we were kids.

"Now the checkpoints are gone and our family home is near there."

Belfast Telegraph

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