Belfast Telegraph

Rioting can jeopardise future careers, children warned

By Caitlin Curley

Children in Northern Ireland have been warned that they are jeopardising their future careers by taking part in Twelfth riots.

A 16-year-old girl was charged with rioting after she was arrested yesterday in north Belfast.

Elsewhere, two boys aged 15 and 16 were arrested in Scarva on Tuesday during a scuffle with police in which two officers were injured.

And four teenage boys were arrested in Londonderry on Tuesday after petrol bombs and missiles were thrown at police. Police said the violence was often "orchestrated by more sinister elements".

"A number of young people have been arrested and are now tragically facing a criminal record which could negatively impact on their future in relation to travel, work and education," a Foyle PSNI spokesman said. "Riotous behaviour can result in criminal records that affect young people for the rest of their lives, restricting them from travell and hindering their employment opportunities."

Stewart Finn of Include Youth, which works with young adults in trouble with the law, said young people who come into conflict with the criminal justice system were more likely to be failed by the education system, have difficulty getting jobs and be isolated within their communities.

"The solution lies with stronger political leadership, better community representation and greater civic leadership," Mr Finn said.

Ulster University criminology lecturer Dr Jonny Byrne said adults needed to provide a good example for young people at this time of the year. "In terms of fixing it, it's about adults, it's about community leaders, it's about politicians providing positive leadership and explaining that violence does not achieve the objective," he said.

Fr Gary Donegan of Holy Cross Church, Ardoyne, said adults in the community could do more to encourage youths away from trouble. "Nobody with the right mind from either side of the community should want children on either side to have a criminal record," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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