On 21st October 2019 abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland. Three months later, on 13th January 2020, gay marriage was legalised — both years behind the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The Face travelled to Derry in the midst of these historic moments to make a film about a city that has long been a focus of political and social activism.
Generation Peace talks to those who have grown up in Derry since the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which brought The Troubles to an end after three decades of violent conflict. Brexit and the possibility of the reintroduction of a border in Ireland, however, jeopardise that uneasy peace.
In Derry we met brilliant young people determined to stick together and work together, who thrive on community and creativity, who are committed to moving on from Northern Ireland’s divided past.
That’s what Generation Peace is about: the power of hope, resilience and optimism.
Directory of Terms
Three decades of violence and conflict in Northern Ireland, dating from the late Sixties until the Good Friday agreement of 1998. Unionists (mostly Protestants) clashed with Nationalists (mostly Catholics) over how the north should be ruled – by London or by Dublin. This divide had little to do with religious convictions and everything to do with identity, culture and politics.
The prime minister of the Republic of Ireland. Currently: Leo Varadkar.
LOYALISM OR UNIONISM
Supporting the union between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Supporting a united Ireland, with “Northern Ireland” freed from UK rule.
Violence between different factions of an ideology or religion within a nation. In this case, the civil conflict of the Troubles epitomises sectarianism.
RUC (ROYAL ULSTER CONSTABULARY)
The former police force in Northern Ireland. Established in 1922, it operated similarly to a military force until 1970, when it was remodelled along the lines of UK police. As part of the Good Friday Agreement it was given a less politically loaded and British establishment-leaning name: Police Service of Northern Ireland.
UVF (THE ULSTER VOLUNTEER FORCE)
A loyalist paramilitary organisation founded in Northern Ireland in 1966.
Provisional IRA (IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY)
A nationalist paramilitary organisation founded in 1969.
An Irish republican political party. Founded in 1905, it took its current form in 1970.
DUP (DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY)
A unionist political party, founded in 1971 at the start of the Troubles by Ian Paisley.
The commonly used name for the Northern Ireland Assembly, the all-party seat of devolved executive political power, which is based in the Stormont Estate in east Belfast.
12th century: the wrong side of history
It’s the late 12th century. The Anglo-Normans invade Ireland and decide to stay there indefinitely – almost eight centuries, it turns out. Five hundred years later Ulster, Ireland’s northernmost province, becomes a British stronghold. Ireland has a history of getting invaded to the pain and detriment of its people – this repeated overstep would come to lay a solid foundation for the Troubles.
1922: independence (in fits and starts)
In 1922, as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, 26 of the 32 provinces on the island of Ireland become the Irish Free State. In 1949, this becomes the Republic of Ireland. The six northern counties of Derry/Londonderry, Antrim, Down, Tyrone, Armagh and Fermanagh remain part of the United Kingdom.
August 1969: getting bogged down
From 12th to 14th August 1969 rioting takes place in the Bogside (an overwhelmingly Catholic area of Derry). The British Army is deployed, deepening the split between unionists and nationalists. The Troubles begin.
January 1972: Bloody Sunday
On the 30th January 1972, soldiers from the Parachute Regiment fire on a civil rights march. Twenty-eight unarmed civilians are shot; 14 die. This became known as Bloody Sunday.
1998: thirty years’ conflict
The Troubles rage until 1998. Over three decades, bombings and shootings rip apart Northern Ireland, with the violence spreading to Ireland, mainland Britain and Europe. Soldiers, paramilitaries, police, prison officers, MPs, civilians: thousands are murdered or maimed. Exact figures vary, but approximately 3500 people are killed over 30 years.
April 1998: peace (in fits and starts)
On 10th April 1998 British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern sign the Good Friday (or Belfast) Agreement. Approved in two subsequent all-Ireland referenda, the deal is hailed as the end of the Troubles as paramilitary organisations lay down their arms. It sets in motion a path to devolved government in Northern Ireland.
June 2016: the unravelling
On 23rd June 2016 the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union. But Brexit means that Northern Ireland will have to leave the EU while Ireland remains a member. The prospect of the return of a hard border on the island causes old anxieties and tensions to resurface.
April 2019: Death in Creggan
On 18th April 2019 Lyra McKee, a 29-year-old journalist, is shot dead by dissident republicans while reporting on riots taking place in Derry’s Creggan estate. One of Ireland’s brightest young journalists, Lyra was a “Ceasefire Baby” who wrote extensively about growing up after the Troubles.
Director Scott Carthy. Executive Producer Jennifer Byrne. Producer Adam Lilley and Jennifer Byrne. DOP Eoin McLoughlin and Scott Carthy. Focus Puller JJ Sullivan. Sound Recordist Steve Downing. Production Assistant Millie Gray. 2nd Unit Sound Recordist Millie Gray. Researcher Georgie Done. Editor Scott Carthy. Grade Tim Smith. Sound Mix TBC.
Music: Original composition by Charlie Alford Inclined, Dirty Faces Fat White Families, Dirty Faces 80%
Casting: Millie Gray and Scott Carthy
Archive: Getty Images PSNI
Featuring: Ria Adeyinka, Kahlo Tunde, Josh O’Kane, Lorcán Hamilton, Jack McLenaghan, Bonnie Quigley, Bethany Moore, Eamon Doherty, Marty Green
Also featuring: Josh McCorkell, Kevin Gamble, Charlotte Gordon, Greg McNeil, Corrie McMonagle, Terence Duddy, Caitlyn Dunne
With thanks to: William Breeden, Alex Leese, Maxwell Tomlinson, Rosanna Gouldman, Jason Gonsalves, Sandinos, Miss Mary School of Ballet, The Roundhouse, Gregory McNeil Bareknuckle Barbershop, Titans Kickboxing Club ‚Willie Lowry, Thomas McCorkell, Cheat, The people of Northern Ireland
An original production from The Face