The integrated Education Fund (IEF) welcomes the publication of the Hate crime legislation independent review. The author of the review is Judge Desmond Marrinan.
Desmond Marrinan was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1972 and later to the Irish Bar. He specialised in EC law, criminal law and professional negligence litigation until appointment as a County Court judge in 2003.
He served as a County Court judge until 2018 dealing mostly with criminal trials in the Crown Court. He was the Recorder of Londonderry from 2008-2011 and continues to sit as a Deputy County Court judge and as a Parole Commissioner
The review states:
“2013 Professor Rhiannon Turner and colleagues from the School of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast, undertook a cross-sectional questionnaire study among Catholic and Protestant teenagers attending integrated and non integrated schools in Northern Ireland. Among their findings they observed that students attending integrated schools reported having greater opportunities for intergroup contact than students at non-integrated schools. In turn, they also had more friends from the other community.
“Furthermore, students at integrated schools were also more likely to self-disclose to members of the other community, sharing important aspects of themselves, and activity associated with higher levels of liking, trust and empathy.
“A recent Queen’s University Belfast and University College Dublin Joint Research Report, published in 2020, noted that in Northern Ireland children learn sectarian differences by the time they are five:
“Children of that age were observed to have found it difficult: To differentiate others on the basis of non-visible social categories, including religion and nationality. Even in the post-accord generation, social divisions are reinforced by the majority of the population living in segregated housing and attending separate schools. Moreover, social life is organised along the boundaries which are demarcated by ‘peace walls’, murals, kerb paintings, graffiti and flags, as well as defined psychologically and culturally in terms of social activities, or sporting events.
Speaking on Radio Ulster Desmond Marrinan said:
“My own view and my own experience of Life is that you can’t hate people that you grew up with. I mean I went to a Catholic grammar school and I didn’t meet Protestant kids and it was only when I went to university and I didn’t know much about them and when I went to university oddly enough in my first week at school my six best friends were all from BRA and we have remained lifelong friends.
“I was one of the lucky small group of privileged people who went on to third level education and without being too sanctimonious about it I think there must be better ways of teaching our children to integrate, to play games together instead of games separately, otherwise the cycle of suspicion and fear that has permeated our lives here since long before the troubles is likely to continue.”
The report can be downloaded from the Department of Justice website here:
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