Education Minister announces changes to youth services in response to riots

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Riots in West Belfast. Pic: Alan Lewis, Photopress.

By Q Radio News

Northern Ireland’s Education Minister Peter Weir has confirmed the reopening of some youth services which operate in areas of heightened community tensions.

Mr Weir said the move is hoped to divert young people from becoming involved in “risk taking and dangerous behaviours”.

“Youth services play a vital role in supporting young people throughout Northern Ireland,” he said.

“As a society we should all be appalled at witnessing young people and even children being involved in the recent violence on our streets.

“At this time it is even more important that youth services are able to meet the needs of young people in these areas.”

Mr Weir added: “These measures are intended to safeguard and ensure the welfare of our young people and to divert them from becoming involved in risk taking and dangerous behaviours.”

It has been agreed that all youth centres and provisions which operate in areas where there is heightened community tensions can maximise the use of their facilities and services with immediate effect.

This includes the provision of educational visits and residential provision (overnight stays) when there is significant risk of harm or criminalisation of children and young people.

Regulations remain the same as now for areas not impacted by heightened community tensions.

Riots in West Belfast. Pic: Alan Lewis, Photopress.

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