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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 10 August, 2020

Paramilitaries abused 500 children since 1990

One former victim said he still got flashbacks, over 20 years after being attacked in his parents’ house in Belfast.

Detail from an Ulster Volunteer Force mural in East Belfast.
Detail from an Ulster Volunteer Force mural in East Belfast.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Updated 22.49pm

OVER 500 CHILDREN were physically abused by paramilitary groups between 1990 and 2013, according to new research from Queen’s University Belfast.

Professor Liam Kennedy, who carried out the study, said the figures were based on police data. Official PSNI statistics on “punishment beatings” or shootings were examined by Kennedy and his colleagues.

94 children were shot by Loyalist paramilitaries and 73 by Republicans, Kennedy told RTÉ radio this evening.

The victims were aged between 15 and 17.

In terms of beatings, 166 children aged between 14 and 17 were subjected to punishment attacks from Loyalists.

Republicans were responsible for 178 beatings.

“To some extent the republican movement focused more on beatings of children,” Kennedy said.

One former victim told Kennedy he still got flashbacks “particularly as June comes around each year, flashbacks of the original beating in his parents’ home in west Belfast”.

And that was more than 20 years ago.

Such punishment attacks are still happening on the republican side, Kennedy said.

Dissident factions in Derry and Belfast “who are the children of earlier generations of the IRA” are now conducting similar crimes, he added.

The SDLP has called for an all-island inquiry to investigate the depth of the issue.

“Any such investigation should offer victims help and support as well as providing the opportunity to report the crimes committed against them,” MLA Dolores Kelly said.

“We cannot go back to allowing the barbaric actions of paramilitaries and state agencies go unchallenged. It’s time for those who suffered the most to receive justice.”

First published 19.21pm

Read: “We have started to look a bit closer at the purple eye-sockets, the broken ribs” — Enda Kenny 

Read: Child and three adults hacked to death in the Philippines

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