Balbriggan’s Black young people look out for each other - DAPPSS CYRD Research Launch

Minister Joe O’Brien (centre) with Anne Walsh, NYCI Equality & Intercultural Programme Manager (left) and MU research team members Professor Maurice Devlin, Tonye Benson-Olatunde, Reuben Hambakachere and Associate Professor Hilary Tierney. Aidan Farrelly (not pictured) was also a research team member.
Wednesday, February 7, 2024 - 10:30

"The team from the Centre for Youth Research and Development (CYYRD) in Maynooth University’s Department of Applied Social Studies has just completed research on the experiences of Black young people in Balbriggan, County Dublin. The research report titled - 'Looking out for, looking after, looking to each other’ was launched in Balbriggan by Minister Joe O'Brien.

Balbriggan is very culturally diverse, with 29% of its population born outside Ireland and 9% identifying as Black or Black Irish in the 2022 census as compared with 1% nationally. It also has the highest proportion of young people among Ireland’s large towns. The title of the report – ‘Looking out for, looking after, looking to each other’ draws on the words of the research participants and captures some of the positive aspects of their lives and experiences: the strong bonds of friendship, solidarity, caring and fun. But it also touches on the negative aspects: the need for ‘guardedness’ and solidarity, especially in the context of routine experiences of racism and discrimination, for both the young people and their families. It explores a range of reasons why youth work has had limited success in the past in attracting and engaging Black young people but highlights some positive recent developments, notably ones where Black young people and adults are taking the lead.  The research also suggests that community development approaches within the Black and Black Irish community have played a key role in addressing and – to some extent – ameliorating inequalities experienced by young people, for example in their relations with the Garda Síochána.

The report includes a number of recommendations for policy and practice at local and national levels, including a workforce development strategy with incentivisation initiatives aimed at increasing the numbers of minority ethnic professionals and volunteers, drawing on existing examples in formal education and other sectors. The research was commissioned and published by the National Youth Council of Ireland with funding from Community Foundation Ireland.

To learn more and for a copy of the report go to: