Young people in the Republic of Ireland “don’t know the history [of the Troubles] at all,” data journalist Rachel Lavin has said.
Today marks 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement was signed and an entire generation of young people has grown up in Ireland in relative peace.
Their everyday lives have not been shaped by violence and polling data for The Sunday Times suggests their knowledge of and attitude towards the conflict is radically different to those who lived through it.
“When we compared knowledge across the generations, we found that older people knew a lot more about the Troubles,” Ms Lavin told The Pat Kenny Show.
“But when it comes to younger generations, even basic things like bombings, major massacres that occurred, the Civil Rights movement, internment, collusion, the disappeared - they just don’t know about it.
“26% of people under 35 said they didn’t know about any of this.”
Most were aware of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness but figures such as John Hume and David Trimble were much less known.
Young people in Ireland are also more likely to hold a republic view of the conflict.
“When we asked them, ‘Who was responsible for the most deaths in the Troubles?,’ young people were most likely to blame the British Army at 37%,” Ms Lavin said.
“But for older generations who lived through the Troubles, they were more likely to blame republican paramilitaries at 33%.
“We know from the official data from the Sutton Index of Deaths, they did attribute the majority of deaths in Troubles to republican paramilitaries.
“So why has this new generation got such a different take? They were the least likely to think there was always an alternative to violence, when we asked them - compared to older generations.
“And they were the most likely to think that saying something like ‘Up the Ra’ was socially acceptable.”
Ms Lavin attributes the gap in knowledge is likely down to what they learn - or do not learn - in the classroom.
“I think it does just come back to education,” she said.
“You’ve got a generation who lived through the Troubles and a generation that aren’t learning about it in schools.
“So, it’s understandable.”
If you would like to learn more about the Troubles, you can listen to Newstalk’s podcast series As I Remember It: Bertie Ahern and the Good Friday Agreement - in which the former Taoiseach reflects on the anniversary with those involved in the negotiations.
Main image: Graffiti during the Hunger Strikes. Picture by: Alamy.com