The Ardoyne Suicides

The Ardoyne Suicides

Despite the official end to violence in Northern Ireland, one small community was hit by a plague of suicides by young men.

In July 2005, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) turned in their last weapons in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. But years of religious bloodshed had left their mark. The peace accord included a provision for dismantling the police force but many say that was in name only. Poverty and unemployment in Northern Ireland remained huge problems and young people who had grown up in fear of the police remained wary and suspicious of the country’s new officials.

This project by the Bombay Flying Club takes the viewer to Ardoyne, a small community on the outskirts of Belfast, where 13 people committed suicide during a six-week period at the end of 2003 and beginning of 2004. The story is divided into short chapters and focuses on the deaths of three young men during this period. Through interviews with family members and the local priest we learn how one man’s death came after he was beaten by a paramilitary group and one of his friends died just four days later. Overcome by grief and unable to find any medical support, the father of another young man formed an organization to help prevent suicide and to support the families of suicide victims.

This story won second place, NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism, Website Winner, Best Feature Picture Story (Unaffiliated Sites) .

Length: 12:00

Producers/Photojournalists: Poul Madsen and Henrik Kastenskov
Journalist: Birgitte Kroll Lausten