The Rape & Plunder of the Shankill Revisited

Jackie Redpath accompanies Ron Wiener, author of the book The Rape and Plunder of the Shankill, a key text of 1970s’ Belfast, as Ron returns to the Shankill Road to examine the changes, which have taken place since.

Jackie Redpath grew up in the Woodvale area of the upper Shankill Road, the child of Evangelical Christian parents. His early life was dominated by the Shankill Baptist Church. In 1973, he became involved in the Save the Shankill campaign, fighting planners and the NI Housing Executive in an effort to save the community’s way of life.

Since then, Jackie has committed himself to community development work in the area, where he presently serves as Chief Executive of the Greater Shankill Partnership. He played an important role in the early stages of the Northern Ireland peace process, particularly in relation to the role played by the United States. In 1995 he was awarded the American Ireland Fund Leadership Award and in 1997 he received an MBE for services to the community.

Ron Wiener is a Leeds-based organisational consultant, academic and community theatre director. Ron is also a senior sociodrama trainer with a worldwide practice. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Psychodrama Association in 2008.

Shankill Road is one of the main roads leading through West Belfast to Belfast city centre. It runs through the working class, predominantly loyalist area, residents live in the many streets which branch off the main road. The area was devastated by the building of an urban motorway, originally intended to circle Belfast city centre, in the 1970s.

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