NMU professors study in Belfast

MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University criminal justice professors Greg Warchol and Bob Hanson recently traveled to Belfast to research the Northern Ireland conflict, commonly known as the Troubles.

They toured the city with a former member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, learned about the opposing Loyalist paramilitary groups and met with a British soldier who was assigned to Belfast during the violent period.

“The IRA served as the model for a lot of modern terrorist groups,” said Warchol, who plans to incorporate what he discovered in his terrorism course.

He is pictured right with the former PIRA tour guide.

PIRA volunteer Bobby Sands famously died as a result of a two-month hunger strike in the Maze Prison. His image adorns a large wall mural in a Belfast neighborhood. The professors saw that mural and dozens of others that document the activities of both sides and memorialize the dead, along with prominent supporters of the cause.

“It was interesting to see how the street art expressed the community’s response to the situation,” Hanson said.

Warchol and Hanson received a College of Professional Studies grant to support their Belfast research.