Luke is the youngest of ten children and the last of the family to live at home. He is close to his parents, particularly his mother, who is on Disability Living Allowance, and Luke anticipates becoming one of their main carers in later years. He has grown up in a nationalist area and attended secondary school in, what he regards as, a fairly Republican area. Part of his social life as a teenager revolved around the sectarian violence that occurred at interface areas. He himself was a victim of a sectarian attack, for which he pursued compensation. A relationship with a young girl from the Protestant community has had a positive influence on his views and attitudes towards Protestants, realising as a result of this contact that Protestants ‘are not aliens.’
His experience of school has been mixed. He was not a model student and his behaviour attracted disciplinary measures on a few occasions. Keen to earn his own money, Luke took a part time job in a bar collecting glasses when he was 16. The late nights (working and socialising) added to his problems at school, and his exams results suffered as a consequence. He returned to school to do a GNVQ that was not of great interest to him but one of the few offered at his school. Luke had many different ideas about his future and what he would like to do, but no real guidance or direction. However, he remained confident about his ability to succeed in life and the opportunities open to him.