Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Friday, December 27, 2013

The border barriers of Northern Ireland

There's a post today by Anglican priest Giles Frasier about the awfulness of Israel's separation barrier. What always surprises me when I read British complaints about that barrier is the way they never seem to mention the separation barriers they themselves maintain ... the "peace lines" in Northern Ireland ... nor any of the other barriers built around the world. Here's a bit from a BBC article about those in Northern Ireland ...

[...] Wall number one, which divides the Falls and Shankill roads at Cupar Street, went up in 1969 following rioting and house burnings in west Belfast. Over the years it has risen to more than six metres.

The last one went up last year in the grounds of a north Belfast integrated primary school following a period of local tension.

There are 53 Northern Ireland Office maintained peace lines in four towns and cities in the region - 42 in Belfast, five in Londonderry, five in Portadown and one in Lurgan.

However, community relations groups say these are not the only peace lines, with other structures and land being used to keep communities apart.

In a survey for the Community Relations Council the Institute for Conflict Research listed a total of 88 peace lines as well as 44 police CCTV cameras.

Some are listed as wasteland being used by housing authorities as buffer zones, others include derelict houses as well as walls and vegetation to the rear of homes in interface areas .....

It takes an outsider to be shocked by the sight of the a peace wall and what it is - a means to stop people living in a western democracy at the start of the 21st century attacking each other .....

- The peace line at Bombay Street/Cupar Way in Belfast, seen from the Catholic side. The small back gardens of houses are protected by cages as missiles are sometimes thrown from the other side - Wikipedia


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