One of Belfast’s most symbolic landmarks, which is featured on many of the great Belfast tours, has been left standing for at least another year in honour of the famous Good Friday Agreement. This agreement took place just fifteen years ago to provide the Catholic and Protestant communities with division, security and above all, peace.
Belfast’s peace walls have otherwise been described as symbols of hatred and detachment and should be removed to bring the two communities back together. As this view about the peace walls spread, discussions on whether or not the walls should be brought down arose, however, both the catholic and protestant community agreed that the time is not right.
Two activists who set about discussing plans to bring down the peace walls, following the decision of the two communities, both agreed that although Belfast has seen great advances over the years the two sides first needed to undergo a devoted sequence of confidence-building before the walls could finally be dismantled.
Both communities are showing union on at least one thing however – keeping the walls up. Many of the protestant and catholic citizens are in favour of making the wall even higher as they state that the peace wall is keeping them secure and out of harm’s way.
Sean Murray, a former IRA prisoner and now dedicated Sinn Fein activist claims that there have been a number of attacks on the new grounds of Belfast Metropolitan College orchestrated by both sides, which is located just a stone throw’s away from the original peace line.
Murray then goes on to say that the majority of the attacks are composed by young people and having studied their backgrounds, most of them come from broken homes and broken families. A lot of the attacks originate from anti-social behaviour and not on behalf of the communities political views, Murray admits.
Despite the activist’s final decision, nationalists are still seriously concerned about maintaining some form of ‘peace line’ and the impact it is having on modern day society in the two communities.
What are your views on the dismantlement of the peace walls?
Why not visit the fifteen year strong peace line on a Belfast tour and decide what would really benefit the two communities.