New start at Stormont, but Belfast is still finding ways to continue to segregate its population. This time, bizarrely, the Peace Wall is to be built in the middle of the playground of Belfast’s only Integrated Primary School. Kathryn Torney in the Belfast Telegraph:
Despite Northern Ireland moving into a new era, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal that the Northern Ireland Office is planning to erect a new peaceline – in the playground of an integrated primary school. A 25ft-high fence is to be built in the grounds of Hazelwood Integrated Primary School in north Belfast. The NIO has decided to proceed with a controversial plan to erect a towering security fence behind the Whitewell Road building – despite serious concern expressed by the school.
The plan has been confirmed just weeks after the Secretary of State Peter Hain insisted that the Government was committed to “removing barriers” dividing communities in Northern Ireland, and as a new era of power-sharing gets under way at Stormont.
Hazelwood Integrated Primary, which opened in 1985 and caters for more than 400 pupils from both sides of the community, is still the only integrated primary school in the north of the city. The decision was taken to build a peace ‘wall’ on land currently used as the children’s playground following attacks on Catholic homes in the nearby Throne Park area last summer.
It is understood that the perpetrators may have crossed through the school’s grounds to gain entry to the area.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty