“Peace Walls divide society”

Alliance councillor Tom Eakin has called for the removal of the so called Peace Walls. Whilst this will not happen overnight, there can’t be any harm in thinking and talking about it can there?

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  • “Peace Walls divide society”

    Maybe they do, but they also keep those pesky Fenians in their overcrowded slums which prevent them from diluting the Unionist voter base on the other side of the wall.

  • Neil

    No harm in talking about it, certainly, though the residents in the areas should probably be involved in the conversation, and don’t be too disappointed should their contribution be along the lines of ‘no chance’.

    It always seems as though the people who call for this have no experience of violent sectarian attacks (I’ve no idea if Eakin is from a peace line or not – I’d suggest not most likely), and what you’re asking of people is that they place themselves at a significantly increased risk of attack, so society can feel better about itself.

    People on both sides of the peace line can have their houses attacked, but at least those people on the Malone Road can wax lyrical about how society has moved forward because peace walls they never have to see have been removed.

  • Ulick

    Maybe they do, but they also keep those pesky Fenians in their overcrowded slums which prevent them from diluting the Unionist voter base on the other side of the wall

    Yeah and did you know they were also built in such a way as to only prevent only Republican bricks from being thrown over them? Damn cunning.

    On the topic of the thread

    “On the ground, there is support from people in principle, but they’re worried about if a wall is taken down – are they going to be exposed to violence and anti-social behaviour.

    So, in effect what Eakin is saying is that people don’t like the walls but they like getting a brick through a window even less. Which is kind of obvious and doesn’t really get us that much further.

  • andnowwhat

    @Neil

    Eakin has said on the radio that he does not live near a peace wall.

    I wonder Eakin and his cohorts where this summer?

  • lamhdearg

    tom who lives where?.

  • lamhdearg

    i goggled him, not much on him.

  • lamhdearg

    as i have commented before some peace walls have came down, the one that split irish nationlist oldpark (the bone) and loyalist torrence, and now torrens is irish nationalist, lesson understood.

  • Kevin McIlhennon

    I live on the peace line on the Whitewell and would object to it coming down in the forseeable future. Granted, the White City and Whitewell community workers are talking and a lot has been done by Brian Dunn and Paul McKernon, but there’s still the tension every summer and the occasional sectarian attack carried out (by both sides, I might add). Those that propose getting rid of them clearly don’t live near one and if they did then they’d understand why they’re here. In 15 or 20 years they’ll probably be down but any time less would be a pretty catastrophic error.

  • Mickles

    So the residents don’t want the walls to come down because they can’t control their kids and stop chucking bricks at each other?

    Why not replace the walls with increased police patrols? What? Oh they’d chuck bricks at cops too? I see, so basically they don’t want the police round there to keep order, and they want to be walled off from their neighbors forever.

    Maybe we could build peace walls ‘around’ these places and lock the doors so we don’t have to listen to their bullshit anymore. It’s not that much effort to stop your kids chucking bricks at your neighbors is it?

  • vanhelsing

    @ulick

    “Peace Walls divide society”

    “Maybe they do, but they also keep those pesky Fenians in their overcrowded slums which prevent them from diluting the Unionist voter base on the other side of the wall.”

    Ever thought if you can’t contribute something useful..umm…

  • Neil

    Maybe we could build peace walls ‘around’ these places and lock the doors so we don’t have to listen to their bullshit anymore. It’s not that much effort to stop your kids chucking bricks at your neighbors is it?

    For some, what you say is fair in my opinion. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s anti social behaviour, probably thanks to the fact that I come across it all the damn time.

    The problem is that 90% of the families who live in a given area will be decent people, just trying to get on with it. Their kids will be tucked up in bed by a reasonable hour and all the rest of it.

    They shouldn’t be the ones made to suffer, but inevitably the will be if they live on a peace line. The asshole throwing the brick from the other side won’t care that it’s not your kid that’s also being an asshole throwing a brick in the opposite direction.

    I do think, in agreement with yourself possibly, that holding parents to account for their kids, at least in certain circumstances would be a good idea. Where we break off in different directions is not condemning hundreds or thousands of people based on the actions of a couple of dozen.

  • Neil

    Sorry, about the italics

  • Mickles

    If as you say, it’s only a couple of dozen folks causing the problems, then surely the hundreds and thousands of ‘decent’ people should kick em out and get on with improving the image of this city, so we can get investment and jobs instead of bad press.

    The parents are absolutely accountable, these kids chucking bricks were born long after the troubles, so either they’re being told to do this by their elders, or their elders let them run free and wreck the place – there’s no political agenda underlying here. It’s much more simple than that. Unless some better parenting happens in those areas, it’ll be same old, same old forever, and Nolan will be chatting to grannies about it for some time to come.

    Take walls down – hold parents accountable for the recklessness of their children = solved.

  • Ekins address is on the City Council website.
    And not exactly a ghetto.
    The odd thing about people advocating that peace walls come down is that they dont actually live beside one.
    My suggestion that an integrated NIHE Estate be built between Cultra and Helens Bay is as valid now as it was when I first made it.
    Theres middle class ghettos which should be compelled to take down their invisible walls.
    No doubt the middle class would regard a NIHE Housing Development as almost as “absolutely frightful” as those horrible peace walls.

    But why stop at peace walls.
    They are an “urban” thing.
    Waringstown doesnt have a peace wall.
    Must be a much better place where people live together openly expressing their way of life.
    Likewise Crossmaglen….no peace walls must be a much better place to live…….for all of us.

    Lets integrate Coagh with Ardboe………there is actually a peace line there………but its all fields so thats different.
    And lets integrate Aghalee with Aghagallon.
    And lets remove the River Foyle.

    Ekin is of course talking thru his hat.
    Peace Walls (sic) are very bad things and it naturally behoves councillors to make totemic calls for their removal. But thats all it is…..lip service.
    Nothing short of Joshua s trumpet will bring the Walls down and Ekin knows it.
    And if they do……..I look forward to Ekin handing the keys of his house over to a resident who currently lives in Cupar Street or Bombay Street……and Ekin will move there.
    Problem solved.
    Of course that would be more than lip service.

  • J Kelly

    Dont forget some people like to be victims and under so called seige.

    In Derry a few years back NIHE and the Department for Social Development working with a local housing association came up with a plan to remove the “peace wall” between bishop street and the fountain. The proposal was to build shops and offices along bishop street with no access into the fountain, in place of the wall. This was how bishop street once was. This would take away the wall but ensure that there was still a physical barrier between bishop street and the fountain. The residents of the fountain rejected the idea out of hand and wouldn’t even allow representatives from dsd. nihe and the housing association into the meeting which had been convened to discuss the proposal. Of course the unionist politicians kept quiet and the proposal never seen the light of day.

  • Skinner

    Go Mickles!

  • A yellow card for that? Does lamhdearg not get one for agreeing with me? **shakes head at Barker and walks away**

  • @vanhelsing

    It’s the elephant in the room that no one is acknowledging, though fair play to lamhdearg for doing so.

    Peace walls are not about keeping warring tribes apart anymore (if they ever were). The vast majority still exist to allow those with vested interests to protect their fiefdoms – step forward Nigel Dodds MP.

  • Ullick. The peace walls don’t actually do the dividiing, Society has that already cornered.The damage was already done for the first ones to be in place.

  • wpadams

    I never understood the peace walls – cannot aspiring rioters just walk round the end of the things? Or develop good arm strength to throw missiles over the top. It seems they are more a token or gesture of a dividing line.

  • Eddie (Eamonn) Mac Bhloscaidh

    Peace walls are a symptom, not the cause.

    I think it is a bit rich of the ‘types’ to continually pontificate about peace walls to mostly working class people.

    Yes, they are terrible, but they allow children to sleep relatively safely in their beds.

    That is the most important thing for me.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Eddie

    Heart-warming stuff, I’ll grant you, but could they not just maybe move the beds a good deal further away from each other to begin with ? Be less provocative all round if they didn’t even have to countenance seeing each other. Securer compounds, safer youngsters, yeah ?

  • RyanAdams

    Ulick, Please to explain how Peace Walls help Nigel Dodds to keep his Fifedom?

    Last time I looked the boundary commissioners did that. The boundary between North and West Belfast does somewhat un-naturally weave through the streets of the Shankill but peacelines are irrelevant.

    “Maybe they do, but they also keep those pesky Fenians in their overcrowded slums which prevent them from diluting the Unionist voter base on the other side of the wall.”

    Peace lines are there to protect property. There not barriers between paralell universes. It is quite easy to move to the other side.

  • RyanAdams

    Parallel*

  • Eddie (Eamonn) Mac Bhloscaidh

    “but could they not just maybe move the beds a good deal further away from each other to begin with?”

    No. They cant. Working class people havent got that level of mobility.

    Moving away is a very simplistic solution frankly.

  • Brian

    Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    Similarly, the walls were put up because society was already divided to the point of reoccurring low level violence.

    Walls don’t divide people, but divided people put up walls.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I agree with oneill, for once. It is kind of stating the obvious for Tom Ekin to point out that the residents don’t really want the walls to stay up, but fear the impact of anti-social behaviour if they are removed. That is why the walls are there in most cases.

    You cannot take down the walls and fences without first taking down their causes. And I’m aware that by saying that I’m paraphrasing Eric Honecker, but the walls aren’t being erected by the state to divide people on a specious pretext; they’re there because of the opportunistic crime that would otherwise arise. Tackling the causes

    I never understood the peace walls – cannot aspiring rioters just walk round the end of the things? Or develop good arm strength to throw missiles over the top. It seems they are more a token or gesture of a dividing line.

    The low-level anti-social behaviour (throwing the odd brick or stone) which is at the root of a lot of our problems here is seldom orchestrated or organized, it’s most often opportunistic in nature. Like the way burglary statistically goes up in the summer (when more people leave their windows open).

    The root cause of the problem is really social breakdown of various kinds. As with the riots over in England you have a section of youth in society being brought up in families where the parents don’t know what they’re doing, or don’t care; or worst of all, proudly defend it. Here, on both sides of the community divide, we have a proud culture of challenging the State and expressing displeasure by wrecking the communities we live in and near to, so much so that our own politicians barely lift a finger in condemnation. It’s unsurprising that the kids are there to carry the baton for the next generation.

  • Alias

    The difference is that the walls went up when the murder gangs were organising riots and other sectarian disorder but the members of those gangs are now sponsored by the state to do the opposite. There is now a network of ex-prisoners in those zones who operate an early-warning system via mobile phone and descend on the locals in force at the first sign of any social unrest. Essentially, the murder gangs are employed to deal with their own legacy issues.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Educate the children together in Primary School.

    *SIMPLES*

  • huntsman

    Is it any wonder that Alliance get no support in areas where the peace lines are built.

  • No huntsman, Alliance got 1.5 quotas in Pottinger, which includes the walls to the east of the Short Strand.

    It is annoying to have to walk or cycle long ways around these walls. It leads to less footfall, and failed businesses on both sides of each wall, so reinforcing deprivation, and leaving more people with time to throw stones.

  • huntsman

    I would doubt many voters in the immediate area of Short Strand/Cluan Place Templemore Road etc vote for the Allaince Party. Peace walls should only come down when the people living beside ask for them to come down. The walls only went up because local people campaigned for them.

    Eakin and hi like are armchair generals who would not have to live with the consequences of fresh outbreaks of communal violence. Those who would be affectd should be the deciders, rather than a few toffs whos sensibilities are affronted by the reality of division.

  • Mickles

    huntsman: “Fresh outbreaks of communal violence”?

    It wouldn’t be ‘fresh’ outbreaks, surely the whole mantra of the residents of these areas is that they are constantly under siege, at least if we rip off the band-aid, there wouldn’t be a wall to hide behind, and maybe some arrests and the start of a solution.

    You can call me an armchair general, but I grew up in a mixed area, with Catholic and Protestant neighbors – we were not well off by any means, and yet, weirdly – I never felt inclined to chuck bricks at anyone. How do you explain that?

    The Loyalist and Republican sides of these walls seem to thrive on being the perpetual victims of each other.

    You say those who would be affected should be the deciders? They can’t even get their kids to stop chucking bricks at each other! Their actions, and their constant need to show to the world that this is a place of division and sectarianism are costing those of us who want to move on and do business.

    There’s a recession, we need jobs, and investment – what do you think a potential investor thinks when he or she sees these idiots chucking bricks at each other because they both believe in different made-up religions, and want different colored flags put up outside each others house of worship? These victim-card-carrying pricks are costing all of us money, and holding the future of Northern Ireland to ransom.

    They can try and pretend that it’s poverty causing these problems, but I, and plenty of people like me, who live one pay cheque away from homelessness have no reason to attack our neighbors.

    What doesn’t help is the local SF/DUP politicians shit stirring to show everyone from their respective side of the wall that they’re fighting for these people – to insure that a voice of reason never gets elected in these areas.