North Belfast Christmas Peace Walk

Two days ago more than 400 students from across the divide in North Belfast marched to promote peace as we move into 2016.  The students were all from local secondary schools and included all sectors.

Amongst the marchers was our own Fr. Martin Magill and other clergymen such as Rev. Stephen Thompson. Representatives from the Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church, Elim Church and the Church of Ireland were all in attendance at the march.

North Belfast needs more of these events and hopefully it will be something that can be built upon into the future.




  • chrisjones2

    Did any politicians attend?

  • notimetoshine

    I wonder if they were all able to attend the same school would a peace walk be required?

  • Granni Trixie

    Best not?

  • Zig70

    Who’s fighting?

  • Zig70

    Are there any barriers to attending a particular school?

  • Robin Keogh

    Excellent stuff, fair play to them all

  • kalista63

    Given the Hazelwood project, yep.

  • TruthToPower

    but how do such walks and the like help anything? The people who need to go on such walks ie bigots, don’t and the only the people who are not bigots, do.

    If anyone shows me a sectarian person who has changed their mindset as a result of this walk then I’ll happily recant my above statement.

    Another example of nice middle class people meeting up and self congratulating themselves for being nice.

    Judge all actions by their outcomes and not their intentions. Let’s not praise naivity.

  • Cosmo

    was this the day off school?

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Sorry but it’s 2015, shortly 2016. If you are rioting, causing trouble, or making a fuss of what religion people who live near you are, then you are the ones that should be locked up. You total morons.

  • Granni Trixie

    These were young people still in formation and you could call the walk an antidote to embedded sectarianism, offering alternatives.
    So I am presuming the walk had educational as well as social value. As well as impacting on individuals, images of the symbolic act impacts more broadly .- offers much needed hope for the future. Powerful.

  • TruthToPower

    Yes but the youngsters still in formation don’t come from bigoted homes therefore walk or no walk the chances of same kids becoming bigots is zero.

    Why can’t people like you see how naive such things are? They are nice folk but it’s not them who need to go on such walks but the bigots but of course we don’t go in for making people take medicine against their will these days do we?

    Peace people had huge rallies in the 70s. Nice people attended but unfortunately not a single IRA or Loyalist gunman attended or was redeemed.

    Bigots need to be forcibly reeducated.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Perhaps if the “nice people” who supported the Union had come out and supported us actively in the NICRA & PD out on the streets in 1968/9 we would not have experienced the massive crop of bigots the troubles have spawned…………..

  • submariner

    The biggest cause of sectarianism in Northern Ireland is the loyal orders and loyalist bands scene. That needs tackling first and foremost

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Seaan, Before the PD march from Belfast to Lononderry on 1st January 1969 was there any members from NICRA who expressed concerns about the 4 day march ? Was PD more Belfast oriented and NICRA more Derry oriented ?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    One of the big problems of how this history has been written up is that it has a been written by outsiders making assumptions. Both the PD and NICRA were very broad umbrella organisations. The PD grew out of the old Labour Party Young Socialists (although I’ve found historians suggest that the Trotskyist YS was the root, simply on similarity of initials) grafted unto QUB student interest. The NICRA started pretty much in Tyrone and its first overt issue was about unfair housing allocation at Benburb. NICRA had developed out of the self conscious turning away of ordinary people from the polarised certainties, that tide that had given several Labour parties in NI 30% of the popular vote in the 1962 election, In its wake the Campaign for Social Justice was established in Dungannon in 1964. The NICRA developed out of this as a province wide body with all shades of opinion from Republicans, through socialist and liberals, to liberal Unionists including Robin Cole who was on the NICRA committee. But both organisations were quite separate, although they co-operated over demonstrations up to December 1968.

    The Derry March was a PD affair called in the wake of a NICRA call to end demonstrations, which were attracting violence from a group led by Ronnie Bunting Senior that supported Paisley. As I understood the stance, it was felt that it was important not to accept the intimidation this group represented, or they would not stop putting their increased pressure on O’Neill until the delicate reform process he had instigated was entirely rolled back. But I cannot overemphasise just how the PD was a collection of many voices and intentions rather than an organisation with a centralised single voice. Coming from a liberal background, where many cousins were conventional Unionists (for example, family members knew Bunting Sr from the army) I was perhaps more aware of the failure of even moderate Unionism to do more than sit on the fence in this, in the hope perhaps that the extremism of Bunting and Paisley would simply make NICRA and the PD go away. Their support for O’Neill’s reforms was sadly lukewarm at best, and if pressure was sustained by the unreconcilable members of the party it appeared that the entire process could simply be reversed. If the Derry march achieved anything, it was to alert Westminster as to just how strong the opposition to reform was, and to ensure that they would from that date develop policies that ensured that the reforms took root.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Could it be said that the stance adapted by NICRA in calling to end demonstrations to avoid conflict resulted in its demise to PD ?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hardly, when both were still active in the early 1970s. NICRA was the group that organised the 30th January 1972 march that became “Bloody Sunday.” But the rise of violence from both portions of the community began to make peaceful demonstration less and less possible. The opportunity for all quarters to pick up on the modernising wave that had been clearly shown by the strong cross-community Labour showing in the 1962 elections was lost in late 1968 when the moderate Unionists sat on the fence instead of coming out against Bunting Sr and “authorised” the IRA to began a campaign of counter-violence that could have been avoided by a show of good will at this time.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Its ironic that you mention Bunting Sr in your posts, as I know Loyalists who where at them protests and believe Bunting always had an ace card up his sleeve with the authorities at this time. A friend tells the yarn of a protest they held in Armagh with about 100 of them standing in the town centre and looking at the thousands walking and coming down from the Shambles lead by Bernadette Devlin and Major Bunting screaming at them to ‘Hold Your Line – Hold Your Line !’ He said the butterflies filled up in his stomach and all he could think about was ‘Run Like Feck’ but just before the demonstration got to them the Police Cars came screaming in sirens blurring full blast to separate and block both sides. He says he was never so glad to see the Police in all his life that day and swears that Bunting had that planned out with the Police !

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed, T.E. Bunting had serious contacts galore, and could do things the more respectable in our community wanted done, but preferred another to be compromised through doing them. And Bunting was ready and willing. As a fellow once said, “Just because you’re paranoid, this does not mean they are not conspiring……”