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Peace Walls Programme - Playlist

Peace Walls Programme

on .

Peace-WallsPeace Walls, physical barriers dividing communities, are one of the most visual remaining symbols of division in Northern Ireland. There are almost 100 such barriers, mainly in Belfast, stretching over 21 kilometres in total.

In January 2012 the Fund announced financial assistance to deliver a range of confidence and relationship building measures within and between communities to create the conditions whereby residents would feel safe to commence discussions about the removal of Peace Walls.


The programme aims to deliver a coordinated and collaborative approach to dealing with the multitude of issues associated with the removal of Peace Walls. The programme is unique in that it co-ordinates proactive collaboration between communities, statutory agencies and funders.

Eight programme interventions are currently underway: The organisations involved are Duncairn Community Partnership; Greater Whitewell Community Surgery; TASCIT; Suffolk Lenadoon Interface Group; St Columbs Park House; TRIAX; Lower Oldpark/Cliftonville Regeneration and Black Mountain Shared Space.  

Ciaran Shannon, a Programme Manager with Groundwork NI, which is involved in the Duncairn Community Partnership Project, points out that the programme is advancing previous cross-community work in North Belfast, some of which was also supported by the Fund.

The focus of the Duncairn Community Partnership Project is to build relationships and trust with a view to eventually reducing or restructuring a number of physical barriers in the area. Though focused on specific electoral wards, he believes the effects of the project can have a catalytic impact across North Belfast.

“This is about creating new opportunities to change attitudes and foster sustainable reconciliation. By transforming the visible aspects of the conflict, other inclusive environments can be created and shared by all members of society.

“The constructive approach can help underpin the emergence of a vibrant, economically active and engaged community that is at peace with itself.” One critical aim is to empower residents on both sides of the interfaces to take joint-ownership of the transformation process. This is supported by a range of cross-community and single identity workshops, seminars and site visits based on the themes of division and segregation and the impact on communities.

Mr Shannon points out that former prisoners and combatants are now actively engaging in improving community relations. “At one time they would probably have wanted to kill each other, but now they are working to build a better cross-community spirit.”