Twelve years after the sign­ing of the Belfast ‘Good Fri­day’ Agree­ment sig­nalled an end to the Trou­bles, North­ern Ire­land is in a state of ‘seg­re­gated peace’, says Kevin Cullen, describ­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

Not only is there an offi­cial ethos of sep­a­rate but equal, but an infra­struc­ture under­pin­ning it. There are three times as many so-called peace lines — elab­o­rate walls sep­a­rat­ing working-class neigh­bor­hoods — than there were at the height of the Trou­bles, 88 of them at last count. […]

With seg­re­ga­tion the sta­tus quo, there is an enor­mous dupli­ca­tion of pub­lic ser­vices, such as schools, com­mu­nity cen­ters, and health clin­ics. The Alliance Party […] esti­mates that dupli­ca­tion of pub­lic ser­vices costs more than $1 bil­lion a year, this in a place the size of Con­necti­cut with a pop­u­la­tion of less than 2 million.

But it’s more than money that North­ern Ire­land is los­ing. It is los­ing the very kind of peo­ple that might change things. Some are vot­ing with their feet, oth­ers sim­ply not vot­ing at all. Vot­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion, which surged in the opti­mism fol­low­ing the Good Fri­day Agree­ment, has slumped. The brain drain, which saw edu­cated young peo­ple head to Eng­land and every­where else, slowed after every­thing looked pos­si­ble in 1998. But it has picked up again, as a new gen­er­a­tion that grew up with­out wide­spread vio­lence con­cludes that peace is nice but not every­thing. So much cre­ativ­ity, energy, and pro­duc­tiv­ity, lost across the Irish Sea.

via Link Banana