Tag Archives: kevin-cullen

Northern Ireland’s Segregated Peace

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