‘Progress’ towards end of peace walls

Graffiti relating to Brexit at a peace Wall in Belfast in October.'Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Graffiti relating to Brexit at a peace Wall in Belfast in October.'Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

A survey commissioned by the International Fund for Ireland has found an increase of six per cent of people who feel safe living around NI’s peace walls.

Launched at Girdwood Community Hub in north Belfast, The 2019 ‘Community Attitudes to Peace Walls Survey’ engaged directly with those residents most impacted by interface barriers in both Belfast and Londonderry.

The survey found that overall, respondents feel ‘safe’ living in the areas, with 86% reporting feeling ‘fairly safe’ or ‘very safe’, an increase from 80% in 2017. It also found that 44% of all respondents have ‘no concerns’ about issues in the local area compared to a much lower 26% in 2017.

The survey also found that locals continue to view the functions and positives of the barriers in terms of safety and security but that there is also evidence of growing mixed feelings about them.

There is recognition that retention of the barriers will have negative impacts at both an individual and community level, and it was found that the quantity and quality of regular interaction with the ‘other’ community has grown since 2017.

There is a positive attitude towards the removal of the barriers since 2017 across both communities, though nationalists favour a faster pace.