Since the first paramilitary ceasefires in 1994, the Northern Ireland peace and political processes have addressed a series of sensitive and contentious issues synonymous with the conflict, such as policing, prisoner releases, decommissioning and power sharing. However, one issue that has been absent from these transformative processes has been that of the peace walls, which were first constructed by the British Army in 1969 as a military response to sectarian violence and disorder. There are now over 60 such physical barriers and walls dominating the landscape of working-class communities in Belfast. Ironically, a significant number of these have been constructed or strengthened after the cessations in violence and introduction of power sharing arrangements in government. This reality of fortified segregation sits uneasily with the popular narrative of the peace process in Northern Ireland and its successes. With this in mind, this paper uses primary quantitative research to ascertain the factors that influence the public's perception and interpretation of the peace walls, with the understanding that these findings can support the development and implementation of policies aimed to transform the conflict architecture.
- contested city
- peace walls