29/02/2012

NI In Danger Of Lurching Back Into The Past

Northern Ireland seems in danger of lurching back into the past according to a new study.

The Northern Ireland Monitoring report also stated "no new political party has emerged" since the Good Friday Agreement 14 years ago.

The document, published by the Community Relations Council, stated paramilitarism remains a threat, the policing deal is not secure with many Catholic recruits leaving early and there has been no strategy for reconciliation or dealing with the past.

Dr Paul Nolan, the report’s author, said: "To date the indicators have been sending out contradictory messages. Violence has declined but it most certainly has not gone away. There is increased cooperation at the political level but there is also an increase in the number of interface barriers. We have seen interesting experiments in shared housing and shared education but 92.5% of school enrolments are still in schools that are perceived to be for one community only, and 90% of social housing is for single identity communities.  At times Northern Ireland seems to be moving forward; at other times it seems in danger of lurching back into the past."

Separate political cultures have not been reconciled while housing and education has seen deepening segregation, according to the Community relations Council.

Dr Nolan concluded: "Which is it to be? Are we leaving the Troubles behind, or does the continuation of sectarian division mean that at some point in the future the underlying tensions could see a violent eruption?  Is it possible that this period of peace might turn out to be only a generational truce?  The Peace Monitoring Report has been set up to answer these questions."

(CD/GK)

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