This text was instigated at Paragon Studios in Belfast for the exhibition PALISADE.
(Part of the #Peacewalls50 Series of events)
It will develop over the course the exhibition.
/ Interagency Group /
In December 2015, the Interface Community Partners & Interagency Group Annual Conference is held at the Ulster Hall in Belfast. This forum is set up to facilitate communication between governmental agencies responsible for future ‘Peacewall’ policy with local interface resident groups and interested stakeholders. At this congenial gathering, laid out in configuration much like a wedding dinner, academics from the Institute for Research in Social Sciences at the University of Ulster set out the challenges of removing ‘peace walls’ through a series of Policy Brief documents, which suggest that there are number of problems that policy makers face in this context, including (1) “articulating a clearer rationale for why the walls need to come down”, (2) “a lack of clarity in the phrase ‘removal of all peace walls’” and (3) “the absence of an agreed definition of ‘peace walls’”. The relevant Strategy document states: “Taking down interface barriers is not something that can be achieved without engagement, consent and support with the people who live there”. However, the most recent study, in 2015, appears to evidence that support for the barriers being removed among local residents is actually weakening, and that the climate of community relations, and ultimately the sense of safety, has deteriorated among residents over the previous three years alone.(*) As someone at the table said to me: “Why place all the risk with those that have the most to lose”?
/ Cost of Division /
In a detailed paper produced by Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre, the Costs of Division are analysed in a 106 page PDF. In general, the cost of public sector service delivery in Northern Ireland can be higher for a number of reasons, including:
— Higher level of need
— Policy Decisions
— Historical lack of decision making
— Inefficient delivery
— Divided Society
A note to the side of this statement explains that these factors are not mutually exclusive, for example policy decisions, higher levels of need and even inefficient delivery could be interrelated and in NI influenced by the ‘culture of division’.
The UUEPC undertook a review of the 2007 Deloitte (government finances) research. This benchmarking analysis identifies a cost range of approximately £400 million to £830 million per annum, which at least in part is potentially caused by the need to provide services in a divided society. In addition to detailed analysis of individual Government Department spend, the report also estimated an upper range cost of £1.5bn associated with division.
/ Interface Programme /
On Friday, 29th of September 2017, now a full four years into the 10 year target announced in 2013, the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland finally announces details of its ‘Interface Programme’ stating that it intends to deliver the commitment made by the Northern Ireland Executive to remove all Interface structures by 2023. However, the announcement confirms that the Interface programme will focus only ‘on the structures which the DoJ are responsible for, currently numbering 50, and in addition structures put up by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive at 15 locations’ in Belfast, Derry/LondonDerry, Portadown and Lurgan’, leading some to speculate that “1 in 5 of the structures will remain in place even if the strategy is ‘delivered’”. In the same week, a three-metre high wall cutting off Springfield Road from Springhill Avenue is removed in West Belfast after almost 30 years in place.
/ Futurecasting /
Some day in Belfast, tourists will be guided along a path by bronze linear panels embedded in the ground plane, as a method of marking where the peaceline used to be. Some day in Belfast, bystanders will look at graphics on a gable wall, charting in black and white and latterly colour photography, the slow growth and inevitable take down of the peacewalls. Some day in Belfast, parts of the wall will be gathered together to form a kind of island, slowly becoming a forest. Some day in Belfast, relics of the former wall will become incredibly meaningful, a hook to hang a story on. Some day in Belfast, elements of the wall will be strategically retained to become the centrepiece of a landscape of sedimentary memory. Some day in Belfast, tourists will climb a stairs at an interpretive centre as a way to understand the scale and power of the former peacewall. Some day in Belfast, small parts of the former wall will truncate and dovetail with its newer, more porous representation.
/ Budget Profiles /
Kathy ______, Clerk, Committee for OFMDFM, Room 285, Parliament Buildings, Ballymiscaw, Stormont, BELFAST BT4 3XX / 23 April 2015
LETTER FROM OFMDFM COMMITTEE – INQUIRY INTO BUILDING A UNITED COMMUNITY – BUDGET PROFILE
The Committee for OFMDFM has written to the Department seeking further information on the budget profiles for initiatives under Together: Building a United Community following consideration at its meeting on Wednesday 25 March 2015 of an update on the summer schools/camps co-design workshops held during December/January. Budget profiles for progressing the headline actions for 2015/16 are laid out below. As the full costs of all actions are not yet known, we are not in a position to provide a full budget profile beyond 2015/16.
• United Youth Programme £3m
• 100 Summer Schools/Camps £1.2m
• 10 Shared Educational Campuses £0.2m
• 10 Shared Neighbourhoods £0.29m
• Cross Community Sporting Programme £0.545m
• Urban Villages Programme £2.46m
• Removal of Interface Barriers £0.77m
The above costs relate to revenue expenditure. Presently, there is no dedicated capital allocation to help deliver Together: Building a United Community. However capital costs across the headline actions are being assessed.
Signed Colette ____
Departmental Assembly Liaison Officer
Notes from: INQUIRY INTO BUILDING A UNITED COMMUNITY