Junior Minister Megan Fearon today highlighted the Executive’s commitment to removing interface barriers and structures of division as she addressed an audience at the New Lodge Community Festival.
The event, which was organised by Duncairn Community Partnership and Intercomm, included a panel discussion around the removal of peace walls.
Junior Minister Fearon said: “Through its Together Building a United Community strategy, the Executive is committed to reduce and remove all interface barriers by 2023.
“By removing a peace wall we open a door to a new shared space and I believe we should be ambitious in our efforts. Reconciliation has been hampered by physical divisions so to help build a truly shared, united and reconciled community, we need to put in place the conditions and circumstances to remove these structures.”
The Minister recognised the challenges in removing interface barriers and praised the courage of the community for their efforts. She added:
“Taking down these barriers can only happen by engaging with, by building relationships with and by seeking the consent and support of the people who live in their shadows.
“It takes courage to engage on such difficult issues, but the courage that many in the community have shown, and continue to show on a daily basis, can, and will change our society for the better. Progress is being made.”
Concluding the Minister said: “The Executive will continue to support communities on this journey and I commend the excellent work of Duncairn Community Partnership which has been vital in shaping progress in north Belfast.”
Notes to editors:
- The 2016 Greater New Lodge Community Festival contains a host of activities including street parties, family fun days, theatre, literature and art shows, music gigs and concerts, exhibitions, lectures, debates, sports events and more.
- The Festival programme is the product of the collective efforts of local community groups and activists. It provides an important platform for local people to promote and celebrate their own history, culture and identity and to demonstrate the great pool of talent, creativity and positivity that exists.
- The discussion panel included Councillor Julie Anne Corr, Rab McCallum (North Belfast Interface Network) and a Department of Justice official. The discussion was facilitated by Dr Jonny Byrne (Ulster University).
- The Duncairn Community Partnership (DCP) is a consortium of community based organisations working together in the north of the city with the aim of bringing about real and meaningful change to the local community. DCP is funded by the International Fund for Ireland’s Peace Walls Programme.
- More information on the International Fund for Ireland’s Peace Walls Programme can be found at: www.internationalfundforireland.com/peace-walls-programme
- Photographs from The Executive Office events can be viewed via Flickr.
- Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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