Twaddell, Ardoyne, Shankill Communities in Transit (TASCIT)

North Belfast is an area that suffered very badly during the Troubles, with many conflict related deaths and sectarian attacks.
  • Late Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Housing Executive Chief Clark Bailie local residents and IFI Board Member Allen McAdam all pictured at the transformation of an interface barrier on the Crumlin Road in North Belfast.
    Before images of the Peace Wall that stood for over 30 years on Belfast’s Crumlin Road.
    After image of the Crumlin Road Peace Wall that has now been made into a landscaped area with decorative railings.
  • View Street View

    Click on the Google street view button to view and navigate 360 degree images of the Peace Walls in this project.

Increased Number of Peace Walls

Increased Number of Peace Walls In the early days of the Troubles, Peace Walls (a range of physical barriers erected throughout Northern Ireland) were viewed as a way of protecting properties and individuals from sectarian attacks. A large proportion of the Peace Walls were erected in North Belfast, and most of those Peace Walls erected in the early days of the Troubles still remain – more than 40 years after they were first erected. Furthermore, the number of Peace Walls has increased since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The increased number of Peace Walls reflects the continuing sectarian tensions and the fear of sectarian attack with remains in many interface communities – particularly in North Belfast.  

The Peace Walls Programme (PWP), funded by the International Fund for Ireland, is aimed at building community confidence, relationships and trust for the process of barrier removal to commence.

The TASCIT PWP project covers the areas of Twaddell, Ardoyne, Shankill and Crumlin in North Belfast and involves three lead partner organisations: the North Belfast Interface Network; the Lower Shankill Community Association; and the Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne.  The project, which obtained funding of £124,588 in 2017 from the International Fund for Ireland, began in September 2012. 

Rab McCallum from the North Belfast Interface Network says this is the first time there has been a formal partnership between groups from these areas which helped create a level of confidence from the outset.
Before images of the Peace Wall that stood for over 30 years on Belfast’s Crumlin Road
Before images of the Peace Wall that stood for over 30 years on Belfast’s Crumlin Road
After image of the Crumlin Road Peace Wall that has now been made into a landscaped area with decorative railings
After image of the Crumlin Road Peace Wall that has now been made into a landscaped area with decorative railings
Late Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness with Housing Executive Chief Clark Bailie, local residents and IFI Board Member Allen McAdam all pictured at the transformation of an interface barrier on the Crumlin Road in North Belfast.
Late Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness with Housing Executive Chief Clark Bailie, local residents and IFI Board Member Allen McAdam all pictured at the transformation of an interface barrier on the Crumlin Road in North Belfast.

Living in the shadow of the Peace Walls

Living in the shadow of the Peace Walls In the past year the partner organisations have distributed 3,000 leaflets and conducted 1,500 surveys to gauge the aspirations and anxieties of residents living in the shadow of the Peace Walls. Rab says: “We have been trying to engage those people living closest to the Peace Walls in an attempt to understand the difficulties and opportunities that they face. 

“People want the walls to come down but only when the time is right. Our job is to try to make that right time. We have been pleasantly surprised by the responses from local people. They want to engage in this conversation and there is optimism that movement can be made.  But we have to remember that some of the walls have been in place for 40 years.

“We are asking people who have borne the brunt of the conflict to take the biggest chances. That is a difficult thing for them to do. We have to be able to show that it is in their interests to get rid of the walls, but they may feel that the walls have kept them safe until now, so why change.”

He also points out that this is not just the simple task of removing walls or other barriers. That has to be accompanied by plans to regenerate or breathe new life into the communities he works with. There has to be investment in the areas which are among the most deprived in Northern Ireland and where many of the residents have low educational and skill attainment. 

The walls were erected under special legislation and Rab feels that a similar approach is needed when moves are made to take them down. Various government departments need to have a cohesive and comprehensive plan in place to create new infrastructure when the barriers fall to enable a speedy transition.

However, he is encouraged that discussions have continued between residents on both sides of the community in spite of the tensions created over flags and parades this summer.

Contacts for this project:

International Fund for Ireland

Seatem House
28-32 Alfred Street
Belfast
BT2 8EN

Tel: +44 (0)28 9031 2884    

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For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.

Belfast Office

International Fund for Ireland
Seatem House
28-32 Alfred St.
Belfast
BT2 8EN

+44 (0)28 9031 2884

Dublin Office

PO Box 2000
Dublin 2

+353 1 408 2130


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