was the role of the British and Irish Governments
in the Northern Ireland Peace Process? How much
did the military stalemate matter? What role did
paramilitary leaders play? What were the day-to-day
issues on the ground which at times threatened to
collapse the process? How different was the experience
of ordinary people on the ground from that of politicians?
How did people try to handle the past?
1998, a few months before the Belfast Agreement,
a group of Unionists, Nationalists, Loyalists, Republicans
and others, came together to form Community Dialogue.
The aim was to encourage understanding among groups
divided by the conflict. For the next five years
they ran residentials, seminars and conferences
in which people from opposing local communities
talked together about their fears and frustrations,
their hopes and resentments. The dialogue covered
issues such as the early release of prisoners, decommissioning,
policing, justice, the threats to their identity,
their feelings about a United Ireland. Peace Comes
Dropping Slow is a reflection on what they said.
it we can see echoes of the pain people felt at
losing loved ones in the violence, their frustration
when they thought their views were being ignored,
the difficulties they had understanding why others
acted the way they did. We can also hear the deep
longing of many for an end to violence and for a
new society in which people and their children are
safe, there is respect for different identities,
and people are no longer dominated by the past.
peace process in Northern Ireland is a tender plant.
Learning about its strengths and weaknesses is important
for its survival and continued growth. People in
other conflict situations can also learn what might
or might work in their context.
book is available directly from Community Dialogue
or on our web
Tel: 028 9032 9995
Belfast BT12 7DG