The Blanket

Has the Peace Process Delivered?

Davy Carlin • Andersonstown News 20/6/2002

Many have articulated their reasoning as to why the rise of sectarianism has developed within our society and the attacks on interface areas. Yet it is of equal importance as to how to deliver an end to this violence with its potential impact on wider society. When I look at the growth of anti agreement loyalism and through the aspects of their bigotry I see in it both the reflection to a large extent of a growing confusion combined with lack of the widely perceived practical delivery to both them and the areas they represent. So with this situation they have attempted to continue as always to intensify the marking of their own territory while in tandem trying to impact further both within the loyalist community and wider working class areas. This strategy, if indeed that, will give rise to tension within the loyalist groupings which can and will continually spill into working class nationalist areas while attempting to increasingly both widen and intensify the situation. Yet as always it is the working class areas that bear mostly the brunt of such violence which is often articulated as an ongoing perception of such areas.

The 'peace process' as often stated is not perfect yet no real attempts to rectify this is forthcoming. As the 'peace walls' grow more numerical and higher the mindsets of such communities will grow more entrenched and bitter. In reality we have seen such working class estates facing huge cuts in funding to community and social initiatives. And people living in those areas can see the repercussions of this. How does closing adult training centres, youth clubs, advice centres, mother and toddler clubs, youth links for teenagers, recreational centres, community halls in their scores in the most social and deprived areas enhance the peace process? How can people’s expectations of not only the peace process but of them selves and their surroundings be enhanced when the little resources through recreation, training and housing is continually worsening or taken off them? How can they believe there is any real change when they see their children facing the same and in cases worsening economic and social impacts on their lives?

In reality such working class people from similar estates have and are born into a society with both inadequate and unfair economic support and funding, leading to a social perception which develops through in many cases to continual alienation, This lasts into and through adulthood, thus very possibly then inherited by their children. So the vicious circle continues. From the onset working class people’s opportunities fall far behind those in differing areas, with health, education, careers and life expectations all with constant obstacles put against them because of social background and this will grow as funding is continually cut.

Therefore expectations or lack of are not only enhanced but concretized both socially and economically due to the material conditions and confined-defined parameter of their social upbringing. Yet just a glimpse around a working class estate will find a wealth of talent through art, music, sport, academic achievement, cultural etc, against all the odds of the established obstacles put against them. Would this not be for the betterment of society if peoples could develop their talents in this direction rather than being sucked into the vacuum of violence? Yet initially while attempting to unite our class this can be forwarded if government sees this as a priority not only politically but economically and socially. The potential though still lies far behind the possibilities due to the still discriminative agenda of economic and social exclusiveness. Such estates have so much to offer but are and have been held back by a perceived political and economic agenda which needs to be addressed if normality is to be found then sustained. Monies can be found in the tens of millions to stabilise or to bail out bad management of private companies. Can it therefore not be found for those areas that have borne the brunt of the troubles and help bring back some stability to those areas and more importantly to the lives of the people that live there?




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To accomplish great things,
we must not only act,
but also dream;
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but also believe.
- Anatole France

Index: Current Articles

4 July 2002


Other Articles From This Issue:


Is Class Politics a Possibility?

Billy Mitchell


What Values Drive Irish Republicanism Today?
Paul Fitzsimmons

Ministers of Silly Words

Anthony McIntyre

Has the Peace Process Delivered?
Davy Carlin


30 June 2002


Remembering the Future

Ciarán Irvine


Behind the Scenes at the World Cup
Billy Mitchell

Conformity - A Disease

Anthony McIntyre

Aldergrove Solidarity
Davy Carlin




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