What Northern Irish government and nongovernment agencies are involved in the Northern Ireland Peace Walls?
The Northern Irish government and non-government agencies involved in the Northern Ireland Peace Walls are the International Fund for Ireland, the Belfast Interface Project, the Northern Ireland Department of Justice, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, and the Community Relations Council. They have different projects such as the Interface Programme, Peace Walls Programme, and the Inner East Outer West project aimed at promoting peace among communities around the walls and facilitating the removal of walls upon the agreement the communities.
THE NORTHERN IRELAND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
The department, which is a government agency, has a program known as the Interface Programme whose aim is to remove all the peace walls by the year 2023 as planned by the Northern Ireland Executive. Its Fresh Start strategy will contribute to conditions aimed at removing peace walls through building confidence and relationships. The Department of Justice is responsible for 50 interface structures in Portadown, Belfast, Derry, and Lurgan.
THE NORTHERN IRELAND HOUSING EXECUTIVE
This is another government agency that owns the peace walls. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive owns 20 peace walls out of the existing 109. It has been involved in the removal of peace walls, and in February 2017, it removed a brick wall that had existed for over 30 years at Ardoyne on Crumlin Road. It made a film that documents the removal of the wall. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive built walls in 15 different locations. By removing the wall at Ardoyne, it portrayed the willingness to remove the walls it helped to construct. It has vowed to support communities in bringing down the peace walls. The communities decided to remove the wall after years of talking and building relationships. The residents around the area helped to create a family-friendly landscaped area and in designing decorative panels.
THE COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL
This is also a government agency, established in 1990 to support and lead change towards tolerance, mutual trust, and reconciliation. It promotes inter-community and inter-cultural relations in Northern Ireland. The organization identifies and develops successful ways of building peace and reconciliation in partnership with organizations, the government, and local people. The agency advocates for the appreciation of the interdependence of citizens and challenges racism, sectarianism, and all violence driven by hate. It provides financial support and guidance on policy and development that promote the building of peace and good relations through community engagement, sharing of best practices, and civic leadership. It believes in equity, openness, diversity, and fairness as the foundation for reconciled, peaceful, and interdependent society.
THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR IRELAND
The International Fund for Ireland is a non-government agency involved in the removing of peace walls in Northern Ireland. It has a Peace Walls Programme that assists residents to feel that it is safe enough for them to remove the walls. The program was launched in 2012 and aims to develop and deliver various relationship building and confidence interventions between and within interface communities. The strategic objectives of the Peace Walls Programme include encouraging dialogue, reconciliation, and contact between Nationalists and Unionists in the interface areas and building trust and relationship to promote peace. It also seeks to promote economic progress, promote social advance to improve safety and well-being, facilitate dialogue, and build a platform for future successful interventions.
It also has the Peace Impact Programme that was launched in 2013 that delivers positive and real community transformation using sensitive interventions in communities that have not yet participated in peace building initiatives or only participated partially. The aim of the programme is to build sustainable prosperity and peace in areas that suffer from high levels of social and economic deprivation.
THE BELFAST INTERFACE PROJECT
The Belfast Interface Project is a non-government agency that was established in the year 1995 to communicate and examine the problem of interfaces in Belfast. Its work encompasses policy development, research, mediation, advocacy, and on the ground delivery. It documents pictures and locations of different peace walls all over Belfast to provide useful information to people considering change, removal, and reclassification of barriers.
The mission of the project is to support creative approaches that help in the regeneration of interface areas in Belfast. It aims to advocate for change and influence policy, advocate with people and agencies to address safety issues in interface communities, and support the development of positive relationships in interface communities. Its major projects are the Inner East Outer West project and the Youth Engagement project. The Inner East Outer West project facilitates groups of young people who are hard to reach and involved in antisocial behavior and adults to meet and discuss attitudes and perspectives on their identities and develop better relationships. The Youth Engagement project works with community-based project partners to recruit and retain people aged 12 to 18 years old to discuss issues such as crime, mental health issues, build trust and confidence, and build relationships.
The government and non-government agencies involved in the Northern Ireland Peace Walls are the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the Community Relations Council, the Northern Ireland Department of Justice, the International Fund for Ireland, the Belfast Interface Project. They have projects such as the Peace Walls Programme, the Inner East Outer West project, and the Interface Program that promote peace among communities and work towards removing the walls when the surrounding communities agree.
If you would like Wonder to continue this research and find the contact details for major artists that painted some of the wall sections, please feel free to submit a follow-up request so a fellow analyst can pick up where we left off!