My post titled “The Past Still Haunts the Present” has been published on the “15 Years On” blog.
The blog was set up to mark the 15th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and to stimulate conversation about where we go from here. It is described this way on the “15 Years On” website:
We are a group of individuals working in peacebuilding, peace research, cross-border and cross-community organisations who have come together to discuss how we might use 2013 to reflect on the successes and failures of the 15 years since the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and how we might learn from those experiences to do better in the future.
In late 2012 we began a year-long conversation about the progress of peace and cooperation in Northern Ireland, and about where we should go from here. We plan this conversation to take place largely online, leading to a culminating event sometime in autumn 2013.
We agree on some of the successes of the past 15 years:
- Power-sharing institutions have been built and sustained
- Relations between the British and Irish governments have never been better
- The North-South architecture is functioning well
- Policing is on its way to being successfully reformed, although distrust remains in some communities
- There has been a dramatic fall in politically-inspired violence
- The EU has contributed major funding for peace and cooperation
- Many community/voluntary groups continue to deliver successful peacebuilding programes
We also agree on some of the failures:
- Segregation of communities is reflected in the increased number of ‘peace walls’
- There is no agreed policy on a ‘shared society’
- There is no Bill of Rights or Civic Forum
- There are still paramilitaries on the streets and considerable alienation in some communities
- There has been only a small ‘peace dividend’ for disadvantaged communities
- The economy is frail and remains overwhelmingly dependent on the public sector
- There is little or no movement on the promotion of women in decision-making
We are starting an online conversation about these successes and failures and where we should go from here on http://15yearson.wordpress.com.
Other contributors to the conversation thus far have included Monica McWilliams, Duncan Morrow, Peter Sheridan, Anne Carr, Alan Smith and Barbara Walshe.