- Hide menu
VIEW FILM HERE
In a new online film about the peace process in Northern Ireland for PBS’s Frontline World, Irish journalist Niall McKay takes a journey to Belfast, and finds that the hard work of forgiving has begun. Niall McKay and Marissa Aroy’s film introduces Catholics and Protestants who are trying to heal their communities and find ways to talk to each other across old divides.
A production of the media factory for Frontline World
Frontline World PDF’s can be found here
An Uneasy Peace has settled over Northern Irelandâ€™s catholic and protestant communities. Last summer the IRA decommissioned its weapons and the British withdrew their troops from streets. Many people are working hard to rebuild their communities after 36 years of violence. An organization called â€œHealing Through Rememberingâ€ is endeavoring to build cross community understanding by getting the both catholic and protestant victims of the Troubles to share their stories with each other. Will the peace last? Niall McKay and Marissa Aroy went to Belfast last summer to find out.
The Falls Road, in the Catholic district of the city has improved a great deal in the past few years. The new community-owned and run Irish language center, called Culturlann houses a restaurant, a theatre, an art gallery, a radio station and a bookshop. Irish language classes are also held here. It has become the focal point for the Catholic community on the Falls Road. There is a Gealtacht or Irish speaking region in West Belfast and the Irish language is undergoing a revival in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, up to 4000 children are educated in Irish.
Ironically, the Irish language revival has its roots in the troubles. Republican (Catholic prisoners) were required to speak the Irish language so that the (protestant) prison guards could not understand them. This was jokingly referred to as the “Jailtach (a play on the world Gaeltacht). For more information go to wikipedia.org.
Clara Ni Ghiolla is a DJ for the Radio Feirste, an Irish language radio station based in the Culturlann community center.
Healing Through Remembering
Healing Through Remembering is a cross-community project which is trying to foster cross community understanding by getting the Catholics and Protestants to share their stories during the troubles. The project is somewhat loosely based on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Gearoid Hamilton, volunteers for Community Watch, an organization that patrols the Catholic housing estates on weekend nights to keep the local youths in check. Catholic communities still mistrust the new (and by all accounts much improved Police Service of Northern Ireland PSNI) and are more likely to call their local Sinn Fein councillor when they have a complaint.
Statue of Queen Victoria that stands outside Belfast City Hall.
These days shoppers go about their business with out the fear of bombs blasts. Belfast is now much like any European City.
Black cabs are uses a bus service in both catholic and protestant areas. Commuters flag a cab, pay a pound and share the cab with up to six other commuters. They are also used for Belfast’s busy tourism industry, bringing foreigners around the trouble spots and murals.
A brother and sister cycle their bikes by the thirteen mile peace wall that separates the Catholic and Protestant housing projects. What did they think of the troubles? “Ahh,” answered the little boy.
Terry Enright is a well-known Belfast environmentalist whose son was shot dead out side of a Belfast Nightclub in 1998.
In any given housing project on a Friday night kids for six to sixteen hang around the stores. The Police Service of Northern Ireland rarely patrol the catholic areas as they are not welcome. Here a West Belfast Youth club works with the local kids.
Willy Frasier is a controversal character in Northern Ireland. He is opposed to the Anglo Irish Agreement. Catholics see him as obstructive to the peace process. As a Catholic (they can tell because I have a Southern Irish accent) I was a little nervous of meeting him. But like every body in Northern Ireland he was very welcoming.