The Washington PostThe Washington Post

25 years after Good Friday Agreement, cold peace prevails in Northern Ireland

By William Booth and Amanda Ferguson

11 Apr 2023 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

Despite the power-sharing provision enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland hasn't had a functioning government for months. The Post reports on the lingering divisions in Belfast.

BELFAST - "Peace walls," they call them. Separation barriers topped with spikes. They were supposed to come down by now, 25 years after the Good Friday Agreement ended the horrors of three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. But still they stand. As a symbol, embarrassment and necessity.

On Lanark Way, the barrier separates the mostly Catholic Falls Road from the mostly Protestant Shankill Road. A faded mural reads: "The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war." It is both a popular tourist site and a scene of what locals call "recreational rioting." The rusted gates open every morning and close with a clang at 10:30 p.m. every night, effectively limiting free movement in a modern European capital.

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