Ceasefire Legacy

Published Thursday, 28 August 2014
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What do you think is the ceasefire legacy?

Opinions will differ of course.

But what we can say is Northern Ireland has changed beyond all recognition.

You only have to look at the skyline for proof of that.

None of this would have been possible if the so-called war was still going on.

Without doubt there has been massive progress - some believe not enough though.

Northern Ireland PLC has been up and running for some time.

This, despite the added problem of a world-wide recession.

The new and the old has attracted many tourists here from all over the globe. And in case you missed them while on holidays, several big cruise ships have docked here in recent weeks.

"If you had said to me 25 years ago that I would be driving around Belfast showing the murals I would have laughed, but that's where a lot of people are getting their wages from," says taxi driver Paddy Campbell.

"In 2012, more than seven and a half million people visited Belfast. That's more people than on this island."

Impressive...

But the foundations were laid years earlier...

Even before the ceasefire.

Lord Rana was the first to open an Indian restaurant on what became known as the Golden Mile in the centre of Belfast.

He said: "I was trying to set a good example so that others would reinvest in the city, not abandon the city."

Billy Wolsey didn't abandon his home city.

The entrepreneur expanded his business after the ceasefire and opened the Merchant Hotel in the heart of the city.

He believes there is too much bickering among our politicians - and that is stifling more progress.

"We have a fledgling democracy," he said. "But woe betide anyone who brings that down. I think the people of this country will not look favourably on any political party that pulls that down."

Post-conflict, division still exists.

The problems at interfaces are well documented.

Still unresolved: flags, parades, the past - and the paramilitaries haven't completely left the stage.

"Twenty years after the ceasefire, 16 years after the Good Friday Agreement, still having paramilitary groups, I can't understand why they exist. I don't give them any legitimacy," says Chief Constable George Hamilton.

"I think we need to be careful as a society not to become ambivalent or complacent to the existence of paramilitary groups."

Undoubtedly the security situation is better, but people are still facing many other struggles.

A fallout from the past - or were they always there? - hidden away from all the mayhem.

Others can judge that one.

But difficult decisions now lie head - those outstanding issues from the conflict, and the very real problems of the here and now.

The ceasefire legacy appears to be still unravelling...

© UTV News
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2 Comments
Hunter in Londonderry wrote (52 days ago):
How come scotland can get so close to independence without a bomb or a bullet spent!!
Will in Ards wrote (57 days ago):
I can say the troubles never really affected me much. Living out in the country gives you a different outlook on things. Most problems are in the cities and big towns. Had it affected me i would have left these shores long ago....
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Sharon O'Neill
Sharon O'Neill

Sharon is a graduate of the University of central Lancashire in Preston. She graduated with a 2:1 degree in journalism. She was a mature student - (though she didn't act it at times!)

After studying she freelanced for both the Irish News and Belfast Telegraph, then she was a sub-editor at the Daily Mirror despite some terrible spelling. Then she got a job as a reporter with the Irish News and two years later became their chief reporter.

She then moved to UTV and went in front of the camera, though she insists she's not a natural. She finds every day can be memorable in its own little way.

In her spare time she loves keeping fit, feeding her coffee addiction and the occasional dance.

Her phrase of choice is 'Let's check out of this cheap hotel'.

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