Taking Down Belfast's Peace Walls: A discussion of recent research and policy challenges
About the topic: This talk will present findings from a new survey of public attitudes about peace walls in Northern Ireland. In 1969, an Army Major who oversaw the construction of Northern Ireland’s first peace wall said: “This is a temporary measure…we do not want to see another Berlin wall situation in Western Europe…it will be gone by Christmas.” In 2013, the wall still remains and almost 100 additional walls and barriers now complement the original. A draft government report, leaked in January 2013, suggests that these peace walls should be brought down by 2022. Understanding public attitudes towards such a potential move is critical for both policy-makers and practitioners on the ground, and may help shape the formulation and implementation of future peace walls policies.
About the Speaker: Dr. Cathy Gormley-Heenan is the Director of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. As a senior lecturer in public policy and politics, her research interests include the framing and reframing of policy issues, the politics of divided societies, state crime, and British and Irish politics. She is the author of Political Leadership and the Northern Ireland Peace Process, as well as a co-author of the edited volumes Teaching Politics and International Relations, and The Anglo-Irish Agreement, Rethinking Its Legacy. She serves on the editorial board of the journals Politics and State Crime and is a member of the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council's Peer Review College. She also serves on the national executive committee of the UK's Political Studies Association (PSA).