Troubled Land

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Troubled Land

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BRITAIN’S NEW BREXIT BORDER HAS CAUSED TENSIONS TO RISE AGAIN IN NORTHERN IRELAND

Violence not seen for decades is back on the streets of Northern Island as Irish citizens protest Britain’s reintroduction of a border between the two.

This fascinating report examines what’s been called ‘the British betrayal’. Great Britain promised Brexit wouldn’t lead to the creation of a new border between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. It broke that promise. Now the province’s Loyalists – those welded to the union with Great Britain – are feeling abandoned.

In the two decades since the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland has kept a fractious peace, but many are now wondering if this peace will hold.

Today in Northern Ireland the mainly Catholic and Protestant communities are still deeply divided and traumatised by ‘the Troubles’ – the blood-stained civil war that tore Northern Ireland apart for three decades, from the 1960s.

Recently, sectarian riots broke out in Belfast, provoked by the new sea border. Scenes on the streets mirror the days of old where entire areas are filled by police in riot gear. Across the capital, the so called ‘Peace Walls’ erected during the Troubles still play an important role in keeping hostile communities apart.

Also disturbing is the emergence of shadowy new paramilitary groups – small but violent. Two years ago, one of these groups – ‘the New IRA’ - killed young reporter Lyra McKee who was on the streets of Londonderry during a riot. "They’re criminals who wear a mask of Irish republicanism to try and hide the fact that they’re criminals," says Lyra's sister Nichola. "In some parts of Northern Ireland, even to this day, that sort of belief system gives them legitimacy."

But the younger generation is determined to break free of the past. Many of the so-called ‘peace babies’ believe that ending social disadvantage is the key to breaking the grip of the paramilitaries.

A Foreign Correspondent story

Credits

Foreign Correspondent
Australian Broadcasting Corporation