Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

New peaceline 'must not be permanent'

Erection 'sad symbol of the wider costs of sectarianism'

A commons campaign has been launched to stop a new peaceline at a Belfast primary school becoming permanent.



Labour MP David Anderson called the £250,000 25ft fence at Hazelwood Integrated Primary in the north of the city a "sad symbol of the wider costs of sectarianism" and demanded a review in 12 months to assess if it was still needed.

In an Early Day Motion in parliament he also urged officials to do more to " foster reconciliation and understanding between different communities in Northern Ireland and save public money".

It adds that the House "regrets the decision to erect a heavy-grade 25ft security fence in the playground of Hazelwood Integrated Primary School in North Belfast at a cost of £250,000 and urges a full review of the security fence at Hazelwood a year after its construction to ensure this temporary measure does not join so many others in becoming permanent."

The peaceline plans were drawn up after a spate of arson attacks on nearby houses between 2005 and 2006.

Although there has been no trouble at the site over the last year officials pushed ahead with the contentious proposals after security assessments by the PSNI, which were signed off by Security Minister Paul Goggins.

But critics claim it is a worrying move and last month Lord Dubs called on the Government to drop plans.

The motion adds: "In 2006 the government commissioned Deloitte to produce a report entitled Research into the Financial Cost of the Northern Ireland Divide and the report of April 2007 revealed almost £1.5bn on policing, education, housing, health and other provisions is spent annually from the public purse on duplicated services and urges policy-makers to encourage and facilitate integrated education, particularly in teacher training, as well as collaboration between different school sectors as part of concerted and longer-term efforts to foster reconciliation and understanding between different communities in Northern Ireland and save public money."

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