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Barrier issue part of a much bigger picture

Recent research by the University of Ulster (News, September 26) has confirmed the findings of the Community Relations Council's own consultations - that, in the long run, most people living in interface areas would like to see the barriers come down.

The UU survey shows 58% of peace-wall residents would like to see the walls come down now, or in the future, while the figure for the general population is 76%. The key to achieving this very visible physical change lies in establishing and strengthening the less visible cross-community relationships and connections that slowly begin to build trust.

The removal of security barriers can only be achieved by agreement.

Those living in the areas surrounding them have understandable concerns about their safety which need to be addressed.

They also have wider concerns about local regeneration, which must also be addressed if we are to build a shared stake in the development of our cities.

The removal of the barriers is, therefore, only part of a much bigger regeneration vision that must be built on safety, trust and equality of access to resources.

It is important that we build on the progress that has already been achieved.

The establishment by the Executive of a cross-departmental approach to interfaces is essential if confidence is to grow in a shared future without barriers.

JACQUELINE IRWIN

Chief executive

Community Relations Council

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