Peace in Northern Ireland, but Religious Divide Remains
Protesters have been out on the street in Belfast for the past two days in advance of an annual parade tomorrow. NewsHour special correspondent Kira Kay looks at the ongoing religious tensions 14 years after Ireland’s sectarian conflict formally ended.
KIRA KAY: It’s a compelling sight: the parades that wind their way down the Shankill Road in the heart of Belfast’s Protestant community.
This parade is one of the first of the so-called marching season, when during the summer months, Protestant Northern Ireland residents loyal to the United Kingdom commemorate a series of historic moments. The largest takes place tomorrow, July 12, honoring Protestant King William’s victory over his Catholic rival in 1690.
Wesley McCreedy has been marching the Shankill Road for 50 years.
WESLEY MCCREEDY, Marcher: It’s very much important the way of the Shankill Road. The Shankill Road are a very loyal people, a very worthwhile people, and they all stick together.
WOMAN: That’s what I was brought up to believe in, too. It’s my culture.
KIRA KAY: For Joanne Harrison and her husband, Tommy, the parades are a family tradition, but also a matter of self-preservation.
MAN: Have to keep the culture going.
WOMAN: Have to keep it going. We have to keep walking. It’s the queen’s road. It’s the queen’s highway
KIRA KAY: You have to keep it going, why?
WOMAN: Well, if we don’t, the other side is going to take over.
KIRA KAY: The other side she refers to are the Catholics living just a few blocks away. The Shankill is virtually encircled by Catholic neighborhoods.