Barack Obama: Northern Ireland’s Peace Is Not Yet Secure
The US President told an audience in Belfast that many people in theprovince did not yet feel they had benefited from the fruits of the peace process.
“For all the strides that you’ve made there’s still much work to do. There’s still people who haven’t reaped the rewards of peace, those who aren’t convinced that the effort is worth it,” he said.
“There are still wounds that haven’t healed and communities where tension and mistrust hangs in the air. There are walls that still stand, there are still many miles to go.”
President Obama arrived in Northern Ireland on Monday morning after an overnight flight from Washington.
Acknowledging the reality of a sometimes-fragile peace, the American President recalled the Omagh bombings that killed 29 people and injured hundreds more.
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President Obama warned that the peace which had broken out between Protestants and Catholics would be tested again.
Speaking to an audience of teenagers at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall, he said: “Whenever your peace is attacked, you will have to choose whether to respond with the same bravery you’ve summoned so far. You will have to choose whether to keep going.”
The president specifically endorsed an end to segregated housing and schools, calling it an essential element of lasting peace.