The Great British Betrayal – This week on FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT
This is called “the British betrayal”. Britain has promised Brexit will not lead to the creation of a new border between the UK and Northern Ireland.
He broke that promise.
Now, the loyalists of the province – those who are united in union with Great Britain – feel abandoned.
“It’s almost like we should be ashamed of being British citizens, ashamed of our heritage and ashamed of our identity,” said a loyalist activist.
In the two decades since the Good Friday deal, Northern Ireland has maintained a troubled peace, but many are now questioning whether that peace will hold.
“What we have witnessed over the past five to ten years in particular is a more conflicted and divided political community â, said James, a social worker. âIt’s about celebrating battles, it’s about celebrating deathâ¦ conflict and rebellion.“
ABC London Office Manager Samantha hawley reports from Northern Ireland where Catholic and Protestant communities are still deeply divided and traumatized by “the unrest” – the bloody civil war that tore Northern Ireland apart for three decades, starting in the 1960s.
Recently, sectarian riots broke out in Belfast, sparked by the new maritime border.
“The whole area was completely filled with police in riot gearâ¦ and we had Molotov cocktails and everything,” says a resident, who had to move his children out of the area to bring them to safety.
Across the capital, the so-called âpeace wallsâ erected during the unrest still play an important role in separating hostile communities.
The emergence of new obscure paramilitary groups – small but violent is also worrying.
Two years ago, one of these groups – the “New IRA” – killed young journalist Lyra McKee who was on the streets of Londonderry in a riot.
“These are criminals who wear a mask of Irish republicanism to try to hide the fact that they are criminals”, said Lyra’s sister, Nichola. “In parts of Northern Ireland, even to this day, this kind of belief system gives them legitimacy.”
But the younger generation is determined to break free from the past. Many of the so-called âpeace babiesâ believe that ending social disadvantage is the key to breaking the grip of the paramilitaries.
“If we tackle division seriously, we must tackle it head-on … and act on the growth of poverty,” says Josh, a student from Belfast.
Watch Troubled Land on Foreign Correspondent – Thursday June 17 at 8 p.m. on ABC TV + ABC iview.
You can watch reruns on Friday at 1 p.m. (local) on ABC TV and on ABC NEWS on Friday at 12:30 a.m., Saturday at 9:30 p.m., Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (every hour AEST).