Ulster Border Nine

Checkpoints symbolised sectarian Ireland

In the violent confrontations in the 1970’s 80’s and 90’s, checkpoints manned by British soldiers at border crossings became another image of our polarised society. The “Troubles” delayed the impact of UK and Irish joint membership of the European Union in 1973. Social repression, toxic traditions, and lack of opportunity in Northern Ireland led many of us to take the boat to England and beyond.

The #Peace Agreement of 1998 led o the withdrawal of British troops and the demolition of the Checkpoints. Working for Peace and Reconciliation on the #UlsterBorder prompted me to move back to Ireland with the hope of  #21st century, where we could put the binary narratives of #20th century behind us in a more co-operative Europe.

There was space for laughter at those binary stereotypes in the comedy, #Derry Girls, created by Lisa Mc Gee with its insight into teenage life in a post-Troubles Derry city. In an interview the actors from the TV series speak about the complexity of identity, about their own “learning curve” and how they appreciate that “We haven’t got that tension now” and “We don’t want to go back to that time.”  Post #Brexit, will we continue to reject the polarisation of #British Loyalist versus #IrishNationalism?

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