Volume 29, Issue 2, 2019
Sean Byrne, Ashleigh Cummer
Understanding Peacebuilding in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland
A View From Grassroots Peacebuilders
Two qualitative data sets from 2010 and 2016 are compared to explore the respondents’ perceptions of peacebuilding in the wake of the 1998 Belfast Agreement (BA) and the ensuing peace process. Fifty-two Civil Society Organization (CSO) leaders from Londonderry/Derry were interviewed during the summer of 2010 to delve into their perceptions of the BA, and building cross community contact through peacebuilding and reconciliation processes. The International Fund for Ireland and the European Union Peace Fund funded these respondents CSO peacebuilding projects. They held many viewpoints on peacebuilding. Seven grassroots peacebuilders from Derry/Londonderry were interviewed in 2016. These peacebuilders revealed that Northern Ireland has a long way to go to build an authentic and genuine peace. A key stumbling block to the Northern Ireland peace process is heightened societal segregation that results from the BA institutionalizing sectarianism, and the recent fallout from Brexit. Politicians continue to refuse addressing the past that has long-term implications for peace.