Belfast

I have been away for the past four days on a trip to Belfast. I have never been overf to Ulster before and it was very interesting to see how the politicians over there operate. After decades of “the troubles” as the terrorism campaign waged by the IRA is referred to things have changed but in no way could things be described as back to normal.
We had a tour of Stormont where the Northern Ireland Assembly sits and we had meetings with both Ulster Unionist Party ( UUP ) and Democratic Unionist Party ( DUP ) politicians. We had a meeting with the Lord Mayor and the High Sherrif of Belfast who are presently occupying temporary accomodation away from City Hall as the City Hall building is closed for large scale renovations.
One of the most revealing meetings we had was with faith and community workers frim the Shankill Road. This was one of the most troubled areas and it was a real eye opener to hear how difficult things still are for volunteers who simply want to try and improve the lives of local residents.
It is clear that despite the peace process there is still a very long way to go before life in Ulster could be described as normal