Sunday 4 December 2016

Mary Kenny... neighbourhood watch

It's not just schools that influence kids - the life around them does too

Published 30/08/2015 | 02:30

Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny

It pains me to hear it suggested that Irish people are religious bigots because they have gone to different faith schools; it just doesn't accord with my experience. Anyway, neighbourhood life is as influential in the formation of attitudes as school ethos, and I applauded Martin McAleese's recent interview in which he said that he had a strong understanding of Ulster loyalists because he grew up in east Belfast.

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This understanding he gained early in life - which included an element of verbal abuse - helped him, when married to the President, to bring about more dialogue and reconciliation.

The neighbourhood in which I grew up had a strong mixture of Catholics and Protestants (in an era when faith identities really did matter); and although we all went to our own denominational schools, we played together harmoniously and the adults mingled and made friends amicably.

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