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Sunday 26 March 2017

Our political leaders must not abandon the troubled North

A loyalist supporter challenges PSNI officers after an Orange Order parade
A loyalist supporter challenges PSNI officers after an Orange Order parade
Eamon Delaney

Eamon Delaney

IT is one of the ironies of the peace process that it seems to have reinforced partition. With the end of The Troubles, the two parts of the island have sadly drifted apart, political and culturally.

The mentality in the Republic seems to be that "the situation is all sorted, so we can ignore it". This is the very opposite of what was supposed to happen with the settlement, certainly from the point of Sinn Fein, or even the Irish Government - when the latter actually had a view on the situation.

In fact, the North hasn't bedded down. Far from it, and the effective withdrawal of the Irish and British governments from the equation is partly to blame for that. Almost every week now, there are new rows about political identity, flags and parades as well as attacks on Orange halls and GAA clubs. Sectarianism is deep rooted and both sides play to their tribal base.

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