Mary Kenny... neighbourhood watch
It's not just schools that influence kids - the life around them does too
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.
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.