Tom Ekin: We need to speed up the removing of all barriers

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

I was delighted to read that Junior Minister Fearon said that the Executive was committed to removing all Interface barriers within seven years.

I wonder what has changed in the last year.

When I was in City Council some years ago I raised the need for normalising our city by removing barriers to normal city living.

At the time of the first mention of the “Towards Better Understanding” programme and the stated goal of removing all “Peace Walls”, there was no coherent plan or leadership towards achieving that goal.

Various bodies were doing uncoordinated work. The only effective achievers were those bodies who owned the land and had money and authority to do the improvements.

Others spent an inordinate amount of time working their way through a treacle of non interest.

It is in the interest of all citizens of Belfast and indeed the wider Northern Ireland that this programme of Removing All Barriers is progressed speedily, despite the protestations of some people who pretend that they have the interests of people at heart.

It is difficult, it requires sensitivity and it requires leadership.

The success of developing the Laganside was largely due to a body set up to do the job, and it worked.

Why not set up a body with the resources, authority and sensitivity to remove all barriers.

The people of Belfast need and deserve speed of achievement.

Tom Ekin, Belfast