Deal to remove Northern Ireland sectarian walls precedes G8 meet

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 13, 2013 7:12 PM
Deal to remove Northern Ireland sectarian walls precedes G8 meet

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and Northern Ireland will unveil an agreement on Friday aimed at removing physical walls separating Catholic and Protestant communities in the British province over the next 10 years.

The agreement comes as Northern Ireland, which along with Britain is part of the United Kingdom, will be the setting next week for a meeting of the world's eight major economies (G8).

The meeting will be chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is hoping to use it to attract investment to the economically struggling province.

In the deal aimed at breaking down economic and physical barriers left behind by the region's troubled past, the Catholic and Protestant communities will also agree to boost investment and temporarily allow Northern Ireland to borrow more money.

The region will also get help to develop its infrastructure and to create new jobs.

"This agreement is a symbol of our ambitious vision for Northern Ireland - a genuinely shared society that is fulfilling its economic potential and strengthening the foundations for peace, stability and prosperity for the future," Cameron said.

A 1998 peace deal largely ended more than three decades of violence in the province between mainly Catholic Irish nationalists seeking union with Ireland and predominantly Protestant Loyalists who want to remain part of the UK.

'Believe Women' Is Perilous Baloney
Michelle Malkin

Cameron and the head of the devolved Northern Irish government Peter Robinson will meet in London to agree the deal ahead of the G8 meeting.

The agreement will include new regeneration programs and measures to better integrate Catholic and Protestant schools and housing, while paving the way for former defense ministry houses and land to be used for civilian purposes.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Michael Roddy)