Arbitrators try to broker Ardoyne peace wall deal

 

Independent arbitrators were called in today in an attempt to reach agreement over plans to build a new peace wall in north Belfast.

With both sides on the Ardoyne Road unable to agree measures over a road re-alignment at the interface near Holy Cross Primary School, First Minister Mr David Trimble and his deputy Mr Mark Durkan decided to make a move.

The arbitrators - conflict consultants Ms Sue Williams and Mr Steve Williams - have been instructed to make recommendations by the end of July even if agreement has not been reached.

Mr Trimble and Mr Durkan said they hoped that all sides would work constructively to resolve problems before the start of the new school term in September.

Nationalist parents have opposed the building of a wall because it would block out their view of the school.

Father Aidan Troy, chairman of Holy Cross Board of Governors gave a cautious welcome to the announcement.

But he warned that the arbitrators must begin without any preconceived notions on how to resolve the problem.

"I will work all of July and August if we are sitting down with a blank sheet of paper but if the opening line is that the wall is there anyway, then we have big problems," he added.

PA