Cauldrons of the Troubles yearn for normality

ON THE litter-strewn Shankill Road there was a sense of calm yesterday evening, broken only by the persistent but ignored ringing of a burglar alarm. Most shops were shuttered for the night and there were only a few people out.

The settlement, aimed at bringing peace to communities such as the Protestant Shankill, had been delivered a few hours earlier, but details were hazy and most people remained cautious. "I think it's better than nothing but we are going to have to wait and see how it goes," said Alan Irvine, 26, heading home from the video shop. "We've been at war for the past 30 years and it has got us nowhere." Mr Irvine, a father of two, said he was unlike many of the community's young people, who appeared less interested in the settlement than the older generation. "We will have to wait and reserve our judgement. There have been too many false dawns but everybody wants it to work."

Eileen Turkington, 54, and her friend Ann Donnelly, 49, were going to the Shankill Methodist Church. Both had lived through the Troubles and hoped the deal could bring peace. "People are browned off. Most of us just want to have a peaceful life without living in fear," said Mrs Turkington.

"As it is at the moment people are afraid to go out." Two doors down from the church stood the remains of a chip shop, destroyed in the early 1990s by a bomb. Four, five or maybe more people were killed by the republican atrocity; the ladies could not remember.

The Shankill Road of West Belfast runs largely parallel to the Catholic Falls Road, and not just geographically.While in the Falls Road you find the republican tricolour, here flies the Union flag; in the Falls Road the street murals show the IRA, while here the paintings of the masked men represent the UVF.

Parallel but close. On both the Falls and the Shankill most people want peace. Last night, there were no celebrations in the streets, the only drinks being taken behind the doors of shuttered pubs. But a 45-year-old man on his way home was quietly optimistic. "I think we have reached the stage from which we can move on," he said. "I think people genuinely want peace."

In her grocery store, Jean Whiteside, 68, said most people were decent. "I don't want violence for my grandchildren and I am sure the men with clubs and guns do not want violence for theirs."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower