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MAR 07, 2013 - The Economist

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Northern Ireland: The melting pot

IT IS known locally as the “ratchet effect”. A Catholic or a Protestant feels unsafe living in a neighbourhood dominated by the other group and moves out. Others follow. “It reaches the point where that minority thinks, ‘uh oh, I’m the only one here’—and leaves,” explains Jennifer Hawthorne, of Northern Ireland’s state housing executive. “Once an area is segregated, they never come back.”The peace process notwithstanding, Northern Ireland remains a territorial place. North Belfast is criss-crossed by “peace walls”—high fences separating Catholic streets from Protestant ones. The province’s ... Read More

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