Tear down walls, Bloomberg tells Ireland


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on the leaders of Northern Ireland to take down the so-called “peace walls.”

The walls separate Catholic and Protestant communities in Belfast to attract more investment from U.S. companies.

Bloomberg spoke May 8 at a major investment conference in Belfast, where he met the Irish and British prime ministers, as well as the top ministers in the Northern Ireland assembly. He already has pledged to invest $150 million of New York City’s pension fund in companies in the troubled province as a spur to “peace and prosperity.”

Peace walls were built in the early 1970s to reduce sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, but have remained standing despite a long-standing cease-fire between Catholics and Protestants and political reconciliation.

Some supporters of Israel’s security fence along the West Bank have cited the peace walls as evidence that dividing hostile communities can be an effective step toward peace.

Bloomberg met Friday with London Mayor Boris Johnson, who defeated incumbent Ken Livingstone in last week’s election. Livingstone on several occasions spoke harshly about Israel.


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