With the establishment of the state of Northern Ireland, the unionist government under Lord Londonderry attempted to create a singular education system. However, this was met with significant opposition by both Catholic and Protestant churches, and the initiative failed. Instead, the Protestant churches agreed to transfer their primary schools to state control in exchange for full funding of both running and capital expenditure, while the Catholic Church was also granted full funding of the running expenditure of its primary schools and was allowed to maintain formal ownership and control provided it raised a proportion of capital expenditure. (Boyle p. 40) (The Catholic maintained system was subsequently fully publicly funded.) The result is what we now know as Northern Ireland’s segregated education system.



According to the CAIN (Conflict Archive in the Internet) website, a peace line or peace wall are “physical barriers between the Protestant/Loyalist community and the Catholic/Nationalist community in certain areas in Northern Ireland”.

These walls are usually constructed of concrete, stone and/or steel, and can be over six meters tall. Some even have gates in them that allow passage during daytime and are closed at night. Accompanying the creation of these interfaces were interface community groups: those residents who lived alongside the walls. Although interfaces are widely acknowledged as features of most urban areas across Northern Ireland, it is also important to recognize that segregation is a feature of life in all parts of the country, including rural communities.


Hope must lie with the children of Israel/Palestine

LEONARD AllanHope must lie with the children of Israel/Palestine: Professor Padraig O’Malley talk at Queen’s University Belfast
by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
21 October 2015

Professor Padraig O’Malley gave a bleak prognosis of the Israel/Palestine peace negotiations, calling the two-state proposal ‘delusional’.

Acting on shared experiences: FCT 2011 report launch

20120612 FCT Report cover

Acting on shared experiences: FCT 2011 report launch
by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
12 June 2012

At Parliament Buildings, where the Northern Ireland Assembly sits, I was responsible for organising an event for our Forum for Cities in Transition project, which is an international network of mayors, councillors, municipal officials, business people, and representatives of the voluntary and community sector.


FCT Director encourages greater Northern Ireland international involvment

20120510 FCT Padraig IMG_1292

LEONARD AllanFCT Director encourages greater Northern Ireland international involvement
by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
11 May 2012 

The Director of the Forum for Cities in Transition, Professor Padraig O’Malley, was in Belfast for the day. I quickly organised a series of meetings to increase awareness of this project and encourage greater involvement by those who are already formal members of the Forum, as well as by those who are doing excellent work in this regard.


Divided Cities conference

20090413 FCT Divided Cities poster

LEONARD AllanDivided Cities conference
By Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
13 April 2009

I’ve arrived in Boston for a 3-day conference on divided cities, with delegates from Kirkuk (Iraq), Mitrovica (Kosovo/Serbia), Nicosia (Cyprus), Derry-Londonderry and Belfast (Northern Ireland). I had some responsibility in securing delegates from Nicosia, as well as Derry-Londonderry and Belfast.