Page last updated at 10:23 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 11:23 UK
Forty years of peace lines



John's wall
The wall running through the back of John's garden

Most people have fences in their back garden but John - not his real name - has a peace line.

He moved into an interface area of north Belfast just over a year ago because the housing was more affordable than in the city centre while still being close to it.

John's wall was erected years before he moved into the area following a period of sectarian conflict, but it is now quiet.

When he talks about his wall he calls it "Northern Ireland sunscreen".

"I don't really notice it any more, it is like living beside a factory or a large wall, you just get used to it," he said.

If he had a choice he would get rid of the wall, and that most of his neighbours felt the same.

"I understand that it probably makes the area safer because people did want it there," he said.

He came from a rural area to the city and bought the house after the property bubble burst, but during a time when it was still hard for a first time buyer to get a mortgage.

"A three-bedroom house with a garden and parking spaces for two cars we couldn't have got that anywhere else," he said.

One thing that all the government agencies agree on is that walls can only come down with the consent of those they stand over.

John may have have to live in the shadow of his wall for some years yet.



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