Cranmore Co-op Visit Stormont and Belfast

 

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A cross border visit to Belfast was embarked on by Cranmore Community Co-operative and residents of Cranmore on Monday the 26th of November. This was undertaken as part of their programme of work under Peace 11 Border Action and was co-ordinated with the assistance of local councilor Chris Mc Manus.

The trip was widely advertised amongst the Cranmore Community and resulted in a good response with a group of twenty five adults and fifteen youths participating.

The programme for the day agreed by the committee was for a short tour of Stormont and a courtesy meeting with Deputy First Minister of the Northern Assembly Martin Mc Guinness.

Following the meeting with Mr Mc Guinness a short tour was arranged and included a talk on the architecture of the building as well as its history. The group were fascinated with this aspect of the visit. One of the interesting facts was that during World War 2 it was necessary to paint the building black to make it more difficult to see from air as Belfast was targeted regularly. Cow manure was mixed with paint to blacken it and it took seven years to remove following the war. This was done with a wire brush and lots of elbow grease.

The tour guide also took the group into the assembly room formerly used a Senate Chamber and gave an interesting talk on the procedures of the chamber and comments on a number of paintings hanging there.

The Stormont visit was followed by a tour organized by Coiste, a Cross-party group which consists mainly of ex-prisoners and who are now engaged in walking tours of The Falls Road and Shankill Road areas. The tours are conducted by a representative of both sides formerly involved in the Northern Ireland conflict and each guide gives a background on their view of the past and how they see the Peace Process evolving. Areas of interest were visited with explanations of what happened on certain dates during the troubles as well as viewings of murals and memorial areas.

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