Robert Ireland and John Bryars are from opposite sides of the 40-foot concrete walls that still embody the sectarian divide in Belfast. Fifteen years after a peace agreement was supposed to replace violence with prosperity, they are united only by unemployment.
Hours after Barack Obama stood in Belfast last week praising efforts to bring down the city’s 40- foot barricades, a few hundred yards away Jim Callaghan was stamping out a gasoline bomb tossed near his home in western Europe’s last divided city.
Belfast store clerk Chantal McCarthy never thought she would have to find a new home at the age of 57. That was before her husband lost his job as a builder three years ago and their finances spiraled downward from there.