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Impact Lead: Dr Jonny Byrne

This was a £146,850.00 ESRC Knowledge Exchange Award (2015) involving UU and the Interface Action Team of the Department of Justice (NI). Over a 12-month period we developed a knowledge exchange partnership to support and develop policy and practice enabling the removal of peace walls in Northern Ireland (2015). Over the duration of the project we were located within the department and acted as ‘critical friends’, and as formative evaluators of their policy implementation process around aspects of the Programme for Government that related to peace walls. Through a series of knowledge exchange activities a safe space for academics, policy makers and practitioners was established to discuss the difficulties of policy implementation in a divided society and to identify, monitor and evaluate practical solutions.

Underpinning Research

To date the relevant Knowledge Exchange outputs from the project include:

  • Byrne, Jonny, Gormley-Heenan, Cathy, Morrow, Duncan and Sturgeon, Brendan (2015) The IFI Peace Walls Programme 2012-2015: an evaluation. 73 pp. [Confidential report)
  • Byrne, Jonny, Gormley-Heenan, Cathy, and Morrow, Duncan  (2015) Removing Peace Walls under T:BUC –Scoping Study
  • Byrne, Jonny, Gormley-Heenan, Cathy, Morrow, Duncan and Sturgeon, Brendan (2015) Public Attitudes to Peace Walls.
  • Byrne, Jonny, Gormley-Heenan, Cathy and Morrow, Duncan (2015) Removing Peace Walls and Public Policy (3): the challenge of engaging communities. ESRC. 4 pp.
  • Gormley-Heenan, Cathy, Morrow, Duncan and Byrne, Jonny (2015) Removing Peace Walls and Public Policy (1): the challenge of definition and design. ESRC. 4 pp.
  • Gormley-Heenan, Cathy, Morrow, Duncan and Byrne, Jonny (2015) Inter Agency Working towards removing Peace Walls. xx pp.
  • Morrow, Duncan, Byrne, Jonny and Gormley-Heenan, Cathy (2015) Removing Peace Walls and Public Policy 2: The Challenge of Delivery. ESRC. 4 pp.
  • Morrow, Duncan, Byrne, Jonny and Gormley-Heenan, Cathy (2015) Strategic and Operation Planning for Removing Peace Walls by 2023:  DoJ Priorities.
  • Morrow, Duncan, Byrne, Jonny, Gormley-Heenan, Cathy and Sturgeon, Brendan (2014) Witten Submission: ‘Inquiry into Building a United Community’, Belfast: Committee of OFMDFM.


Community and Partner Engagement has included in relation to this project has included the Department of Justice, the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), North Belfast Interface Network, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), Belfast City Council, the Inter-Community Partnership (ICP), the Inter-Agency Group (IAG), the Special European Union Programme Body (SEUPB), the Community Relations Council (CRC), the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), INTERCOMM, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Greater Whitewell Community Surgery, the Suffolk and Lenadoon Interface Group (SLIG), Lower Oldpark Community Association (LOCA), Cliftonville Community Regeneration Forum (CCRF), Black Mountain Shared Space Project (BMSSP), Twaddell, Ardoyne, Shankill, Crumlin In Transition (TASCIT), Duncairn Community Partnership, Saint Columbs Park House (SCPH), TRIAX, Belfast Conflict Resolution Consortium, and the Strategic Investment Board (SIB).


  • Engagement with the Committee of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in respect of their recent Inquiry into a United Community (2014-15)
  • The Committee’s Final Report on their Inquiry into a United Community (2014-15) made reference our earlier work on our 2012 peace wall attitudinal survey. The Office of the First and Deputy Fist Minister (OFMDFM) subsequently produced a response to the key conclusions and recommendations contained within the Committee Report, and also referenced the ESRC funded work undertaken by the team
  • Referenced in a Ministerial response to a written question by Barry McElduff (SF) AQO 8908/11-16, (answered 21 October 2015).
  • Presented Work at the Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)  - a collaborative partnership between the Northern Ireland Assembly and academia which seeks to bring the findings to the attention of key participants and decision-makers in the policy and law-making processes in Northern Ireland, such as MLAs and Assembly committees, as well as the wider public sector.

Future Related Work

Successful submission of an application to the ESRC’s Administrative Data Research Network for a new and related project based on the needs (emerging findings) identified through our partnership with the Department of Justice (2016). We spent 2016 analysing the data from the vast array of data sets provided to us through the study. In August 2016 we produced a report (and currently developing academic papers and presentations) that highlighted the socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the areas designated as proximate to the peace walls (work on-going)

Led to further engagement with senior policy-makers and practitioners connected to the NI Executive's Peace Walls Implementation Strategy and other stakeholders who have been tasked with progressing the implementation of the peace walls initiative over the next six years. Anticipated outputs:

  • 3 policy briefs – will support the new programme for government
  • Academic article (2) on policy making in a divided society