Bridge-building. That’s a popular term in modern-day parlance. Mary McAleese announced her presidency as one which would engage in bridge - building and it is Sinn Féin’s declared policy to build bridges of confidence between former adversaries.
As Mahatma Ghandi said when he was asked what he thought of Christianity, it would be a good idea. Mary McAleese may have had an Orange jamboree in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin, but there have been few signs of reciprocal goodwill from Orangeism this summer. But let’s leave metaphorical bridge-building - too depressing - and see if we can find solace in real bridge-building.
For example, Derry’s new pedestrian bridge links the City side to the Waterside. It ends on the Waterside at Ebrington Barracks, which was the base of the Parachute regiment on Bloody Sunday. This weekend, it was thronged, along with the rest of the city, with people enjoying music and craic as the annual Fleadh Cheoil na hÉeireann ventured north of the border for the first time. Estimates speak of 400,000+ visitors to the UK City of Culture, beginning with an applauded Apprentice Boys parade and ending with traditional Irish music. The bridge’s name? The peace bridge.
Meanwhile back in Ballymoney, they’ve erected a new bridge. One councillor, in the discussion regarding the naming of the bridge, noted that ‘The Railway Station was also the location of an historic moment in the town’s history when, during the Royal Couple’s Coronation tour of Northern Ireland the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, travelling by train, visited the town and were greeted by thousands”. That and the fact that the bridge was completed in the Jubilee year means it will be called Jubilee Way. The objection of some Sinn Féin councillors was ignored.
Some bridges link two sides. Some others just look like bridges but are actually piers.