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Europe Day 2017: My #EU60 story, James Higgins

News   •   May 05, 2017 15:48 BST

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My #EU60 story

The Ireland that I am from is often characterised by borders and division; a place where people are separated by nationality, culture, identity and belief. These borders are made of tin, brick and mortar and run along houses in Belfast, Derry and Portadown. They are also psychological, built on the ever pervasive concept of the other. People go to different schools, play different sports, attend different churches, even read different newspapers – all while living in the same place.

But while communities in Northern Ireland looked inwards, Europe opened up. The EU broke down borders between countries and people, and taught a generation to embrace diversity. Most importantly, the EU helped to build peace, and to unite people that were once defined by their opposition to one another. The EU brought investment, it brought jobs, and most importantly it brought a sense of perspective to Northern Ireland.

The EU means different things to different people, and many think of the Schuman Declaration, the seminal Treaties, even the fall of the Berlin Wall – but when I think of the EU I think of the peace and tranquillity around the steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone. 

James Higgins, Promotions Officer

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