Northern Ireland: Peace On the March

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The fairytale peace in Northern Ireland faces its first reality check this week. A large dose of the history and tradition that has divided communities for centuries arrives with the marching season. Orange apprentice boys are already on the streets of Belfast -- and while police won’t let them march through Catholic areas, as they did during the tragic riots of two years ago, the overt Protestant presence is bound to cause some unease.

Meanwhile, both David Trimble and Gerry Adams prepare to do the camel-through-the-eye-of-the-needle routine -- by selling the Good Friday agreement to their hard-line memberships. Rank-and-file Ulster Unionists are upset about the cross-border committees, while their opposite numbers in Sinn Fein are loath to let Dublin give up its constitutional claim on the entire isle. As talks Chairman George Mitchell is keen to point out, this ain’t over by a long shot. “There are people on both sides who want to disrupt this process, who are committed to the way of violence,” the senator told ABC News. “I expect they will step up their activities.” And if there was ever a time for violence in the Ulster calendar, it’s marching season.