The Community Relations Council in Northern Ireland says sectarianism remains deeply rooted in society there, despite the progress made in the peace process.

The issues are to be discussed at a conference in Belfast this week aimed at tackling division.

When the Good Friday Agreement which led eventually to the power-sharing government at Stormont was signed in 1998, there were 22 peace lines at Catholic and Protestant interfaces across Northern Ireland.

Today the number has quadrupled to 88 areas where the sectarian divide runs deep.

The council says that while there is a willingness to deal with the legacy of conflict and division, there are still many difficult issues to be addressed, such as segregation in education and housing, misuse of flags and emblems, and parades.

However, it also says there has been noteworthy progress in community relations in recent years and points to the new peace bridge across the River Foyle in Derry as offering considerable hope regarding what can be achieved.