Constitutional preferences
in Conflict to peace
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For most of the twentieth century, the issue of jurisdictional incongruence was at the heart of the Northern Ireland conflict. This chapter examines the trends in public opinion towards constitutional preferences, which reflect territorial aspirations. It also examines the broad trends in constitutional preferences from 1968 to the present, but with a specific focus on the period since 1989. The chapter discusses the 1998 Belfast Agreement, without doubt the most successful attempt at a constitutional settlement. It deals with patterns of post-1998 public opinion and specifically the erosion of consent among the Protestant community. The chapter explores the opinions towards devolved government since 1998 and tests the hypothesis that the two communities have become more enamoured of devolution. It assesses the potential for change and the extent to which the both Catholics and Protestants communities would accept a democratically expressed preference for Irish unity.

Conflict to peace

Politics and society in Northern Ireland over half a century

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