Conclusion
in Unfinished business
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The conclusion locates ‘dissidents’ within the long trajectory of Irish republicanism and highlights major themes which are presented throughout the book, including betrayal by the Provisional leadership, rejection of the mainstream normalisation agenda, rejection of reformism, rationale for the PIRA campaign, the ‘winding down’ of the campaign and an assertion of traditional republican principles. The emergence of ‘dissident’ republicanism in 1986 is explored, as well as the narrative which argues that prisoners were used by the Provisional leadership to effect change, citing interviews with individuals who were in the Provisional Movement during that period. A nuanced description of 1986 is presented through interviews with members of the 32CSM who remained with the Provisionals for tactical reasons. Further, interviews are detailed with individuals who departed the Provisionals after 1998 who have centred their opposition around suppression of dissent, rather than ideological changes. The conclusion argues that the organising principles and culture of groups have been influenced by the perceived failings of the Provisional Movement; resulting in the adoption of absolutist positions in an attempt to avoid the slippery slope to constitutionalism. Finally, the conclusion examines the significance of Brexit, the 2016 Westminster elections and the 2017 collapse of Stormont for ‘dissident’ republicanism.

Unfinished business

The politics of ‘dissident’ Irish republicanism

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