Brian Hanley
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‘Practically a foreign country’?
in The impact of the Troubles on the Republic of Ireland, 1968–79
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In 1966, Tim Pat Coogan suggested that 'the level of physical contact between North and South is low. The average Southerner does not go North either for holidays or day excursions.' Whatever about attitudes towards Britain, opinions about Northern Ireland's Unionists remained largely hostile throughout the decade. This was despite substantial rethinking on the subject among sections of the political and academic elite. During the early stages of the conflict, some asserted that if the south wanted a united Ireland it would have to make concessions on 'liberal' issues. Even for those who professed little interest in it, the northern conflict formed a backdrop to almost all aspects of life throughout the 1970s. There was no corner of southern society that remained unaffected. The economy, the state's relationship with Britain, popular culture and debates about social change were all linked at some stage to the 'Troubles'.

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