The final substantive chapter explores the difficulty and importance of achieving reconciliation after the Agreement. Groups in Northern Ireland need to focus more on taking responsibility for their role in continuing sectarian differences rather than looking for reconciliation from or with others. Previous research has stressed the need for reconciliation, social learning, and dialogue as key mechanisms that allow a transformation of former enemies. Memory studies have recently looked to constructivism and studies of international norms in analysing the resilience of collective memory and the politics of apology, while commemoration studies have increasingly explored questions of globalisation and the transfer of internationally recognized tropes in producing memorial cultures. The chapter maps the various initiatives and policy proposals that have been developed in Northern Ireland, which have increasingly looked not only to international examples, but also the importance of cultivating US involvement.
The ‘Sunningdale experiment’ of 1973-74 witnessed the first attempt at establishing peace in Northern Ireland based on power-sharing. However, its provisions, particularly the cross-border ‘Council of Ireland’, proved to be a step too far. The experiment floundered amidst ongoing paramilitary-led violence and collapsed in May 1974 as a result of the Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. Yet, many of the ideas first articulated in this period would resonate in later attempts to cultivate peace and foster a democratic. This collection asks what became of those ideas and what lessons can we learn looking back on Sunningdale over forty years hence. Drawing on a range of new scholarship from some of the key political historians working on the period, this book presents a series of reflections on how key protagonists struggled with ideas concerning ‘power-sharing’ and an ‘Irish dimension’ and how those struggles inhibited a deepening of democracy and the ending of violence for so long. The book will be essential reading for any student of the Northern Irish conflict and for readers with a general interest in the contemporary history of British-Irish governmental relations.
This book examines how the conflict affects people's daily behaviour in reinforcing sectarian or ghettoised notions and norms. It also examines whether and to what extent everyday life became normalised in the decade after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA). Cross-border commerce has been the stuff of everyday life ever since the partition of Ireland back in 1921. The book outlines how sectarianism and segregation are sustained and extended through the routine and mundane decisions that people make in their everyday lives. It explores the role of integrated education in breaking down residual sectarianism in Northern Ireland. The book examines the potential of the non-statutory Shared Education Programme (SEP) for fostering greater and more meaningful contact between pupils across the ethno-religious divide. It then focuses on women's involvement or women's marginalisation in society and politics. In considering women's political participation post-devolution, mention should be made of activities in the women's sector which created momentum for women's participation prior to the GFA. The book deals with the roles of those outside formal politics who engage in peace-making and everyday politics. It explores the fate of the Northern Irish Civic Forum and the role of section 75 of the 1998 Northern Ireland Act in creating more inclusive policy-making. Finally, the book explains how cross-border trade, shopping and economic development more generally, also employment and access to health services, affect how people navigate ethno-national differences; and how people cope with and seek to move beyond working-class isolation and social segregation.
The introductory chapter provides a brief contextual overview of the Sunningdale agreement, the ways in which it was interpreted and explained, the lessons that political actors drew from it, and questions concerning its ramifications for subsequent political developments in Northern Ireland. It goes on to set out the rationale for the book – namely, the absence of any sustained investigation of how the agreement influenced subsequent (generations of) political actors in Northern Ireland. The chapter outlines the key questions that contributors will explore in greater depth surrounding the implications that the 1973-1974 power-sharing experiment and its failure had for political developments in Northern Ireland. The chapter concludes with a short description of how each chapter develops these themes and how the individual chapters relate to each other.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores how depoliticisation of Northern Irish society is occurring at the level of everyday life in Northern Ireland. It examines how it is being resisted and how, in spite of the apparent enshrinement of an unquestioning acceptance of the benevolence of the current political leaders, a politics of normality is emerging from the years of conflict. The book explores the argument that conflict management should mean more than simply security-based or violence-related initiatives; rather, a 'sustainable peace is dependent on the political, economic and social choices which the relative absence of violence allows'. It also explores the role of integrated education in breaking down residual sectarianism in Northern Ireland. The book focuses on women's involvement or women's marginalisation in society and politics.