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Politics and society in Northern Ireland over half a century

After three decades of violence, Northern Ireland has experienced unprecedented peace. It is now generally accepted that the peace accord which ended the Northern Ireland conflict, the 1998 Belfast Agreement, is an exemplar of this trend. This book examines the impact of the 1998 Agreement which halted the violence on the Northern Irish people. It covers changes in public opinion across all areas of society and politics, including elections, education, community relations and national identity. The surveys presented show that despite peace, Protestants and Catholics remain as deeply divided as ever. The book examines the development of the theory of consociationalism and how it has been woven into the intellectual debate about the nature of the Northern Ireland conflict. The role of religion in conflict transformation has emerged as an important issue in Northern Ireland. Ethnonationalism in Northern Ireland is fuelled by its multifaceted and complex nature. The constitutional position of Northern Ireland has been the topic of recurring debate since partition in 1920. The role of education in promoting social cohesion in post-conflict societies is often controversial. The book explores both the nature and extent of victimhood and the main perpetrators of the political violence. The key elements of a consociational approach include a grand coalition representing the main segments of society; proportionality in representation; community (segmental) autonomy; and mutual vetoes on key decisions. The main lesson of peace-making in Northern Ireland is that political reform has to be accompanied by social change across the society as a whole.

about the nature of the Northern Ireland conflict. We also examine the major criticisms of the theory. The various attempts to construct institutions to resolve the conflict are outlined in the second section, leading up to the 1998 Belfast Agreement. The 1998 Agreement and its aftermath is the topic of the third section, with a particular focus on the problems of implementing the main terms of the

in Conflict to peace
Lessons from the health sector

North-South cooperation is frequently hailed as one of the quiet success stories of the 1998 Belfast Agreement. When considered against what Conor Brady has described as the ‘cold, denying silence’ which characterised relations between Dublin and Belfast in the decades following partition (Brady, 2005: 7), there has without doubt been a sea

in Everyday life after the Irish conflict

. This chapter examines the trends in public opinion towards constitutional preferences, which reflect territorial aspirations. The first section examines the broad trends in constitutional preferences from 1968 to the present, but with a specific focus on the period since 1989. The second section examines the 1998 Belfast Agreement, without doubt the most successful attempt at a constitutional

in Conflict to peace
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On his first full day in office as US President in January 2009, Barack Obama appointed the chair of the talks leading to the 1998 Belfast agreement, 1 George Mitchell, as his Middle East envoy. Anticipating the decision, the Washington Post reported that the former Senate majority leader was ‘highly regarded as a negotiator for his work in the successful Northern Ireland peace process’. 2

in The Northern Ireland experience of conflict and agreement

reconciliation should fail (Nagle and Clancy, 2010 ). This chapter focuses on the nature and extent of victimhood in Northern Ireland and public attitudes towards how to deal with the injustices inflicted on them in the past. The first section outlines the nature of the 1998 Belfast Agreement with reference to the rights of victims. The second and third sections, using a range of official government statistics

in Conflict to peace
The political dynamics

influence. From the governance perspective, this equates to the construction of institutions which support the multi-level character of EU governance, including key roles for non-state actors. The introduction of devolution and the new institutions created by the 1998 Belfast Agreement bear witness to some of the features associated with EU governance. However, they also formalise, institutionalise and perhaps even strengthen state involvement in the process of regional governance. Suggestions therefore, that the EU has assisted in the promotion of ‘new politics’ in

in Northern Ireland and the European Union
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the integrationist approach, puts it, ‘My own preferred course involves the use of political incentives to encourage interethnic moderation’. The balance sheet The 1998 Belfast Agreement was a consociational model of power-sharing, albeit with a federal and confederal component (McGarry and O’Leary, 2009 ). Based on the principle of ‘parity in esteem’, a key assumption of the

in Conflict to peace
The external dynamics

allowing any such scenario to flourish. Northern Ireland’s recent experience nevertheless points to the ways in which a European region can manipulate its environment, exercise real impact and produce tangible outputs. With the help of its friends in Brussels, the region is playing clever, but only because it is allowed to do so by its friends in London. North–South cooperation and the EU: potentially novel, politically hampered The NSMC institutionalises cross-border relations on the island of Ireland and is one of the central components of the 1998 Belfast Agreement

in Northern Ireland and the European Union
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built around consociational principles. This process of peace-building has been accompanied by improved community relations and some degree of economic progress. The precise start date of this journey of change is difficult to pinpoint, but it has been visibly underway since the 1994 paramilitary ceasefires and the signing of the 1998 Belfast Agreement.1 This same twenty-year period coincides with an era of wider change across Europe. The widening and deepening of the European integration process has been apparent since the drive to complete the single market

in Northern Ireland and the European Union