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A model for export?
Author: Robin Wilson

Northern Ireland is no longer the relentless headline-maker in the global media it once was, when multiple killings and bombings provided a daily diet of depressing news and images. This book commences with a review of the literature on essentialism and then in the three domains: what has come to be known as 'identity politics'; the nature of nationalism; and power-sharing models for divided societies. It draws out implications for key aspects of the Northern Ireland problem. The book is based on secondary sources on Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (B-H). A key resource is the independent journalistic network in the Balkans responsible for the production of Balkan Insight, successor to the Balkan Crisis Report, a regular e-mail newsletter. The book explores how policy-makers in London and Dublin, unenlightened by the benefit of hindsight, grappled with the unfamiliar crisis that exploded in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s. It shows that a taken-for-granted communalism has had very negative effects on societies recently driven by ethnic conflict. The book argues that conflicts such as that in Northern Ireland can only be adequately understood within a broader and more complex philosophical frame, freed of the appealing simplifications of essentialism. More than a decade on from the Belfast agreement, the sectarian 'force field' of antagonism in Northern Ireland remained as strong as ever. Unionism and nationalism may be antagonistic but as individual affiliations 'Britishness' and 'Irishness', still less Protestantism and Catholicism, need not be antagonistic.

Addressing the consequences of conflict and trauma in Northern Ireland
Author: David Bolton

Conflict poses considerable challenges for services that support communities, and in particular those affected by violence. This book describes the work undertaken in Omagh against the background of the most recent period of violent conflict in Ireland, and specifically it draws upon the work following the Omagh bombing. The bombing came just four months after the Northern Ireland peace agreement, known formally as the Belfast Agreement of 1998, and more informally as the Good Friday Agreement. The book describes the impact of the bomb and the early responses. Local trade unions, employers and the business community played key roles at times, particularly in underlining the need for solidarity and in identifying themselves with the desire for peace. The book looks at the outcome of needs-assessments undertaken following the Omagh bombing. The efforts to understand the mental health and related impact of the violence associated with the Troubles in Northern Ireland over the period 1969 to 2015 are focused in detail. The later efforts to build services for the benefit of the wider population are described, drawing upon the lessons gained in responding to the Omagh bombing. The developments in therapy, in training and education, and in research and advocacy are described with reference to the work of the Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation (NICTT). The book draws together key conclusions about the approaches that could be taken to address mental health and well-being as an essential component of a peace-building project.

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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.

The Belfast Agreement, ‘equivalence of rights’ and the North–South dimension
Colm O’Cinneide

. However, there appears to be little appetite south of the border to take similar steps to tackle inequality seriously. This difference is all the more notable given that the Belfast Agreement requires Ireland to provide an equivalent level of protection for human rights as applies in Northern Ireland, a requirement which would appear to cover the right to equality and non

in Everyday life after the Irish conflict
Bernadette C. Hayes and Ian McAllister

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
Robin Wilson

Introduction More than a decade on from the Belfast agreement, the sectarian ‘force field’ of antagonism in Northern Ireland (Wright, 1987: 286) remained as strong as ever. The agreement certainly did nothing to stem this polarisation, which was exacerbated by the manner of its implementation. This sub-optimal outcome can be traced to a combination of structural weaknesses

in The Northern Ireland experience of conflict and agreement
Robin Wilson

negotiation of the Belfast agreement was to achieve a ‘practical’ outcome, nevertheless: ‘If they could agree on anything, if they’d agreed that the moon was made of blue cheese was the sort of ludicrous example I used to give, we would have been happy – sure, fine, okay.’ 3 Yet the specifics of constitutional design matter: the fact that some or all of the contending parties endorse a

in The Northern Ireland experience of conflict and agreement
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Colin Coulter and Michael Murray

detailed, multi-faceted and wide-ranging. The Belfast Agreement seeks to address and resolve a series of relationships – those between people living either side of the Irish border and either side of the Irish sea – that are understood to be at the heart of the ‘Northern Ireland problem’. The principal concern of the document is inevitably, however, to mend the often troubled relations between unionists and nationalists living in the region. In essence, the deal struck at Stormont represents an attempt to reach an honourable compromise between the ambitions and

in Northern Ireland after the troubles
Northern Ireland since 1972
James Mitchell

responsibility on Northern Ireland. Trimble contributed to a paper that argued that ‘Ulster would be an independent republic within the Commonwealth and we can envisage cross-border co-operation on matters of mutual interest. Indeed it might be possible to expand this into some community of the British Isles for all the people of these islands, English, Scots, Welsh, Ulstermen and Irishmen are in fact independent’ (Ibid.: 62). This idea would percolate down the years and find partial expression in the 1998 Belfast Agreement. As late as 1988, Trimble continued to make the case

in Devolution in the UK
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Bernadette C. Hayes and Ian McAllister

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