say that Brexit presented the biggest crisis for both parts of Ireland since the island was partitioned by Britain in 1921. The key reasons relate to its implications for the Irish border and the integrity of the Belfast/GoodFridayAgreement and peace process more broadly. The prospect of the re-emergence of a hard physical border resulting from a policy agenda driven by a British government in London, which directly contravened the democratically expressed wishes of those in Northern Ireland, was anathema for many of those who supported the GFA
However much I dislike it, I do believe that the GoodFridayAgreement gives a democratic basis to partition. And that people have the right to disagree with me on it. And much as I dislike the decision they have made, I don’t feel I have any grounds whatsoever for violently overthrowing their Agreement.
Anthony McIntyre, interview with the author, Dublin, 3 April 2013
If republican leaders are to do anything in their own time it is about making republicanism relevant in their
This book argues that Brexit is the most significant event in the political history of Northern Ireland since partition in 1921. It explains why Brexit presents unique challenges for Northern Ireland and why the future of the Irish border is so significant for the peace process. The book assesses the impact of the Brexit referendum in June 2016 and subsequent negotiations between the UK government and the EU on the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and on political stability in Northern Ireland. It explores the way in which Brexit brought contested political identities back into the foreground of political debate in Northern Ireland and how the future of the Irish border became an emblem for conflicting British and Irish visions of the future. The book argues that Brexit is breaking peace in Northern Ireland by underlining and reviving the binary identities of Britishness and Irishness that had been more malleable under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. It demonstrates how the Brexit negotiations have undermined the key pillars of the Good Friday Agreement and wider peace process in Northern Ireland; the ‘consent’ principle; the right to self-define national identity as British, Irish or both; and through the steady decline in Anglo-Irish relations since 2016. In 2021 Northern Ireland will commemorate its centenary, but Brexit, more than any other event in that 100-year history, has jeopardised its very existence.
Newspapers, magazines and pamphlets have always been central, almost sacred, forms of communication within Irish republican political culture. While social media is becoming the primary ideological battleground in many democracies, Irish republicanism steadfastly expresses itself in the traditional forms of activist journalism. Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters is a long-term analysis of the development of Irish republican activist media since 1998 and the tumultuous years following the end of the Troubles. It is the first in-depth analysis of the newspapers, magazines and online spaces in which the differing strands of Irish republicanism developed and were articulated during a period where schism and dissent defined a return to violence. Based on an analysis of Irish republican media outlets as well as interviews with the key activists that produced them, this book provides a compelling long-term snapshot of a political ideology in transition. It reveals how Irish Republicanism was moulded by the twin forces of the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the violent internal ideological schism that threatened a return to the ‘bad old days’ of the Troubles. This book is vital for those studying Irish politics and those interestedin activism as it provides new insights into the role that modern activist media forms have played in the ideological development of a 200-year-old political tradition.
This study is the most comprehensive account yet of how the Irish Government worked to bring the Northern Ireland conflict to an end. Based on single long-form interviews with key officials it throws new light on how tensions and problems that emerged in the search for peace were confronted and overcome to bring about the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This first of two volumes looks at previous attempts to develop peace as with Sunningdale and the Anglo-Irish Agreement before focusing on the foundations of the peace process that followed. The interviews reveal the iterative nature of the peace process and through the voices of those on the inside provide the most dramatic and authoritative picture yet of how that process came to change the course of history. Taking the reader into the heart of the negotiating room, this study provides an invaluable series of testimonies about Irish Government efforts to end conflict in Northern Ireland.
This book assesses the security threat and political challenges offered by dissident Irish republicanism to the Northern Irish peace process. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement failed to end entirely armed republicanism. The movement of Sinn Féin into constitutional politics in a government of Northern Ireland and the eschewing of militarism that followed, including disbandment of the Provisional IRA (PIRA), the decommissioning of weapons and the supporting of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) proved too much for a minority of republicans. This book begins by examining Sinn Féin’s evolution from the margins of political existence to becoming mainstream constitutional players. It then assesses how the compromises associated with these changes have been rejected by republican ‘dissidents’. In order to explore the heterogeneity of contemporary Irish republicanism this book draws upon in-depth interviews and analyses the strategies and tactics of various dissident republican groups. This analysis is used to outline the political and military challenges posed by dissidents to Northern Ireland in a post-Good Friday Agreement context as well as examine the response of the British state towards continuing violence. This discussion places the state response to armed republicanism in Northern Ireland within the broader debate on counter-terrorism after 9/11.
The book explores the politics of the most important Irish nationalist leader of his generation, and one of the most influential figures of twentieth-century Ireland, the Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume. Given his central role in the reformulation of Irish nationalist ideology, and the vital part he played in drawing violent republicanism into democratic politics, it shows Hume to be one of the chief architects of the Northern Ireland peace process, and a key figure in the making of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. At the same time, the book considers Hume's failure in what he stated to be his foremost political objective: the conciliation of the two communities in Northern Ireland.
This book provides an analysis of the politics, ideology and strategy of ‘dissident’ Irish republicans. Based on the largest survey of ‘dissidents’ to date, it offers unprecedented insight into who the ‘dissidents’ are and what they hope to achieve. The ninety interviewees for this book comprise members of ‘dissident’ groups, independents, elected representatives, current prisoners in Maghaberry prison, former senior members of the Provisional Movement and individuals who were active in the Republican Movement prior to the formation of the Provisionals in 1969. This book provides insight into the Provisional–‘dissident’ divide regarding tactics-versus-principles, a debate which strikes to the heart of republicanism. Uniquely, through interviews with key players, this book presents the mainstream Sinn Féin narrative, thus providing an insight into the contested narratives of these two worlds which encompass former comrades. This book locates ‘dissident’ republicanism historically, within the long trajectory of republican struggle, and demonstrates the cyclical nature of key debates within the republican leadership. Personal testimonies of key players demonstrate a nuanced spectrum of opinion on the current armed campaign regarding utility and morality; and republican views are presented on whether or not there should be any republican prisoners at present. Through unique interviews with a spokespersons for the Continuity and REAL IRAs, this book delves into the psyche of those involved in the armed campaign. Key themes explored throughout the book include the drawling of the fault lines, the varied strands of ‘dissidence’, ceasefires and decommissioning, the Good Friday Agreement, policing, ‘IRA policing’, legitimacy and mandates.
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.
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.