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Eamonn O'Kane

The peace process in Northern Ireland resulted in an outcome that few expected – a sustained power-sharing government headed by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin, via a route that no one envisaged. The fact that the peace process period resulted in such an apparent success in Northern Ireland, ending Europe’s longest running post-war conflict, explains the

in The Northern Ireland peace process
An interview with Sean O hUiginn
Graham Spencer

Graham Spencer: How far back was it when you started to pick up signs that a peace process could be emerging? Sean O hUiginn: It would have been in the late 1980s. The Hume–Adams dialogue, as reflected in the exchanges between the SDLP and Sinn Fein published in 1988, gave a very significant pointer to something new. The traditional republican view derived a supposed authority from a doctrine as arcane as that of the hidden Imam, which would have been comical except that some people felt justified in

in Inside Accounts, Volume I
Sandra Buchanan

10 Assessing external funding supports for the Northern Ireland peace process Sandra Buchanan In moving from violence to peace, most practical (and theoretical) efforts have concentrated on the removal of direct violence through top-level political engagement, usually over the short term. Academic narratives of the Northern Ireland (NI) peace process have, in the main, been no different. However, conflict transformation requires a long-term approach not over years but rather decades, or indeed, as Richmond notes, ‘generations and life spans. Otherwise, it runs

in Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland
Timothy J. White

11 Cooperation theory and the Northern Ireland peace process Timothy J. White Cooperation theory stresses the interconnectedness of leaders’ decision-­ making.1 Recent research has highlighted how a process of dynamic change can lead to cooperation and peace among historic rivals. This chapter employs a theory of cooperation first conceived by Axelrod and later developed by others and applies it to explain the Northern Ireland peace process. Scholars who have analysed Northern Ireland have tended to focus on the evolution of a single actor’s policy, especially

in Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland
From armed conflict to Brexit
Author: Eamonn O'Kane

The peace process in Northern Ireland has been widely praised for resolving the longest running post-war conflict in Europe. However, there is often misunderstanding about what happened in Northern Ireland and why. Drawing on a wide range of sources, this book offers an analysis of the origin, development and outcome of the peace process. It argues that the changes that Northern Ireland experienced from the early 1990s can only be understood if they are examined in the context of the time in which they occurred. It challenges some of the criticisms of the peace process that have emerged in recent years and argues these are based on either a misunderstanding of the purpose of the process or on information that was not available to the main actors at the time. The peace process was primarily an attempt to persuade those groups using violence to abandon their armed campaigns, rather than a specific attempt to create a fairer or more just society. The question became how this could be achieved and at what cost? The book charts and explains the ongoing challenges faced by Northern Ireland as it seeks to transition from a conflict to a post-conflict society. It highlights the lack of trust that has been a continuing and, at times, debilitating feature of the region’s politics since 1998. It concludes by considering the extent to which Brexit offers a challenge that might undermine the progress that has been made during Northern Ireland’s ‘messy’ and unpredictable peace process.

A constructivist realist critique of idealism and conservative realism
Paul Dixon

1 The ‘real’ and ‘dirty’ politics of the Northern Ireland peace process: a constructivist realist critique of idealism and conservative realism Paul Dixon The Northern Ireland peace process has been an astonishing achievement that was unanticipated when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) declared its ceasefire in 1994. Less than four years later the principal political parties accepted a deal, and this has been the foundation for a much more peaceful Northern Ireland. The Good Friday (or Belfast) Agreement was built on the negotiations and leadership of moderate

in Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland
P. J. McLoughlin

4 Assessing the importance of ideas and agency in the Northern Ireland peace process P. J. McLoughlin Both the outbreak of the Northern Ireland conflict in the late 1960s, and the gradual movement towards a peaceful settlement from the early 1990s, resulted from significant structural changes – both in the region itself, and a wider British–Irish space. Indeed, major changes in the political economy of both the UK and Ireland in the post-Second World War period, particularly the development of the British welfare state, created a new opportunity structure for

in Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland
Negotiating the Agreement, 1997–1998
Eamonn O'Kane

SDLP in abandoning the inclusive aspirations of the peace process and returning to an exclusion-based approach, neither was there any willingness to allow Sinn Féin into the talks whilst the IRA’s violence continued. Politically, the focus became how to create conditions that would lead to the IRA restoring their ceasefire and enabling Sinn Féin to enter talks. However, the IRA showed little

in The Northern Ireland peace process
Eamonn O'Kane

The peace process took further shape and was given momentum by the Downing Street Declaration (DSD) signed by the British and Irish governments on the 15 December 1993. The DSD was the culmination of sporadic talks over two years between the two governments and wider consultation with the parties in Northern Ireland. By December 1993 the governments had prioritised the peace process and

in The Northern Ireland peace process
A veiled threat
Thomas J. Butko

–Israeli peace process as well as an instrument of political protest against an indigenous Arab regime. Hamas is an excellent case study with which to demonstrate the role religion performs in political conflict. Currently, Hamas is gaining in popular support due to renewed violence in the Middle East and the Palestinian population’s increased endorsement of suicide or ‘martyrdom’ operations against

in Redefining security in the Middle East