Divisions between north and south Ireland were prevalent since the 1920s. Yet, until the 1970s, nobody in public life in the Republic of Ireland argued that partition was justified. This book examines in detail the impact of the Northern Irish Troubles on southern Irish society during the period 1968-79. It begins with the aftermath of the civil rights march in Derry in October 1968 and traces the reaction to the events until the autumn of 1972. The impact of August 1969, the aftermath of internment and the response to Bloody Sunday are examined. The book looks at violence south of the border, particularly bombings and shootings and their human cost, and examines state security, censorship and the popular protests associated with these issues. A general outlook at the changing attitudes to refugees and northern nationalists is provided before describing the impact of the conflict on southern Protestants. The controversies concerning the Irish Republican Army and their activities are highlighted. The book looks at the question of revisionism and how debates about history were played out in academia as well as at a popular level. A variety of social and cultural responses to the conflict are examined, including attitudes to Britain and northern Unionists. For many southerners, Ulster was practically a foreign country and Northern Ireland did not seem very Irish. By 1979, the prospect of an end to the conflict seemed dim.
recognised and understood master signifier for a very particular and essentially hegemonic reading of the nature of contemporary Irish society. The precise substance of this ideological programme will be examined in detail later in this chapter. In part, the ideas and concerns that circulate within the figure of the Celtic Tiger articulate the interests and experiences of certain sections of southern Irish society. The distinctive ideological enterprise that has come to hold sway within the twenty-six counties in recent times also draws upon a set of perspectives that are
disadvantages for poorer elements of southern Irish society, who are especially reliant upon public services. Widespread criticism has emerged, for example, over the state of the health service, which has produced growing pressure on people to take out private medical insurance. The average time spent on a waiting list is sixteen weeks for a medical cardholder but only eight weeks for someone on private insurance.47 The main reason for this has been the systematic policy of under-funding the health service until very recently. Total health expenditure per head of population
position. In the context of practical Irish politics postnationalist literature could, however, play a role in breaking up the logjam of sectarianism, but remarkably few writes have chosen to deal with both Northern and Southern Irish society. ‘The state divide conditions the imaginative horizons of Irish novelists on both sides of the border’, as Joe Cleary observes, and both nationalism and postnationalism have become connected with the states, not the island.11 To question ‘nationalism’ must at some level also include a questioning of ‘nation’ as its basis, and the