From Partition to Brexit

From Partition to Brexit is the first book to chart the political and ideological evolution of Irish government policy towards Northern Ireland from the partition of the country in 1921 to the present day. Based on extensive original research, this groundbreaking work assesses the achievements and failures of successive Dublin administrations, evaluating the obstacles faced and the strategies used to overcome them. Challenging the idea that Dublin has pursued a consistent set of objectives and policies towards Northern Ireland, this timely study reveals a dynamic story of changing priorities. The picture that emerges is one of complex and sometimes contradictory processes underpinning the Irish Government’s approach to the conflict.

Drawing on extensive archival research and interviews, the author explores and explains the gap between the rhetorical objective of Irish unity and actual priorities, such as stability within Northern Ireland and the security of the Irish state. The book explains why attempts during the 1990s to manage the conflict in Northern Ireland ultimately proved successful when previous efforts had foundered. Identifying key evolutionary trends, From Partition to Brexit demonstrates how in its relations with the British Government, Dublin has been transformed from spurned supplicant to vital partner in determining Northern Ireland’s future, a partnership jeopardised by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

Informed, robust and innovative, From Partition to Brexit is essential reading for anyone interested in Irish or British history and politics, and will appeal to students of diplomacy, international relations and conflict studies.

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‘Brilliant, lucid and thought-provoking - required reading for anyone who wants to understand relations between these islands and the importance of the Border.'
David McCullagh. Presenter of the current affairs television programme Prime Time, and Political Correspondent with RTÉ News

‘Ó Beacháin has made good use of governmental papers and political party archives and he has conducted interviews with a wide range of Irish and British politicians. He has marshalled these sources into a text that is admirably clear and informative … Brexit has raised profound questions regarding the relationship between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as the relationship between Ireland and Britain. How the Irish government attempts to answer these questions will play a part in shaping the futures of both Ireland and the United Kingdom. Given the fine manner in which Ó Beacháin has explained the Northern Ireland policies of successive Irish governments, he would be ideally placed to write the next chapter of that history.
Small States and Territories
February 2020

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