First published in 1997, this volume responded to the peace process of the 1980s and 1990s between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, emerging just prior to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. It constituted one of the first major academic examinations of the attempts to bring peace to Northern Ireland in the 1990’s, and explores the historical origins of the process, before moving towards a critical account of the role of political parties in the development of the peace process. Critics have argued equally that the process was a sham, tactically repositioning Irish republicanism, and that it provided a framework for reconciliation or even conflict resolution. This book outlines the political changes which allowed the peace process to develop, along with analysing specific themes divided into three broad sections: the general aims of the peace process, the political perspectives and the issues under discussion. Aiming to promote discussion, these contributors explore the origins and function of the peace process, followed by an analysis of political perspectives including the Unionists, the SDLP and Irish Republicanism. Finally, they consider key issues of interest for the peace process, including the ever-present border debate, security strategies, education, and economics, whilst Rachel Ward makes the case for the skilled contributions of women available to formal politics.
Part 1. Introduction and Overview. 1. Introduction. Chris Gilligan and Jon Tonge. 2. The Origins and Development of the Peace Process. Jon Tonge. 3. Peace or Pacification Process? A Brief Critique of the Peace Process. Chris Gilligan. Part 2. Political Perspectives. 4. Divided Loyalists, Divided Loyalties: Conflict and Continuities in Contemporary Unionist Ideology. James White McAuley. 5. Unity in Diversity? The SDLP and the Peace Process. Mark McGovern. 6. From the Centre to the Margins: the Slow Death of Irish Republicanism. Part 3. Issues in the Peace Process. 7. Cross-Border Cooperation and the Peace Process. Alan Greer. 8. Security Strategies in Northern Ireland: Consolidation or Reform? Paddy Hillyard. 9. Education: A Panacea for our Sectarian Ills? Kevin Rooney. 10. The Economics of the Peace Process. Pete Shirlow. 11. The Northern Ireland Peace Process: A Gender Issue? Rachel Ward. Part 4. Conclusion. 12. Conclusion. Chris Gilligan and Jon Tonge.
’...makes an important contribution to current debates around the peace process and identifies the key themes and trends.’ Irish Studies Review ’One of the essential difficulties arising from the situation in Northern Ireland in recent years has been the willingness of many participants to either employ ambiguous language or to adopt seemingly contradictory positions. Several of the best sections of this volume are particularly strong on highlighting and analysing instances of such obfuscation.’ Political Studies