Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland 9781526113955

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Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland

Table of contents :
Front matter
List of figures
List of tables
Notes on contributors
The ‘real’ and ‘dirty’ politics of the Northern Ireland peace process: a constructivist realist critique of idealism and conservative realism
Issues, leaders, and regimes: reaching settlement in Northern Ireland
Under the gun: Northern Ireland’s unique history with DDR
Assessing the importance of ideas and agency in the Northern Ireland peace process
The role of licit and illicit transnational networks during the Troubles
Gender, International Relations theory, and Northern Ireland
‘A serious moral question to be properly understood’: Catholic human rights discourse in Northern Ireland in the 1980s
Northern Ireland and the EU: applying a theory of multi-level governance
Peace and the private sector: Northern Ireland’s regional experience of globalised trends
Assessing external funding supports for the Northern Ireland peace process
Cooperation theory and the Northern Ireland peace process
Responsibility, justice, and reconciliation in Northern Ireland
Conclusion: Northern Ireland and International Relations theory

Citation preview

Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland

Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland Edited by Timothy J. White

Manchester University Press

Copyright © Manchester University Press 2017 While copyright in the volume as a whole is vested in Manchester University Press, copyright in individual chapters belongs to their respective authors, and no chapter may be reproduced wholly or in part without the express permission in writing of both author and publisher. Published by Manchester University Press Altrincham Street, Manchester M1 7JA British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data applied for

ISBN 978 1 7849 9528 7 hardback First published 2017 The publisher has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for any external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

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List of figures List of tables Notes on contributors Abbreviations

page vii viii ix xiii

Introduction Timothy J. White


  1 The ‘real’ and ‘dirty’ politics of the Northern Ireland peace ­process: a ­constructivist realist critique of idealism and c­ onservative realism Paul Dixon


  2 Issues, leaders, and regimes: reaching settlement in Northern Ireland 36 Andrew P. Owsiak   3 Under the gun: Northern Ireland’s unique history with DDR Carolyn Gallaher   4 Assessing the importance of ideas and agency in the Northern Ireland peace process P. J. McLoughlin



  5 The role of licit and illicit transnational networks during the Troubles 93 Devashree Gupta   6 Gender, International Relations theory, and Northern Ireland Máire Braniff and Sophie Whiting


  7 ‘A serious moral question to be properly understood’: Catholic human rights discourse in Northern Ireland in the 1980s Maria Power


  8 Northern Ireland and the EU: applying a theory of multi-level g ­ overnance Mary C. Murphy




  9 Peace and the private sector: Northern Ireland’s regional experience of globalised trends Katy Hayward and Eoin Magennis


10 Assessing external funding supports for the Northern Ireland peace process182 Sandra Buchanan 11 Cooperation theory and the Northern Ireland peace process Timothy J. White


12 Responsibility, justice, and reconciliation in Northern Ireland Cillian McGrattan



Conclusion: Northern Ireland and International Relations theory Timothy J. White



  5.1   5.2   5.3   9.1 11.1 11.2



11.5 11.6

Licit transnational networkpage 98 Illicit transnational network 101 Semi-licit transnational network 102 Typology of private sector contributions to a peace process 166 Prisoner’s dilemma matrix. Adapted from R. Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation (New York: Basic Books, 1984), p. 8  202 Gupta’s theory of selective engagement. Adapted from D. Gupta, ‘Selective engagement and its consequences for social movement organizations: Lessons from British policy in Northern Ireland’, Comparative Politics, 39:3 (2007), 331–51 207 Ó Dochartaigh’s long bargaining process. Model adopted from the a ­ rgument presented in N. Ó Dochartaigh, ‘The longest ­negotiations: British policy, IRA strategy and the making of the Northern Ireland peace settlement’, Political Studies, 63:1 (2015), 202–20208 Responding to bad behaviour. Adapted from J. Thomas, ‘Responding to bad behavior: How governments respond to terrorism’, American Journal of Political Science, 58:4 (2014), 804–18  208 Payoff matrix according to Brams and Togman. S. J. Brams and J. M. Togman, ‘Cooperation through threats: The Northern Ireland case’, PS: Political Science and Politics, 31:1 (1998), 33 209 Payoff matrix for devolution in 2007 212


1.1 2003 Northern Ireland Assembly election results and surveyspage 24 2.1 Preferences for a United Ireland in the Republic of Ireland 1942–201040 5.1  NORAID fundraising, 1977–90 104 5.2  Persuasive tactics by network type 105


Máire Braniff is Director of the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at the Ulster University, and her research expertise lies at the nexus of peace, justice, and truth-recovery. In her work she explores competing and conflicting narratives, relationships of power, and victimhood in a comparative and conceptual way. Brainiff’s areas of expertise include conflict resolution, legacies of violent conflict, memory and commemoration, victimhood, and peace agreements in the Balkans, Northern Ireland, South Caucasus, and Southeast Asia. Her monograph, Integrating the Balkans: From Conflict to EU Expansion, was published in 2011. Braniff’s co-authored books include: Inside the Democratic Unionist Party: From Protest to Power (Oxford University Press) and Conflict as Commemoration (Palgrave Macmillan). She is an Academic Friend of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO). Sandra Buchanan is Senior Staff member of Donegal Education and Training Board’s (ETB) Adult and Further Education Service. Previously, she worked for Co. Monaghan’s Vocational Education Committee. Buchanan holds a PhD from the University of Ulster in Conflict Transformation. Her book, Transforming Conflict through Social and Economic Development: Practice and Policy Lessons from Northern Ireland and the Border Counties,  was published by Manchester University Press in 2014. It is based on her transformation practice over the last eighteen years. She has also published in Irish Political Studies, Political Studies Review, and  The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest  as well as a chapter in Maria Power’s Building Peace in Northern Ireland (Liverpool University Press, 2011). Paul Dixon is Professor of Politics and International Studies at Kingston University. He edited The British Approach to Counterinsurgency: From Malaya and Northern Ireland to Iraq and Afghanistan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and has also published Northern Ireland Since 1969 (with Eamonn O’Kane, Pearson, 2010) and the second edition of Northern Ireland: The Politics of War and Peace (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). Dixon is completing a book on the Northern Ireland Peace Process with Routledge. He has carried out extensive



research on the Northern Ireland conflict and has published over thirty journal articles and book chapters. Carolyn Gallaher is Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. She is an expert on non-state armed groups and her work has focused primarily on right-wing paramilitaries. She has written two books on the topic. The first, On the Fault Line: Race, Class, and the American Patriot Movement (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003) examined the rise of a rightwing militia group in the state of Kentucky in the late 1990s. Her second book, After the Peace: Loyalist Paramilitaries in Post-accord Northern Ireland (Cornell, 2007) explains why loyalist paramilitaries took over ten years to decommission their weapons and stand down their troops. She has also published a number of articles and book chapters. Devashree Gupta is Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton College. Her research focuses on social movements and contentious politics in deeply divided societies, with a particular interest in the politics of Northern Ireland during and after the Troubles. She has published on variety of topics, including intra-movement competition between moderate and militant groups in Northern Ireland’s nationalist community, the political mobilisation of ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland, and the dynamics of transnational nationalist networks in the European Union. Gupta’s research has appeared in Comparative Politics,  Comparative European Politics, and  Mobilization, and she received the American Political Science Association’s British Politics Group’s Samuel H. Beer prize for her research on intra-movement factionalism in Northern Ireland and South Africa. Gupta has been a visiting fellow at Queen’s University Belfast as well as at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and is currently working on a book on contemporary social movements in comparative perspective, which is under contract with Polity Press. Katy Hayward is Senior Lecturer in Sociology in Queen’s University Belfast. Her teaching, research, and publications use political sociology to explore key issues of conflict and change on the island of Ireland. Her recent publications include the co-edited works Nationalism, Territory, and Organized Violence (with Niall Ó Dochartaigh, 2013), Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution: Debating Peace in Northern Ireland (with Catherine O’Donnell, 2011), and The Europeanization of Party Politics in Ireland – North and South (with Mary C. Murphy, 2010). Eoin Magennis, who holds a PhD from Queen’s University Belfast, is Policy Research Manager at InterTrade Ireland, the North/South business development body that promotes trade and business cooperation across the Irish border. He was formerly Research and Policy Officer at the Centre for Cross Border Studies and has published on cross-border cooperation, as well as in his other area of expertise, eighteenth-century Irish history.



Cillian McGrattan is Lecturer in Politics at the University of Ulster. He has previously taught at Swansea University and the University of the West of Scotland. He is the author of  Northern Ireland, 1968–2008: The Politics of Entrenchment  (Palgrave Macmillan 2010) and  Memory,  Politics and Identity: Haunted by History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). McGrattan co-authored with Aaron Edwards The Northern Ireland Conflict  (Oneworld, 2010) and co-edited with Elizabeth Meehan Everyday Life after the Irish Conflict: The Impact of Devolution and North-South Cooperation (Manchester University Press, 2012). He has also published numerous articles and book chapters and is currently writing a book on the politics of trauma (Routledge, forthcoming). McGrattan serves as Reviews Editor for Irish Political Studies. P. J. McLoughlin is Lecturer in the School of Politics, International Studies, and Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast. His research has focused on ethnic conflict, conflict resolution, politics in Northern Ireland, and especially the contributions of John Hume to the Northern Ireland peace process. He has published John Hume and the Revision of Irish Nationalism (Manchester University Press, 2010), numerous articles in journals such as Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Irish Political Studies, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, and many others. He has also published several book chapters. Mary C. Murphy is Lecturer in the Department of Government at University College Cork (UCC). Her research primarily focuses on the EU and Northern Ireland politics and has been published in the  British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Ethnopolitics,  Irish Political Studies, and Parliamentary Affairs. In addition, she has contributed numerous book chapters to edited volumes. Manchester University Press published Murphy’s  Northern Ireland and the EU: The Dynamics of Governance in 2014. She co-edited The Europeanisation of Party Politics in Ireland – North and South  (Routledge, 2010) with Katy Hayward. Murphy is the President of the European Union Studies Association of Ireland and  Co-Convener of the European Studies Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland. She organised UCC’s hosting of the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Ireland’s entrance into the EU in 2013 which was later published as a special issue by Administration. In 2014, she was the Academic Convenor for the UACES (Academic Association for Contemporary European Studies) Annual Conference in Cork. Murphy has won a FulbrightSchuman prize and was at George Mason University from March through July of 2015. Andrew P. Owsiak is Associate Professor in the Department of International Affairs at the University of Georgia. Owsiak studies three broad themes in his research:  why countries fight one another, the bilateral processes or characteristics that promote peaceful relations between disputing countries, and the role of third parties in peacefully (or diplomatically) ending conflicts. His research has appeared in numerous journals, including: International Studies



Quarterly,  Journal of Politics,  Foreign Policy Analysis, International Studies Review, Conflict Management and Peace Science, and in Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process  (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). He also has a ­forthcoming article in Journal of Peace Research.​ Maria Power is Lecturer at the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University. Her research focuses upon faith-based organisations and peace building. Her first project centred upon the history of the Protestant and Catholic churches in Northern Ireland and their role in peacebuilding. The resulting monograph, From Ecumenism to Community Relations: Inter-Church Relations in Northern Ireland 1980–2005 (Irish Academic Press, 2007), generated questions regarding the place of faith-based organisations within the peace process as a whole and led to an edited collection, Building Peace in Northern Ireland (Liverpool University Press, 2011). This interdisciplinary collection is the first dedicated analysis of the influence of grassroots movements on the peace process and includes Power’s chapter on the historical development of church leaders’ attitudes to peace and conflict since 1968. In addition, Power has published a number of articles in journals such as the Journal of Contemporary Religion and The European Legacy and various edited collections. She is currently writing a study of the Catholic Church during the conflict in Northern Ireland focusing in particular on the work of Cardinal Cahal Daly which will be published in 2016. Timothy J. White is Professor of Political Science at Xavier University and has held two Visiting Research Positions at the National University of IrelandGalway. His research has focused on various aspects of politics in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and has appeared in numerous journals and book chapters. His previous edited work includes Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013) and a special issue on Irish Studies for The European Legacy. Sophie Whiting is a Politics Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies at the University of Bath. Her research focuses on political violence within the context of global peace processes as well as post-devolution and gender politics in the UK. Whiting has researched the impact of ‘spoiler’ groups within the Northern Ireland context and published on Irish republican dissident groups in Spoiling the Peace? (Manchester University Press, 2014). Co-authored publications include Inside the Democratic Unionist Party: From Protest to Power (Oxford University Press, 2014). Her research in scholarly journals has appeared in Parliamentary Affairs and Terrorism and Political Violence.


AHCC Ad Hoc Congressional Committee for Irish Affairs AIA Anglo-Irish Agreement ANC African National Congress AUC Autodefensas Unidos de Colombia B4P Business for Peace BIC British-Irish Council CAIN Conflict Archive on the Internet CAP Common Agricultural Policy CBI Confederation of British Industry CCLTFs County Council-Led Task Forces CEO Chief Executive Officer CGPNI Consultative Group on the Past in Northern Ireland DBMs Designated Board Members DDR Disarmament–Demobilisation–Reintegration DSD Downing Street Declaration DUP Democratic Unionist Party EC European Community EEC European Economic Community ETA Basque Euskadi Ta Askatasuna FARC Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia FDI Foreign Direct Investment FMLN Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional GFA Good Friday Agreement GNP Gross National Product GVA Gross Value Added HIU Historical Investigations Unit ICIR Independent Commission on Information Retrieval IEDs Improvised Explosive Devices IFBs Intermediary Funding Bodies IFI International Fund for Ireland IICD Independent International Commission on Decommissioning



Independent Monitoring Commission Irish National Caucus International Relations Irish Republican Army Joint Ministerial Committee on Europe Local Strategy Partnerships Loyalist Volunteer Force Members of the European Parliament Members of the Legislative Assembly Multi-Level Governance Memorandum of Understanding National Action Plan Young people Not in Education, Employment or Training Non-Governmental Organisations Northern Ireland New Ireland Forum Northern Ireland Office Northern Ireland Task Force Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition Northern Aid Committee North-South Ministerial Council Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels Platform for Action Provisional Irish Republican Army Palestinian Liberation Organization Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland Police Service of Northern Ireland Progressive Unionist Party Royal Ulster Constabulary Social Democratic and Labour Party Single European Market Special EU Programmes Body Stormont House Agreement Small and Medium Enterprises Transnational Advocacy Networks Ulster Defence Association UK Permanent Representation to the EU United Nations United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 Ulster Protestant Volunteers United States Agency for International Development Ulster Unionist Party Ulster Volunteer Force

Introduction Timothy J. White

The success of the peace process in Northern Ireland has resulted in the publication of a large number of books and articles that highlight a wide variety of factors associated with the signing of the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement, the arduous and lengthy implementation of this Agreement, and the continuing sectarianism in Northern Ireland. The continuing conflict in Northern Ireland, despite the success of the peace process, highlights the role of ethnic and social divisions as a cause of conflict in contemporary global politics.1 Despite numerous and various studies, no collection of scholarly analysis to date has attempted to assess prominent theories of International Relations (IR) to the conflict in Northern Ireland, the peace process, and the challenges to consolidating peace after an agreement. IR scholars have recently focused on deception, border settlement and peace, the need to disarm combatants, the role of agents and ideas, gender, transnational social movements, the role of religions and religious institutions, the role of regional international organisations, private sector promotion of peace processes, economic aid and peacebuilding, the emergence of complex cooperation, and the need for reconciliation in conflict torn societies. How do the theories associated with these issues apply in the context of Northern Ireland’s peace process? This volume explores these primarily m ­ iddle-range ­theories of IR in the context of the important case of Northern Ireland. Instead of focusing on paradigmatic debates, most of the contributors to this volume examine specific theories of IR in the context of what has happened in Northern Ireland. This case provides a unique opportunity to study theories focused on conflict resolution, negotiation, and settlement of a seemingly intractable conflict, but because of the time that has passed since the 1998 Agreement, scholars have also focused on theories related to peacebuilding. One of the unique advantages of studying the Northern Ireland case is that there is clearly a degree of success in terms of conflict resolution based on the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. The challenges to implementing this Agreement and overcoming historic sectarianism provide fertile ground for examining theories of IR that focus on moving beyond the absence of violence to a more fully developed, consolidated, and sustained peace.



The value of case study research in IR There is a long history of fruitful analysis based on case study research in the field of IR.2 The chapters in this volume rely on the case study method, made most famous by Alexander George.3 This method has been further refined and developed by many recent and contemporary proponents including John Gerring.4 Even Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, known for his rational choice approach, has found case study research useful in the study of IR.5 Case study research develops theory or seeks to explain an apparent anomaly by the intensive study of a single case or group of cases. This methodology allows one to engage in what George calls ‘process-tracing’, where the scholar explores why certain events or outcomes occurred. The principal advantage of this methodology is that studies that find statistical relationships based on a large number of cases cannot explain why or how variables or factors are related. The narrative of case study research allows the researcher to explain how factors that are identified in larger sample studies are related.6 The intensive analysis of the case allows for understanding the process of causation.7 In the study of conflict, it allows the researcher to contextualise political violence.8 Scholars have emphasised the importance of linking case study analysis with theory. While some cite the problem of external validity when focusing on a single case study or a small number of cases, the researchers in this volume are careful not to attempt to over-generalise from the single case of Northern Ireland. Instead, the purpose of the case study research in this volume is to probe the potential explanatory power of different theories of IR. Thus, the chapters in this volume both explain various aspects of the Northern Ireland peace process and either further our understanding of various theories or question their empirical validity. While the findings in several chapters confound extant theoretical analysis (i.e. Gallaher’s analysis of the theory of disarmament and decommissioning as part of peace processes and Murphy’s analysis of the applicability of multi-level governance theory as it applies to the European Union’s role in the Northern Ireland peace process), they provide an incentive for researchers to refine their theories or limit them in such a way as to take into account the findings of this volume. Why did we choose the case of Northern Ireland? As another group of researchers once argued, compelling cases choose the researcher rather than the researcher selecting the case.9 By focusing on this case, the authors in this volume are not claiming we chose it because of its representativeness of a group of cases of intractable conflict.10 Indeed, several chapters in this volume focus on how the Northern Ireland case defies the expectation of existing theory and thus serves as an anomaly to our theoretical understanding of IR. O’Leary and Silke stress that the quality of a case study is based on the expertise of those conducting the research.11 Most of the researchers in this volume have been engaged in research on Northern Ireland for a long time. Their familiarity and expertise with the case informs their ability to evaluate the theories of IR that are reviewed and assessed in this volume.



Overview of the volume Each of the subsequent chapters explores various theories of IR in the context of developments in Northern Ireland. In Chapter 1, Paul Dixon examines the relevance of the three principal paradigms of IR – realism, idealism, and ­constructivism – in explaining what has happened in Northern Ireland. His focus on the role deception played in the peace process builds upon earlier research.12 He concludes that constructivist assumptions best explain the flexibility, and at times deceit, that various actors displayed in the peace process. Constructivism is a paradigm most associated with the work of Alexander Wendt, and it stresses the role of agents, ideas, and institutions in world politics. By stressing the subjective understanding of concepts and interests, actors’ behaviour is based on their own unique identities and is contingent based on changing circumstances.13 Dixon argues that idealist and realist perspectives on the Northern Ireland peace process are flawed and constructivism provides a more flexible framework for analysing how the peace process was actually advanced. Idealist or liberal IR scholars advocate a civil society approach to conflict resolution and peacebuilding and argue that the Good Friday Agreement was elite driven and did not integrate grassroots actors in the peacebuilding process.14 This has made the process of consolidating and building the peace after the Agreement problematic and unstable. Dixon criticises idealism for underestimating communal antagonisms and, therefore, failing to appreciate the difficult role played by politicians in achieving an agreement. Realists, Dixon contends, were pessimistic about the prospects of reaching an agreement and underestimated the possibility of political change based on the perceived difficulty of overcoming fundamental differences of identity and territorial claims. Realists underestimated the possibilities of political change because they have a static, essentialist view of identity which also underestimates the role of political elites. Dixon demonstrates that a constructivist framework provides a more sophisticated understanding of politics and the possibilities of achieving a peace agreement. Constructivism takes into account the constraints and opportunities facing political actors and the consequent morality and political skills that were used to drive the peace process forward. Andrew Owsiak explores the role border settlement has played in the Northern Ireland peace process in Chapter 2. Borders are essential to traditional realist conceptions of IR as they delimit the sovereign units: states.15 Nevertheless, scholars have increasingly reconceptualised borders as soft and permeable.16 Building upon constructivist assumptions about the border in Northern Irish politics,17 and based on a series of interviews completed in 2014, Owsiak concludes that moving beyond the border and partition as the principal issue in the Northern Ireland conflict allowed parties to find agreement on a system of local governance. Like many other aspects of the conflict, the role of the border as a territorial and social divide became less important as the peace process developed. Owsiak employs an issue-based approach to conflict which suggests that states handle territorial disputes via more ­aggressive foreign



­ olicies than disputes over non-territorial issues. This perspective therefore p predicts protracted negotiations and violence in Northern Ireland.18 Employing constructivist assumptions regarding the ability to reconceptualise partition, Owsiak demonstrates that as the peace process progressed, Irish nationalists north and south of the border became more willing to forego demands for unification for the concrete near-term benefits that a negotiated settlement promised, namely power-sharing in the north with north–south coordination of governance based on the second strand of the Good Friday Agreement. Owsiak then employs selectorate theory to explain how various actors managed the contentious territorial issue and the complexity and nuanced approach leaders used to both lead and follow their constituencies.19 Another of the critical impediments to the Northern Ireland peace process was the decommissioning of paramilitaries’ weapons. As in many ethnic conflicts, different groups in Northern Ireland armed themselves to advance their cause and engaged in a pattern of violence to defeat their enemies. For a stable peace settlement, all groups in the conflict had to achieve enough security such that they could disarm and demobilise. In Chapter 3, Carolyn Gallaher demonstrates that this disarmament process was critical to the eventual success of implementing the Agreement and creating the stability needed for local governance to recommence in Northern Ireland. Research on decommissioning usually falls within a larger literature on disarmament–demobilisation– reintegration (DDR).20 Although much of the literature on DDR treats it as a single process, some scholars have narrowed in on the process of disarmament (or decommissioning as it was called in Northern Ireland). This work makes several assumptions. First, a process for disarmament is usually an integral part of most peace processes. Though the details may not be worked out before the first ceasefire, they are usually established quickly after armed parties have agreed to make peace. Second, international third parties are crucial to the process. They help keep armed factions ‘honest’ by ensuring they meet deadlines. They also manage the process of decommissioning and verify that weapons have been rendered inoperative. Third, failure to decommission quickly, or in full faith, is usually a sign that violence between parties will resume. Gallaher argues that decommissioning in Northern Ireland’s peace process does not conform to theoretical expectations about the role of decommissioning in conflict resolution. In Northern Ireland, peacemakers avoided establishing a detailed process for decommissioning because many worried such details would thwart a deal. The ambiguity of the decommissioning process after the Agreement and its delay proved problematic in the post-Agreement period. Though the failure to decommission did have political consequences – the power-sharing Assembly at the centre of the Agreement was shuttered for several years – it did not lead to a resumption of violence between parties. Rather, delays in the process contributed to spikes in internal violence. These findings suggest that the Northern Ireland conflict remains, in many ways, an outlier case that fails to conform to categories often used to explain contemporary conflicts and predict their resolution.



Constructivists have stressed the importance of analysing ideas and agency in world politics, and scholars have increasingly recognised that leaders matter in terms of decisions relating to war and peace.21 Applying constructivist assumptions, P. J. McLoughlin explores the contribution of John Hume to the peace process in Chapter 4 of this volume.22 Hume’s innovative approach to understanding and redefining the conflict in Northern Ireland from a territorial dispute to one of a series of relationships was critical in reaching a peace agreement, as was Hume’s own role as a broker eliciting the support of hardline republicans, unionists, and the British, Irish, and US governments. Hume emerged first as a civil rights leader at the very outset of the Troubles in the late 1960s, was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) in 1970, and was central to the various negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Moreover, Hume played a unique dual role in his career. First, he was a political thinker, or more accurately an articulator, of a new approach to the Northern Ireland problem. Second, Hume was a key negotiator and political broker, most significantly persuading militant republicans to adopt a peaceful political strategy, but also continually engaging with British and more so Irish political elites, and even guiding external actors like the US Government and the EU in their respective inputs to the Northern Ireland peace process. This dual role means that Hume is an ideal figure through which to assess the importance of both ideas and agency in the Northern Ireland peace process. While acknowledging that he and his party operated within a particular and historically formed structure of communal antagonism and political change,23 McLoughlin shows that the ideas and actions of Hume and the SDLP played a key role in breaking the patterns of conflict that motivated the Northern Ireland Troubles and helping to establish the new system of more consensual communal relations that the region now enjoys. Scholars have increasingly focused on the role of gender in IR and in particular the role of gender in conflict24 and peacebuilding.25 In Chapter 6, Máire Braniff and Sophie Whiting explore the important role gender plays in our understanding of international conflict and in the context of the Northern Ireland peace process. IR scholars have increasingly recognised that women experience insecurity differently from men and participate in conflict resolution and peacebuilding differently as well. Braniff and Whiting’s chapter links the latest research on gender and security with developments in Northern Ireland. They contend that the peace process has privileged the masculine, marginalising the role of women. Their findings highlight the historically small role women played as elected representatives in Northern Ireland. When women attempted to assert themselves as actors, forming the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC) in 1996, their failure to become part of the formal political process meant that a decade later the organisation dissolved, a victim of the continuing male dominated structures that shape post-Agreement Northern Ireland. Devashree Gupta builds on the important work of Keck and Sikkink in examining the role of transnational social movements in IR in Chapter 5.26 Many



who have historically identified non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as key actors in world politics have identified their role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding.27 While networks are often studied in the context of bringing social change,28 Gupta identifies the important role of networks in Northern Ireland built on the involvement of diaspora-based groups in the conflict.29 Diasporas can help to drive conflict or help to resolve conflict,30 and Gupta highlights how diaspora groups were both critical in facilitating the Troubles by helping to arm groups in Northern Ireland and later also in pressuring the same groups to participate in the peace process. From the very beginning of the Troubles, groups in Northern Ireland deliberately sought and made use of transnational allies to further their political goals and gain strategic advantages vis-à-vis their opponents. Organisations on both sides of the conflict turned to external allies, including members of diaspora groups, like-minded movements, and groups with ideological affinities for a variety of reasons: accessing resources, expanding and practising their tactical repertoires, and strengthening their claims to legitimacy. While the existence of this transnational dimension of the Troubles is well documented, the differences among cross-border networks – how they were structured, how they functioned, and their impact on the dynamics of the conflict – are less well understood. Drawing on social movement theory, particularly work on transnational advocacy networks, coalition formation, and diffusion, Gupta compares the structure and function of licit and illict cross-border networks that resulted. Gupta reveals the nature of the ‘flows’ that occurred across these networks, examining the types of information and resources that were transmitted and how groups in Northern Ireland made use of these flows to further their own goals. Additionally, Gupta contrasts the evolution of these networks over time, comparing the impact of both licit and illicit transnational ties from early mobilisation around civil rights, through escalation and violence, and, finally, to the peace process. Liberal IR scholars have historically stressed the role of NGOs, including churches, in world politics. Recently, scholars have also stressed the normative influence of religious actors as agents in world politics,31 conceiving of their role from constructivist assumptions. While not the first to study the role of religion in the Northern Ireland peace process,32 Maria Power in Chapter 7 examines the role of the Catholic Church in the Northern Ireland peace process by analysing not only the theological basis of Catholic attitudes and beliefs about peace but also the manifestations of these teachings as they were applied by bishops in Northern Ireland, especially Cahal Daly in the 1980s. Power demonstrates that faith creates action and explains how an important religious tradition in Northern Ireland promoted peace by recognising and responding to the new kind of wars and political conflicts that have emerged in recent decades. As the nature of conflict changed from a state-centred model (for example, the Second World War) into one which saw civil wars and ethnic conflict becoming the norm (such as the Balkans and Northern Ireland),33 so too did Catholic responses; both national Churches and Catholic Organisations began to realise that protest and non-violent action was no longer enough to



create a more peaceful world. When Pope John XXIII issued Pacem in Terris in 1963, he urged Catholics to work for peace and provided them with a framework for doing so. Catholic bishops thus became directly involved in peace processes by attempting to implement Catholic teaching on peace, which is best summarised by the statement made by Pope Paul VI in 1972: ‘if you want peace, work for justice’.34 Consequently, the Catholic hierarchy in Northern Ireland sought to achieve peace by working for justice, especially for political prisoners and those who suffered discrimination. Historically, liberal scholars of IR relied on functionalism, federalism, and other theoretical frameworks to explain regional integration and stress the important role of regional organisations in world politics and regional conflicts. More recently, international organisations have been depicted as orchestrating national and local governments and thereby governing through intermediaries.35 What impact did international organisations have in Northern Ireland? Previous research has established that the EU has had complex and multifarious effects on border conflicts,36 including Northern Ireland.37 In Chapter 8, Mary C. Murphy analyses the relevance of the theory of multi-level governance (MLG) to explain the role of the EU in Northern Ireland.38 Building on Checkel and Katzenstien’s conception of the EU as an emerging multi-level polity,39 Murphy contends that the EU successfully engaged Northern Ireland as a region of a member state without threatening that state’s sovereignty or power. The EU was successful because of its accommodation with the British state and the fact that the British state allowed the EU as a mechanism to reconcile communities in Northern Ireland. MLG emphasises the multi-level nature of EU politics and attaches significance to the role played by subnational units and supranational institutions in the policy process. The model also proposes new forms of governance which offers a specific conception of EU politics based on an altered relationship between state and non-state actors, where the latter have become increasingly influential. MLG is often associated with undermining or bypassing the role and power of the central state – a notion which is either politically appealing or politically objectionable to Northern Ireland’s divided politicians. The devolution of powers to Northern Ireland’s sub-national institutions, following the signing of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, firmly placed Northern Ireland in a category of European regions with advanced decentralised powers. Murphy finds that the MLG model may not fully capture some of the internal constraints, complexities, and divisions which are characteristic of Northern Ireland’s recent political experience and which are reflected in its evolving relationship with the EU. Murphy argues that the evidence from Northern Ireland does not support the central MLG argument that state power was undermined by the activities of the EU. She contends that Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom was not threatened by the region’s more politically charged, formalised, and strengthened relationship with the EU. Katy Hayward and Eoin Magennis further explore the role of NGOs in assessing business and the private sector in promoting peace in Northern Ireland in



Chapter 9. Analyses of Northern Ireland’s peace process tend to concentrate on the public or non-profit sector. The role of the private sector has been more or less ignored. This reflects the fact that Northern Ireland’s private sector is notoriously underdeveloped and the tenuous commitment of larger corporations to the region. The lack of scholarly focus may also reflect the traditional gap in comprehension and cooperation between business and the academy, particularly in the field of peace studies. This, however, is changing.40 Liberal IR assumptions about the spillover effects of economic development have morphed into analysis of the potential for globalisation to improve international connections, thus making the recourse to violence less likely. At a sub-state level, the same liberal premises are present in the concept of ‘business-based peacebuilding’,41 which identifies a ‘natural’ complementarity between the objectives of private sector actors and the maintenance of a stable, sustainable peace. Building on prior research on cross-border business cooperation and the peace process in Northern Ireland,42 Hayward and Magennis examine the current conditions within which private sector actors make a contribution to peace. First, they consider those aspects of this contribution that have an international dimension, such as the EU Peace funds that were awarded to businesses in the border region or the short-lived role of the US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland. The incorporation of a deal on corporation tax rates in the Stormont House Agreement signified the increasing nexus between Northern Ireland’s peace process and private sector development. Second, the chapter considers the ways in which corporate social responsibility can be connected to peacebuilding.43 While there is growing willingness among businesses to invest in voluntary activities, there is a wariness about getting involved in local conflict-related issues, not least because many community-based peacebuilding efforts are still ‘single identity’ and a business’s association with one particular community group can pose a risk to profits as well as to diplomacy. Hayward and Magennis conclude with consideration of the role of social enterprise as a means of sustainable community development. Whether or not business has an explicit peacebuilding impulse, it may have a positive effect on the embedding of peace. Beyond private sector investment, there clearly have been attempts by collaborating governments to promote reconciliation in Northern Ireland through targeted economic assistance. Sandra Buchanan in Chapter 10 explores the role of external economic aid in conflict resolution and in the period since the signing of the Agreement to promote peacebuilding by social and economic means.44 In moving from violence to peace, most practical (and theoretical) efforts have concentrated on the removal of direct violence only through toplevel political engagement, usually over the short term. Academic narratives of the Northern Ireland peace process have been, in the main, no different in their concentrations. However, a number of external funding programmes have focused their efforts on all levels of society in supporting the Northern Ireland peace process over the long term through social and economic development. By focusing on the local, they have attempted to redress the root



cause of conflict in Northern Ireland.45 Under the guise of the International Fund for Ireland and the EU Peace Programmes (I, II, III), they have been responsible for a huge increase in grassroots-level involvement in the region’s conflict transformation process over the last three decades, prompting previously unforeseen levels of citizen empowerment and local ownership of the process. Consequently this has assisted in sustaining the peace process during its most challenging political periods. Despite relatively little in-depth research on their transformational contribution, these programmes provide a suitable context for assessing the efforts of such external funding in supporting Northern Ireland’s peace process through social and economic development. Buchanan examines the significance of their work by theoretically contextualising the role of social and economic development in transforming conflict, providing some background information on the organisational makeup and work of the two programmes, exploring their impacts in terms of taking a longterm view of the transformation process and developing and integrating vertical and horizontal capacity through the involvement of all levels of society, before finally exploring some lessons for sharing. Timothy White’s Chapter 11 assesses the utility of cooperation theory to explain the peace process in Northern Ireland. Building upon the research of Robert Axelrod, this theory stresses the interconnectedness of leaders’ decision-making and the complexity associated with the emergence of cooperation.46 This theoretical approach stresses the possibility of actors learning to cooperate with others who have differing or competing interests. Thus, this model emphasises adaptive policy-making rather than purely or simply rational policy-making. Historically, realists have stressed the rationality of actors in world politics, but cooperation theory demonstrates that actors can learn and modify their policy and behaviour based on their interaction with specific actors’ past behaviour and future expected behaviour. The shadow of the future provides powerful incentives to consider future cooperation even with an actor who historically has been an enemy or rival. Numerous scholars have attempted to further develop our understanding of the complex nature of cooperation necessary to promote peace in intractable conflicts.47 White’s analysis emphasises that negotiators representing different states and groups in Northern Ireland came to their decisions and policy choices based on the expected reaction of others. The complexity of this interaction came to be appreciated by the actors themselves. While historically seen as a theory to explain cooperation between two states, White demonstrates that the cooperation that led to the signing and implementation of the Agreement required a pattern of coordinated cooperation among numerous actors, including historic rivals. This chapter thus applies a theory of complex cooperation to the Northern Ireland peace process. The final substantive chapter in the volume, Chapter 12 by Cillian McGrattan, explores the difficulty and importance of achieving reconciliation after the Agreement. McGrattan finds that groups in Northern Ireland need to focus more on taking responsibility for their role in continuing s­ ectarian ­differences



rather than looking for reconciliation from, or with, others. Previous research has stressed the need for reconciliation, social learning, and dialogue as key mechanisms that allow a transformation of former enemies.48 For example, memory studies have recently looked to constructivism and studies of international norms in analysing the resilience of collective memory and the politics of apology,49 while commemoration studies have increasingly explored questions of globalisation and the transfer of internationally recognised tropes in producing memorial cultures.50 Yet, when this movement – from what could be described as a procedural perspective on establishing peaceful and stable democracy to a more substantive vision – has been applied in Northern Ireland, it has arguably been done in a disparate and potentially segregationist fashion, where reconciliation is something that is often done at a localised or community level without regard to the wider societal implications. The chapter maps the various initiatives and policy proposals that have been developed in Northern Ireland, which have increasingly looked not only to international examples (in particular South Africa), but also the importance of cultivating US involvement (for instance, the chairing of talks by Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan in 2013). The chapter develops an alternative model of reconciliation based on societal responsibility and critically integrated memory.51 The Conclusion summarises the major points of the chapters and identifies some common themes that emerge from the analysis provided by the contributors. It summarises the major arguments of the authors in the volume and explains how IR theory is furthered by the attempt to apply the case study method to explore the causal mechanisms associated with different theories. Common themes This book as a whole improves our understanding not only of how a peace agreement was reached in Northern Ireland, but also what it did and did not achieve. Several themes emerge from the various contributions to this volume, mostly from constructivist assumptions. First, the evolution of the peace process in Northern Ireland required groups with traditional conceptions of territory, borders, and fixed identities to reconceptualise and redefine these as the peace process progressed. Thus, both Murphy and Owsiak build upon earlier research that assumed that the creation and development of the European Union allowed actors to go beyond historic ethnic and nationalistic claims.52 Braniff and Whiting contend that the failure to incorporate women both in the politics of the peace-making process and in the post-Agreement period has meant that male-dominated institutions and conceptions of nationalism persist despite efforts to move beyond the sectarian conflict. Second, the process of peacemaking and peacebuilding is complex, lengthy, arduous, and intricate. Dixon, Owsiak, Gallaher, Murphy, and White’s chapters emphasise the complexity of different actors’ decision-making and the interrelated nature of the political and diplomatic processes and actors in Northern Ireland. Third, McLoughlin and Gupta stress the importance of individuals as agents to the



peace process, such as John Hume. Fourth, peace is an aspirational goal that requires different methods in different circumstances. Gupta’s analysis highlights how non-state actors modified their behaviour and became part of the peace process once elites initiated it. As Power, Murphy, and Buchanan find, the Agreement offered actors not central to negotiating the Agreement an opportunity to support and deepen the peace process once an agreement was reached in Northern Ireland. McGrattan stresses that the challenges for peacebuilding after the Agreement are quite different than the impediments to negotiate an agreement in the 1990s. Thus, this volume as a whole offers great insight and analysis into not only what transpired in Northern Ireland but how theories of IR are critical to our understanding of this notable, yet not fully satisfactory, peace. Notes  1 For the general argument regarding ethnic conflict as a global problem and challenge, see J. Wilkenfeld, Myth and Reality in International Politics: Meeting Global Challenges through Collective Action (New York: Routledge, 2016), pp. 38–65.  2 See A. Bennett, ‘Case study methods: Design, use, and comparative advantages’, in D. F. Sprinz and Y. Wolinsky-Nahmias (eds), Models, Numbers and Cases: Methods for Studying International Relations (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004); D. Dion, ‘Evidence and inference in the comparative case study’, Comparative Politics, 30:2 (1998), 127–45; K. Drozdova, ‘Reducing uncertainty: Information analysis for comparative case studies’, International Studies Quarterly, 58:3 (2014), 633–45; H. Eckstein, ‘Case study and theory in Political Science’, in F. I. Greenstein and N. W. Polsby (eds), Handbook of Political Science (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1975); J. Mahoney and G. Goertz, ‘The possibility principle: Choosing negative cases in comparative research’, American Political Science Review, 98:4 (2004), 653–69; Z. Maoz, ‘Case study methodology in International Studies: From storytelling to hypothesis testing’, in F. P. Harvey and M. Brecher (eds), Evaluating Methodology in International Studies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002); D. Rueschemeyer, ‘Can one or a few cases yield theoretical gains?’ in J. Mahoney and D. Rueschemeyer (eds), Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003); R. Stoecker, ‘Evaluating and rethinking the case study’, Sociological Review, 39:1 (1991), 88–112; D. Vaughan, ‘Theory elaboration: The heuristics of case analysis’, in C. C. Ragin and H. S. Becker (eds), What is a Case? Exploring the Foundations of Social Inquiry (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992); J. Walton, ‘Making the theoretical case’, in Ragin and Becker (eds), What is a Case? Exploring the Foundations of Social Inquiry; H. C. White, ‘Cases are for identity, for explanation, or for control’, in Ragin and Becker (eds), What is a Case? Exploring the Foundations of Social Inquiry; R. K. Yin, Case Study Research: Design and Methods (Los Angeles: Sage, 2013).  3 A. George, ‘Case studies and theory development: The method of structured, focused comparison’, in P. G. Lauren (ed.), Diplomacy: New Approaches in History, Theory, and Policy (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1979). George’s analysis of case study analysis and theory development is further developed in A. L. George and A. Bennett, Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005).



 4 For Gerring’s analysis of case study research, see J. Gerring, Case Study Research: Principles and Practices (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007); J, Gerring, ‘What is a case and what is it good for?’ American Political Science Review, 98:2 (2004), 341–54.  5 B. Bueno de Mesquita, ‘Domestic politics and international relations’, International Studies Quarterly, 46:1 (2002), 1–9.  6 For the potential for narrative evidence, see T. Büthe, ‘Taking temporality seriously: Modeling history and the use of narratives as evidence’, American Political Science Review, 96:3 (2002), 481–93.  7 S. R. Brown, ‘Intensive analysis in political research’, Political Methodology 1:1 (1974), 1–25. Case study analysis has also been linked with identifying necessary conditions in developing causal explanations. See G. Goertz and J. S. Levy, ‘Causal explanation, necessary conditions, and case studies’, in G. Goetz and J. S. Levy (eds), Explaining War and Peace: Case Studies and Necessary Condition Counterfactuals (London: Routledge, 2007).  8 L. Bosi, N. Ó Dochartaigh, and D. Pisoiu, ‘Contextualising political violence’, in L. Bosi, N. Ó Dochartaigh, and D. Pisoiu (eds), Political Violence in Context: Time, Space and Milieu (Colchester: ECPR Press, 2015).  9 R. H. Bates, A. Greif, M. Levi, J. Rosenthal, and B. R. Weingast, ‘Introduction’, in R. H. Bates, A. Greif, M. Levi, J. Rosenthal, and B. R. Weingast (eds), Analytic Narratives (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), p. 13. The importance of the case is based not only on its success but also its relevance for so many other cases of intractable or persistent conflict. For the need to balance relevance with scientific rigour, see M. Desch, ‘Technique trumps relevance: The professsionalization of political science and the marginalization of security studies’, Perspectives on Politics, 13:2 (2015), 377–93. 10 For a methodological justification for this kind of case study analysis, see Gerring’s analysis of ‘influential’ cases. See J. Gerring, ‘Case selection for case-study analysis: Qualitative and quantitative techniques’, in J. M. Box-Steffensmeier, H. E. Brady, and D. Collier (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 656–9. 11 B. O’Leary and A. Silke, ‘Understanding and ending persistent conflicts: Bridging research and policy’, in M. Heiberg, B. O’Leary, and J. Tirman (eds), Terror, Insurgency, and the State: Ending Protracted Conflicts (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), pp. 394–5. 12 See especially J. J. Mearsheimer, Why Leaders Lie (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). Also see R. Jubb and A. F. Kurtulmus, ‘No country for honest men: political philosophers and real politics’, Political Studies, 60:3 (2012), 539–56; S. Baiasu (ed.), Sincerity in Politics and International Relations (New York: Routledge, 2014). Sometimes, leaders and the public deceive themselves. See A. E. Galeotti, ‘Liars or self-deceived? Reflections on political deception’, Political Studies, 63:4 (2015), 887–902. 13 A. Wendt, ‘Anarchy is what states make of it: The social construction of power politics’, International Organization, 46:2 (1992), 392–425; A. Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 14 For example, see C. Farrington, ‘Models of civil society and their implications for the Northern peace process’, in C. Farrington (ed.), Global Change, Civil Society and the Northern Ireland Peace Process: Implementing the Political Settlement (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 113–41; T. J. White, A. P. Owsiak, and M. E.



Clarke, ‘Extending peace to the grassroots: The need for reconciliation in Northern Ireland after the Agreement’, in The Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), pp. 240–9. 15 For a good recent study of borders and the territoriality of world politics, see M. Moore, ‘Which people and what land? Territorial right-holders and the attachment to territory’, International Theory, 6:1 (2014), 121–40. For a more encompassing analysis of the spatial context of political violence, see N. Ó Dochartaigh, ‘Spatial contexts for political violence’, in Bosi, Ó Dochartaigh, and Pisoiu (eds), Political Violence in Context: Time, Space and Milieu. 16 See, for example, J. Mostov, Soft Borders: Rethinking Sovereignty and Democracy (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). 17 For constructivist approaches to boundaries, see J. Agnew, ‘Thinking about borders: Not just on the ground but also in the mind’, in P. Gilles, H. Koff, C. Maganda, and C. Schulz (eds), Theorizing Borders through Analysis of Power Relationships (Brussels: P. I. E. Peter Lang, 2013); J. Anderson and L. O’Dowd, ‘Borders, border regions and territoriality: Contradictory meanings, changing significance’, Regional Studies, 33:7 (1999), 593–604. For applications of a constructivist approach to partition and the border that separates Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, see C. McCall, The European Union and Peacebuilding: The Cross-border Dimension (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp.  80–101; S. E. Goddard, ‘Uncommon ground: Indivisible territory and the politics of legitimacy’, International Organization, 60:1 (2006), 35–68; C. Nash, B. Reid, and B. Graham, Partitioned Lives: The Irish Borderlands (Abingdon: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 109–39. 18 For the continuation of violence in post-conflict societies, including Northern Ireland, see C. Steenkamp, Violent Societies: Networks of Violence in Civil War and Peace (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). 19 For the classical exposition of selectorate theory, see B. Bueno de Mesquita, A. Smith, R. M. Siverson, and J. D. Morrow, The Logic of Political Survival (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003). For an updated test and further defence of the theory, see J. D. Morrow, B. Bueno de Mesquita, R. M. Siverson, and A. Smith, ‘Retesting selectorate theory: Separating the effects of W from other elements of democracy’, American Political Science Review, 102:3 (2008), 393–400. 20 See, for example, See N. J. Colletta, M. Kostner, and I. Wiederhofer, ‘Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration: Lessons and liabilities in reconstruction’, in R. I. Rotberg (ed.), When States Fail: Causes and Consequences (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004); M. Humphreys and J. M. Weinstein, ‘Demobilization and reintegration’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 51:4 (2007), 531–67; D. Molloy, Disarmament, Demoblization, and Reintegration: Theory and Practice (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2016); A. Özerdem, ‘Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration’, in R. Mac Ginty (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Peacebuilding (London: Routledge, 2013); L. Waldorf, ‘Just peace? Integrating DDR and transitional justice’, in C. Lehha Sriram, J. García-Godos, J. Herman, and O. Martin-Ortega (eds), Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding on the Ground (London: Routledge, 2013). 21 See G. Chiozza and H. E. Goemans, Leaders and International Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011); M. C. Horowitz, A. C. Stam, and C.  M  Ellis, Why Leaders Fight (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015); E. N. Saunders, Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Interventions (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011). 22 For a recent edited volume highlighting the contributions of Hume to the peace



process based on relationships with different actors, see S. Farren and D. Haughey (eds), John Hume: Irish Peacemaker (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015). 23 J. Ruane and J. Todd, ‘Path dependence in settlement processes: Explaining settlement in Northern Ireland’, Political Studies, 55:2 (2007), 442–58. 24 L. Sjoberg, Gender, War, and Conflict (Cambridge: Polity, 2014); L. Sjoberg, Gendering Global Conflict: Toward a Feminist Theory of War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013). 25 R. Boyd (ed.), The Search for Lasting Peace: Critical Perspectives on Gender-Responsive Human Security (Burlington: Ashgate, 2014); C. Duncanson, Gender and Peacebuilding (Cambridge, Polity, 2016); M. Flaherty, T. G. Matyók, J.  Senehi, S. Byrne, and H. Tuso (eds), Gender and Peacebuilding: All Hands Required (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016). M. O’Reilly, ‘Gender and Peacebuilding’, in R. Mac Ginty (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Peacebuilding (London: Routledge, 2013); J. P. Kaufman and K. P. Williams, Women at War, Women Building Peace: Challenging Gender Norms (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2013). 26 M. E. Keck and K. Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998). Previous research on Northern Ireland has indicated the need for social networks to overcome the sectarian divide primarily by analysing funds provided by the European Union to support the peace process. See L. O’Dowd and C. McCall, ‘Escaping the cage of ethno-national conflict in Northern Ireland: The importance of transnational networks’, Ethnopolitics, 7:1 (2008), 81–99. Gupta’s chapter instead focuses on the networks that connected Northern Ireland primarily with the US. 27 D. Chigas, ‘Capacities and limits of NGOs as conflict managers’, in C. A. Crocker, F. O. Hampson, and P. Aall (eds), Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2007); R. A. Coate, ‘Civil society as a force for peace’, International Journal of Peace Studies, 9:2 (2004), 57–86; J. Goodhand, Aiding Peace: The Role of NGOs in Armed Conflict (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2006). For the role of NGOs in Northern Ireland, see F. Cochrane, ‘Two cheers for the NGOs: Building peace in Northern Ireland’, in M. Cox, A. Guelke, and F. Stephen (eds), A Farewell to Arms? Beyond the Good Friday Agreement (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2nd edn, 2006); M. Stephenson Jr. and L. Zanotti, Peacebuilding through Community Based NGOs: Paradoxes and Possibilities (Sterling: Kumarian, 2012), pp. 55–77. 28 See for example, M. Castells, Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age (Cambridge: Polity, 2nd edn, 2015). 29 For the role of diasporas in IR theory, see Y. Shain, Kinship and Diasporas in International Affairs (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007), pp. 127– 53; Y. Shain and A. Barth, ‘Diasporas and international relations theory’, International Organization, 57:3 (2003), 449–79. 30 For how diasporas mobilise conflict, see F. Adamson, ‘Mechanisms of diaspora mobilization and the transnationalization of civil war’, in J. T. Checkel (ed.), The Transnational Dynamics of Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Y. Shain, ‘The role of diasporas in conflict perpetuation or resolution’, SAIS Review, 22:2 (2002), 115–44. For the role of the Irish Diaspora in the US as a cause of conflict in Northern Ireland and later a force for peace, see B. Hanley, ‘The politics of NORAID’, Irish Political Studies, 19:1 (2004), 1–17; J. E. Thompson, ‘America’s role in the Northern Ireland peace process’, in J. DeWind and R. Segura, Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government: Convergence and Divergence in Making Foreign Policy (New



York: New York University Press, 2014); A. J. Wilson, Irish America and the Ulster Conflict, 1978–1995 (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1995). For the diaspora’s role in conflict resolution, see B. Baser and A. Swain, ‘Diasporas as peacemakers: Third party mediation in homeland conflicts’, International Journal on World Peace, 25:3 (2008), 7–28; J. Bercovitch, ‘A neglected relationship: Diasporas and conflict resolution’, in H. Smith and P. Stares (eds), Diasporas in Conflict: Peacemakers or Peace-wreckers (New York: United Nations University Press, 2007); F. Cochrane, Migration and Security in the Global Age: Diaspora Communities and Conflict (New York: Routledge, 2015). 31 For example, see N. Abu Sandal, ‘Religious actors as epistemic communities in conflict transformation: The cases of South Africa and Northern Ireland’, Review of International Studies, 37:3 (2011), 929–49. 32 See J. D. Brewer, G. I. Higgins, and F. Teeney, Religion, Civil Society, & Peace in Northern Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); G. Ganiel and P. Dixon, ‘Religion, pragmatic fundamentalism, and the transformation of the Northern Ireland conflict’, Journal of Peace Research, 45:3 (2008), 419–36; P. Grant, ‘Religion and the Peace Process’, in H. Coward and G. S. Smith (eds), Religion and Peacebuilding (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004); C. Mitchell, Religion, Identity and Politics in Northern Ireland (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005). 33 For the new kind of war, see M. Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 3rd edn, 2012). 34 Paul VI, Message for the Celebration of World Peace Day, 1 January 1972. 35 K. W. Abbott, P. Genschel, D. Snidal, and B. Zangl (eds), International Organizations as Orchestrators (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015). 36 M. Albert, T. Diez, and S. Stetter, ‘The transformative power of integration: Conceptualising border conflicts’, in T. Diez, M. Albert, and S. Stetter (eds), The European Union and Border Conflicts: The Power of Integration and Association (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008); M. Pace, ‘The EU as a “force for good” in border conflict cases?’ in Diez, Albert, and Stetter (eds), The European Union and Border Conflicts: The Power of Integration and Association. 37 See K. Hayward and A. Wiener, ‘The influence of the EU towards conflict transformation on the island of Ireland’ in Diez, Albert, and Stetter (eds), The European Union and Border Conflicts: The Power of Integration and Association. E. Meehan, ‘Europe and the Europeanisation of the Irish Question’, in Cox, Guelke, and Stephen, A Farewell to Arms? Beyond the Good Friday Agreement (2nd edn); M.  C.  Murphy, Northern Ireland and the European Union: The Dynamics of a Changing Relationship (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014). 38 For the formulation of MLG theory, see L. Hooghe and C. Marks, ‘Unravelling the central state, but how?’ American Political Science Review, 97:3 (2003), 233–43. For its applicability to Northern Ireland, see D. Birrell and C. Gormley-Heenan, MultiLevel Governance and Northern Ireland (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). 39 J. T. Checkel and P. J. Katzenstein, ‘The politicization of European identities’, in J. T. Checkel and P. J. Katzenstein (eds), European Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 7. 40 For the role of business and the private sector and peace, see G. Ben-Porat, ‘Between power and hegemony: Business communities in peace processes’,  Review of International Studies, 31:2 (2005), 325–48; T. L. Fort and C. A. Schipani, The Role of Business in Fostering Peaceful Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd edn, 2009); S. MacDonald, ‘Peacebuilding and the private sector’, in C. Zelizer (ed.),



Integrated Peacebuilding: Innovative Approaches to Transforming Conflict (Boulder: Westview, 2013); A. Wennmann, The Political Economy of Peacemaking (New York: Routledge, 2011). Some research indicates that business interests do not have to directly lobby for peace since the neoliberal global economic order already provides incentives for political elites to pursue peace. See S. G. Brooks, ‘Economic actors’ lobbying influence on the prospects for war and peace’, International Organization, 67:4 (2013), 863–88. One major criticism of the Business for Peace model is that it reflects inequity of the global liberal system and strengthens the position of the most powerful states through multi-national corporations. See J. Miklian, ‘The past, present and future of the “Liberal Peace”’,  Strategic Analysis, 38:4 (2014), 493–507. 41 J. Banfield, C. Gündüz, and N. Killick (eds), Local Business, Local Peace: The Peacebuilding Potential of the Domestic Private Sector (London: International Alert, 2006); D. Sweetman, Business, Conflict Resolution, Peacebuilding: Contributions from the Private Sector (London: Routledge, 2009). 42 For scholarly analysis, see J. Bradley, ‘The island economy: Ireland before and after the Belfast Agreement’, in J. Coakley and L. O’Dowd (eds), Crossing the Border: New Relationships between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2007); K. Hayward and E. Magennis, ‘The business of building peace: Private sector cooperation across the Irish border’, Irish Political Studies, 29:1 (2014), 154–75; E. Tannam, ‘Cross-border cooperation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland: Neo-functionalism re-visited’, Regional Studies, 40:9 (2006), 258–78. Politicians have recognised the potential of the business community. See M. McAleese, ‘All peace is local’, in J.  Hume, T. G. Fraser, and L. Murray (eds), Peacemaking in the Twenty-first Century (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), p. 157. 43 Wenger and Möckli make this argument in A. Wenger and D. Möckli, Conflict Prevention: The Untapped Potential of the Business Sector (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2003). 44 For the general argument that aid can assist in peacebuilding, see M. Berdal and D. Zaum, Political Economy of Statebuilding: Power after Peace (London: Routledge, 2013); J. K. Boyce and M. O’Donnell, ‘Policy implications: The economics of postwar statebuilding’, in J. K. Boyce and M. O’Donnell (eds), Peace and the Public Purse: Economic Policies for Postwar Statebuilding (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2007); S. L. Woodward, ‘Economic priorities for successful peace implementation’, in S. J. Stedman, D. Rothchild, and E. Cousens (eds), Ending Civil Wars: The Implementation of Peace Agreements (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2002). 45 Murray has identified disentangling the root causes as one of the most fundamental tasks of twenty-first century peacemaking. See L. Murray, ‘Peacemaking – challenges for the new century’, in Hume, Fraser, and Murray (eds), Peacemaking in the Twenty-first Century, p. 19. 46 R. Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation (New York: Basic Books, 1984); R. Axelrod, The Complexity of Cooperation: Agent-based Models of Competition and Collaboration (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). 47 One such approach examined in Chapter 11 is dynamic systems analysis. See R. R. Vallacher, P. T. Coleman, A. Nowak, and L. Bui-Wrozinska, ‘Rethinking intractable conflict: The perspective of dynamical systems’, American Psychologist, 65:4 (2010), 262–78. 48 For reconciliation, see D. Bar-Tel and G. H. Bennink, ‘The nature of reconciliation



as an outcome and as a process’, in Y. Bar-Simon-Tov (ed.), From Conflict Resolution to Reconciliation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 11–38; E. Daly and J. Sarkin, Reconciliation in Divided Societies: Finding Common Ground (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007); D. Philpott, Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012). For social learning, see N. T. Aiken, Identity, Reconciliation, and Transitional Justice: Overcoming Intractability in Divided Societies (London: Routledge, 2013). For dialogue, see S. Maddison, ‘Relational transformation and agonistic dialogue in divided societies’, Political Studies, 63:5 (2015), 1014–30. 49 E. Langenhacher and Y. Shain, Power and the Past: Collective Memory and International Relations (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010); J. M. Lind, Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010). 50 S. MacDonald, Memorylands: Heritage and Identity in Europe today (London: Routledge, 2013); S. McDowell and M. Braniff, Commemoration as Conflict: Space, Memory and Identity in Peace Processes (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). 51 See I. M. Young, Responsibility for Justice (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013); C. McGrattan, The Politics of Trauma and Peace-Building: Lessons from Northern Ireland (London: Routledge, 2016). 52 For how the EU had allowed Europeans, including the British and Irish, to go beyond territorial conceptions of identity, see M. Berezin and M. Schain (eds), Europe without Borders: Remapping Territory, Citizenship, and Identity in a Transnational Age (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).


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 political parties. When these parties collapsed in the 2003 Assembly election, it was difficult to envisage that the triumphant hard-line political parties, Sinn Féin and Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), could possibly govern Northern Ireland in the power-sharing executive created in 1998. Sinn Féin is the political wing of the IRA, responsible for the deaths of approximately 1800 people out of the 3700 killed during the Troubles. The DUP has been the most hard-line and anti-Catholic of the main unionist parties, and its members have associated with loyalist paramilitary organisations. Nevertheless, in May 2007 the impossible occurred. Sinn Féin and the DUP agreed to share power. Since then there has been relatively stable if ineffective government. Northern Ireland has gone from being perceived as one of the most intractable, ‘ethnic’ conflicts in the world to a possible model for the management of violent conflict.1 So how have such antagonistic politicians moved from such polarised political positions to accommodation? How can we understand the politics of the peace process? This chapter will present a constructivist realist critique of existing idealist and conservative realist interpretations of the peace process. It will argue that a constructivist realist framework provides a more accurate analysis of the ‘dirty’ politics of the peace process. Rejecting the pragmatic realist politics of the peace process Analyses of the Northern Ireland peace process are often crude and motivated by partisan advantage. Predictably, the political parties and governments present themselves as idealists, the principled ‘heroes’ who overcame considerable constraints, took risks for peace, and are therefore mainly responsible for the



success of the peace process. There is little or no acknowledgement of the difficult political problems faced by rival political leaders. The ‘villains’ are unconstrained and, therefore, their uncompromising behaviour is simply malicious. This is a ‘morality tale’ in which those who ought to compromise have the power to do so. Accounts may take the observer ‘behind the scenes’, but often only to show the constraints on the hero rather than the villain. The political hero overcomes their constraints or makes courageous sacrifices to save the day. The narrative is designed to enhance the reputation of the politician or political party at the expense of opponents. This is the somewhat predictable self-serving nature of politics that gives representative democracy such a low reputation. Journalists and academics may be ideologically motivated or led by their political sources to reproduce these partisan accounts. These partisan and idealist accounts reinforce the ‘front stage’ presentations of politics and often miss the extent of cooperation and choreography ‘behind the scenes’ between apparently hostile parties and governments.2 On the ‘front stage’, parties attack and demonise their opponents in the propaganda war for party advantage, while privately they may or may not acknowledge the constraints on their opponent and negotiate with their adversaries. During the peace process in Northern Ireland, the governments and parties have been relatively sophisticated in their understanding of their opponents’ constraints and have used a range of political skills or lying and manipulation to drive the peace process forward.3 The peace process has thus been a vindication of pragmatic realism, which acknowledges that leaders employed a range of techniques to achieve a relatively successful compromise and a major decrease in violence. Leaders are reluctant to acknowledge publicly these political machinations because they are potentially dangerous to their reputation. This is because it clashes with their ‘front stage’ performance and reinforces the stereotype of politicians as malicious liars. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Jonathan Powell, his lead negotiator on Northern Ireland, bravely admitted the use of deception during the peace process, and this was later used against them.4 As a result, the pragmatic realism that so successfully drove the peace process has not been widely recognised and certainly not publicly accepted as legitimate. The controversy over the Labour Government’s handling of the ‘On The Runs’ controversy in February 2014 further dramatised the media and public’s expectation that political actors should not use deception. This idealistic and ‘principled’, or ‘moralising’, view of what politics should be contrasts and undermines the pragmatic realist politics that has advanced the peace process in Northern Ireland and continues to sustain it. Idealists Idealists tend to be optimists who believe that the world can change to realise their ideals. They emphasise the role that individuals and groups can play in the transformation of society and so are ‘agency oriented’. Ideas, reason, morality, and deliberation are powerful tools for bringing about the convergence of



values, building consensus for change, and the prospect of a more harmonious world in which conflict can be minimised if not eliminated. For idealists, Utopia may not just be a guiding vision but a realisable goal. In Northern Ireland, such idealists may be republicans who see the future as a united Ireland where Britishness is eliminated and all on the island of Ireland recognise themselves as Irish and support rule from Dublin. Loyalist idealists believe that Northern Ireland should be forever British and part of the Union with no concession to nationalist aspirations. For idealists all public and private behaviour should be honest and principled, while politics is disdained for its association with compromise and deception. The idealist position claims to be highly critical of the ‘dirty handed’ practices of politicians, such as the use of deception and violence. Since the context in which political actors make their decisions is seen as unimportant, political actors are free to make the world as they wish and to achieve the realisation of their ideals. They publicly argue that the actor should do what is ‘ideal’ and always (or nearly always) refuse to employ ‘dirty tactics’ such as manipulation and deception, regardless of the context and consequences. Idealists believe that there is almost no justification for deception in politics (or private life). Political actors have a duty to be honest and ethical and should act as they would want everyone to act. They tend not, therefore, to evaluate an action by its consequences. This deontological position focuses on motive and the importance of preserving integrity and acting with respect to the rights of others. Radical idealists would argue that you have a duty to tell the truth even if the murderer comes to your door looking for a person hiding in your house. ‘Morality Tale’ idealists attempt to combine idealism and realism by arguing that honesty also produces the best consequences. Good behaviour gets its just reward. Good things happen to good people who do the right thing, and bad things to bad people who do the wrong thing. According to Neiman, few cultures were built without a persistent assumption that expresses ‘the refusal to accept a gap between is and ought’.5 Idealists may accept some limitations on honesty in politics and consider some exceptional circumstances in which deception would be permissible. This might apply to the ‘murderer at the door’ scenario and issues of national security.6 Modern idealists argue that democracy is violated by secrecy and deception because political actors cannot be held accountable for their actions. Those who justify deception tend to take the perspective of the deceiver rather than the duped. A political actor may later claim that they perpetrated a deception in the best interests of the community (or ‘national interest’), but there are always different views on what are the best interests of the community. According to idealists, ‘[s]uch lies are told when governments regard the electorate as frightened, irrational, volatile or ignorant of political realities and so unwilling or unable to support policies which are in the public interest’.7 Concealment, deceit, secrecy, and manipulation ‘contradict the basic principles of democratic society based on accountability, participation, consent and representation’.8 Lies can be counterproductive. ‘Even when they are g ­ enuinely employed as a



tactic to further a good end, they may rebound and have detrimental effects once they are discovered and brought to light. They may cause further lies to be necessary and lead to retaliation by opponents. Equally damaging is the cynicism, disrespect and distrust of politicians once deceptions are uncovered.’9 Lies are unnecessary. Sincerity and honesty with the party and electorate stand a better chance of winning popular support for political change. Idealists oppose ‘political skills’ in favour of certainty, legal precision, and a more honest, straightforward politics. They argue that deception is not inevitable in politics and those who argue that it is a dirty business simply lack the moral integrity to do what is right. Some idealists argue that the people and civil society are essentially good so that there is no need for politicians to use ‘political skills’. Instead, they simply need to reflect the will of the people. There are two types of idealists who have presented their critique of the Northern Ireland peace ­process: ­neoconservatives and advocates of the civil society approach. Neoconservatives: right-wing utopian idealists Neoconservatives are usually considered to be idealists because of their public presentation of themselves as on the side of the ‘good’ (God, democracy, and human rights) in the battle against ‘evil’ (dictatorship and totalitarianism). For some, however, this idealist rhetoric conceals a cynical realism that represents nationalist and imperialist ambitions.10 There are those within the neoconservative tradition who acknowledge the gap between their public idealism and private realism. These neoconservatives have moved beyond idealism and embraced a conservative realism. Religion, from this perspective, is seen as necessary to keep the mass of population under the control of the elite.11 Critics have emphasised the neoconservative’s cold warrior cynicism in their support for authoritarian regimes, ‘dirty’ wars, or terrorists (the Contras in Nicaragua, Cuban exiles, People’s Mujahedin in Iran) and disregard for the democracy and human rights of those they oppose. Their commitment to democracy and human rights is also questionable because these are subordinated to a permanent state of emergency in which the military struggle against the ‘evil’ enemy takes primacy. The neoconservative world view is expressed in a philosophical moral certainty or ‘moral clarity’ in the battle between good and evil in which you are either with us or against us. Neoconservatives favour the deployment of hard over soft power because they seek the defeat of the evil enemy rather than a negotiated, compromise accommodation which is portrayed as appeasement. The defeat of ‘terrorists’ will be achieved by demonstrating resolution in the battle of wills between good and evil. Some neoconservatives may take a less hard-line approach but insist on certain stringent pre-conditions before talking to terrorists. Neoconservatives oppose talking to terrorists such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Sunni militias in Iraq, al Qaeda, or the Taliban. The definition of neoconservatism is controversial and, particularly in Europe, ­neoconservatives distance themselves from the brand because of its toxicity. Anti-peace process neoconservatives portray the Northern Ireland peace process as a betrayal and surrender to the IRA. When it became clear that



the IRA had not won, neoconservatives decided that they instead had been defeated.12 In this new narrative the behaviour of the British governments was not a warning of the perils of appeasement, but reinvented as a model in the acceptance of the surrender of a terrorist organisation in which clear red lines were not crossed and democratic norms were not undermined. Neoconservatives prefer moral clarity over the ambiguities and messy moral compromises of politics. They accept the most hard-line interpretation of the enemy’s fanatical intentions, and insist on the state adopting an intransigent position and pursing a military victory which is likely to scupper any prospect of a negotiated settlement. There are a number of problems with the neoconservative idealist analysis of the peace process in Northern Ireland. The IRA was not ‘defeated’ in any meaningful sense of that word. The IRA leadership did not perceive that they had been defeated and acted on that perception. This was also the perception of other leading actors involved in the peace process, including British Conservative and Labour governments. Until very late in the peace process Tony Blair was unsure of whether the IRA would relaunch their armed struggle. The peace process also appears to have been emerging before the 1990s, when the neoconservatives claim the IRA was defeated. The peace process, however, emerged from a situation of stalemate or a process of learning to trust and cooperate with rivals or enemies rather than the defeat of the IRA. Indeed, the IRA was running a highly effective military campaign into the 1990s with damaging attacks on the City of London while it engaged in negotiations. Since the IRA was not defeated, the peace process was not about the British Government managing the IRA’s surrender but involved tortuous negotiations in which democratic norms were compromised and clear red lines were crossed most notably over decommissioning, prisoner releases, and the existence of the IRA’s ceasefire.13 The key political actors advancing the peace process, including conservatives such as John Major and David Trimble, rejected the neoconservative’s idealist approach because it is a prescription for intransigence and continuing violence. The civil society approach: left-wing idealists Advocates of the civil society approach to peacemaking and peacebuilding were inspired by the transitions to democracy in Eastern Europe and Latin America. They hoped that civil society would play a corresponding role in promoting the resolution of conflict in Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland.14 The civil society approach argues that peace processes must overcome ethnic and sectarian divisions in society. Actors in civil society and people at the grassroots need to drive the peace process.15 Significantly, this approach was championed by some in civil society,16 but it also resonated with some politicians such as Mo Mowlam, Tony Blair, and Bill Clinton. The civil society approach to the Northern Ireland peace process assumes that the people and civil society are more moderate than their political representatives. The mobilisation of the people and the democratisation of Northern Ireland would either



bring the political parties into line with the view of the people, or else generate new alternative civil society parties or undermine representative democracy in favour of more participatory or deliberative forms. Advocates of the civil society approach to peacemaking often expressed a strong scepticism of representative democracy and preferred more ‘authentic’, ‘deliberative’ alternatives. These included: quangos, citizens’ juries, preferenda, referendums, consensus conferences, and surveys.17 An emphasis on the youth was used to argue that future generations would be more moderate as new generations would emerge who would have no living memory of the Troubles. Their experience contrasted with the ossified older generations who controlled Northern Irish politics. The political culture had historically been marked by infantilism and irresponsibility. The political class was criticised for its insularity, ignorance, and lack of training.18 Advocates of a civil society approach to making peace embraced a reformist agenda, including integration, fair employment, security reform, education for mutual understanding through integrated schools, community relations programmes, and the promotion of women in politics.19 Some expressed the hope that a common Northern Irish identity might emerge or a third community that lay between the ‘ethnic’ blocs. The idealist civil society approach to explaining the Northern Ireland peace process can be criticised for its wishful thinking, mistaking the world as it ought to be for the world as it is. Civil society, depending on how it is defined, may be a force for communal polarisation rather than communal cohesion,20 and focusing on the need and desire for cooperation across the divide may underestimate the real conflict that exists. In fact, the growth of peace walls and continuing communalism highlight the difficulty of achieving a more integrated Northern Ireland. The civil society approach’s hostility to the British state also ignores the important role the state has played in supporting and funding civil society and also in pursuing the peace process. This means that civil society idealists cannot understand why political actors struggled to advance the peace process and why they used political skills, including deception, to circumvent popular scepticism and opposition to the peace process. This manifested itself in growing support and electoral dominance of the more hard-line and communalist political parties, such as Sinn Féin and the DUP. There is evidence that opinion polls have fairly consistently overstated the moderation of public opinion and underestimated support for the more extreme parties throughout the conflict.21 (See Table 1.1). The peace polls actually demonstrated that there was little popular support for compromise prior to the Agreement and relations were getting worse rather than better.22 There were also upsurges of communal hatred during the peace process, particularly during the marching season at Drumcree but also the picketing of Harryville Church in County Antrim and the protests surrounding the Holy Cross School in North Belfast. Assumptions from the civil society approach to peacemaking informed the judgements of important political actors, particularly in the British Government, during the first (1972–74) and second (1994–present) peace processes. Since these assumptions were inaccurate and based on wishful



Table 1.1  2003 Northern Ireland Assembly election results and surveys

DUP UUP Alliance  Party SDLP Sinn Féin

Assembly election 26 November 2003 (%)

NILT survey Under/ October overestimation 2003– (%) February 2004

MilwardUnder/ Brown, poll overestimation conducted (%) 6–8 November 2003

25.6 22.7 3.7

15 19 4

−10.6 −3.7 +0.3

20 26 6

−5.6 +3.3 +2.3

17 23.5

17 10

0 −13.5

22 20

+5 −3.5

Source: Northern Ireland Assembly election results 26 November 2003, elections/fa03.htm (accessed 10 April 2016). Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey October 2003–February 2004, (accessed 10 April 2016). Milward-Brown poll 6–8 November 2003, reports/2003/opinion_nov03/slides.html (accessed 10 April 2016).

thinking, these actors underestimated the challenge facing key moderate politicians in bringing their supporters towards a power-sharing settlement. This was important, because the ability of important actors, the British Government in particular, to make accurate judgements of who could, and therefore should, make concessions in negotiations was vital in order to maximise the chances of sustaining moderate politicians and the peace process. The Northern Irish politicians who made the Good Friday Agreement and later the St Andrews Agreement (2006) were largely the same politicians who had been criticised by those advocating a civil society approach for being incompetent. Since the people and parties were so polarised, they had to use considerable political skill to wind down the conflict and achieve accommodation.23 Civil society idealists see these skills pejoratively as ‘Realpolitik’ and find them unnecessary because they assume the people are moderate and seek peace. This wishful thinking helps to explain their poor political judgement and the electoral failure of political parties – such as the Women’s Coalition – and candidates that were inspired by the civil society approach. Civil society scepticism of representative democracy seems to have been unjustified given that an accommodation was achieved that defied their expectations. Realists Realists tend to be pessimists who see the world dominated by powerful interests concealed behind pious, idealistic rhetoric. They believe power considerations constrain the ability of politicians to change the world. Conflict is ineradicable and reflects the plurality and incommensurability of opposing interests in international relations. Politics is about the management rather than the eradication of conflicting powerful interests. Non-violent conflict may



be desirable because it avoids the concentration of power that leads to tyranny. From this perspective, apparent consensus and harmony is simply a disguise for the domination of particular interests behind such agreements and their silencing of opposition. Realists believe that idealists are guilty of self-deception and therefore cannot relate to the real world of politics and its messy moralities. For realists, idealists mistake the world as it ought to be for the world as it is and side-step or deny difficult moral choices by assuming or wishing them out of existence. This wishful thinking leads to an unrealistic interpretation of the world and in not having a credible strategy to achieve their goals. As a result, realists see idealists as irresponsible in advocating ideals without regard to the political context and consequences of their actions. Coady has criticised some idealists for a moralism which can lead to a delusional sense of moral superiority in which judgement and care are cast aside.24 Idealism’s utopian ambitions can lead to fantastical and ‘immense acts of will’ leading to an ‘absurd aversion to concrete reality, which lead to the most tragic consequences’.25 Realists tend to deny or downplay the relevance of morality in politics and argue that political actors should tend to judge policy choices by their probable consequences (consequentialism) and in the interests of the state rather than impossible moral demands. For them, morality is messy and the use of political skills is inevitable given the existence of powerful conflicting interests that impose constraints on actors. This creates situations in which there are rarely ideal choices but only choices between less favourable options or even tragic ones. The self-proclaimed idealistic politician will, therefore, inevitably disappoint idealists since constraints will force on them choices that do not conform to their ideals. Historically, the realist position is associated with Socrates, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Burke, Weber, Niebuhr, Carr, Morgenthau, Kennan, Sartre, and Kissinger. Machiavelli famously opposes idealists and moralists, arguing that in an evil world the leader must not always act according to private morality but out of necessity and acting out of necessity is not wrong. The wise prince must be prepared to act immorally; if he acts only morally, then he will undermine his own power. The problem for the leader is how to avoid appearing to be immoral when you are behaving immorally.26 Thus, the term ‘Machiavellian’ is used to describe the cunning and expediency of political leaders. While idealists tend to disregard the consequences of ‘good action’, realists justify political acts by emphasising the beneficial consequences. Realists argue that to be a politician you will inevitably get your ‘hands dirty’. They may even argue that ‘lying is excusable when undertaken for “noble” ends by those trained to discern these purposes’. The business of government requires ‘[a] certain amount of illusion … to be effective’, and therefore every government ‘has to deceive people to some extent in order to lead them’.27 While ‘front stage’ political actors usually claim to be idealists – because this is what the audience expects – privately, and in practice, they may be realists.28 Cynical idealists do not believe their own idealist rhetoric but see political advantage in claiming



to be idealists to conceal more realist calculations. The most cynical realist, therefore, is likely to publicly claim to be an idealist. Realists defend political deception and manipulation as inevitable and unremarkable, an essential weapon in the politician’s armoury and defensible on the grounds that ‘the end justifies the means’. Realism is usually seen as conservative because of its emphasis on the state and military power and its disdain for or scepticism of ‘progressive’ change. However, as I discuss below, there is a left realist tradition and this can be combined with constructivism. Conservative realists are elitists who favour only a very limited form of democracy and argue that the public should not influence policy because they lack the competence to come to an informed opinion. The elite supporters of the peace process in Northern Ireland have thus justified their ‘political skills’ as being in the true interest of the people. Telling the truth is not possible because it is unlikely to meet with a positive response from an audience that is so strongly rooted in conflicting identities. Politics is a dirty business and deception and manipulation is justified on the grounds that it promises peace and a lasting settlement. Realism’s consequentialism has come in for severe criticism because it can be used to justify horrendous acts based on the assertion that the end justifies the means. There are two problems with the logic of realism’s justification. First, people may disagree profoundly on the ideals or ends that should be pursued. Second, because policies may have unclear or unforeseen consequences, realism’s means may not achieve the desired result. Blair’s deception during the Referendum Campaign on the Good Friday Agreement, for example, did not produce the stable, moderate, power-sharing settlement that was predicted (if not promised). The accommodation between Sinn Féin and the DUP in 2007 was a fortuitous, largely unforeseen, outcome. As this example suggests, realists assume that it is better to be the deceiver rather than the dupe. Realists do care about some lies, those that they believe are not in the state’s interests.29 George Orwell disagreed with Arendt that the self-deceived are the most dangerous and cruel. Orwell argued that those who know what they are doing are far more dangerous. Thus, realism in practice ‘would lead to a perfect, irresistible totalitarianism shorn of the contradictions that brought down its predecessors’.30 Conservative realism: consociationalism Consociational theory in its early formulations was built on a realist approach to politics. Consociationalists claim to realistically or accurately describe conflict – free from the idealistic, wishful thinking of their civil society critics. This leads them to more pessimistic conclusions about how far divided societies may be transformed and shared identities created. Consociationalism was constructed on a primordialist view of ethnic identity, and this shapes and explains its ‘world-weary’, pessimistic, conservative realism. Since primordialist identities are very difficult to change and highly antagonistic where they exist



within a state, that state is prone to violence and breakup. For this reason consociationalists are segregationists and favour ‘a kind of voluntary apartheid’31 so that contact, and therefore conflict, between the ethnic groups is minimised.32 Consociationalists are ambiguous over whether segregation is a reluctant conclusion based on their realistic understanding of the world as it is or whether they embrace this conservative nationalist ideal.33 Consociationalists are highly sceptical of democracy because they argue this will empower people with primordial identities and therefore lead to conflict. The choice in ethnic conflicts is between ‘Consociational Democracy and no democracy at all’, although consociationalism is also possible without democracy.34 The role of the political leaders of each ethnic group is to dominate their political activists (the masses are assumed to be deferential to their leaders) in order for an elite cartel to run the state.35 The primordialist (or more recently essentialist) assumptions of consociationalists lead to a structuralist theoretical orientation which does not fit logically with their emphasis on the role of political elites in managing conflict. Primordialism and the strong propensity to ethnic conflict are facts that must be worked with rather than transformed or challenged. This led consociationalists to be pessimistic about the prospects for peace in Northern Ireland. They could not anticipate or account for the radical shift that would lead to the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in 1998 and power sharing in 2007. The GFA was explicitly integrationist and this contradicted the segregationist and pessimistic assumptions of consociational realists. Consociationalism’s proclaimed conservative realist approach to politics is, in the end, unrealistic. Consociationalism’s assumption that identities are primordial or essentialist means that ethnonational identity is very hard, if not impossible, to change and political elites will be highly circumscribed in their ability to intervene to create a more peaceful society. At the same time, consociational theory places faith in these constrained – but universally benign – elites to remake their societies on the consociational model, to dominate and lead their communal blocs while achieving a consensual approach to governing ‘plural societies’. Consociationalism’s pessimistic primordialism could not anticipate the peace process or explain its success because its simplistic, top-down conception of politics could not explain the complex and constrained nature of politics and the tortuous negotiations that marked the peace process. Critics have also attacked consociationalism’s overemphasis on technocratic constitution and institution building abstracted from the messy political context in which agreements are negotiated. This includes consideration of the role of force, external powers, and a realistic understanding of the dynamics of politics. Constructivist realism Although realism has tended to be associated with the right of the political spectrum, there is also a strong progressive or leftist realist tradition. E. H. Carr



is prominent among leftist realists who had progressive commitments and, for example, opposed the Vietnam War. John Gray has argued that since the end of the Cold War, utopianism has migrated from left to right and become the property of the neoconservatives and their liberal hawkish allies.36 There has been a revival of realism on the left in reaction to the rise of the neoconservative utopianism that has led to disastrous military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Constructivism is often associated with idealism because it can be used to undermine dominant, conservative narratives by drawing attention to the way they have been constructed and reproduced. By demonstrating the socially constructed nature of reality and interests, the implication is that the world can be re-constructed in order to achieve more ideal outcomes. ‘Thick’ constructivists tend to be idealists because they are idea and agency-oriented and share the assumption that rapid, radical change is both possible and desirable. Since the world is imagined, then it can be re-imagined in radically different ways through acts of will and agency. Constructivism and realism tend not to be seen as compatible because realism accepts as unchanging certain assumptions about the world, whereas constructivism is often used to challenge such assumptions. A ‘thin’ constructivism may be compatible with a ‘thin’ realism that recognises that the world is a social construct but also recognises that there is an objective material reality that constrains these constructions.37 Constructivists may, therefore, share with realists important assumptions: the ineradicable nature of power, pluralism, and conflict. Bell points out the potential of realism for providing a radical critique because it unmasks power relations and exposes the self-interest and hypocrisy of political actors: ‘Realism of this kind expresses scepticism about the scope of reason and the influence of morality in a world in which power, and the relentless pursuit of power, is a pervasive feature … It faces up to the folly and perversity of political life, without illusion or false hope.’38 Advantages over generalised and reductionist theories A constructivist approach can provide a framework in which a more realistic understanding of politics is possible because it is more complex and nuanced. It is the political process – involving power struggles and ongoing ­negotiations – that often determines the shape of a political settlement rather than ideal models with assumptions that abstract themselves from political realities.39 The management of conflict should, therefore, start from an analysis of the particular conflict and its complexities, including a realistic understanding of the political process, in order to understand pragmatically what the opportunities are for change that would secure a more just and peaceful society.40 The concepts of structure/agency suggest that people do make their own history but that they do so within constraints. For constructivists, structures and identities may be fluid and malleable or they may be ‘sticky’ and hard to change depending on the context. This makes constructive realists distinct from both



the pessimistic, structuralist, conservative realist, essentialism of consociationalism and the excessively optimistic, voluntaristic idealism of the civil society approach.41 Constructivism allows the researcher to interpret how ideas, agents, and identities operate in a specific context and does not make firm and specific predictions like idealism and realism which are abstract and reductionist theories. These latter theoretical approaches attempt to explain how to manage conflict in a state or region without deep knowledge of the local context. Arguably, more violence is done to the world in the name of imposing over-generalised, universal, and technocratic models of conflict management that confidently fail to predict the future, than those who would respect the diversity and complexity of conflict. The parsimony and reductionism of these theories is at the cost of accuracy. ‘[P]arsimony is a dubious virtue indeed – a synonym for the irrelevance that invariably accompanies high theoretical abstraction.’42 Constructivists seek a middle way between pure description, which captures complexity but explains nothing, and abstract theoretical reflection which ‘inflicts violence’ ‘on the nuance and complexity of the reality it purports to explain’.43 As a handbook on Democracy and Deep-Rooted Conflict argues, ‘it would be ludicrous to prescribe one overall single design for use across a variety of situations, each in many ways unique … Anyone can suggest ideal solutions; but only those involved can, through negotiation, discover and create the shape of a practical solution.’44 Realists emphasise the importance of having a firm grasp of reality, however unpalatable, in order to have an ­understanding of how political change might be achieved. ‘Real’ politics The focus on the politics of conflict is a necessary corrective to the architectonic illusion because it considers the institutional and non-institutional tools to suit the particular conflict. Policy-makers need to look beyond constitutional and institutional prescriptions and consider a more holistic and dynamic approach to conflict management that considers how numerous other factors interrelate. In Northern Ireland it was decommissioning and providing security rather than constitutional design that was most intractable. What is ideal may not be politically achievable. What works in one conflict might not work in another. A political accommodation is often the result of pragmatism and compromise rather than an attempt to impose abstract ideal types on diverse conflicts.45 A better and more realistic understanding of the political dynamics of a peace process is essential in order to explore what the possibilities for conflict management are. This allows political actors to make more informed interventions in what are difficult to predict and constantly changing circumstances. Since communal divisions are ‘real’, politicians are constrained and cannot simply impose an accommodation on the people. The limits of political leadership are apparent in the history of ‘the Troubles’ during which a range of political and paramilitary leaders attempted to move towards accommodation



and then either rowed back or lost their political position. These include: Prime Ministers Terence O’Neill (1963–69) and Robin Chichester-Clark (1969–71); Chief Executive Brian Faulkner, 1974; Gerry Fitt and Paddy Devlin; William Craig (1975); Ian Paisley (1986); and John Hume and David Trimble (2003).46 Politicians used a variety of tactics to pursue the peace process: • Reinforcing communal prejudices to ensure their election and public support. • Persuading key audiences of the necessity of accommodation. • Manipulating their key audiences towards accommodation. The GFA was a landmark in the ongoing negotiations of the peace process rather than drawn to a particular ideal constitutional blueprint. The Agreement was largely shaped by what the governments and parties believed was politically possible. This involved difficult calculations about the nature and extent of the constraints on various actors and judgements about who should and could move towards accommodation. The British and Irish governments intended to build the agreement on the moderate centre of Northern Irish politics but, arguably, they underestimated the pressures on Trimble and this undermined his ability to deliver unionism.47 The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader struggled to sell the GFA to the unionist electorate from the moment it was agreed. The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, deceived the Northern Irish electorate (and unionists in particular) to ensure the GFA had the necessary cross-community support in the subsequent Referendum campaign. Nationalist and unionist audiences were so polarised that constructive ambiguity was used to sell the deal in different ways to different audiences. Greater transparency in negotiations would have exposed and undermined the constructive ambiguity necessary to achieve agreement. The presence of the media in negotiations, it was feared, would also lead to politicians grandstanding (playing to the audience) rather than having the confidentiality, privacy, and security in which they could explore controversial and politically sensitive proposals for accommodation.48 Idealism, judgement, and messy morality Constructivist realism combines realism with a progressive idealism that distinguishes it from conservative realism. The distinction between what is and what ought to be is artificial. Constructivist realists argue (against conservative realists) that analysts bring their values and norms to their analysis and interpretation of conflict. It is not possible to explain what is and what ought to be without using moral concepts.49 There is an acknowledgement that ‘reality’ is constructed and different stories can be told about politics with different implications for actions and norms. Nonetheless, some stories have more evidence to support them and are more convincing than others. For constructivists, ethical reasoning must combine both principles of action with the empirical.50 Constructivist realists seek to explain and understand structure and agency and



the constraints and opportunities for change in a particular context in order to understand the prospects for bringing about more desirable outcomes.51 Idealists can be a powerful source for bringing about political change, change which has often occurred beyond human imagination. ‘[D]edicated Idealists can discover possibilities and unleash potentialities that the worldly wise and weary cannot perceive. Idealistic visionaries in Britain who brought about the abolition of the slave trade had a better grasp of the realities of power and politics than the many who believed that slavery was an entrenched part of the natural order.’52 Constructivist realism takes from idealism the inevitability of morality in politics, a commitment to deepen democracy, and concern about the corrosive impact of manipulation and deception. Constructivist realists accept that actors operate within constraints and that the most ideal course of action may not be judged to be either possible or prudent. The morality of political action should be evaluated by situating the political actors within the constraints and opportunities that they have to operate and not according to abstract standards, whether consequentialist or deontological. Judgement is, therefore, a difficult but inevitable aspect of politics. Realists recognise that deception and manipulation and therefore moral dilemmas are a regular and ineradicable feature of political life. These cannot be ignored or wished away. Thus, deception and hypocrisy is inevitable in politics and cannot be judged outside the context in which it arises.53 Realists oppose ‘moralistic inflexibility’ and accept that compromise may be practical and also respectful of ‘the conscientiously held values and the dignity of those who disagree with you’.54 Constructivist realism takes from realism its ability to unmask power and hypocrisy, its critique of idealism and moralism, an acceptance of ‘messy morality’ in politics, the inevitability of deception, the importance of prudence, and recognition of the limits of political action.55 The creation of a more accountable and democratic society is a worthy aim but to expect politics, or indeed social life, to be free of deception seems unrealistic. Runciman argues that hypocrisy – playing a part, pretending or wearing a mask – is unavoidable in contemporary political life and the demand to remove hypocrisy is self-defeating. The choice is between different kinds of truth and different kinds of lies. The question is to distinguish between intolerable and tolerable hypocrisies.56 ‘[W]hat we need to know is what sorts of hypocrites we want our politicians to be, and in what sorts of combinations.’57 The champions of the Northern Ireland peace process have used considerable levels of deception and manipulation to advance the cause of accommodation while their opponents have deployed similar ‘skills’. This was most notable in high profile deceptions: • Conservative Prime Minister John Major’s public declaration that he would not talk to terrorists while his government was privately talking to them (1993). • Tony Blair’s ‘honourable deception’ during the Referendum Campaign on the Good Friday Agreement (1998).



• Turning a blind eye to IRA breeches of its ceasefire (1994–). • Deceptive handling of the On the Runs controversy (1998–). Political skills were used to advance the peace process. These ranged from fairly trivial hard cop, soft cop routines,58 to necessary fictions (deception), to turning a blind eye to paramilitary murder59 and the role of the state in Northern Ireland’s dirty war. Whether or not these skills were necessary – indeed some may have been counterproductive – key political actors in the peace process judged at least that some of them were useful.60 Given the polarisation of party and public opinion, this was a reasonable judgement. Conclusion This chapter has argued that dominant academic accounts of the politics of the peace process are often crude and inadequate. They simply fail to face up to the existence of deep political division or else make heroic suppositions that assume away the messy realities, compromises, and complexities of politics. Neoconservative idealists first proclaimed that the IRA had won the ‘war’ and, only once it became clear they hadn’t won, then declared that the IRA had been defeated. They decided that the intractable and difficult negotiations and compromises of the peace process hadn’t taken place. Civil society idealists assume that conflict does not exist between the people and civil society. They either see the peace process as the result of popular pressure (with little substantiating evidence) or else the achievement of political elites using a conservative realpolitik that ignored civil society and the people. The elite-led nature of the peace process explains the persisting communal problems that continue to dog Northern Ireland. Consociationalism’s conservative realism makes the unrealistic assumptions that the people are deferential to their benign political elites and that these elites reach agreement and then simply deliver their ethnic group to any deal. Idealism’s reluctance to accept and value pluralism, its wishful thinking, and its hostility and moralising attitude to politics leaves it ill equipped to explain the politics of the peace process. Realism enjoys considerable advantages over idealism: emphasis on power, acceptance of value pluralism, the inevitability of conflict, rejecting wishful thinking, and holding a more accurate understanding and acceptance of the morally grey or even tragic nature of politics. Constructivist realists have attempted to rescue idealism from utopianism to provide a more realistic idealism. Constructivist realism provides a flexible framework for analysing politics along with some key realist assumptions. This can be used to account for the range, diversity, and dynamism of conflicts and in so doing better explore the possibility and desirability of political change. The peace process in Northern Ireland is a remarkable triumph of politicians and the pragmatic realist approach to negotiations. The controversy over the Labour Government’s handling of ‘On the Runs’ in 2014 in Britain and Ireland suggests that there is not widespread public support for, or even u ­ nderstanding



of, the tactics by which the peace process has been successful. Political actors rarely publicly make the case for realism and argue that hypocrisy and deception are legitimate political tools. The audience demands that politicians appear to be ‘clean’ and idealists, even as cynicism and anti-politics attitudes deepen. As John Gray points out, the public often finds realism distasteful.61 Northern Ireland has an idealistic, anti-politics culture in which the skills that have been so successful in delivering accommodation are rejected. Instead politicians and the media reinforce an impossible ‘idealistic’ view of politics that seems to simultaneously accept the reality of deep communal division while denying that such divisions necessitate hypocrisy and deception to achieve the creatively ambiguous accommodation that has been so successful. This idealistic culture inhibits further compromise and the deeper consolidation of the peace process. Notes  1 T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013).  2 White explains this cooperation using game theory in Chapter 11.  3 P. Dixon, ‘Political skills or lying and manipulation? The choreography of the Northern Ireland peace process’, Political Studies, 50:3 (2002), 725–41.  4 C. Moore, ‘Tony Blair did something “Tonyish” – and Northern Ireland has paid the price’ Daily Telegraph (28 February 2014).  5 S. Neiman, Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), pp. 167–8. Neiman also argues that Kant wanted virtue to lead to happiness. See Neiman, Moral Clarity, p. 97.  6 S. Bok, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life (New York: Vintage, 1979); C. A. J. Coady, Messy Morality: The Challenge of Politics (Oxford: Clarendon, 2008).  7 L. Cliffe, M. Ramsay, and D. Bartlett, The Politics of Lying: Implications for Democracy (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000), p. 28.  8 Ibid., p. 35.  9 Ibid., p. 38. 10 J. Vaisse, Neoconservatism: The Biography of a Movement (London: Belknap Press, 2010), pp. 278–9. 11 This is a quite different interpretation of the role of religion than taken by Power in Chapter 7 who approaches the role of the Catholic Church in the 1980s from an idealist perspective. 12 J. Bew, M. Frampton, and I. Gurruchaga, Talking To Terrorists: Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country (London: Hurst, 2009); M. Frampton, The Long March: The Political Strategy of Sinn Fein, 1981–2007 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). For a critique of this neoconservative interpretation of the Northern Ireland peace process, see P. Dixon, ‘The victory and defeat of the IRA? Neoconservative interpretations of the Northern Ireland peace process’, in T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). 13 The challenge of maintaining the IRA’s ceasefire required classifying violence within the republican community as ‘internal housekeeping’ in order to keep the peace process moving forward. See Chapter 3 of this volume.



14 P. Dixon, ‘Paths to peace in Northern Ireland (I): Civil society and consociational approaches’, Democratization, 4:2 (1997), 1–27; M. Kaldor, ‘The new nationalism in Europe’, in P. Bennis and M. Moushabeck (eds), Altered States: A Reader in the New World Order (New York: Olive Branch Press, 1995). 15 This approach to peace in Northern Ireland is stressed in C. Irwin, The People’s Peace Process (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002). Lederach is the most famous advocate of this among peace theorists. See J. P. Lederach, Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 1997). 16 This approach motivated the work of various civil society groups who promoted peace at the grassroots. They often used funds supplied by the European Union or the International Fund for Ireland to foster community based peace efforts. See Chapter 10 in this volume. 17 Dixon, ‘Paths to peace in Northern Ireland (I)’, 14–15. 18 Ibid., 10. McGrattan at the beginning of Chapter 12 cites Soderberg’s critique of Northern Ireland’s politicians. While it may be facile to critique all of the politicians of Northern Ireland, McLouglin credits John Hume in Chapter 4 for his skill and creativity in nudging the peace process along over several decades. Thus, it makes little sense to generalise regarding all Northern Ireland’s politicians since there were significant differences among them in terms of their willingness to bargain and compromise as well as the structural conditions that allowed them to take risks for peace. 19 For the role of women in politics leading to a more healthy civil society and peace in Northern Ireland, see Dixon, ‘Paths to peace in Northern Ireland (I)’, 12. 20 This differentiation is often called bridging versus bonding social capital. See D. Halpern, Social Capital (Cambridge: Polity, 2005), pp. 19–22. 21 P. Dixon, Northern Ireland: The Politics of War and Peace (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2nd edn, 2008); J. Whyte, Interpreting Northern Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990). 22 J. Curtice and L. Dowds, ‘Has Northern Ireland really changed?’ Crest Working Paper No. 74, September 2000; Irwin, The People’s Peace Process, p. 115. 23 Dixon, ‘Political skills or lying and manipulation?’ 24 T. Coady, ‘Intervention, political realism and the ideal of peace’, in T. Coady and M. O’Keefe (eds), Righteous Violence: The Ethics and Politics of Military Intervention (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2005). Also see C. A. J. Coady, Messy Morality. 25 E. Weitz, A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005). 26 N. Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. G. Bull (New York: Penguin Books, 1981). 27 Bok, Lying, pp. 167, 169. 28 Neiman, Moral Clarity, pp. 38–9, 58–9. 29 Coady, Messy Morality. 30 I. Hall, ‘A “shallow piece of naughtiness”: George Orwell on political realism’, Millennium, 36:2 (2008), 215. 31 A. Lijphart, ‘Cultural diversity and theories of political integration’, Canadian Journal of Political Science, 4:1 (1971), 11. 32 A. Lijphart, ‘Consociational democracy’, World Politics, 21:2 (1969), 219. 33 P. Dixon, ‘The politics of conflict: A constructivist critique of consociational and civil society theories’, Nations and Nationalism, 17:4 (2011), 110; J. McGarry and B. O’Leary, Explaining Northern Ireland (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), p. 338.



34 A. Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977), p. 238. 35 Dixon, ‘Paths to peace in Northern Ireland (I)’; Lijphart, ‘Consociational democracy’, 216; Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies, p. 53. 36 J. Gray, Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (London: Allen Lane, 2007). 37 C. Hay, Political Analysis (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002). 38 D. Bell, ‘Political realism and the limits of ethics’, in D. Bell (ed.), Ethics and World Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 104–5. 39 D. Horowitz, ‘Constitutional design: Proposals versus processes’, in A. Reynolds (ed.), The Architecture of Democracy: Constitutional Design, Conflict Management and Democracy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). 40 R. Brubaker, ‘Myths and misconceptions in the study of nationalism’, in J. A. Hall (ed.), The State of the Nation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 280. 41 P. Dixon ‘Paths to peace in Northern Ireland (I)’; P. Dixon, ‘“There is nothing politically right that is morally wrong”? Beyond realism and idealism in the Northern Ireland peace process’, Irish Political Studies, 29:2 (2014), 236–57. 42 Hay, Political Analysis, p. 35. 43 Ibid., p. 35. 44 P. Harris and B. Reilly, Democracy and Deep-Rooted Conflict: Options for Negotiators (Stockholm: International IDEA, 1998), pp. 2, 3. 45 Horowitz, ‘Constitutional design’. 46 Dixon, Northern Ireland. 47 T. Blair, A Journey (London: Hutchinson, 2010); Dixon, Northern Ireland, Ch. 10; J. Powell, Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland (London: Bodley Head, 2008). 48 For further exploration of the messy nature of political elites leading and being constrained by their constituencies, see Owsiak’s Chapter 2 in this volume. 49 D. Bell, ‘Ethics and world politics: Introduction’, in D. Bell (ed.), Ethics and World Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 6. 50 C. Reus-Smit, ‘Constructivism and the structure of ethical reasoning’, in R. M. Price (ed.), Moral Limit and Possibility in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. 54. 51 Dixon, Northern Ireland, Ch. 2. 52 Coady, Messy Morality, p. 62. 53 Dixon ‘Paths to peace in Northern Ireland (I)’; P. Dixon, ‘“There is nothing politically right that is morally wrong”?’ 54 Coady, Messy Morality, p. 45. 55 A. Gamble, ‘Ethics and Politics’, in D. Bell (ed.), Ethics and World Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 82, 88. 56 D. Runciman, Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power, From Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), pp. 4, 12. 57 R. W. Grant, Hypocrisy and Integrity: Machiavelli, Rousseau and the Ethics of Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), p. 16. 58 This is further explored by White in Chapter 11. 59 This is further explored by Gallaher in Chapter 3. 60 Dixon, ‘Political skills or lying and manipulation?’ 61 Gray, Black Mass, p. 273.


Issues, leaders, and regimes: reaching settlement in Northern Ireland Andrew P. Owsiak

The Belfast or Good Friday Agreement of 1998 largely repeated the terms of the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973. Why, then, did the peace process succeed in 1998, but not in 1973? The answer to this question is complex, as a series of causal factors played a role.1 In this chapter, I aim to shed light on the peace process’s success via the lens of two International Relations (IR) midrange theories: an issue-based approach, focusing on territorial settlement, and selectorate theory. I explain what each theory predicts and briefly analyse whether these predictions receive empirical support in the Northern Ireland case, using original interview data, scholarly research, and historical records. These theoretical approaches explain both the territorial dimension of the peace process and why the peace process moved slowly, incrementally, and often secretly, as leaders sought paths forward amid public constraints. The field of IR When the field of IR emerged after the Second World War, scholars focused on grand theories of international politics to explain what they deemed most important – war and peace between major states. Towards this end, Morgenthau provided the first realist theory, which asserted that international politics amounts to states pursing ‘interest defined in terms of power’.2 This influential theory helped establish realism as the dominant paradigm in IR. Yet realist assumptions also constrain research in three ways: in particular, they sideline non-state actors and minor states, state-level characteristics (or domestic politics), and the issues over which states fight – the latter because all international politics concerns (relative) power.3 Were one to accept realist assumptions, the field of IR would have little to say about Northern Ireland. This conflict and its settlement affected Irish–British relations, but was not a conflict between major states. It also featured a variety of non-state actors (e.g. the Irish Republican Army, local political parties, transnational networks, and individuals like John Hume) and underscored the importance of issues (e.g. partition, identity, policing, and decommissioning).



Thus, the characteristics of the conflict and peace process break with realist assumptions and produce what might be labelled as ‘trivial’ findings according to its paradigm.4 Furthermore, other than asserting that peace is unlikely to last, realism generally struggles to explain why actors reach peace, what type of peace is best, or why peace lasts – all of which matter for understanding Northern Ireland.5 Recent scholarship, however, eschews grand theory in general and the realist paradigm in particular. As Lake notes, ‘we do not have – and are not likely to have for the foreseeable future – a general, universal, and empirically powerful theory of international studies’.6 Lake, therefore, proposes that the field shift its attention to the development of mid-range theories – with specific attention to the constellation of interests, interactions, and institutions across various contexts.7 Creating such mid-range theories offers a balance between generalisability and nuance. It is specific enough not to miss important behaviours left unexplained by grand theories, but general enough to capture more than a set of idiosyncratic cases. This approach has produced a variety of scholarship helpful to explaining the conflict and peace process in Northern Ireland. I focus in the remainder of this chapter on two influential mid-range theories and their application: the issue-based approach to understanding international conflict and selectorate theory. Issue-based approach: territorial conflict As criticisms of the realist paradigm mounted, Mansbach and Vasquez proposed an alternative, issue paradigm.8 Under it, four splits with realism occur. First, actors are not defined by whether or not they possess sovereignty, but whether they have influence in a given issue area. State and non-state actors may therefore both be important, and the actors will vary by issue area. Second, no clear division exists between domestic and international politics. Third, politics concerns the means of resolving contested issues among actors. Finally, political outcomes result from a combination of the issue’s characteristics, the relationship between disputing actors, and the institutions that inform how issues should be handled.9 As scholars increasingly adopted an issue-based approach to study interstate disputes, a clear pattern emerged: territorial issues prove more dangerous than non-territorial issues.10 Territorial disputes are more likely than non-territorial ones to become militarised, to recur, to generate fatalities, and to escalate to war.11 Territorial disputes also contribute significantly to the production and maintenance of the most hostile interstate relationships in the international system: interstate rivalries.12 Notably, these dangerous characteristics display remarkable continuity over time; the vast majority of wars over the last 400 years, for example, involved some territorial element.13 Vasquez argues that territory proves timelessly dangerous because of ­territoriality – the human tendency to divide the world into units and to defend these units with force.14 Territoriality itself carries three noteworthy



characteristics and implications. First, territoriality is not a drive or instinct, but rather a learned predisposition that force is an acceptable mechanism by which to handle territorial issues.15 If learning promotes territoriality, then territoriality can also be unlearned. This creates the opportunity for resolving territorial conflict peacefully, although the process for doing so may be challenging. Second, territoriality is a ‘strategy to establish different degrees of access to people, things, and relationships’; in short, it is a means to an end.16 If we can find an alternative, non-violent means that achieves the same end, then the link between territoriality and conflict may be broken.17 Finally, most conflict will occur where attempts to establish territorial control collide. In the international system, this implies that border territory will prove particularly contentious. Given the theoretical connections between territoriality, borders, and conflict, scholars have increasingly investigated border territory as a unique subset of territorial issues. They find that neighbouring states are more likely to fight one another militarily, develop rivalries, and experience wars when the involved states lack a signed agreement that delimits the entirety of their mutual border (i.e. they have unsettled borders).18 In contrast, once they settle their mutual border, states are significantly more likely to transition from a hostile to a more peaceful relationship, even if other issues remain disputed.19 How, then, do states settle their borders? Scholarship remains more nascent on this point, but a few broad suggestions exist. First, actors must be prepared to offer concessions.20 This seems most likely when states share a common security interest and military power is more symmetric than not.21 The willingness to offer such concessions, however, declines as the territory gains salience.22 Regardless, states must think that negotiations and compromise offer a better outcome than military conflict.23 Second, democratic leaders may be more willing to make territorial concessions when they have domestic support. Electoral concerns cause them to worry that concessions on territorial issues will undermine their domestic support; they may therefore need help insulating themselves from public opinion.24 Finally, repeated conflict management can foster border settlement, regardless of whether this results from bilateral or third-party processes.25 In particular, conflict management efforts must focus on de-linking identity from specific territorial areas – or what Goddard might call re-legitimisation.26 Third parties can facilitate such de-linking but, ultimately, the parties must find a non-territorial method of defining their identity for a durable border settlement to emerge. How does this theory apply to Northern Ireland? First, the dispute crossed a particularly intransigent threshold when actors defined their identity in terms of territorial space – regardless of whether that identity involved union with the United Kingdom or an independent, unitary Irish state. Once actors define their identity in territorial terms, territoriality sets in, along with the danger that accompanies it. The border mobilises and hardens public opinions and, as a result, the positions of leaders. Institutionalisation then further compounds the matter by locking territoriality into policy. Politicians will subsequently



find it more challenging to alter this policy, as they will be charged with conceding their constituents’ identity if they do so, rather than just the territory itself. Thus, politicians may need to wait for popular support to redefine identities before they can alter institutions (e.g. the constitution) or change policy. Furthermore, territoriality leads to the use of military force as an allocation mechanism – a way to distribute a contested good.27 Other allocation mechanisms exist, but the involved disputants will need to alter their position to locate alternative means to achieve their objective. In particular, disputants will need to believe that negotiation is a more acceptable mechanism than military force for managing their disputed issue. Normative considerations can help leaders reach this point; however, it most likely arises via various realisations, including that nobody can impose their preferred outcome (i.e. a military stalemate), public support has shifted and (now) prefers negotiation over violence, or third parties can assist by accepting blame for necessary unpopular concessions or providing incentives that minimise the perceived losses of territory. These realisations occur incrementally, however, suggesting that peace will require sustained, repeated, positive interactions. Analysis The role of territory in the Northern Ireland conflict is incredibly complex and disputed. On the one hand, many profess that the conflict is not about territory, particularly if one defines territory as the ‘constitutional question’.28 Hume, for example, writes that ‘[p]artition is not the Irish problem. It simply institutionalised and exacerbated differences that have been there for centuries.’29 For him, the true ‘border’ exists in the ‘hearts and minds’ of citizens. Similarly, one practitioner I interviewed explicitly stated that the conflict has less to do with territory than smaller, more practical concerns that affect the everyday lives of citizens.30 A non-governmental organisation operating in Northern Ireland relayed a similar sentiment – namely that people in Northern Ireland do not cast their votes based on the issue of unification/partition.31 On the other hand, some argue that territory plays a vital – sometimes subtle – role in the conflict. Irish republicans, at least since the proclamation of 1916, have conceived of Ireland as an independent thirty-two county republic, while unionists have consistently claimed an identity and affiliation in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, territorial concerns repeatedly reinforced the conflict. Actors, for example, have linked various non-territorial issues to territorial ones; this most clearly emerges with respect to parades32 and housing issues33 in Northern Ireland. Once linked to territoriality, these issues also activate territoriality, making the conflict particularly dangerous as actors try to take, hold, and defend their enclaves. Although numerous issues in Northern Ireland have a territorial element, many scholars recognise the centrality of the constitutional territorial question to the conflict,34 and a significant number of Irish within the Republic continue to favour unification. (See Table 2.1.) It therefore seems premature



Table 2.1  Preferences for a United Ireland in the Republic of Ireland, 1942–201035 Year

United Ireland

Against Unity

1942 1943 1968 1970 Feb 1973 April 1973 1974 Feb 1977 Sept 1977 1978 1983 10 May 1984 14 May 1984 1987 1988 1991 1996 1999 Feb 2002 July 2002 2003 2010 2015

77 50+ 84 70 37 64 61 42 63 68 76 72 74 67 75 41 38 44 64 70 59 57 66

 –  –  – 29 31  – 16 32  – 19 15 12  – 19  – 39 26 34  –  – 16 22 14

Sources: The Irish Times (21 March 1942); The Irish Times (19 May 1943); T. Fahey, B. C. Hayes, and R. Sinnott, Conflict and Consensus (Leiden: Brill, 2006); P. Lyons, Public Opinion, Politics, and Society in Contemporary Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2008); The Irish Times (17 April 1968); B. C. Hayes and I. McAllister, ‘British and Irish public opinion towards the Northern Ireland problem’, Irish Political Studies, 11 (1996), 61–82; The Sunday Times (17 October 2010); Raidió Teilifís Éireann, ‘Cross-border survey shows soft support for united Ireland’ (5 November 2015) available at (accessed July 2016).

to ignore the constitutional question, which embodies a very real, deep-seated territorial claim. Unionists fear possible incorporation into a united Ireland dominated by nationalists, while nationalists believe they have merely postponed the time that unification will occur. Importantly, as part of the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement, the Irish altered their position on the constitutional question, allowing us to examine how actors shift positions on territorial issues and what effects these shifts might produce. In 1937, the Irish enshrined a territorial claim to Northern Ireland within their Constitution.36 This document, promoted by de Valera and Fianna Fáil more broadly,37 asserted in Article 2 that ‘[t]he national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and territorial sea’. Article 3 further stipulated that ‘[p]ending the re-integration of the national territory, and without prejudice to the right of the Parliament and Government



e­ stablished by this Constitution to exercise jurisdiction over the whole of that territory, the laws enacted by that Parliament shall have the like area and extent of applications as the laws of Saorstat Eireann [Irish Free State] and the like extra-territorial effect’. These articles make the Irish nation synonymous with the entire ­territorial island of Ireland.38 Identity and territory are clearly linked; what it means to be Irish contains a geographic dimension. Moreover, the Irish Government asserted its right to govern the entire island, even though they might not do so in practice. Based on these provisions, scholars consider the 1937 Constitution to carry an explicit territorial claim to Northern Ireland.39 Did the 1937 Constitution accurately reflect Irish opinion at the time it was written? Evidence suggests that it did. First and foremost, the Irish approved the Constitution in a referendum. In addition, De Valera wrote the Constitution based on his interpretation of how to balance the public’s ­various political opinions, including on a unified Ireland. As Murphy notes, ‘[t]he Constitution, primarily designed for domestic consumption (within the ­twenty-six ­counties) and aimed at the republican core, succeeded in gaining the allegiance of all but the most fanatical [republican]’.40 It effectively embodied a compromise between republicans and moderates.41 Finally, although public surveys rarely exist before 1970 in Ireland, two polls conducted of Trinity College, Dublin (March 1942), and University College, Dublin (May 1943) students suggest support for a unified Ireland at the Constitution’s birth. The first poll reveals that 77% of students wanted a united Ireland, while the latter suggests that 50–84% of students took a similar position. Along with the referendum, such polls indicate that the Irish public o ­ verwhelmingly opposed partition. Given that the Irish generally favoured the territorial claim in the 1937 Constitution, why did they later remove that claim from their Constitution? First, the claim may have always been aspirational, but not practical. Article 3 supports this position, as it recognises that the Republic does not have de facto jurisdiction over Northern Ireland. Such a position, however, is difficult to accept; if true, then the constitution should have been much easier to amend.42 A second, more defendable, answer is that the Irish changed the meaning of the territorial claim. Goddard proposes that all actors must legitimate their territorial claims – that is, they must justify their position on a territorial claim by providing a rationale for that position.43 Unionists, for example, required a settlement in which the Irish territorial claim seemed illegitimate. Nationalist leaders, in contrast, relied heavily on discourse that reinforced the connection between Irish identity and territory.44 They therefore labelled any settlement that formally recognised partition as illegitimate. If, however, they could legitimate their claim differently, then territory and identity might be de-linked. Irish leaders ultimately adopted this approach, redefining ‘Irish unification’.45 Rather than asserting unification’s existence – which would compel unionists to accept it as fact – the Irish introduced it as an aspiration to be



f­ulfilled only through the consent of those living in both the Republic and Northern Ireland. Until that moment arrived, they proposed cooperation between North and South – a type of minimal unification. The Irish also redefined the ‘Irish nation’. Rather than interlocking the nation and the Irish island, they shifted position to recognise that any person born on the island is entitled to be part of the Irish nation. This allowed for the possibility that those born on the island might elect not to exercise this right (e.g. unionists). The Irish public gradually came to accept the re-legitimation of their territorial claim. Why did they do so? First and foremost, the Irish wanted peace more than the realisation of unification. As early as 1979, Davis and Sinnott document that 61% of Irish survey respondents opposed IRA violence, even though they were generally supportive of the IRA’s motivations for violence.46 Second, the Irish never intended to force unification unwillingly on the North’s population. To be sure, they wanted to drive the British off the island.47 However, de Valera assumed that ‘Northern Ireland would eventually “voluntarily” enter a united Ireland … [He] simply refused to acknowledge that … the Protestant majority did not wish to be part of a united Irish state.’48 Acknowledgement of the unionist position therefore remained lacking at first, but eventually did arrive.49 When it did, the Irish Republic had to reconcile this unionist position with their territorial claim. The only path forward involved softening the territorial claim. This explains why interviewees expressed the belief that, for those in the Republic, the constitutional change was ‘not necessarily seen as a fundamental constitutional issue’. Finally, the Republic’s territorial claim was always meant to be aspirational. One interviewee, for example, noted that the claim was not an urgent, but rather an aspirational, desire, while another stated that unification could ‘never materialize [practically]’. Seemingly contradictory public opinion data supports this interpretation. Survey respondents from the Republic, for example, overwhelmingly express a ‘hope’ for unification.50 Yet this misses the nuance of the Republic’s position, for Hayes and McAllister also find that respondents are supportive of amending the Constitution, despite their aspiration.51 In short, the Irish want unity, but not if it involves violence or incurs costs. It is also not something they must have immediately. Given the Republic’s willingness to allow unification to emerge over a longer time horizon, the 1998 constitutional amendment may most accurately reflect public sentiment.52 In the end, a non-governmental organisation I interviewed summarised it best: the Irish are good at coping with contradictions. They can renounce and retain a territorial claim simultaneously. To accomplish this, they used ambiguous language with unclear and multiple meanings to redefine unification, the nation, and self-determination.53 They then used these definitions to shift the legitimation of their territorial claim, ultimately de-linking their desire for unification of the Irish nation from the territory of the Irish island.54 The de-linking process required a substantial amount of time to occur. Nonetheless, when it finally did, the peace process gained significant momentum – much as the issue-based approach would predict.



Selectorate theory A second lens for viewing Northern Ireland considers how domestic and international politics interact. Putnam developed this approach, proposing that leaders face a two-level game when negotiating internationally.55 The first level exists at the interstate level, while the second exists at the domestic level. Various international issues activate different domestic groups, and these groups subsequently constrain leaders in international negotiations. A more intricate version of this domestic–international story emerges from selectorate theory, which begins from the assumption that all leaders – whether in democracies or dictatorships – want to achieve and retain office. Doing so depends on two groups of domestic actors. First, the selectorate are the actors capable of affecting who holds office. Depending on the state, the selectorate might include voters, party members, or military officials. Second, a subset of the selectorate constitutes the winning coalition – the group of actors whose support is essential for a particular leader to achieve and retain office. Any leader who loses the support of their winning coalition will necessarily lose office; keeping the winning coalition satisfied therefore becomes an enduring preoccupation for all leaders. To satisfy the winning coalition, leaders rely upon a mix of public and private goods. The exact mix chosen, however, derives from the relative size of the selectorate and winning coalition. A society in which the selectorate is large and the winning coalition is small means that a leader must only gain the support of a small percentage of the selectorate. This has two net effects. First, it allows the leader to rely more heavily on private goods. Rather than provide public education or health care, a leader in this society can instead offer specific, targeted private benefits to her supporters, such as political positions, money, economic contracts, or material goods. Second, because many supporters exist to replace members of the winning coalition who defect, this system increases loyalty to the leader, allowing the leader to offer less for the support of winning coalition members. A system like that just described corresponds closely to those found in non-democratic states. In contrast, in democratic states, the selectorate is usually large; but so is the winning coalition. Consequently, private goods are too impractical for democratic leaders to employ for the ­purposes of keeping office. These leaders therefore focus more on the provision of public goods, such as national security, education, ­pensions, health care, and unemployment benefits. Selectorate theory has two potential applications to Northern Ireland. First, it can explain domestic inter- and intra-party politics. Most scholars apply selectorate theory to international politics. The leader of a state and her constituency serve as the main actors on either side of inter-state politics. Yet we can also apply the theory to the party level, making the leader of a party and his constituency the main actors. Indeed, much like leaders of a state, party leaders build and maintain a winning coalition to keep their leadership role. Understanding political behaviour then rests on accurately interpreting the relationship between a party leader and the supporters necessary for the leader to remain in their role.



We might, for example, apply selectorate theory to Sinn Féin. Over the ­ arty’s history, numerous splits have occurred in which a subset of the party p disagrees with the party’s policy and decides that the disagreement can only be reconciled by forming a new party.56 These disagreements usually concern which group best preserves the republican ideal most faithfully. To complicate matters further, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Sinn Féin were intertwined, often sharing the same leadership.57 The political strategy of Sinn Féin therefore relied on the supporters of the military strategy of the IRA. Thus, in order to realise their political goals, Sinn Féin had to move very carefully and slowly (often imperceptibly) to revise republican policy and channel it into a democratic process.58 To stray too quickly from the IRA’s armed struggle toward democratic politics could splinter the party between Adams’s group and a more conservative group that claimed to better embody true republicanism. Viewing party politics through the lens of selectorate theory helps us make sense of two potential puzzles. First, although peace processes are highly publicised, leaders regularly need private space to advance peace for two reasons. On the one hand, they might wish to explore options that their constituencies are not prepared to consider. Moloney, for example, argues that the IRA Army Council decided in 1988 to develop a more flexible policy toward British withdrawal from Northern Ireland, thereby offering space for Sinn Féin to negotiate.59 However, ‘the decision was a tightly guarded secret, especially from the rank and file, and for very good reason. Had they known that this key, almost defining, policy had been diluted, most IRA Volunteers would have been alarmed or at the very least deeply unsettled.’60 Adams may even have kept the extent of the concessions he entertained during his negotiations with Hume and the British not just from the ‘rank and file’ but from the Army Council that issued his mandate as well.61 This underscores the point: no matter how small the constituency, leaders need private space to explore a range of options during peace processes; otherwise, constituencies can compel leaders to commit to undesirable options or punish leaders for entertaining options not immediately acceptable to supporters. On the other hand, leaders sometimes need to negotiate, but cannot be seen negotiating – as this itself might be unacceptable to constituents. As Sinn Féin repositioned itself in the late 1980s, it needed to signal to the British and Irish governments that it was serious about negotiation and willing to consider non-violence. Furthermore, it needed to broaden its support to nationalists, not just republicans; this could change its selectorate, making leaders less dependent on IRA member sentiment and increasing the costs to the IRA of continuing violence. The trouble, however, was that the Irish Taoiseach, British Prime Minister, and leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) could not be seen negotiating with Sinn Féin, since it remained linked to both violence and the IRA. The former’s constituencies would punish them for officially negotiating with the latter.62 Adams therefore began secret talks with the British and Hume.63 These secret talks permitted a chance to exchange and explain views, explore potential settlement options, and build the trust



­ ecessary to create space for a formal peace process.64 By virtue of being secret, n they also insulated leaders from their winning coalitions. A second puzzle concerns the fact that leaders regularly act and speak in incongruent ways. Adams and Hume negotiated behind the scenes, but to the public they appeared in sharp disagreement.65 Similarly, Adams publicly linked the first IRA ceasefire to the peace process in publicised interviews but denied this link to the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis. Moloney explains the strategy succinctly: ‘The secret diplomacy with the British and Irish governments demanded, however, that from time to time Adams send an entirely conflicting signal to reassure those with whom he was dealing that he was serious about the peace project.’66 In other words, Adams continually had to reassure his winning coalition (both within the IRA and Sinn Féin) that he still accurately embodied the republican ideals and position, while at the same time sending signals to others that there was space to negotiate. The result was a mix of violence and negotiations; as Adams worked to redefine republican policy, the IRA simultaneously escalated violence.67 This allowed Adams to claim a continuance of the armed struggle, while simultaneously re-writing policy positions. The strategy’s necessity is unclear. Nonetheless, it explains why violent and non-violent strategies were pursued simultaneously: the winning coalition would not come along with the peace process unless violence occurred in the short-run. A second application of selectorate theory to the Northern Ireland process derives from the first: if selectorate theory can explain inter- and intra-party politics, then it can also shed light on the timing of, and difficulties inherent in, peace processes – that is, why peace advances or stalls when it does. Broadly, the theory suggests that peace emerges when the winning coalition allows leaders space to endorse a peace agreement. A critical question remains, however: how does the winning coalition get to such a position? Two routes seem possible. First, a leader might wait for the winning coalition’s opinion to change. They then support a peace agreement after the winning coalition accepts it.68 This strategy carries little risk for leaders, as they follow the public’s lead. In contrast, a leader might actively lead public opinion. This latter position entails clear risks; leaders adopting this strategy need to position themselves ahead of public opinion. If they get too far ahead, then selectorate theory predicts they will lose office (i.e. the public will ‘punish’ them). Nonetheless, leaders have one key advantage: information. The public possesses far less information than their leaders on foreign policy matters.69 As a result, the public will often defer initially to the leader’s policy. Over time, however, the public will gather more information and reassess its leader’s performance, raising the probability that support for the leader erodes. It is when support wanes that democratic leaders rightfully fear that they will lose office. Analysis One way to consider whether leaders changed policy position before or after their supporters is to compare movements in the peace process with public



opinion data. Towards this end, myriad data exist regarding public opinion toward partition and the peace process in the Republic of Ireland. Nevertheless, there are challenges in using these data. First, there is not much polling data until after 1970.70 Second, polling questions shift dramatically over time.71 For example, although it is clear that Irish support for a territorially unified island declined in the 1990s, both political events and question wording drove this change.72 Mindful of these difficulties, Table 2.1 attempts to synthesise the various polls conducted over time in Ireland regarding support for a united Ireland. Scholarly research suggests that leaders in Northern Ireland were in front of public opinion. Hancock, for example, finds that ceasefires and the 1998 Agreement provided opportunities for groups in Northern Ireland to redefine political identities.73 This granted political leaders the space they needed to move the peace process forward. Similarly, Fahey, Hayes, and Sinnott claim that the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement caused a fundamental shift in Irish public opinion about Northern Ireland and unification.74 Survey data, however, does not provide clear and convincing evidence in support of this position. That is, the data do not suggest that the Irish public shifted attitudes toward unification during the peace process. Given these inconclusive results, I interviewed political leaders, non-governmental organisations, practitioners, and citizens in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in order to ascertain whether leaders moved in advance of or followed public opinion. I also reviewed the work of scholars and policy-makers on the peace process. This evidence yields three conclusions. First, leaders take risks.75 For example, Fitzgerald, as Taoiseach, did not seek authority from the Irish Government before broaching the topic of amending Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution with the British.76 Fitzgerald also recounts a conversation with Thatcher in which they discuss the need to take risks to move the process forward and then sell any new position to the Irish public ahead of a Constitutional referendum.77 Similarly, Major argues that Adams and Hume were ready to move the peace process forward in the early 1990s – before their constituencies were ready,78 and Adams recalls that Sinn Féin leadership eventually gained an awareness of its ability ‘to galvanize public support and to marshal support through elections’.79 Each of these illustrations suggests that leaders are in front of public opinion – taking risks to adopt a position their constituencies are not prepared to accept and then selling it to them to build support. Second, constituencies also constrain leaders. This appears most vividly when leaders face extreme dissent within their own party because of their political initiatives. For example, Terrence O’Neill, as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, attempted reforms within Northern Ireland in the 1960s to diffuse the escalating civil rights crisis. This produced ‘a conservative revolt within the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), with some branches nominating people who were determined to unseat their leader [O’Neill]’.80 O’Neill attempted to circumvent this backlash by appealing to the public to support his reforms. This,



however, did not succeed, and he subsequently lost so many supporters that he was forced to form a minority government after the 1969 election. Shortly thereafter, he resigned. A similar fate befell other leaders. Brian Faulkner, as leader of the UUP, signed on to the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement and became the first Chief Executive of Northern Ireland under its power-sharing terms. Nonetheless, unionist opposition to Sunningdale was so intense that the ­agreement collapsed and Faulkner lost office. Finally, although it may seem contradictory, the paradox of the peace process indicates that leaders both lead and follow. This conclusion emerges from a series of interviews conducted in June 2014. Respondents were asked whether leaders drove political events or simply followed public opinion. Many interviewees highlighted the pioneering role of leaders, noting that: ‘nationality is something that was invented by governments and leaders’; citizens wait for ‘leaders to interpret (or sell) agreements for (to) them’; and leaders have to work to ‘convince their constituencies to settle’. Others thought leaders more often played a passive role, opining that: ‘people were worn down and ready for a settlement’; leaders ‘sit back until the populace moves forward’; leaders ‘make token gestures’; and leaders ‘don’t really lead’ or ‘have a strong conviction or point of view’ independent of public opinion. One policy-maker familiar with the peace process captured both sentiments, noting both that leaders must take a ‘leap of faith’ to move the peace process forward and need the supporters behind them for this leap to work. A similar sentiment emerged from a citizen I spoke with – namely that the public will provide leaders with room to negotiate, but only ‘up to a point’. This suggests that leaders possess the ability to maneuver ahead of public opinion, but must not get too far ahead of it. Reviewing historical evidence reveals additional empirical support for this paradoxical understanding of leaders’ role.81 First, much of the foundational work of the peace process took place in secret.82 Hume, for example, explains that he and Adams needed private space for progress to be made – a place where constraints did not operate so new options could be explored. In fact, Hume notes that ‘[h]ad we maintained secrecy, we would have made progress much more quickly. However, our talks became public in 1993 and the resultant pressures and vilifications were awful, making life difficult for both of us.’83 Second, leaders sometimes slowed or halted the peace process to retain support. This appears most readily within the Northern Irish parties, but is also manifest within British politics. As Prime Minister, Major depended on unionist support for survival. This restricted his ability to effectively run and conclude all-party talks under his auspices in 1996.84 To be fair, Major made substantial progress. That progress eventually slowed, however, as a result of his supporters’ preferred position. Third, actors sometimes engaged in contradictory behaviour, as when Sinn Féin both negotiated and used violence simultaneously. Goddard maintains that these actions are meant for different audiences: negotiation for the moderates and violence to assure republicans that their cause had not been abandoned.85 Importantly, this behaviour kept the IRA within the peace process, something about which Adams regularly worried.86



Based on the above evidence, it seems that leaders take risks in pursuit of peace, but also always have an eye on the selectorate’s preferences. Darby and Mac Ginty capture it best: For all political leaders, the task of leadership is twofold. First, party leaders had to manage their parties. The peace process presented parties and communities with new experiences, many of them unpalatable and some open to interpretation as defeat or surrender. For party leaders, managing internal party debates was often as delicate and time-consuming as their involvement in inter-party talks. Second, they had to represent their party position in a talks process aimed at reaching a definitive constitutional agreement for at least a generation. This was no easy feat, given that any action or statement risked the censure of the British, Irish, and US governments, the paramilitaries, and the electorate.87

Leaders have space to be ahead of public opinion. Yet they also face constraints that prevent them from being too far ahead of public opinion, making it seem as though they also must wait for public opinion to advance before they can move a peace process further. Of course, leaders can manipulate the constraints placed upon them. If, for example, they conduct diplomacy away from the public eye, they can explore potential issue positions that lie outside those that the public will allow them to adopt. This opens opportunity for peace and explains why many of the major movements in the peace process began via private, back-channel actions. A leader can also engage in duplicitous behaviour; that is, they might appear to be saying and doing contradictory things. Although a leader may be appealing to different public audiences when they do so,88 they essentially do this to convince one group of their supporters that they still operate within the supporters’ constraints even when trying to pursue options outside those same constraints. This can lead to more or less peace, depending on whether the duplicitous behaviour undercuts how much others involved in the peace process trust that leader. Finally, a leader might use propaganda.89 Although propaganda can be used to sell a peace process to a weary audience, leaders more often use it to increase constraints upon themselves. In particular, if the leader can manipulate public opinion so that they have little room to move from their ideal outcome, they can claim that others must concede and adopt their position. Strengthening their bargaining position, however, comes at a price. Once activated, constraints are difficult to loosen or abolish. If the relationship between leader and public opinion works as depicted, three expectations follow. First, leaders must be given private space to negotiate. The more media present, the more challenging it will be for leaders to consider less extreme positions. Northern Ireland confirms this supposition; major movements in the peace process began when Hume and Adams, the British and Sinn Féin, and the all-party talks could meet and explore options. This could not happen in front of the public – at least not initially. In addition, peace processes will move incrementally and slowly, even under ideal conditions. Each meaningful advancement will involve a leader pressing the



boundaries of what their constituency finds acceptable. If they press too far they may be replaced, usually by a more extreme leader (i.e. someone who will concede less). The process must then wait for this new leader to move into a position where concessions are possible. If they do not press too far, then the process must wait while the leader moves the public into position such that they then possess the space to make another incremental advancement. This explains why the peace process in Northern Ireland moved slowly. Nationalists and unionists – including republicans and loyalists – needed time to accept and adopt the emerging outcome of the peace process.90 Finally, setbacks might be eventual wins. The Sunningdale Agreement was too far ahead of public opinion in 1974; the response of the various parties and the collapse of the Faulkner Government demonstrated that conclusively. Nevertheless, this Agreement introduced a set of ideas into the discussion that could and did form a focal point for an eventual agreement. The question eventually shifted from ‘what terms are mutually acceptable?’ to ‘how do we position public opinion to accept the mutually acceptable terms identified earlier?’ Conclusion The mid-range theories discussed above offer unique insights into the Northern Ireland conflict, particularly about the shift toward constitutional compromise in Ireland, the speed and timing of progress in the peace process, and the conditions likely to be necessary for peace to emerge and hold. Using these same theories, we can also predict that much work remains to be done. If, for example, parades and housing concerns are territorial and territorial issues promote violence, then lasting peace requires both that parades be handled in a way that all parties can accept and that communities must become more integrated. Although by no means easy tasks, these developments would help de-link territorial issues from non-territorial ones, thereby reducing the likelihood of violence. Similarly, advancing the remaining peacebuilding tasks, building trust and civil society across communities,91 will require leaders to take risks, even when their supporters are reticent. This demands that parties (both internal and external) understand the constraints under which leaders operate and provide them with space to explore creative options for building more peaceful communities – perhaps by supplying an environment that minimises the political risk to them (e.g. non-public dialogue). Of course, all of this can only occur if leaders engage on the issues about which the public cares, something the population believes its political leaders are not willing to do.92 Finally, it is by no means clear that unionists and nationalists are comfortable living side by side with their political disagreement. Unionists fear that an expanding nationalist population will eventually strip them of their rights. As such, they guard what they possess, putting further strain on their relationship with the nationalist community. Ultimately, both sides must convince each other that they adhere to democratic principles that support the consent of the governed, the peaceful resolution of political disputes, and the protection of everyone’s



civil and human rights. A goal of this magnitude is lofty, but progress toward it is worthwhile if reconciliation and lasting peace are to be achieved. Notes  1 See P. Dixon, Northern Ireland: The Politics of War and Peace (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd edn, 2008); B. Feeney, Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002); S. E. Goddard, Indivisible Territory and the Politics of Legitimacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); S. E. Goddard, ‘Brokering peace: networks, legitimacy, and the Northern Ireland peace process’, International Studies Quarterly, 56:3 (2012), 501–15; K. Hayward, ‘The politics of nuance: Irish official discourse on Northern Ireland’, Irish Political Studies, 19:1 (2004), 18–38; E. Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002); N. Ó Dochartaigh, Together in the middle: Back-channel negotiation in the Irish peace process’, Journal of Peace Research, 48:6 (2011), 767–80.  2 H. J. Morgenthau, Politics among Nations (Boston: McGraw Hill, 1948 [1993]), p. 5.  3 See J. J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001); K. Waltz, The Theory of International Politics (Boston: McGraw Hill, 1979); J. A. Vasquez, The Power of Power Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 37 and 48–9; J. A. Vasquez, ‘Realism and the study of peace and war’, in M. Brecher and F. P. Harvey (eds), Millennial Reflections on International Studies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002); J. A. Vasquez, The War Puzzle Revisited (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).  4 Vasquez, The Power of Power Politics, p. 37.  5 Vasquez, ‘Realism and the study of peace and war’, p. 88.  6 D. A. Lake, ‘Why “isms” are evil: Theory, epistemology, and academic sects as impediments to understanding and progress’, International Studies Quarterly, 55:2 (2011), 467.  7 Ibid.  8 R. W. Mansbach and J. A. Vasquez, In Search of Theory: A New Paradigm for Global Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981). See also J. N. Rosenau, ‘Pretheories and theories of foreign Policy’, in R. B. Farrell (ed.), Approaches to Comparative and International Politics (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1966).  9 Mansbach and Vasquez, In Search of Theory, pp. 68–9. Lake’s proposal aligns well with this approach; see Lake, ‘Why “isms” are evil’. 10 P. F. Diehl, ‘What are they fighting for? The importance of issues in international conflict research’, Journal of Peace Research, 29:3 (1992), 333–44. 11 K. J. Holsti, Peace and War: Armed Conflicts and International Order, 1648–1989 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991); P. R. Hensel, ‘Contentious issues and world politics: The management of territorial claims in the Americas, 1816– 1992’, International Studies Quarterly, 45:1 (2001), 81–109; Vasquez, The War Puzzle Revisited; J. Vasquez and M. T. Henehan, ‘Territorial ­disputes and the ­probability of war, 1816–1992’, Journal of Peace Research 38:2 (2001):123–38; K. E. Wiegand, Enduring Territorial Disputes (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011). 12 T. J. Rider and A. P. Owsiak. ‘Border settlement, commitment problems, and  the  causes of contiguous rivalry’, Journal of Peace Research, 52:4 (2015), 508–21. 13 Holsti, Peace and War, pp. 307–8; S. A. Kocs, ‘Territorial disputes and interstate



war, 1945–1987’, Journal of Politics, 57:1 (1995), 159–75. Also see Vasquez, The War Puzzle Revisited, p. 143 for analysis of Holsti. See also D. S. Bennett, ‘Security, bargaining, and the end of interstate rivalry’, International Studies Quarterly, 40:2 (1996), 157–83; D. R. Dreyer, ‘Issue conflict accumulation and the dynamics of strategic rivalry’, International Studies Quarterly, 54:3 (2010), 779–95; J. Tir and P. F. Diehl, ‘Geographic dimensions of enduring rivalries’, Political Geography, 21:2 (2002), 263–86. 14 Vasquez, The War Puzzle Revisited. Ó Dochartaigh also applies territoriality to the development of policing strategies in Northern Ireland; see N. Ó Dochartaigh, ‘Territoriality and order in the north of Ireland’, Irish Political Studies, 26:3 (2011), 313–28. 15 Vasquez, The War Puzzle Revisited, Ch. 4. See also R. D. Sack, Human Territoriality: Its Theory and History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). 16 Sack, Human Territoriality, p. 20. 17 Vasquez, The War Puzzle Revisited. Also see J. D. Fearon, ‘Rationalist explanations for war’, International Organization, 49:3 (1995), 379–414. 18 A. P. Owsiak, ‘Signing up for peace: International boundary agreements, democracy, and militarized interstate conflict’, International Studies Quarterly, 56:1 (2012), 51–66; Rider and Owsiak ‘Border settlement, commitment problems, and the causes of contiguous rivalry’. Also see D. M. Gibler, The Territorial Peace (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Kocs, ‘Territorial disputes and interstate war’. 19 A. P. Owsiak, P. F. Diehl, and G. Goertz, ‘Border settlement and the movement to negative peace’ (Unpublished Manuscript, 2016); A. P. Owsiak and T. J. Rider. ‘Clearing the hurdle: Border settlement and rivalry termination’, Journal of Politics, 75:3 (2013), 757–72. 20 Wiegand, Enduring Territorial Disputes. 21 Neither side can therefore impose its preferred outcome. See P. K. Huth and T. L. Allee, The Democratic Peace and Territorial Conflict in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). 22 K. C. Clay and A. P. Owsiak, ‘The diffusion of international border agreements’, Journal of Politics, 78:2 (2016), 427–42; S. E. Gent and M. Shannon, ‘Decision control and the pursuit of binding conflict management: Choosing the ties that bind’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 55:5 (2011), 710–34; Huth and Allee, The Democratic Peace and Territorial Conflict in the Twentieth Century. 23 Fearon, ‘Rationalist explanations for war’; I. W. Zartman, ‘Ripeness: The hurting stalemate and beyond’, in P. C. Stern and D. Druckman (eds), International Conflict Resolution after the Cold War (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000). 24 R. D. Putnam, ‘The logic of two-level games’, International Organization, 42:3 (1988), 427–60. 25 Clay and Owsiak, ‘The diffusion of international border agreements’. 26 Goddard, Indivisible Territory and the Politics of Legitimacy. 27 Vasquez, The War Puzzle Revisited. 28 Owsiak, ‘Signing up for peace’. 29 J. Hume, A New Ireland (Cork: Roberts Rinehart, 1996), p. 123. 30 Interview, June 2014. This helps explain why resolving the constitutional question still left many citizens disillusioned with the peace process. See F. Cochrane, The Reluctant Peace (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013). 31 All interviews referenced throughout this work occurred in June 2014. Per the



Institutional Review Board protocols approved by the University of Georgia, the interviewees are discussed anonymously with reference made only to their broadest, general identity. 32 J. Darby and R. Mac Ginty, ‘Northern Ireland: Long, cold peace’, in J. Darby and R. Mac Ginty (eds), The Management of Peace Processes (New York: St. Martin’s, 2000), p. 74. 33 Interview, non-governmental organisation, June 2014. 34 Dixon, Northern Ireland; Goddard, Indivisible Territory and the Politics of Legitimacy; B. C. Hayes and I. McAllister, Conflict to Peace (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013); Hayward, ‘The politics of nuance’; P. F. Trumbore, ‘Electoral politics as domestic ratification in international negotiations: Insights from the Anglo-Irish peace process’, Irish Studies in International Affairs, 12 (2001), 113–31. 35 The questions across the series do not remain constant: ‘Various solutions have been suggested for the future of Northern Ireland. Which of these proposed solutions would you prefer: to remain part of the United Kingdom; Northern Ireland to become part of the Republic of Ireland; a Northern Ireland State … or joint control of Northern Ireland by Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland?’ (1973, Feb 1977, 1978, 1984, 1991, 1996); ‘Do you think that the long-term policy for Northern Ireland should be for it: to remain part of the United Kingdom, reunify with the rest of Ireland, become an independent state, or other?’(1999); ‘Do you think that the long-term policy for Northern Ireland should be for it: to remain part of the United Kingdom or reunify with the rest of Ireland?’ (2003); ‘Do you favor a united Ireland?’ (2010); ‘Do you think a United Ireland – North and South – is something to hope for or something you prefer not to happen?’ (1970, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984); ‘Would you like to see a United Ireland in your lifetime?’ (2015). (b) The 1942 and 1943 surveys poll students of Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin respectively. All other results derive from surveys representative of the opinions of the population of the Republic of Ireland. (c) In 1943, The Irish Times reported that ‘more than a majority’ were in favor of ending partition, but did not give specific values. (d) To create comparable data points, the surveys of 1970, Feb 73, Feb 77, 78, 83, May 10 84, 87, 91, 96, 99, and 2003 contain an aggregation of the options of Ireland becoming an independent state and Ireland remaining in the United Kingdom. These are both counted as ‘against unity’ above. 36 For a discussion of events leading up to de Valera’s movement, see A. J. Ward, The Irish Constitutional Tradition (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1994). 37 S. Kelly, Fianna Fáil, Partition, and Northern Ireland, 1926–1971 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2013); H. Lerner, Making Constitutions in Deeply Divided Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). 38 Hayward, ‘The politics of nuance’; Kelly, Fianna Fáil, Partition, and Northern Ireland. 39 M. Gallagher, ‘The changing constitution’, in J. Coakley and M. Gallagher (eds), Politics in the Republic of Ireland (London: Routledge, 3rd edn, 1999); Huth and Alee, The Democratic Peace and Territorial Conflict in the Twentieth Century. 40 J. A. Murphy, The 1937 Constitution – Some Historical Reflections (Oxford: Hart, 1998), p. 15. 41 Ibid., p. 16. 42 G. Fitzgerald, All in a Life: An Autobiography (London: Gill and Macmillan, 1991); Goddard, Indivisible Territory and the Politics of Legitimacy, p. 221. 43 Goddard, Indivisible Territory and the Politics of Legitimacy.



44 Hayward, ‘The politics of nuance’, 22. 45 Ibid. 46 Regarding the IRA’s motivations, 42% sympathised with, 33% rejected, and 25% were neutral. See E. E. Davis and R. Sinnott, Attitudes in the Republic of Ireland Relevant to the Northern Ireland Problem, Vol. I (Dublin: Economic and Social Research Institute, 1979). Similar sentiment appears in the Panorama survey; only 2% of Irish Republic respondents outright approved the use of violence. It therefore seems that the Irish public was perhaps ‘war-weary’ and willing to revisit their claim to achieve peace. See K. Kyle, ‘The Panorama Survey of Irish Opinion’, Political Quarterly, 50:1 (1979), 35. 47 T. Hennessey, The Northern Ireland Peace Process (New York: Palgrave, 2001). 48 Kelly, Fianna Fáil, Partition, and Northern Ireland, p. 54. 49 Darby and Mac Ginty, ‘Northern Ireland’. 50 B. C. Hayes and I. McAllister, ‘British and Irish public opinion towards the Northern Ireland problem’, Irish Political Studies, 11 (1996), 61–82. 51 Ibid. 52 Indeed, over 90% of Irish voters ratified these changes to the Irish constitution. 53 Hayward, ‘The politics of nuance’; Lerner, Making Constitutions in Deeply Divided Societies. 54 Goddard, Indivisible Territory and the Politics of Legitimacy. 55 Putnam, ‘The logic of two-level games’. 56 Feeney, Sinn Féin. 57 Ibid.; Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA. 58 Feeney, Sinn Féin. 59 Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA, p. 392. 60 Ibid. 61 Ibid. 62 Feeney, Sinn Féin, pp. 346–7. 63 Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA, p. 408. 64 Ó Dochartaigh, ‘Together in the middle’. 65 Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA, p. 408. 66 Ibid., p. 396. 67 Feeney, Sinn Féin. 68 ‘Public opinion’ and ‘winning coalition opinion’ are interchangeable in democratic states, since democratic leaders can create a winning coalition out of any significant set of voters. 69 M. A. Baum and P. B. K. Potter, ‘The relationships between mass media, public opinion, and foreign policy: Toward a synthesis’, Annual Review of Political Science, 11 (2008), 39–65. 70 See J. Jones, In Your Opinion: Political and Social Trends in Ireland through the Eyes of the Electorate (Dublin: TownHouse, 2001); J. F. Meagher, ‘Political opinion polling in the Republic of Ireland’, in R. M, Worcester (ed.), Political Opinion Polling (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983). As one declassified United States State Department (1974) document notes, ‘[g]ood opinion polls are rare in Ireland, both because of slim resources and because of difficulties in finding out what Irishmen really think’. See United States State Department Cable, Dublin 01530, 1974. 71 See P. F. Trumbore, ‘Public opinion as a domestic constraint in international negotiations: Two-level games in the Anglo-Irish peace process’, International Studies Quarterly, 42:3 (1998), 545–65.



72 P. Lyons, Public Opinion, Politics, and Society in Contemporary Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2008), p. 158. 73 See, for example, L. Hancock, ‘Peace from the people: Identity salience and the Northern Ireland peace process’, in T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), pp. 67–72. 74 In 1984, 72% of Irish respondents were in favor of unity, but only 41% expressed a similar opinion in 1991. See T. Fahey, B. C. Hayes, and R. Sinnott, Conflict and Consensus (Leiden: Brill, 2006), p. 91. 75 T. J. White, ‘Lessons from the Northern Ireland peace process: An introduction’, in T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), pp. 14–15. Some leaders even risked their physical safety. See F. Millar, David Trimble: The Price of Peace (Dublin: Liffey Press, 2004), p. 15. 76 In part, he did not do so because he had ‘doubt[s] about whether the Government as a whole yet accepted that a really important initiative was practicable’. See Fitzgerald, All in a Life, p. 498. 77 Ibid. Also see G. J. Mitchell, Making Peace (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), p. 147. 78 J. Major, John Major: The Autobiography (New York: Harper Collins, 1999). 79 G. Adams, A Farther Shore (New York: Random House, 2003), p. 52. 80 S. Bruce, Paisley (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 97. 81 D. Trimble, ‘Misunderstanding Ulster’, Unpublished Manuscript, 2007. Available at (accessed 3 November 2015.) 82 Adams, A Farther Shore; Feeney, Sinn Féin; Hume, A New Ireland; Millar, David Trimble; Mitchell, Making Peace; Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA; Ó Dochartaigh, ‘Together in the middle’. 83 Hume, A New Ireland, p. 116. 84 Darby and Mac Ginty, ‘Northern Ireland’, pp. 67 and 71–3. 85 Goddard, ‘Brokering peace’. 86 Adams, A Farther Shore. Also Feeney, Sinn Féin; Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA. 87 Darby and Mac Ginty, ‘Northern Ireland’, p. 77. 88 Goddard, ‘Brokering peace’. 89 Dixon, Northern Ireland. 90 Hennessey, The Northern Ireland Peace Process. 91 T. J. White, A. P. Owsiak, and M. E. Clarke, ‘Extending peace to the grassroots: The need for reconciliation in Northern Ireland after the Agreement’, in T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). 92 Cochrane, The Reluctant Peace.


Under the gun: Northern Ireland’s unique history with DDR Carolyn Gallaher

Although official peace came to Northern Ireland in 1998, the conflict’s nonstate combatants took their time leaving the battlefield. The largest republican paramilitary, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), waited seven years to decommission its weapons and stand down its men.1 Loyalist paramilitaries waited even longer. The two largest groups, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), took nine years to issue stand down orders and eleven and twelve respectively to decommission.2 The success of these efforts also remains open to debate. Since these important milestones were met, paramilitary men have continued to commit murder and engage in other violent activity.3 For example, in the summer of 2015 two paramilitary murders occurred. The victims and presumed killers in both cases were allegedly members of the PIRA, and the second murder was purportedly sanctioned by the PIRA leadership.4 Continuing paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland has been detrimental to the continuing operation of the devolved Assembly – the centre piece of the 1998 Agreement. The Assembly has collapsed on several occasions, and been brought to the brink of collapse several other times because of allegations of ongoing paramilitary activity. This chapter examines the degree to which Northern Ireland’s experience with decommissioning conforms to theories of International Relations (IR) that stress the importance of disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration (DDR) for lasting peace. I argue that Northern Ireland is an outlier among post-conflict societies undergoing processes of DDR. In particular, Northern Ireland took much longer than other contemporary post-conflict societies to decommission weapons and demobilise armed groups. Moreover, unlike other contemporary post-conflict states, Northern Ireland did not develop any formal reintegration schemes for its combatants. While some paramilitary leaders went into politics, most rank and file members remain at the margins of society.5 Usually, delays in DDR are interpreted as evidence that peace is fragile and conflict may reignite. Defying expectation, hostilities between the warring factions in Northern Ireland have not resumed. The durability of peace



­ otwithstanding, the slow pace of DDR has contributed to continuing violence n in Northern Ireland. Instead of cross-community violence, however, the violence has become internally focused – against co-religionists and/or fellow paramilitaries on the same side of the communal conflict. Internecine violence continued after formal peace for several reasons. Early on, both republican and loyalist paramilitaries were emboldened by the Northern Ireland Office’s decision to not count cases of internal violence as breaches of paramilitary ceasefires. The slow pace of security reform and continuing distrust of police also meant that paramilitaries continued to play a role they embraced during the conflict, as de facto community policemen. Likewise, the approach to decommissioning, though one-sided in focus, left paramilitaries on both sides of the conflict reticent to finish the process. Interestingly, internecine violence took different forms in republican and loyalist communities. On the republican side, internal violence was used to maintain PIRA hegemony in republican neighbourhoods. The PIRA saw civil order and unity as important to negotiate successfully in the devolved Assembly. On the loyalist side, internal violence was used against rival ­paramilitaries in a bid for control of the loyalist brand. DDR in IR theory and in Northern Ireland DDR usually begins shortly after formal peace has been established. To the extent that there is a sequence to DDR, disarmament usually comes first. The formal laying down of arms is meant to signal a return to normalcy for civilians and those who were engaged in violence.6 For civilians, everyday life can resume. For soldiers and paramilitaries, leaving the battlefield can occur without undue fear of reprisals. In Northern Ireland most people refer to disarmament as decommissioning. Northern Ireland’s experience with decommissioning varies from international norms in a number of ways. The first concerns timing. In other recent conflicts, decommissioning is usually completed early on in a peace process. ‘[T]he majority of programmes have a lifespan of one or two years.’7 This does not mean that decommissioning always proceeds smoothly. The United Nations (UN) Mission in Liberia, for example, had to pause its programme to give combatants $300 for each forfeited weapon and a spot in a disarmament camp when local demand outstripped the mission’s capacity on the ground.8 Northern Ireland’s decommissioning, by contrast, did not begin until 2001 – three years after the peace accord and eight years after the first ceasefires. And it proceeded slowly and intermittently, with the final round of decommissioning not occurring until 2010.9 The second difference between Northern Ireland and the typical DDR process concerns the procedures for decommissioning weapons. In most contemporary conflicts, a specific protocol for decommissioning is usually written into the final peace agreement. In the 1992 agreement in El Salvador, for example, the main guerrilla faction, the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), agreed to create an inventory of its weapons, place them in



sealed containers, and deliver them to a United Nations contingent for destruction.10 Likewise, Colombia’s peace process required the paramilitary group, Autodefensas Unidos de Colombia (AUC), to register with the government and to turn in weapons during the process. To ensure that weapons were handed over during registration, the peace agreement also stipulated that former fighters could only receive the benefits/protections of the process if they turned over a weapon.11 In Northern Ireland, by contrast, the text of the 1998 Agreement was vague about how the process would unfold. Although the agreement stated that decommissioning should be ‘monitored’ and occur ‘within two years’, it left other details for later clarification, simply stating that the British and Irish governments would ‘take all necessary steps to facilitate the decommissioning process to include bringing the relevant schemes into force by the end of June [1998]’.12 Northern Ireland also differed from the usual DDR pattern in terms of the party designated to monitor and verify disarmament. Usually, one of two actors manages decommissioning in contemporary conflicts – the state in which the conflict occurred or the UN. The latter is usually involved if the state collapsed during the conflict and/or lacks post-conflict capacity to run a decommissioning programme. In Colombia and Cambodia the state managed the process of decommissioning, while in Liberia, El Salvador, Albania, and Kosovo a special UN Mission was in charge of the process.13 In Northern Ireland, by contrast, disarmament was managed by an amalgam of national, regional, and international actors. The organisation in charge of decommissioning, the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), was established via an agreement between the Irish and British governments on the eve of the 1998 Agreement. However, it was staffed by three people from outside the conflict zone (Canada, Finland, and the United States). In 2003, the British and Irish governments also established the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC). Its role was to report on continuing paramilitary activity and security normalisation and to investigate complaints about agreement non-compliance by members of the devolved Assembly or their associated political parties.14 It contained a mix of in-region and out-of-region members (one British, one Irish, and one American citizen). On occasion, the IMC also publicly called the IICD’s findings into question, as it did when it refuted the IICD’s claim that the PIRA had decommissioned all of its weapons.15 A final difference concerns Northern Ireland’s approach to demobilisation and reintegration. Although the Agreement allowed for the release from prison of paramilitary members convicted of conflict-related crimes, unlike programmes in other post-conflict areas it provided no formal scheme to reintegrate them into their communities or the workforce more broadly. Many people assumed that paramilitaries would eschew political violence because they could now redress grievances through the political process. Others assumed that paramilitary-aligned political parties could provide jobs for ex-prisoners as the Assembly got up and running, whether as candidates, behind the scenes advisors, or party apparatchiks. Although the ­ paramilitarism-to-politics



transformation worked for a handful of former prisoners, the great majority of former paramilitary men remain on the margins of society, unable to find meaningful employment.16 The reintegration services that do exist have been organised in the so-called voluntary sector, often by the paramilitaries themselves with the assistance of European Union Peace Funds.17 After 1998, for example, most of the armed groups created ex-prisoner associations to help newly released members find housing and jobs, register for social services, and develop post-prison support networks.18 On the whole, DDR in Northern Ireland was a protracted and somewhat ad hoc affair. As I note above, a drawn out DDR process is usually viewed as a harbinger for a resumption of hostilities. In Northern Ireland, however, the peace has held. In the nearly twenty years since formal peace arrived, none of the parties to the conflict has ended its ceasefire or declared a return to war. However, the slow pace of decommissioning and demobilisation allowed the non-state armed groups party to the conflict to continue to monopolise the means of violence in their respective territories and to use them when they saw fit. Post-conflict violence is not unique to Northern Ireland; it is a fact of life in most post-conflict settings.19 It is not uncommon, for example, to see the rise of new gangs and/or criminal organisations in post-conflict settings.20 The slow pace of DDR in Northern Ireland, however, means that post-conflict violence has been more directly connected to the conflict’s key protagonists rather than spin-off groups or new criminal organisations. As a result, Northern Ireland’s post-conflict violence is often understood in political terms. Indeed, though community leaders often attribute continuing violence on their side to criminal elements, leaders on the other side tend to see the violence in political terms.21 Violence on the inside Four trends mark the shift in paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland since 1998. First, paramilitary attacks against security forces (police and military) came to a standstill after the Agreement went into effect. Between 1999 and 2008 there were no conflict-related murders of either British or Irish Security Forces. This trend held until 2009 when dissident republican groups started attacking security forces.22 Fortunately, dissident campaigns have not been able to match the scale or intensity of their predecessors because they have limited resources and because the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has proven effective at stopping planned attacks before they occur.23 Second, though paramilitary violence against other targets also declined, it never stopped altogether. According to Sutton’s database of conflict-related deaths in Northern Ireland, paramilitary groups were responsible for 560 murders  during the last decade of formal conflict (1989–98); in the decade that followed (1999–2008) paramilitaries are believed to have killed eighty people.24 Non-lethal forms of paramilitary violence have also continued in



the post-conflict period. The IMC, for example, recorded 1122 casualties from paramilitary shootings and assaults during its seven-year tenure (2003–10).25 Third, after formal peace began, co-religionists took up a greater share of their victims.26 Between 1969 and 1998, for example, 21.4% of republicans’ victims and 20.9% of loyalists’ victims were from their own community. Between 1999 and 2010, the share of victims that were co-religionists increased to 75% for republicans and 81% for loyalists.27 Much of this internal violence falls under the rubric of so called ‘paramilitary policing’. The most common type of paramilitary policing is a holdover from the conflict period. During the Troubles many republican neighbourhoods were considered too dangerous for ordinary police work.28 Police were subject to constant attack and found it difficult to secure local help in building cases. Although loyalist areas were initially open to policing, their residents developed similar suspicions of the police over time.29 In this vacuum, paramilitaries came to play the role of beat cop in their neighbourhoods.30 In particular, they focused on policing anti-­social behaviours such as joy-riding, selling/using drugs, assault, theft, and rape. As I explain in more detail below, paramilitaries continued to serve as police long after the formal conflict ended.31 Their continued role as police has proven problematic for two reasons. First, paramilitary policing tends to erode the legitimacy of the new security institutions. Second, it does not conform to British or Irish law, and adjudication is often inconsistent with human rights standards. Punishment beatings are a case in point. The so-called ‘six pack’, for example, entails shooting or beating six of a victim’s joints (e.g. the feet, knees, and elbows). The public nature of these punishments – the disability is visible long after the actual beating – also sends a chilling message. Crossing a paramilitary for any reason may have life-altering consequences. Another type of paramilitary policing involves regulating dissent. In neighbourhoods controlled by paramilitaries, dissent is defined broadly. In some cases it is understood in political terms. In the early days of the post-conflict period, for example, dissent often meant opposition to paramilitary involvement in the peace process. In other cases, dissent is defined in apolitical terms as disrespecting paramilitary authority.32 After a Catholic man was murdered in a bar fight in 2005, for example, his family received death threats from the PIRA for speaking to the police and going to the media to air their suspicions that the PIRA was protecting the alleged murderer.33 Dissent can also be understood in personalistic terms. Speaking poorly of a particular paramilitary leader can invite punishment from the leader in question or even his paramilitary superiors.34 Paramilitary policing can also be used to defend criminal turf.35 Paramilitary men on both sides of the conflict run extortion rackets and illicit drug markets, and sometimes use punishment beatings to thwart their criminal rivals. As I note above, involvement in the drug trade can also provoke traditional paramilitary policing – a situation that pits individuals or factions of the same paramilitary against one another.36 The fourth trend is that internecine violence has not been equally distributed across the republican/loyalist divide. While republicans killed more



people than their loyalist counterparts did during the conflict, loyalists have been responsible for more murders than republicans in the post-conflict period. Between 1999 and 2013, for example, loyalist groups were responsible for 63% (fifty-eight) of the ninety-two murders attributable to a paramilitary group.37 Although dissident republican violence began to overtake loyalist violence by 2010, its scope has been too small to alter the distribution. The total number of conflict related deaths in 2013 (two), for example, was much lower than in 2000 (nineteen) when loyalist paramilitaries were more active.38 Explaining the continuation of internecine violence As I note above, internal violence has always been a part of the conflict. In this section I explain why internecine paramilitary violence continued even though cross-community violence declined significantly after the formal conflict ended. In particular, I focus on three factors: a 1998 decision by the Northern Ireland Office, the slow pace of security sector reform, and the approach to decommissioning. Internal housekeeping The 1998 Peace Accord had two provisions designed to prevent a continuation of paramilitary activity in the post-conflict period. The first was the government’s process for the release of paramilitary prisoners. The Agreement allowed prisoners convicted of terrorist-related activity to apply for a license for early release from prison, but it also stipulated that licenses could be revoked if the holder engaged in terrorist-related activities. The second is the provision that allows the Secretary of the Northern Ireland Office to suspend the Assembly if parties (or individual members) are not acting in good faith visà-vis the Agreement. Although devolution was arguably less important for Protestants, who often approved of direct rule, than Catholics, who saw it as oppressive, paramilitaries on both sides of the conflict initially supported the Assembly because it allowed their political parties to field candidates – ­something previously prohibited by law. Taken together, these provisions were intended to incentivise the use of political venues for redress and to penalise paramilitary ones. The strength of these provisions was put to an early test, however, by a series of murders conducted by the PIRA in the immediate aftermath of the Agreement. The victim of one of these murders, Andrew Kearney, was a Catholic civilian who died after receiving a punishment shooting from the PIRA three months after the 1998 Peace Accord went into effect. Kearney’s ‘offense’ was not political. He is alleged to have punched an Irish Republican Army (IRA) man in a bar fight.39 In the wake of Kearney’s murder, unionist parties pressed the head of the Northern Ireland Office, Mo Mowlam, to decertify the IRA for breaking its ceasefire. Mo Mowlam ultimately decided that Kearney’s murder did not represent a breach of paramilitary ceasefires because he was not a ­military



target. Mowlam described Kearney as a victim of ‘internal housekeeping’ instead. Critics were outraged, arguing that Mowlam was blaming the victim and excusing the alleged perpetrator.40 Although the phrase garnered understandable outrage, Mowlam was in a difficult position. Devolution was seen as crucial for keeping the PIRA on board the peace process. If the PIRA’s ceasefire was decertified, the resumption of hostilities was considered a real possibility. The consequence of Mowlam’s decision, however, was that paramilitaries on both sides reasoned that they could continue using internal violence without risking the benefits attached to their participation in the peace process. Specifically, the Northern Ireland Office would not revoke the early release licenses of an entire paramilitary organisation when one of its members engaged in internal violence and would work to prevent a collapse of the Assembly.41 Northern Ireland police data on paramilitary ‘punishments’ (assaults and shootings) confirms that the paramilitaries felt little pressure to ramp down their use of internal violence after 1998.42 Between roughly 1998 and 2004, for example, paramilitary assaults continued with the number of attacks hovering around 150 per year. During the same period, paramilitary shootings averaged about seventy-five per year.43 Although paramilitary ‘punishments’ began to decline (albeit slowly) in 2004, they have not disappeared. In 2014 the PSNI recorded fifty assaults and twenty-five shootings by paramilitary groups in the province.44 The slow pace of security reform Although Mowlam’s decision not to decertify the PIRA sent a signal that paramilitary activity could continue ‘on the inside’, it is important to note that her comments were not made in a vacuum. The arrival of peace did not change the fact that communities hard hit by the conflict continued to distrust the police. Many in republican and loyalist strongholds did not like paramilitary policing but still preferred it to formal policing or the absence of any policing. The 1998 Agreement proposed to deal with endemic mistrust of the police by establishing the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland.45 In 1999 the Commission proposed sweeping reforms.46 Some were symbolic. The commission recommended changing the name of the police force from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) to the PSNI because the old name was seen as partisan. As the Commission’s 1999 report noted, ‘[t]he problem is that the name of the RUC, and to some extent the badge and the uniform too, have become politicised – one community effectively claiming ownership of the name of “our” police force, and the other community taking the position that the name is symbolic of a relationship between the police and unionism and the British state’.47 Other suggested reforms were structural, including the creation of two oversight institutions – the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Ombudsman – to ensure community involvement and oversight of the new police force.48



Perhaps not surprisingly, however, neither community was entirely happy with the reforms and withheld their support, albeit for different reasons.49 On the republican side, evidence of continued collusion between the PSNI and loyalist paramilitaries sent a strong signal that republicans could still not trust the police.50 Moreover, though the PSNI adopted a 50:50 recruiting programme in 2001 to bring religious balance to the force, recruitment of Catholics proved difficult. In 2011, when the 50:50 programme ended,51 the force was still around 70% Protestant.52 The PIRA’s decision to boycott participation on the Northern Ireland Policing Board also sent a strong signal to everyday Catholics that republican paramilitaries were not yet willing to cede their de facto role as police. On the loyalist side, police reform was interpreted through existing discourses that saw the peace process as a zero sum competition between republicans and loyalists. Changing the name of the RUC, for example, was seen as a concession to republicans and, as such, a loss for Protestants.53 The slow pace of security sector reform was also exacerbated by the fact that none of the adopted reforms did anything to jettison the competition of, or reduce the role of, the paramilitary police. Although the Commission’s report recommended incorporating paramilitary leaders into local police units, politicians on both sides of the conflict were opposed to the plan and refused to implement the recommendation.54 As a result, many areas of the province have de facto two police forces. For the new PSNI, this encourages contradictory behaviour. On the one hand, the PSNI is often willing to accept some paramilitary policing because it is effective. In interface areas, for example, paramilitaries often serve as informal peacekeepers, reigning in micro-level violence between Catholic and Protestant youth during the summer months when recreational rioting is common.55 On the other hand, many people believe the PSNI also ignores paramilitary behaviour that falls outside of legitimate peacekeeping activity, such as extortion or drug sales, because they fear confronting a few members might provoke a confrontation with the wider organisation.56 In short, the PSNI has not yet monopolised policing power. A differential approach to decommissioning Although the 1998 Agreement did not describe decommissioning in partisan terms, political oversight of the process was initially focused almost exclusively on the PIRA.57 Media coverage of decommissioning followed a similar pattern. In its final report, for example, the Independent Monitoring Commission noted that the media had ‘the tendency to concentrate on describing what we had said about PIRA in our early reports, when in fact we were also making clear from the start that loyalists were the most violent. Only later, as PIRA faded from the scene, did what we said about loyalists receive fuller coverage.’58 Two assumptions explain the disparity of focus. First, most people in Northern Ireland assume that loyalist paramilitaries joined the battlefield after the modern day PIRA formed and began attacking loyalist neighbourhoods. They also tend to assume that loyalists only joined the fight because the



security forces (the RUC and British military units) were not doing enough to stop attacks against Protestant neighbourhoods in interface areas. This view is firmly entrenched in loyalist hagiography. As Bruce notes in his study of loyalist paramilitaries in the early 1990s, ‘almost every volunteer I have interviewed has expressed a view which could be summarised as “if there was no IRA, there would be no UVF or UDA”’.59 Although Bruce argues that loyalism’s personal history is factually incorrect – ‘the first explosions of the Troubles were set by UPV [Ulster Protestant Volunteers] and UVF men pretending to the IRA’60 – the view was widely accepted by the British and Irish governments. Second, the British and Irish governments, as well as unionist politicians, assumed that republican decommissioning would have a wider impact than loyalist decommissioning because republicans had been far more violent than loyalists during the conflict.61 Between 1969 and 1998, for example, republicans were responsible for 2046 deaths; during the same time period Loyalists were responsible for 998 deaths.62 Given this context, it is not surprising that loyalist violence was often depicted as reactionary rather than sui generis during key points before and after the 1998 Agreement. As a result, key actors in the peace process focused their attention on decommissioning by republicans instead of decommissioning by all paramilitary groups. The driving assumption was that if republicans could be convinced to lay down their weapons, loyalist paramilitaries would do the same. The problem with the differential approach to decommissioning was that it put too much pressure on republicans and not enough on loyalists.63 The poor calibration of force also meant both sides had an excuse, albeit different ones, to resist decommissioning in a timely manner. For republicans, the pressure to decommission began as soon as the 1998 Agreement was ratified. When the British and Irish governments began the process of standing up the Assembly, for example, the Irish Taoiseach and the British prime minister publicly stated that the PIRA would need to decommission before Sinn Féin could enter into the Assembly. The PIRA and Sinn Féin argued, however, that decommissioning could only happen after actual implementation of the 1998 Agreement had begun.64 The PIRA leadership felt that it would be unwise from a military perspective to decommission before it had anything tangible to show for signing the Agreement. The leadership was also mindful of the Catholic civilians who had supported peace but wanted reassurances that they would be protected should the state fail to keep its promises. As Martin McGuinness explained to the Guardian in 1999, ‘[y]ou can talk about symbolic gestures in terms of handing in a few guns, but I think the reaction in the Bogside communities [to immediate decommissioning] would be: “Why has the IRA done that? Why would they surrender? Why have they been humiliated? If the IRA are doing that they want their head looked at”.65 Although the two governments eventually agreed to start the Assembly before any significant PIRA decommissioning had occurred, the pressure did not stop once the Assembly was formed. The PIRA responded by completing three rounds of decommissioning between 2001 and 2003. The Northern Ireland Office and unionists in the Assembly saw the PIRA’s efforts



as ­insufficient, however, and brought more pressure to bear. Most notably, after the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) won a majority of seats in the November 2003 elections – in part because of what many Protestants saw as the PIRA’s refusal to finish decommissioning – the Assembly’s new first minister, Ian Paisley, placed an additional demand on the PIRA – future rounds of decommissioning would need to be photographed to count.66 The PIRA saw the DUP’s new demands as unfair. As it noted on multiple occasions, the IICD had witnessed all three rounds of the PIRA’s decommissioning and had issued no public statements of concern with the process. The PIRA also argued that Paisley’s real goal was to humiliate the organisation. As proof, it pointed to a speech the DUP’s first minister gave at a regional DUP meeting a few weeks after the election, where he was quoted as saying: Seeing is believing. Decommissioning must be credible and it must build the confidence of the Unionist people. Sinn Féin’s leader Gerry Adams says we want to humiliate the IRA. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think it’s a very noble thing. The IRA needs to be humiliated. And they need to wear their sackcloth and ashes, not in a backroom but openly. And we have no apology to make for the stand we are taking. I say look at the heartache the IRA has brought to countless homes across this province.67

Perhaps not surprisingly, the PIRA’s response in the wake of the 2003 election was to bring decommissioning to a halt. Indeed, the organisation refused to decommission any weapons for the next two years. During that time, internal violence within republican communities continued to occur. Ellison and Shirlow note, for example, that the rate of punishment beatings and shootings during that period were as high as they were during many stages of the actual conflict.68 It is also worth noting that the PIRA’s decision to continue using internal violence during this period was likely strategic. As Mitchell observes, ‘weapons strengthen Sinn Féin’s negotiating hand’.69 In contrast, loyalists received almost no pressure to decommission during this period. Indeed, the UVF and the UDA announced early on that they would only decommission their weapons after the PIRA had completed the process, and neither organisation received push back in the Assembly or from the Northern Ireland Office to reconsider their position. Once the PIRA completed decommissioning in 2005, the British and Irish governments turned their attention to loyalist paramilitaries. There were few signs, however, that loyalists were ready to turn over arms, and the two governments had few carrots to entice them. Most importantly, they could not use the Assembly as a bargaining chip (e.g. by threatening to close it, or promising to restart it) because, unlike Sinn Féin, loyalist political parties had never won more than a few seats in the Assembly. As a result, the two governments and the Northern Ireland Office ultimately had to resort to sticks to force loyalists to decommission their weapons. Pressure began in earnest in August of 2007 when the Northern Ireland Office threatened to withhold £1.2 million from the Conflict Transformation Initiative, which was administered by groups linked to the Ulster Defence



Association, unless the UDA began decommissioning.70 The following year, the Northern Ireland Secretary also announced that he would not recommend the renewal of the Northern Ireland Arms Decommissioning Act of 1997 if loyalist paramilitaries did not demonstrate progress on decommissioning by February of 2009.71 It was a meaningful threat. If the Act was not renewed, the arms amnesty it granted would no longer apply, and the PSNI could begin raiding loyalist stockpiles and arresting associated members.72 The pressure served its purpose. By 2009 both the UVF and the UDA had issued stand down orders and were making arrangements with the IICD. Although the pressure ultimately worked, the decision to wait nearly a decade before applying significant pressure to loyalists was hard to square with trends in loyalist violence after 1998. As I note above, after the 1998 Agreement, loyalist violence, as measured by murders, was greater than republican violence. Moreover, during the period in which the British and Irish governments were putting pressure on the PIRA to complete decommissioning, loyalist paramilitaries engaged in several bloody internecine feuds. Footdragging by paramilitary groups on both sides of the conflict is not surprising. Without firm deadlines written into the peace accord, both paramilitaries had room to manoeuvre. The government’s approach – to focus its pressure on republicans and ignore loyalists – contributed to the foot-dragging on both sides of the conflict divide, albeit in different ways, and as a result allowed the continuation of paramilitary violence well after formal peace was established. Internal dynamics shaping the patterns of internecine violence To document and explain the patterns of internecine violence within republican and loyalist paramilitary structures, I use McKeown’s database on deaths associated with the violence in Northern Ireland.73 This database includes death data through 2005 – the year the PIRA formally disbanded. Although the Sutton Index of deaths includes more recent death data, I use McKeown’s data for this section because it includes information on the rationale behind/ motives for conflict related murders. McKeown’s database includes nine categories for ascribing motive/rationale. Two of the categories capture motives by security forces: public order and counter-insurgency. Two categories are specific to republican paramilitaries. Security force targeting covers republican paramilitary attacks on British or province-level security forces, while economic sabotage captures deaths stemming from republican attacks on commercial activities. Three categories are used to categorise killings in which the motives are not discernible (not classified), the chain of causality is tenuous (adventitious), or the motive does not fit clearly in any of the other categories (general subversion). Two other categories cover motivations by either republican or loyalist paramilitaries. The category sectarian campaign covers attacks against people who were targeted because of their presumed religious background. Punitive describes coercive actions against anyone not working for a security force in the province.



Motives classified as punitive are further subdivided into five subcategories. As my analysis below demonstrates, many of the paramilitary murders discussed below are classified as punitive, so it is important to discuss these subcategories. Internal security describes murders of people accused of serving as informants for the security forces. Enforcement covers activities consistent with paramilitary policing described above – such as the policing of anti-­ social behaviour, organised criminal activity, and so on. People who are killed because they are seen as a threat to a paramilitary organisation (e.g. a court witness, a prosecutor, etc.) are categorised as cases of intimidation. Reprisal covers forms of intimidation aimed at people who worked in Northern Ireland’s prison service, or were members of the RUC. Victimisation is a similar category, except that it captures murders of retired members of the security services.74 Factionalism captures murders ‘between groups which to the outside observers seemed to have a common goal’.75 A similar category, retaliatory, covers killings in which a person is targeted because of his affiliation with a paramilitary organisation or an affiliated political organisation. Both the factionalism and retaliatory categories capture murders committed as part of internecine feuds between two or more paramilitary organisations on the same side of the conflict or between factions of the same paramilitary group. I now turn to the data for republicans and loyalists respectively. As I demonstrate below, republican violence has tended to fit within the existing paradigm of paramilitary policing. Loyalist violence, by contrast, has been driven in large part by feuding between and within loyalist paramilitary organisations. We’re still the police Between 1999 and 2005, Republican paramilitaries killed twenty-five people. According to the McKeown database, the rationale behind 80% of these murders (twenty) was punitive. Moreover, 81.2% of the punitive cases that could be sub-categorised (thirteen of sixteen) were classified as enforcement, the category which captures activities that are consistent with paramilitary policing. The continuation of paramilitary policing by the PIRA between 1998 and 2005 is not surprising. The PIRA believed that demonstrating unity within its territories was important for its ability to negotiate in the devolved Assembly. The PIRA believe its ability to speak on behalf of the Catholic population could be called into question by opponents in the Assembly if the organisation was seen as devolving into criminality, or if its civilians started publically q ­ uestioning and/or disrespecting the organisation. It is also important to keep in mind that suspicion of the police has always been deeper on the republican side of the conflict than the loyalist one. During the Troubles, policing was militarised in republican neighbourhoods.76 Most Catholics avoided the police and reported negative encounters when they did interact with the RUC. Moreover, republican fears that the police were partisan were often amplified after the peace because of the relatively unconstrained media environment that emerged after 1998. In particular, stories of collusion



between loyalist paramilitaries and the RUC during the conflict and the PSNI after 2001 made headlines even in unionist newspapers formerly loathe to even acknowledge the existence of collusion.77 The PIRA continued to engage in paramilitary policing until 2007 when the organisation agreed to fully support the PSNI. The IMC’s fifteenth report, issued two years after the PIRA completed its final round of decommissioning, notes that ‘where individuals sought approval to use violence to deal with people thought to be acting anti-socially, permission was refused’.78 Unfortunately, paramilitary policing continues in republican areas where dissident republican groups hold sway.79 My brother is my enemy According to the McKeown database, loyalist paramilitaries killed forty-two people between 1999 and 2005. In just over three quarters (thirty-two or 76.2%) of the cases, the rationale was described as punitive.80 Moreover, in cases where a more detailed motivation could be ascertained (eighteen of the forty-two murders), 77.8% were classified as either retaliatory (nine of eighteen) or factionalism (four of eighteen). Unlike republicans, the most common dynamic driving loyalist violence during this time period was feuding between or within paramilitary groups. Although no one single cause can explain loyalist feuding, the initial feud can be traced to the peace process and the divisions it created within loyalist paramilitary circles. Although the UVF and the UDA signed onto the 1998 Agreement, many rank and file members were uneasy about the peace process. In 1997, for example, the leader of the UVF’s mid-Ulster brigade ordered a sectarian murder, ostensibly to send a message to the leadership in Belfast that mid-Ulster did not support the leadership’s participation in the peace process. The UVF’s leadership responded by standing down the entire unit. The unit’s leader, Billy Wright, went on to form a new paramilitary called the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), and quickly adopted an aggressive posture towards his former comrades. In 2000, for example, the LVF is believed to have killed Wright’s replacement, Richard Jameson.81 The first feud that erupted occurred against this backdrop. Even though the feud was ostensibly between the UVF and a unit of the UDA based in Belfast (the so called C Company), the UVF was suspicious that C Company’s leader, Johnny Adair, was making common cause with its LVF enemies to sell drugs in Protestant areas of Belfast.82 Although many commentators saw the feud as a fight over criminal turf,83 the UVF leadership argued that the feud was political.84 As proof they pointed to the fact that most of C Company’s targets were not members of the UVF but instead its political party, the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP). They also noted that Adair saw peace as an obstacle to his criminal endeavours. The second feud, in 2002, was internal, within the UDA, between factions loyal to C Company’s leader, Johnny Adair, and the rest of the UDA’s brigades. The UDA’s other brigade leaders believed Adair was more interested in establishing a criminal empire than remaining loyal to the



organisation. They also worried about the effect of his behaviour on the UDA’s reputation.85 Although the first two internecine feuds can be understood in political terms, over the next few years, as loyalist feuding continued, the motivations were no longer as clear cut or political. Several factors explain why. In their analysis of the UVF, for example, Bloomer and Edwards argue that the organisation’s military hierarchy began to lose power.86 Several key leaders who had helped negotiate the 1998 Agreement on behalf of loyalists died. The group’s inability to parlay peace into political action – the PUP never held more than two seats in the Assembly – also meant they had little to show for their support of the Agreement. Over time, a demographic split also emerged within the organisation between those who did and did not fight in the ‘war’. These changes meant the internecine feuding became more localised, and ‘divorced from political life’.87 Conclusion Although the pace and organisation of DDR in Northern Ireland does not conform to international standards, the peace has held in Northern Ireland. No peace is perfect, however, and Northern Ireland’s is no exception. Scholars and commentators frequently describe the peace as ‘cold’ and note that the wider geopolitical issue that gave rise to the conflict – whether the province should become part of Ireland or remain with Great Britain – remains unresolved.88 Less noted in the literature, but no less important, is the problem of continuing violence since 1998. Although violence has declined – especially against members of the British or Irish security services – it has not disappeared. Paramilitary men continue to kill, injure, and maim. This violence is given less weight, however, because it has been directed internally, and often involves people at the margins of society. Impassioned condemnations notwithstanding,89 internal paramilitary violence is not viewed as a harbinger of resumed hostilities across the sectarian divide. In this chapter, I have argued that the province’s approach to DDR facilitated the continuation of internal violence. It was all but formally sanctioned in the early post-conflict period, and later abetted, albeit unintentionally, through the decommissioning process. I also argue that differences within republicanism and loyalism resulted in different patterns of internal violence. In republican circles, most post-conflict violence has been consistent with so-called paramilitary policing. In loyalist circles, by contrast, violence has tended to stem from internecine paramilitary feuding. Although peace has held in Northern Ireland, this violence has important ramifications for Northern Ireland’s longterm recovery. In areas hard hit by the conflict, formal peace still feels like an abstract concept rather than a reality. Indeed, paramilitary men – technically former paramilitary men – still control turf through violence. For lasting peace, Northern Ireland’s most marginal communities must be brought into the process. Although loyalist neighbourhoods have tended to take a more negative



view of peace than republican ones, this is not a partisan issue. Indeed, the resurgence, however small, of dissident republicanism means that the most marginal citizens of both communities are still under the gun. Notes  1 Independent Monitoring Commission, Twenty-sixth and Final Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission: 2004–2011. Changes, Impact, and Lessons (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2011), p. 12.  2 Ibid., p. 13.  3 Independent Monitoring Commission, Twenty-fifth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2010), p. 24. See also Independent Monitoring Commission, Twenty-third Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2010), pp. 21–2.  4 H. McDonald, ‘Death of an assassin: How the killing of Kevin McGuigan reawakened Belfast’s political strife’, The Guardian (12 September 2015); H. McDonald, ‘UK Government may revive ceasefire monitoring in Northern Ireland’, The Guardian (15 September 2015).  5 C. Gallaher, After the Peace: Loyalist Paramilitaries in Post-accord Northern Ireland (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007); B. Rolston, Review of the Literature on Republican and Loyalist Ex-prisoners (Colerain: University of Ulster, Transitional Justice Institute, 2011).  6 A. Özerdem, ‘Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants in Afghanistan: Lessons learned from a cross-cultural perspective’, Third World Quarterly, 23:5 (2002), 961–75.  7 L. Banholzer, ‘When do disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes succeed?’ DIE Discussion Papers 8 (2014), 9.  8 C. Bragg, ‘Challenges to policy and practice in disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation of youth combatants in Liberia’, (Sussex: Sussex Center for Migration Studies Working Paper 29, 2006).  9 Independent Monitoring Commission, Twenty-Sixth and Final Report, p. 13. 10 C. Buchanan and J. Chavez, Negotiating Disarmament: Guns and Violence in the El Salvador Peace Negotiations (Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2008). 11 J. Morgenstein, Consolidating Disarmament Lessons from Colombia’s Reintegration Program for Demobilized Paramilitaries (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2008). 12 The Agreement Reached in the Multi-party Negotiations, Apr. 10, 1998, Strand Three, Decommissioning, paragraphs 3–6. Available at uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/136652/agreement.pdf (accessed 9 November 2015). 13 Buchanan and Chavez, Negotiating Disarmament; J. Loten, ‘Case study: The challenges of microdisarmament’, in R. McRae and D. Hubert (eds), Human Security and the New Diplomacy: Protecting People Promoting Peace (Montreal: McGill University Press, 2001), pp. 65–74. 14 The British and Irish governments established the IMC six years after the formation of the IICD because they felt the continuation of paramilitary activity was contributing to pessimism about the agreement and the prospects for lasting devolution.



The IMC’s role was not, however, to challenge the IICD. Rather, its role was to keep the spotlight on ongoing paramilitary violence by issuing semi-annual public reports. 15 Independent Monitoring Commission, Eighth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2006). 16 Rolston, Review of Literature on Republican and Loyalist Ex-prisoners. 17 Gallaher, After the Peace. 18 P. Shirlow and K. McEvoy, Beyond the Wire: Former Prisoners and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland (London: Pluto Press, 2008). 19 S. Autesserre, ‘Peacetime violence: Post-conflict violence and peacebuilding strategies’ (Columbia University Academic Commons, 2010). Available at http://hdl. (accessed 6 November 2015). 20 R. Manjoo and C. McRaith, ‘Gender-based violence and justice in conflict and post-conflict areas’, Cornell International Law Journal, 44:1 (2011), 11–31. 21 Gallaher, After the Peace. 22 Independent Monitoring Commission, Twenty-second Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (London, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2009). 23 Independent Monitoring Commission, Twenty-sixth and Final Report. 24 Sutton’s database tracks deaths between 1969 to 2001. Each death is categorised by the date it occurred, the religion, age, and gender of the victim, as well as the status (security services, paramilitary, or civilian) of the victim and presumed perpetrator. The database also includes draft data for conflict related deaths between 2002 and the present. See M. Sutton, ‘An index of deaths from the conflict in Ireland’. Available at (accessed 6 November 2015). 25 Independent Monitoring Commission, Twenty-sixth and Final Report. 26 The data for recent deaths are best regarded as estimates. Determining responsibility for deaths occurring after 1998 is difficult because paramilitaries ceased making public claims of responsibility. Note that the Sutton index does not record the religious affiliation of people killed in Northern Ireland who are not from the province (e.g. members of the British military serving in Northern Ireland). 27 Sutton, ‘An index of deaths from the conflict in Northern Ireland’. 28 G. Gillespie, The A to Z of the Northern Ireland Conflict (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2009); R. Evelegh, Peacekeeping in a Democratic Society: The Lessons of Northern Ireland (Montreal: McGuill-Queens University Press, 1978). 29 P. Taylor, Loyalists: War and Peace in Northern Ireland (London: TV Books, 1999). 30 P. Hillyard, ‘Popular justice in Northern Ireland: Continuities and change’, Research in Law, Deviance, and Social Control, 7 (1985), 247–67. 31 K. McEvoy and H. Mika, ‘Punishment, politics, and praxis: Restorative justice and non-violent alternatives to paramilitary punishments in Northern Ireland’, Policing and Society, 11:3/4 (2001), 359–82; Gallaher, After the Peace. 32 G. Ellison and P. Shirlow, ‘From war to peace: Informalism, restorative justice, and conflict transformation in Northern Ireland’, in H. V. Miller (ed.), Sociology of Crime Law and Deviance, Volume 11: Restorative Justice, from Theory to Practice (Bingley: Emerald, 2008), pp. 38–58. 33 Independent Monitoring Commission, Fifth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2005). 34 ‘Families weep as court hears graphic account of Tandragee murders’, Portadown Times (4 December 2008). 35 Ellison and Shirlow, ‘From war to peace’.



36 Gallaher, After the Peace. 37 Sutton, ‘An index of deaths from the conflict in Northern Ireland’. 38 Ibid. 39 J. Mullin, ‘Mother who finally said no to IRA’, The Guardian (30 August 1999). 40 C. Cruise O’Brien, ‘Sinister Doctrine of “Internal Housekeeping”’, The Independent (8 August 1999). 41 Ellison and Shirlow, ‘From war to peace’. 42 K. Torney, ‘“Above the law: Paramilitary punishment” attacks in Northern Ireland’, The Detail. Available at (accessed 26 October 2015). 43 Ibid. 44 Ibid. 45 For the politics of this police reform, see J. Doyle, ‘The transformation of policing in postconflict societies: Lessons from the Northern Ireland experience’, in T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). 46 Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, A New Beginning for Policing in Northern Ireland (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1999). 47 Ibid., p. 99. 48 These bodies were formally created in 2000 by the Assembly’s Police Bill. 49 A. Mulcahy, Policing Northern Ireland: Conflict, Legitimacy and Reform (Devon: Willan Publishing, 2006). 50 J. Sluka, ‘”For God and Ulster”: The culture of terror and loyalist death squads  in  Northern Ireland’, in J. Sluka (ed.), Death Squad, Anthropology of State Terror (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), pp. 127–57. 51 Although Catholic representation on the force nearly quadrupled during the ten years in which the 50:50 recruitment programme was in effect (2001–11), the starting base was too low to bring parity to the membership’s religious background. 52 S. Maddison, Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation (New York: Routledge, 2015). 53 C. Steenkamp, Violent Societies: Networks of Violence in Civil War and Peace (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). 54 D. Trimble, Speech Delivered to the Ulster Unionist Party Annual Conference 18 October 2003. Available at dt181003.htm (accessed 10 August 2015). 55 B. Marijan and D. Guzina, ‘Police reform, civil society and everyday legitimacy:  A  lesson from Northern Ireland’, Journal of Regional Security, 9:1 (2014), 51–66. 56 Ibid. 57 D. Mitchell, ‘Sticking to their guns? The politics of arms decommissioning in Northern Ireland, 1998–2007’, Contemporary British History, 23:3 (2010), 341–61. 58 Independent Monitoring Commission, Twenty-sixth and Final Report, p. 37. 59 S. Bruce, The Red Hand: Protestant Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 31. 60 Ibid. 61 C. Albert, The Peacebuilding Elements of the Belfast Agreement and the Transformation of the Northern Ireland Conflict (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2009), p. 227. 62 Sutton, ‘An index of deaths from the conflict in Northern Ireland’.



63 Although I argue that the differential approach explains the slow pace of decommissioning, I do not see it as a mono-causal variable. Indeed, the differential application of pressure must also be understood in a wider context. The ad hoc nature of the process (and decisions made on which group to focus on and when) was only able to occur because the Agreement did not lay out specific timelines or guidelines for the process or establish punitive measures for missing deadlines. In this regard, the differential application of pressure is better understood as a vehicle for allowing inaction on decommissioning, and thus continued violence, at key points during the wider process. 64 J. McEvoy, The Politics of Northern Ireland (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008). 65 A. Rusbridger and J. Freedland, ‘“I cannot get the IRA to hand in guns, I cannot get the IRA to surrender”: Interview with Martin McGuinness’, The Guardian (4 February 1999). 66 ‘Paisley demands photo proof of decommissioning’, Irish Examiner (6 December 2004). 67 I. Paisley, Extracts from Speech by Ian Paisley, at the North Antrim DUP Association Annual Dinner, 27 November 2004. Available at (accessed 13 October 2015). 68 Ellison and Shirlow, ‘From war to peace’. 69 Mitchell, ‘Sticking to their guns?’ p. 349. 70 T. Shipp, ‘UDA told to decommission or lose £1.2m funding’, The Guardian (10 August 2007). 71 R. Sheeran, ‘Loyalist decommissioning’, The Politics Show, BBC, 30 January 2009. 72 H. McDonald, ‘Loyalist paramilitaries must decommission arms, says Woodward’, The Guardian (7 May 2009). 73 M. McKeown, ‘Remembering’: Victims, survivors and commemoration: Postmortem database and documents. Available at mckeown/index.html (accessed 13 October 2015). 74 McKeown in ‘Remembering’, p. 10 notes that murder classified under the victimisation category can be seen as ‘a surrogate sectarian campaign’ given that most security sector employs would have been Protestant. 75 Ibid., p. 9. 76 Gillespie, The A to Z of the Northern Ireland Conflict. 77 See J. Stevens, The Stevens Enquiry: Overview and Recommendation (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2003); A. Cadwallader, Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland (London: Mercier Press, 2013). 78 Independent Monitoring Commission, Fifteenth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2007), p. 9. 79 R. Monaghan, ‘Not quite lynching: Informal justice in Northern Ireland’, in M. Berg and S. Wendt (eds), Globalizing Lynching History: Vigilantism and Extralegal Punishment from an International Perspective (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 153–71. 80 The motive for the remaining murders (ten) was classified as sectarian. 81 C. Anderson, ‘Five men warned they are on loyalist “Hit List” after Jameson murder’, The Irish Times (17 January 2000). 82 Gallaher, After the Peace. 83 J. McDowell, Godfathers: Inside Northern Ireland’s Drugs Racket (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2001); J. Oliver, ‘Terror stalks the Shankill in loyalist turf war’, Irish



Examiner (6 September 2000). D. Henderson, ‘Mandelson: Nothing more or less than gang warfare’, Irish Examiner (22 August 2000). 84 Gallaher, After the Peace. 85 Ibid. 86 S. Bloomer and A. Edwards, ‘UVF decommissioning – a pyrrhic victory’, Fortnight 446 (July/August 2009), 6–7. 87 Ibid., p. 7. 88 A. von Hehn, The Internal Implementation of Peace Agreements after Violent Intrastate Conflicts (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2011), p. 383; O. Skarlato, E. Fissuh, S. Byrne, P. Karari, and K. Ahmed, ‘Peacebuilding, community development and reconciliation in Northern Ireland: The role of the Belfast Agreement and the implications for external economic aid’, in White, Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process. 89 Derek Henderson, ‘Mandelson: Nothing more or less than gang warfare’.


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 the nationalist community in Northern Ireland. This led to the emergence of the Northern Ireland civil rights movement in the late 1960s. Simultaneously, economic decline in Northern Ireland, and the particular challenges of modernising the region’s economy, created political divisions amongst the ruling elite of the dominant unionist community – divisions which ultimately fractured the system of unionist hegemony as it struggled to respond to the civil rights agenda. Escalation of this crisis led to what was euphemistically termed ‘the Troubles’.1 Similar structural changes led to the development of a peace process in the 1990s. This reflected a gradual strengthening of Irish nationalism – politically, economically, and demographically – and the increasing alignment of its various factions behind a single, reformist political strategy. The success of this strategy also depended on realisation by some unionists that reaching an accommodation with a reformist nationalism represented the best way of preserving the Union with Britain in the longer term.2 However, while acknowledging the context of these broader structural shifts, this chapter offers a constructivist perspective on political change in Northern Ireland. It emphasises the role of key elites, as both agents and articulators of new modes of political thinking, in contributing towards such change. The most obvious example is John Hume – a figure whose political career was launched by the civil rights movement and effectively bookended by the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) of 1998.3 As a central figure in each of these events, Hume’s role was interactive with the structural changes that both triggered and helped to resolve the Northern Ireland conflict. Moreover, his role in each instance was simultaneously practical and ideational – he acted as an agent of



political change and a source of new thinking that contributed to both the civil rights movement and the GFA. By emphasising Hume’s interaction with broader processes of structural change, this chapter takes its cue from other texts which draw on constructivist approaches to stress the significance of key elites in explaining important political developments.4 However, perhaps more than most constructivist analyses, it highlights the role of individual agency as much as that of ideas. It stresses the unique role that Hume played as a political actor and thinker. Indeed, it seeks to show that many of the ideas promoted by Hume influenced both the reformist wing of the civil rights movement and the early dialogues and political developments that culminated in the GFA. Hume was thus an important political thinker in relation to the Northern Ireland problem, but also a key broker of the ideas that he championed. Through this dual role he helped to alter the views and the behaviour of a range of other parties to the conflict – most notably Irish republicans, but also the British and more obviously the Irish governments, Irish America, the White House, EU, and – albeit least directly, but no less significantly – Ulster unionists. Hume as both a product and an agent of structural change in Northern Ireland Hume entered the political stage in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s. This was a time when the region was experiencing significant structural shifts – shifts that would disrupt the system of unionist hegemony that had existed since the creation of the state in 19205 and tip Northern Ireland into a violent instability that would endure until the mid 1990s. In this regard, Hume can be seen as a product of the changing structural conditions in Northern Ireland in the 1960s. He personifies what Dixon terms the ‘new Catholic middle class’ thesis6 which many authors use to explain the outbreak of the Northern Ireland Troubles. As one of the very first beneficiaries of the expansion of state-provided learning through the 1947 Education Act (Northern Ireland), Hume typified a generation of articulate young Catholics that were graduating from university in the late 1950s to early 1960s, and then finding their ambitions checked by religious discrimination. However, Hume must also be seen as an agent of change in this period. As one of the key figures in the civil rights movement, Hume both interacted with and advanced the process of structural change then occurring, which culminated in the collapse of the unionist system of government in 1972. Interestingly, Hume’s politicisation in the 1960s also demonstrated his role in the ideational development of the Catholic community at this time – or perhaps more accurately demonstrated his role as an articulator of new thinking among Catholics in his cohort. Indeed, some years before his direct involvement in the civil rights movement, Hume penned a two-part article for The Irish Times which accurately captured the spirit of change in his community. ‘The crux of the matter for the younger generation’, he wrote, ‘is the continued e­ xistence … of great social problems of housing, unemployment and ­emigration. It is the



struggle for priority in their minds between such problems and the ideal of a United Ireland with which they have been bred that has produced … the great political frustration that exists within the Catholic community here.’7 Hume thus rejected the largely abstentionist and unthinking anti-partitionism of the community’s then main political representatives, the Nationalist Party: ‘In forty years of opposition they have not produced one constructive contribution … to the development of Northern Ireland … [L]eadership has been the comfortable leadership of flags and slogans.’8 However, while eager for the Nationalist Party to move beyond its obsession with partition, Hume did not surrender the essential aspiration for a united Ireland. Instead, he questioned the means by which nationalists had traditionally sought to achieve this goal: ‘If one wishes to create a United Ireland by constitutional means, then one must accept the constitutional position … Such an attitude, too, admits the realistic fact that a United Ireland, if it is to come … must come about by evolution, i.e. by the will of the Northern majority.’9 In this, Hume accepted what would later be termed ‘the principle of consent’. He recognised that Protestants’ assent was a prerequisite for Irish unity, not just from a moral perspective – believing that it was unjust to coerce unionists into a united Ireland against their will – but also from a practical point of view – acknowledging that Protestant agreement for such a state was the only way to create ‘a truly United Ireland’.10 Hume’s arguments here represented a clear departure from traditional nationalism, which depicted the British Government as the chief impediment to Irish unity, implying that Westminster need only renounce its claim of sovereignty over Northern Ireland in order for that end to be realised. In fact, Hume made no mention whatsoever of Britain in his article. Instead, he intimated that it was the Ulster unionist community which represented the primary obstacle to a united Ireland – that it was the attitudes of Protestant Ulster, shaped by its relations with Catholic Ireland, which prevented Irish unity. Accordingly, rather than seeking to undo partition, Hume suggested that nationalists should afford de facto recognition to the Northern Ireland state, and work with it and with unionists for the common good of all. This, he argued, would serve to erode Protestant prejudices towards the Catholic community and so make Irish reunification more feasible: ‘If the whole Northern community gets seriously to work on its problems; the unionist bogeys about Catholics and a Republic will, through better understanding, disappear. It will of course take a long time.’11 Hume was not, however, ignorant of the discriminatory practices which prevented his community from playing the kind of constructive role in Northern Ireland that he was advocating. Thus, he also argued for state authorities to encourage Catholics to take up positions where they were underrepresented. Notable in Hume’s comments on this matter was his suggestion that, as well as accommodating Catholics qua Catholics, unionists had to accommodate them as Irish nationalists: ‘[T]hey must accept that nationalism in Ireland is an acceptable political belief and that nationally-minded people are entitled to put forward their views constitutionally without prejudice to the right to any position which they might seek.’12 For Hume, then, acceptance of and p ­ articipation



in the Northern Ireland state and society should not require the abandonment of Irish nationalism and its ambitions. However, conversely, Hume also suggested that nationalists must respect the political rights of the unionist community: ‘the Protestant tradition in the North is as strong and as legitimate as our own … We must be prepared to accept this and to realise that the fact that a man wishes Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom does not necessarily make him a bigot or a discriminator.’13 For Hume, each community had to accept the legitimacy of the other’s political aspirations. The progressive ideas and participatory attitudes that Hume articulated in The Irish Times article were still relatively rare at the time of his writing.14 However, they undoubtedly fed into the burgeoning efforts which he and his cohort of Catholics made to engage constructively with the structures of society in Northern Ireland from the mid 1960s.15 Unfortunately, such efforts were largely rebuffed. In Hume’s own case, for example, he found there were clear limits to what the local planning authorities in his home town of Derry were willing to facilitate in a house-building enterprise which he and other activists initiated in 1965 in order to address the desperate need for more Catholic homes in the city.16 Similarly, again in 1965, Hume’s orchestration of a mass and cross-community campaign in favour of basing a new university in Derry was ignored by the Stormont Government. The frustration of both efforts was read by those involved as being politically motivated – resisted by unionists in order to avoid upsetting the delicate demography and gerrymandering of electoral wards in Derry that allowed a Protestant minority to rule over a clear Catholic majority. It was this that eventually led even moderate activists like Hume to embrace a strategy of civil protest as a means to expose the political obstruction of these participatory energies, and so force reform on the Northern Ireland state. However, the state’s response to this strategy unleashed a chain of events that would ultimately topple the Stormont Government and the ­discriminatory system which it allowed. Despite the violent turmoil which this engendered, the ideas which Hume had articulated in The Irish Times article and which informed his participationist, reformist agenda remained central to his thinking throughout his political career. Moreover, such ideas also infused the philosophy of the political party which he helped to found in 1970, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). Thereafter, though his thinking continued to develop through the course of the Troubles,17 as will be demonstrated below, some of the core arguments which Hume first expressed in the mid 1960s would inform the settlement that eventually ended the conflict by restoring a radically reformed Stormont Government. Shifting the balance of power: Hume as an agent of internationalisation and structural change A first attempt to restore a reformed Stormont Government was made though the Sunningdale Agreement of December 1973. Like the later GFA, it provided



for communal power sharing and all-Ireland political institutions. However, unlike the GFA, it lasted less than six months, with unionist opposition culminating in the Ulster Workers’ Council strike of May 1974. The strikers’ ability to cut regional power supplies threatened to bring further chaos to Northern Ireland, and with the security forces judging intervention to be counterproductive, the British Government allowed the power-sharing administration to collapse. With this it was clear that the unionist community still had a power of veto over such a settlement, exposing the limitations of reformist nationalism.18 As Ruane and Todd explain, Hume’s response to this imbalance in regional power was a conscious effort to win external political allies for his reformism: ‘Hume’s strategy was to mobilise international alliances … He won strong support within the Republic of Ireland, the European Parliament, and the US … His success in doing so secured a counter-balance to unionist power, and eventually led to the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) of 1985.’19 This agreement radically reconfigured the Northern Ireland problem.20 Thus, Hume’s ability to marshal support from external political actors towards this end shows a powerful example of his ability to act as an agent of structural change. Indeed, his efforts in internationalisation and coalition building from the late 1970s to mid 1980s arguably demonstrate Hume’s greatest achievements in affecting the structural conditions of the Northern Ireland problem. After Sunningdale, Hume sought to expand links he had already established with senior elites in Irish America. Through a pre-existing relationship with Senator Ted Kennedy, Hume gained a visiting Fellowship at Harvard University in 1976. He used this position as a base from which to expand his network of influence amongst Irish-American politicians and other significant elites, and then, working in combination with members of the Irish diplomatic corps in Washington, began to affect the stance of the White House on Northern Ireland. First, Hume advised senior Irish-American politicians such as Kennedy and Tip O’Neill to speak with one unified voice on Northern Ireland, but also to moderate any comments they made regarding the conflict. They were encouraged to condemn Irish republican as well as British state violence, and crucially advised to discourage fellow Irish Americans from making any financial contributions which might end up in the hands of the Provisional Irish Republican Army.21 This indicated a conscious and strategic rebalancing of important Irish-American elites’ pronouncements on Northern Ireland. Previously such statements sounded very one-sided, mainly blaming British policy for the conflict, and so implicitly legitimising republican violence. Such comments in turn elicited a largely defensive response from London, where they were dismissed as the interventions of politicians more eager to win ethnic votes in the US than promote peace in Northern Ireland. However, under Hume’s guidance, the statements of Irish-American leaders seemed less self-interested. Accordingly, it became harder for the British Embassy in Washington to reject their comments or marginalise their influence. This allowed Kennedy and O’Neill, again working in collaboration with Hume and



like-minded Dublin officials, to begin pressing the White House to take a more proactive line on Northern Ireland. Specifically, they sought a statement from President Jimmy Carter that might press the British Government to reactivate efforts at finding a just settlement in the region – London having effectively renounced such ambitions in the aftermath of Sunningdale’s collapse, seeking merely to contain rather than resolve the conflict in the late 1970s.22 Hitherto, the British Embassy in Washington had been able to prevent any US President from commenting on Northern Ireland – its efforts aided by the State Department, which strongly discouraged any statement on the internal affairs of its main Cold War ally. Thus, the wider geopolitics of International Relations (IR) vishad previously checked Irish-American efforts to influence the situation in Northern Ireland at an inter-governmental level. However, the persistence, but also the now less Anglophobic, more constructive tone of Hume’s American allies, eventually obliged Carter to make a formal statement on the conflict in August 1977. Although the terms of the statement were tepidly diplomatic, they subtly endorsed the essence of a solution advocated by Hume and the SDLP – power sharing and the involvement of the Irish Government as a means to peace. However, it was not so much what was said, but rather that the US President had said anything at all on Northern Ireland that was of most significance: ‘the novelty of the declaration was that it treated the situation in Northern Ireland as a legitimate concern of American foreign policy’.23 Indeed, this overturned the longstanding convention, conditioned by Cold War politics, that the conflict was a purely internal UK affair, and thus off-limits for discussion. Breaking this convention undoubtedly began to influence attitudes in London towards Northern Ireland. However, the full implications of this subtle shift in US policy only became fully apparent with the signing of the AIA in 1985 – a development discussed below. As well as helping to modify the US Government’s position on Northern Ireland, Hume had a significant role in directing European engagement with the problem. From 1977, he worked as a political advisor to Dick Burke, Ireland’s European Community (EC) Commissioner for Transport, Trade, and Administration.24 Hume used this position to build a network of influence among senior European politicians and officials. Thus, when he won a seat in the Strasbourg Parliament in June 1979, Hume was already well positioned to begin working the EC machinery in ways that would advance the SDLP’s agenda for Northern Ireland. He began by seeking additional financial assistance for the region’s conflict-damaged economy, seeing this as a means to counter the deprivation that fed into political extremism and violence.25 However, more important were Hume’s political manoeuvrings among the European elite. Through his role as a front-bencher for Strasbourg’s socialist bloc of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), he was able to initiate and win support for an EC investigation into the Northern Ireland problem. Though much opposed by the Thatcher Government and unionists, the ensuing Haagerup Report (1984) notably reflected the SDLP’s position by endorsing an Anglo-Irish approach to the resolution of the conflict. This and other



aspects of Hume’s European lobbying clearly played a part in nudging the British Government towards the AIA, which was signed a year later.26 The achievement of the AIA was also a result of the alliance-building efforts Hume and his party had made in the Republic of Ireland, particularly though the New Ireland Forum (NIF) of 1983–84. However, the particular context of this initiative also provides a reminder of the changing political environment in which Hume continued to operate, and thus how his agency interacted with the structural conditions of the Northern Ireland problem, which entered a new period of flux in the early 1980s. This was a result of the republican hunger strikes of 1980–81, and the political rise of Sinn Féin on the back of this crisis. Sinn Féin’s surging support created considerable fear among the Irish establishment. The Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald, was particularly concerned it might begin to outpoll the SDLP, and that republicans would claim this as a mandate to escalate their campaign of violence.27 Arguably, Hume was able to use such fears to his party’s advantage, pressing FitzGerald to launch a new political initiative on Northern Ireland that would help raise the SDLP’s political profile at a time when republicans were dominating the political headlines.28 The NIF was thus dismissed by some commentators as a mere talking shop, designed solely to aid the SDLP in its electoral struggle with Sinn Féin. Undoubtedly, the initiative was partly an act of constitutional nationalist solidarity, bringing the SDLP into convention with the main parties in the Republic – the then governing Fine Gael and Labour parties, and also the Fianna Fáil opposition – while consciously excluding Sinn Féin due to its support for political violence. But the considerable time, effort and resources which all participants put into the NIF, over a period of nearly twelve months, showed that it was also a sincere effort on the part of constitutional Irish nationalists to consider the complexity of the Northern Ireland problem and the means towards its resolution. Indeed, the NIF revealed the most serious and sustained reflection by nationalists elites on the subject of the Northern Ireland problem since at least the outbreak of the Troubles, and arguably since partition eighty years earlier. In Hume’s opening speech to the NIF, he articulated what he saw as the key challenge for all nationalists in dealing with the Northern Ireland problem: ‘The Protestant ethos … contains … a strong expression of political allegiance to Britain which we cannot ignore and which we cannot wish away any more than unionists can wish away our deep commitment to Irish unity. This intractable difficulty we must face squarely in this Forum.’29 Though echoing Hume’s very first public commentary on the Northern Ireland problem – his aforementioned article for The Irish Times in 1964 – here he was more explicit than at any previous point in his career in recognising that unionists’ had an attachment to Britain which was as authentic as nationalists’ aspiration to Irish reunification. He was asking the members of the NIF to accept this reality, and so the need to find an agreement that would safeguard the political ­identity of unionists as well as that of nationalists.30



Such ideas clearly informed the ensuing debate and final report that emerged from the NIF. Most notable in this regard was the report’s acceptance of Ulster unionism as a political ideology just as legitimate as Irish nationalism, and the related assertion that any just and stable settlement of the Northern problem would have to create political structures that recognised and accommodated this reality: ‘The validity of both the nationalist and unionist identities in Ireland and the democratic rights of every citizen in this island must be accepted; both of these identities must have equally satisfactory, secure and durable, political, administrative and symbolic expression and protection.’31 As well as endorsing Hume’s opening statement to the NIF, again this statement echoed ideas tentatively expressed in his 1964 The Irish Times article, in which he argued the need for both political identities in Northern Ireland to be given equal respect.32 More notably, the NIF report distilled ideas which Hume and his party had been developing since the mid 1970s. In these, the Northern problem was presented as a conflict of what Hume termed ‘the two traditions’ in Ireland – one British unionist, one Irish nationalist –both of which needed to find mutually acceptable political institutions under which they could share the island they inhabited together. This would create what Hume termed an ‘agreed Ireland’ rather than the traditional ‘united Ireland’ favoured by nationalists.33 Hume’s theorising around these ideas had become abstract and uncomfortably ambiguous for many of his critics.34 However, his thinking was given more practical application in the NIF report, most particularly in the aforementioned assertion that ‘both nationalist and unionist identities in Ireland … must have equally satisfactory, secure and durable, political, administrative and symbolic expression and protection’.35 Indeed, as well as encapsulating Hume’s notion of an agreed Ireland, this line of the NIF report became the basic negotiating position for constitutional nationalists in practically all subsequent discussions with both the British Government and unionists, extending right the way through to the GFA. More immediately, the NIF report committed the main constitutional nationalist parties from across Ireland – Fine Gael, Labour, and even the more traditionalist Fianna Fáil – to a solution based on what was essentially the political ideology of Hume and the SDLP. Moreover, as FitzGerald had hoped in convening the NIF, this consensus of constitutional nationalist opinion gave him a strong mandate with which to pursue negotiations with the British Government. He now approached London seeking an agreement that endorsed the key ideological tenet of the NIF – the need for equality of identity between the two political traditions in Ireland.36 This bi-national logic is evident even in the preamble of the resulting accord. Apparently drafted with particular reference to the NIF report,37 this saw the British and Irish governments ‘acknowledge the rights of the two major traditions that exist in Ireland … Recognising that a condition of genuine reconciliation and dialogue between unionists and nationalists is mutual recognition between and acceptance of each other’s rights … [and r]ecognising and respecting the identities of both communities in Northern Ireland.’38



Giving practical application to such aspirations was the formal role that the AIA allowed Dublin in the governance of Northern Ireland. Though more limited than Hume and the SDLP had hoped for, this allowed a measure of joint British–Irish administration over the region, and thus was a huge step towards creating political arrangements that respected the political identities of the two communities there – just as recommended by the NIF report. The AIA thus demonstrated the degree to which the political ideology of Hume and the SDLP, distilled through the NIF report, had shifted elite thinking on Northern Ireland in both London and Dublin. Moreover, this shift began a fundamental restructuring of the Northern Ireland problem. Indeed, by directly involving the Irish Government in the administration of the region, the AIA signified the biggest political breakthrough since partition. Moreover, despite Thatcher’s insistence that the accord represented no diminution of British sovereignty over Northern Ireland, this most unionist of prime ministers had accepted a radical departure. She was allowing a role in the governance of part of the UK for what was, in legal terms, a foreign power. Many authors relate this shift and the reform process that flowed from it as essential to the emergence of the peace process and later GFA.39 As well as influencing the thinking behind the AIA, Hume also had an indirect role in the diplomatic manoeuvrings that led to the accord. Again, his impact was one of agency as well as ideas. For the British Government, and certainly the Thatcher Government, would not have contemplated such a radical departure without pressure from the international community, much of it orchestrated by Hume. Indeed, as well as the aforementioned Haagerup Report – a product of Hume’s European lobbying in which the EC recommended an intergovernmental approach to Northern Ireland much like that obtained in the AIA – the SDLP leader had continued to work with Irish officials in directing Irish-American interest in the conflict. This was most obvious in the work of the Friends of Ireland – a bipartisan lobby group, but one with its origins in the earlier activism of Ted Kennedy and Tip O’Neill. Marshalling support from politicians across Congress, this group allowed Kennedy and O’Neill to influence even a Republican White House, with President Reagan being prompted to use his close relationship with Thatcher to press her towards a deal with Dublin. Indeed, the fact that O’Neill was in the Oval Office on the day the AIA was signed, standing beside Reagan in a joint press conference to endorse the new accord, tells much of the background role that Hume’s American allies played in its achievement.40 As Thatcher bluntly admitted after leaving office in 1990: ‘It was the pressure from the Americans that made me sign that Agreement.’41 From peace talks to peace settlement: Hume as an agent and ideologue of the peace process The AIA did not, however, work in quite the way that the British and Irish governments, or indeed Hume, had hoped. Many of those who negotiated the



accord felt that it would prompt unionists to enter into discussions with the SDLP regarding a local power-sharing settlement – this as a way for them to reduce Dublin’s role in the governance of Northern Ireland.42 But three years on from the signing of the AIA, mainstream unionism still refused to accept any such accommodation with nationalists. By contrast, republicans – while publicly dismissing the AIA as a ‘copper-fastening’ of partition43 – were privately interested in the political advance that it represented for Irish nationalism.44 They were also interested in Hume’s interpretation of the accord as an effective declaration of neutrality by London. His argument on this subject centred on the British commitment in the AIA to legislate for Irish reunification in the event of majority support in Northern Ireland.45 As Hume suggested, no doubt with a republican audience in mind: ‘[t]his is a clear statement by the British government that it has no interest of its own, either strategic or otherwise, in remaining in Ireland. It is a declaration that Irish unity is a matter for Irish people, for those who want it to persuade those who don’t.’46 Republicans sought to challenge this assertion, seeking direct discussions with the SDLP to debate Hume’s interpretation of the AIA, and the related notion that there was, therefore, a peaceful means towards Irish unification.47 The result was the Sinn Féin–SDLP talks of 1988, which again showed Hume’s dual importance as a thinker and an actor. For this seminal dialogue both helped to change other actors’ perceptions of the Northern Ireland conflict, and also started to shift the political parameters of problem – that is the very terms on which a peace settlement might be sought. Indeed, by publicly engaging with republicans – at a time when they were deemed political pariahs by all other parties to the conflict – Hume began a process that would gradually move the British and Irish governments away from the notion of achieving peace by engaging only with political moderates. The idea implicit in the existing approach – that excluding militants on either side of the conflict would eventually diminish their support – had clearly not proven successful in reaching a workable settlement thus far. Accordingly, Hume now sought to create a new context for compromise by seeking to end the cycle of violence that had continued largely unabated since the late 1960s. Hume’s ultimate aim in engaging with Sinn Féin was thus an IRA ceasefire. However, he knew that this would not be achieved overnight. Thus, despite the apparent failure of the 1988 talks to dissuade republicans from violence, Hume maintained an informal, one-to-one, and subsequently private dialogue with the Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams. This dialogue would only bear fruit once it became public again in the early 1990s, but even the inter-party talks of 1988 encouraged some shift by the two governments. Indeed, the SDLP’s discussions with Sinn Féin, stretching out over nine months, suggested that republicans were serious about debating the Northern Ireland problem – and thus possibly serious about considering a peaceful means towards its resolution. This undoubtedly influenced thinking in London and Dublin, as both governments opened more tentative, wholly private – and thus deniable – lines of communication with Sinn Féin shortly after the SDLP’s engagement. Hume’s decision to conduct his



initial discussions with republicans in public represented a serious risk, both political and personal,48 but his actions were clearly changing the terms of what was thinkable in relation to Northern Ireland. Again, though, Hume’s influence was twofold – while his actions affected the stance of the two governments, his arguments were challenging republican conceptions of the conflict. Once more, both agency and new thinking were important to political developments. For though the 1988 talks ended with Sinn Féin still refuting his idea that the British government was now neutral on the future of Northern Ireland, Hume believed that republicans had not dismissed this notion out of hand. In effect, Hume felt that they were ‘demanding that I prove British neutrality’.49 Thus, Hume turned to London, seeking more direct confirmation of his arguments, and again his lobbying skills proved effective. For in 1990, the Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Brooke, made a highly significant public speech. In this, Brooke effectively endorsed Hume’s claim that the AIA represented a statement of British neutrality on both Northern Ireland and the possibility of Irish reunification: ‘[T]he government has made clear on several occasions, notably in the signing of the AngloIrish Agreement, that if, in the future, a majority of the people of Northern Ireland clearly wish for and formally consent to the establishment of a united Ireland, it would introduce and support in parliament legislation to give effect to that wish … The British government has no selfish strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland.’50 This last statement particularly interested republicans, and so led Hume to step up his private dialogue with Adams. The two leaders continued to discuss the terms on which republicans might now be involved in a peaceful strategy for political progress in Northern Ireland, with the idea emerging that the British and Irish governments should make a joint statement towards this end. London was wary of the effect that such a formal outreach to republicans would have on unionism. But when the media discovered that British agents had in fact been in secret dialogue with Sinn Féin for some years, suddenly it seemed more sensible for the Major Government to openly urge republicans to enter into democratic politics. Indeed, newly suspicious unionists now needed convincing that this had been the only aim of the British Government in its private communications with Sinn Féin. Thus, in December 1993, Major joined with the Irish premier, Albert Reynolds, to issue the Joint Declaration for Peace, or Downing Street Declaration (DSD) as it was more informally known. As the Hume–Adams dialogue had suggested, the DSD offered a place at the negotiating table to republicans, or indeed any group that committed to peaceful political means. But beyond this, the text of the DSD, like the AIA before it, again reflected the degree to which the ideology of Hume and the SDLP now permeated thinking on Northern Ireland at the highest levels of government in London and Dublin. While formally restating Brooke’s assertion that the British Government presented no obstacle to the achievement of a united Ireland, the DSD also reaffirmed what had now become known as ‘the principle of consent’: that notion that any move towards Irish unity was conditional



on the assent of a majority there. Though imperative to any document that would carry unionists, this was one of the SDLP’s formative principles, with the party’s founding constitution affirming that majority consent was the only means by which Irish unification should be achieved. It was also consistent with Hume’s first public commentary on the Northern Ireland problem, his 1964 article for The Irish Times, in which he stated that Irish reunification could only occur ‘by the will of the Northern majority’.51 But in the absence of such assent, and as constitutional counterweight for nationalists, the DSD also endorsed Hume’s notion of an ‘agreed Ireland’, with the British Government promising to ‘encourage, facilitate, and enable the achievement of such an agreement … based on full respect for the rights and identities of both traditions in Ireland’.52 By acknowledging the need for an all-Ireland dimension to any subsequent settlement, London was also making clear that unionists would have to accept that Northern Ireland would not exist in a purely British constitutional context. Thus, the logic of the NIF report prevailed. Continued Union with Great Britain, clearly preserving unionists’ British identity, would have to be balanced by institutions that linked nationalists to the Irish state – a means of recognising their Irish identity. Accordingly, the principle of consent could not be used by unionists to veto arrangements such as those established by the AIA, and Dublin would continue to have some role in the future governance of Northern Ireland. The endorsement of such ideas did not go far enough for republicans. However, after some deliberation, they acknowledged that the DSD provided the basis for negotiation, and thus the IRA called a ceasefire in August 1994. Loyalists followed suit shortly afterwards, and thus their political representatives were able to join Sinn Féin in the talks process that followed. But despite the involvement of such radical tendencies, the basic contours of agreement had already been established. Some form of power sharing, and the political linkages to the Irish state, provided the minimum requirements for the two communities, and clearly offered the only basis on which the British and Irish governments envisaged a workable settlement. As such, the resulting GFA again reflected ideas long endorsed by Hume and the SDLP. Indeed, power sharing and all-Ireland institutions had been the SDLP’s basic formula for a solution in Northern Ireland since the failed Sunningdale Agreement of 1973. However, the all-Ireland structures of the GFA were given greater ideological justification by the arguments made by Hume and his colleagues in the intervening years. Indeed, rather than simply being a mechanism of Irish reunification – as unionists feared, and even sections of the SDLP appeared to suggest at the time of Sunningdale53 – the new political linkages between the two parts of Ireland were conceived as a way to provide recognition of nationalists’ Irish identity, just as the continued Union with Britain recognised unionists’ British identity. The GFA thus established the agreed Ireland which Hume had long proffered, creating constitutional structures which recognised and accommodated the identities of both political traditions on the island. In the language of the



GFA itself, the settlement allowed for ‘parity of esteem’ between the two communities in Northern Ireland. This phraseology allowed unionists also to buy into the concept, being assured that their identity was not to be diminished by the process of change initiated by the GFA. But the ideological origins of parity of esteem are clearly evident in the thinking of the SDLP, and especially in Hume’s articulation of the Northern Ireland problem as a conflict between two ethno-national traditions – both equally legitimate, and thus both requiring equal recognition and accommodation. As noted above, such ideas were given their clearest expression in the NIF report of 1984, but were prominent in the SDLP’s, and particularly Hume’s, political discourse from the mid 1970s. Moreover, arguments regarding the legitimacy of both political traditions in Northern Ireland are even apparent in nascent form in Hume’s first ­commentary on the problem in 1964: [T]hey [unionists] must accept that nationalism in Ireland is an acceptable political belief and that nationally-minded people are entitled to put forward their views constitutionally without prejudice to the right to any position which they might seek … [Nationalists need] to recognise that the Protestant tradition in the North is as strong and as legitimate as our own …We must be prepared to accept this and to realise that the fact that a man wishes Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom does not necessarily make him a bigot or a discriminator.54

The GFA established a constitutional settlement on exactly this basis. Nationalists were given equality of socio-economic rights under the Union, just as Hume had argued for in his pre-civil rights commentary. However, they were not required to surrender their political rights – namely to identify themselves as Irish or to pursue the unification of Ireland by peaceful means. By the same token, the GFA involved nationalists – not just in Northern Ireland, but right across Ireland, with the endorsement of the Dublin Government – recognising the legitimacy of unionists’ British identity and their equal right to advocate continued membership of the UK. This is the essential ideological compromise at the heart of the GFA. Nationalists can continue to be Irish. Unionists can continue to be British, and each can attempt to convince the other that their interests are best served under their respective constitutional ideals. Nationalists can use the institutions of all-Ireland cooperation established by the GFA to demonstrate to unionists the economic and other benefits of ever greater integration of the island. Unionists, meanwhile, can seek to demonstrate that a reformed Northern Ireland, inclusive of nationalists at all levels, can allow their accommodation within the UK. The GFA thus provides the means for peaceful coexistence between Irish nationalism and Ulster unionism in Ireland. The ideological basis of this compromise owes much to the thinking Hume and the SDLP. But the practical achievement of this compromise is also due in no small part to the agency of the SDLP and particularly the party’s leader through the 1980s and 1990s. Lobbying in the US and Europe to gain political support for the SDLP’s agenda; pressing the Irish and British governments to move towards the same; and,



­ erhaps most notably, engaging with militant republicans to help persuade p them to adopt a peaceful strategy – Hume’s efforts in each instance show his vital importance in achieving an enduring peace settlement in Northern Ireland. Conclusion The peaceful resolution of the Northern Ireland conflict resulted from a whole range of different dynamics, the complex interrelation of which there is not room to detail here. However, some overview is required of the wider context of political and structural change within which Hume and the SDLP operated and interacted. Broadly speaking, this change involved the strengthening of Irish nationalism in relation to Ulster unionism and the British state. Indeed, change of this nature had in fact triggered the Northern Ireland conflict, as for the first time the Catholic minority felt confident enough to challenge the discriminatory, unionist-dominated system which had prevailed since partition. The crisis that followed helped to topple this system, but unionists remained strong enough to resist the establishment of any new settlement that obliged them to share the governance of Northern Ireland with ­nationalists – as seen in the successful overthrow of Sunningdale. However, nationalist power continued to grow, aided by the gradual reform from the civil rights era, which slowly improved Catholics’ socio-economic standing in Northern Ireland.55 This increasing equality of opportunity also encouraged growth in the Catholic population. In the decades up to the outbreak of the conflict, the higher Catholic birthrate was largely offset by a greater level of emigration as relative to the Protestant population. However, from the 1970s to early 1990s, the Catholic populace steadily grew.56 In the same timeframe, there were also significant shifts in the relationship of the British and Irish governments vis-àvis Northern Ireland. Though the British state remained by far the dominant power, there was a move towards greater equality and improved relations between London and Dublin – a process resulting from common participation in the project of European integration, and the related development of the Irish economy.57 All of these trends fed into the AIA of 1985. This accord was both symbolic of the advancement of Irish nationalism in relation to Northern Ireland and accelerated the same process by allowing an Irish input to the ongoing reform of the region.58 Indeed, the AIA was the real game-changer in terms of advancing peace in Northern Ireland,59 restructuring the problem to create ever greater equality between the two communities, and ever closer relations between London and Dublin – the latter trend providing the basis for the two governments’ effective joint stewardship of the subsequent peace process. The achievement of GFA cannot, therefore, be understood without cognisance of these wider shifts in the structure of the Northern Ireland problem. However, this chapter has shown how agency and changing ideology interacted with these shifts, specifically through the role of John Hume. The ideas



which he propagated from the mid 1960s, further developed in the 1970s, and continually pressed upon other parties to the conflict through the 1980s, all helped to shape the ideological parameters of the peace process emerging in the 1990s. Indeed, Hume’s notion of an agreed Ireland – respecting the equal rights and identities of the two political traditions on the island – and his consistent championing of the principle of consent – not simply in the unionist sense, as the requirement of majority assent for Irish reunification, but also a recognition of nationalists’ right to pursue that end by peaceful means – are both central to the GFA. But in practical terms, too, Hume played a vital part in achieving this settlement. His lobbying helped bring both American and European pressure to bear on the British Government to break the political inertia and violent stalemate that had held since the collapse of Sunningdale. Hume’s influence over Irish government policy, amplified through the NIF, also increased pressure towards this end. And all of these lobbying efforts came together in pressing a reluctant Thatcher Government into signing the AIA. Thereafter, Hume’s dialogue with Sinn Féin initiated a process that would gradually draw republicans into the building of a peaceful settlement. Again, his endeavours in this regard would have been redundant without the, understandably cautious, but ultimately positive, response of the two governments. However, Hume’s continued prodding of London and Dublin – and in the case of the former, his prompting of British ministers to publicly articulate their agnosticism towards Irish reunification – helped speed republicans’ move towards democratic politics. Indeed, by the late 1980s, arguably republicans had realised that their armed campaign against the British state had reached a stalemate. However, they required an honourable ‘exit strategy’. Hume’s marshalling of a broad alliance of nationalist actors – encompassing all the main parties in the Republic of Ireland and influential elites in Irish America – helped provide such a strategy. Hume encouraged republicans to feel that they could join this powerful coalition, but only if they were willing to adopt peaceful politics. He also helped convince them that such an alliance would prove more effective than armed struggle in advancing nationalist goals. In doing so, Hume greatly enhanced the aim of bringing militant factions into the negotiation process, and so greatly improved the prospects of obtaining a durable peace settlement. The contributions to the GFA of many other political elites could be emphasised, but perhaps that of David Trimble is most notable. Indeed, his vital role was rightly recognised alongside that of Hume’s when the two were jointly awarded the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize. Simply put, without Trimble’s leadership, unionists would not have signed up to the GFA. But comparing Trimble and Hume serves to highlight the more fundamental role played by the latter. He devoted the entirety of his political career to promoting the ideas and actions that would produce a settlement along the lines of the GFA. Trimble’s commitment to such a solution was somewhat belated, having opposed both Sunningdale and the AIA. Trimble thus deserves credit for ultimately recognising that the wider shifts in structural and political power in relation to



Northern Ireland were broadly working against Ulster unionism. He saw that unionists’ political hand was continually depreciating, and that positive engagement with the negotiation process was the way to secure the best possible deal for his community. He deserves even greater credit for steering unionism towards such deal, not only with the SDLP and Irish Government, but even Sinn Féin – the latter a move which no previous unionist leader had dared contemplate. However, in all of this, Trimble was largely responding to the aforementioned shifts in structural and political power in relation to Northern Ireland. He was responding to the inevitability, apparent since 1985, that any future constitutional settlement would involve power sharing with nationalists and an ongoing role for Dublin. And he was responding to the determination, increasingly obvious through the 1990s, of the two governments to include militant republicans in this settlement. Trimble was essentially reading and reacting to these shifts. Hume, by contrast, was interacting with and, to a significant degree, helping to write the course of these shifts. Indeed, he was a leading author in the narrative of the Northern Ireland peace process. First, he conjured words and ideas that would shape the essential framework of the ensuing settlement – an agreed Ireland, affording equal recognition to the rights and identity of both political traditions on the island. Second, he penned the parts of many of the dramatis personae – his efforts helping to direct stage entrances at critical moments for the Irish Government, the US, Europe, and even militant republicans. As constructivists recognise, the broader structures of power, and the changes within these, are still central to our understanding of how politics works. However, constructivists also argue the need to appreciate the interaction of ideas and political agency in shaping these structures. Analysing the career and enduring impact of John Hume provides strong endorsement for such an approach to understanding political developments in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. Notes  1 See B. O’Leary and J. McGarry, The Politics of Antagonism: Understanding Northern Ireland (London: Athlone Press, 2nd edn, 1996), Ch. 4; J. Ruane and J. Todd, ‘Patterns of conflict resolution: What made the difference between failure and success in settlement initiatives in Northern Ireland?’ (Dublin: IBIS Working Paper, 2011), pp. 5–7.  2 F. Cochrane, Unionist Politics and the Politics of Unionism since the Anglo-Irish Agreement (Cork: Cork University Press, 2nd edn, 2001); Ruane and Todd, ‘Patterns of conflict resolution’, p. 19.  3 Hume did not resign as SDLP leader until 2001, but nominated his deputy, Seamus Mallon, to lead the party in the new Stormont Assembly created by the Good Friday Agreement.  4 See, for example, studies emphasising the role of Mikhail Gorbachev in the ending of the Cold War: D. Lane, ‘The Gorbachev revolution: The role of the political elite in regime disintegration’, Political Studies, 44:1 (1996), 4–13; R. Snyder



and T. J. White, ‘The fall of the Berlin Wall: The counterrevolution in Soviet foreign policy and the end of communism’, in K. Gerstenberger and J. Evans Braziel (eds), After the Berlin Wall: Germany and Beyond (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).  5 O’Leary and McGarry, The Politics of Antagonism, Ch. 4; Ruane and Todd, ‘Patterns of conflict resolution’, pp. –67.  6 P. Dixon, Northern Ireland: The Politics of Peace and War (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2nd edn, 2008), p. 86.  7 J. Hume, ‘The northern Catholic’, The Irish Times (18 and 19 May 1964).  8 Ibid.  9 Ibid. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid. 14 E. Staunton, The Nationalists of Northern Ireland: 1918–1973 (Dublin: Columba Press, 2001). 15 B. Purdie, Politics in the Streets: The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland (Belfast: Blackstaff, 1990), Ch. 3. 16 B. White, John Hume: Statesman of the Troubles (Belfast: Blackstaff, 1984), pp. 49–51. 17 On this, and how political events during the conflict could both compromise and advance Hume’s thinking, see P. J. McLoughlin, John Hume and the Revision of Irish Nationalism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010). 18 J. Ruane and J. Todd, The Dynamics of Conflict in Northern Ireland: Power, Conflict, and Emancipation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 133. 19 J. Ruane and J. Todd ‘The Northern Ireland conflict and the impact of globalisation’, in W. Crotty and D. E. Schmitt (eds), Ireland on the World Stage (London: Longman, 2002), p. 119. 20 J. Todd, ‘Institutional change and conflict regulation: The Anglo-Irish Agreement (1985) and the mechanisms of change in Northern Ireland’, West European Politics, 34:4 (2011), 838–58. 21 White, John Hume, p. 191; A. J. Wilson, Irish-America and the Ulster Conflict, 1968– 1995 (Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1995), p. 132. 22 P. Arthur, Special Relationships: Britain, Ireland and the Northern Ireland Problem (Belfast: Blackstaff, 2000), p. 165. 23 A. Guelke, ‘The United States, Irish Americans and the peace process’, International Affairs, 72:3 (1996), 529. 24 White, John Hume, p. 202. 25 Ibid., pp. 229–30. 26 A. Guelke, Northern Ireland: The International Perspective (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1988), pp. 159–60. 27 G. FitzGerald, Ireland in the World: Further Reflections (Dublin: Liberties Press, 2005), p. 136. 28 G. FitzGerald, All in a Life: An Autobiography (London: Gill and Macmillan, 1991), pp. 462ff; White, John Hume, pp. 241 and 243–4. 29 J. Hume, opening speech to the New Ireland Forum, 30 May, 1983, in Dublin Stationery Office, New Ireland Forum Public Sessions, 1–13 (Dublin: Dublin Stationery Office, 1984), p. 23. 30 Ibid.



31 Dublin Stationery Office, New Ireland Forum Report (Dublin: Dublin Stationery Office, 1984), article 5.2 (4). 32 Ibid., p. 3. 33 For a more detailed consideration of Hume’s development of the interrelated notions of the ‘two traditions’ and an ‘agreed Ireland’, see McLoughlin, John Hume, Ch. 4–5 and pp. 225–8. 34 See M. Cunningham, ‘The political language of John Hume’, Irish Political Studies, 12 (1997), 13–22. 35 New Ireland Forum, Report, article 5.2 (4). 36 FitzGerald, All in a Life, pp. 497ff. 37 Ibid., p. 543. 38 Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Ireland [The Anglo-Irish Agreement] (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1985), Cmnd. 9657. 39 A. Aughey and C. Gormley-Heenan, ‘The Anglo-Irish Agreement: 25 Years On’, The Political Quarterly, 82:3 (2011), 389–97; Cochrane, Unionist Politics; E. O’Kane, ‘Re-evaluating the Anglo Irish Agreement: central or incidental to the Northern Ireland peace process?’, International Politics, 44:1 (2007), 711–31; O’Leary and McGarry, The Politics of Antagonism; P. J. McLoughlin, ‘“The first major step in the peace process”? Exploring the impact of the Anglo-Irish Agreement on Irish republican thinking’, Irish Political Studies, 29:1 (2014), 116–33; E. Tannam, ‘Explaining British-Irish cooperation’, Review of International Studies, 37:3 (2011), 1191–1214; Todd, ‘Institutional change and conflict regulation’; J. Todd, ‘Thresholds of state change: Changing British state institutions and practices in Northern Ireland after Direct Rule’, Political Studies, 62:3 (2014), 522–38. 40 FitzGerald, All in a Life, pp. 461, 527; Wilson, Irish-America, pp. 180, 243–50. 41 Quoted in A. McAlpine, Once a Jolly Bagman: Memoirs (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1997), p. 272. 42 FitzGerald, All in a Life, p. 531; D. Goodall, The Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 and its Consequences (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1995), pp. 5, 9, 11. 43 O’Leary and McGarry, The Politics of Antagonism, p. 220. 44 McLoughlin, ‘“The first major step in the peace process”?’ 124–5. 45 See HMSO, Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Ireland, article 1(c). 46 The Irish Times (13 September 1986). 47 For a more detailed account of the intra-nationalist debate over the AIA, see McLoughlin, ‘“The first major step in the peace process”?’ 48 Conducting political discussions with republicans made SDLP members ‘legitimate targets’ in the eyes of loyalist paramilitaries – a threat which showed itself to be far from rhetorical when party workers were attacked after Hume’s continued discussions with Adams became public in 1993. See G. Murray, John Hume and the SDLP: Impact and Survival in Northern Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1998), p. 195. 49 J. Hume, A New Ireland: Peace, Politics and Reconciliation (Boulder: Roberts Rhinehart, 1996), p. 115. 50 The Irish Times (10 November 1990). 51 The Irish Times (18 May 1964). 52 Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, Text of the Joint Declaration by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. John Major, MP and the Taoiseach, Mr. Albert Reynolds, TD on the 15th December,



1993 [The Downing Street Declaration] (Belfast: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1993), para. 4. 53 P. J. McLoughlin, ‘“Dublin is just a Sunningdale away”? The SDLP and the failure of Northern Ireland’s Sunningdale experiment’, Twentieth Century British History, 20:1 (2009), 74–96. 54 Hume ‘The northern Catholic’. 55 J. Todd and J. Ruane, ‘The dynamics of conflict: Political economy, equality and conflict’ (Dublin: IBIS Working Paper, 2011). 56 Available at; popul.htm (both accessed 20 September 2015). 57 B. Laffan, ‘The European context: A new political dimension in Ireland, North and South’, in J. Coakley, B. Laffan and J. Todd (eds), Renovation or Revolution? New Territorial Politics in Ireland and the United Kingdom (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2005); C. Harris, ‘Anglo-Irish elite cooperation and the peace process: The impact of the EEC/EU’, Irish Studies in International Affairs, 12 (2001), 203–14. Also see Mary C. Murphy’s Chapter 8 in this volume. 58 Todd, ‘Thresholds of state change’. 59 Ibid.

The role of licit and illicit transnational networks


The role of licit and illicit transnational networks during the Troubles Devashree Gupta

Transnational networks have played an important role in the development and dynamics of the Troubles from the earliest stirrings of the civil rights movement in the 1960s to its conclusion in the 1990s. While scholars might retrospectively disagree about the amount of political influence such networks were ultimately able to wield, there is little doubt that transnational ties helped internationalise the conflict while connecting organisations to vital resources and allies outside of the United Kingdom.1 In doing so, these transnational networks not only demonstrated their capacity to alter actors’ material conditions (e.g. through patronage), they wielded significant ideational power as well, using the flow of information to reframe how key stakeholders understood the causes of the Troubles and what was needed to bring about peace. Although transnational ties were consequential during the Troubles, most studies do not sufficiently differentiate among the various types of cross-­ border networks that connected groups in Northern Ireland to allies abroad. While many different organisations strategically used their ties to circumvent resource constraints, institutional blockages, and political obstructionism, the variety of transnational networks that existed during the Troubles informal as well as formal, temporary as well as sustained, connecting legal as well as illegal organisations on six different continents invites closer examination to understand which networks mattered and how. This chapter takes an initial step at disaggregating the networks that existed, focusing on the distinctions between licit and illicit networks among nationalist organisations, and examining the roles they played rather than assuming their functional equivalence. Licit and illicit networks that formed during the Troubles differed in terms of the credibility they conferred on domestic groups, the way they shaped tactical and strategic choices, and, ultimately, the amount and type of leverage they were able to wield vis-à-vis their targets. Essentially, illicit networks in Northern Ireland were better able to provide short-term tactical flexibility but were poorly suited to the more subtle and long-term task of influencing other actors and changing policy-makers’ behaviours. This asymmetry emerged, in part, because illicit ties were unable to improve the standing of associated



groups among those actors who controlled access to meaningful power. Ultimately, illicit ties made it easier for groups to engage in contentious behaviours during the Troubles but did not give them any advantage in shaping the norms and meanings surrounding the conflict or bringing the conflict to an end. Transnational contention: a framework of analysis Transnational advocacy networks (TANs) connect different types of actors via loosely organised ties.2 The main ‘glue’ that binds a TAN together is a set of shared ‘principled ideas and values’3 that facilitate the flow of information among groups. This fairly minimal requirement results in TANs that look different from one another in terms of their degree of centralisation or cohesiveness.4 Despite structural variations, TANs are most likely to emerge in cases where social movement actors encounter domestic blockages that prevent groups from mobilising effectively for change.5 Constraints like resource scarcity or hostile governments can prompt movements to look outside the state where the political environment is more conducive to action. For TANs, the coin of the realm is information, which allows them not only to share ideas with each other but to also engage in a broader politics of influence and persuasion. Most immediately, information flows among networked actors make it easier for groups to identify and acquire external resources as well as to learn about tactical and strategic innovations from other groups.6 In addition, information flows make it possible for networked actors to frame (or reframe) an issue in a more sympathetic light and shape public discourse.7 More subtly, transnational networks can also affect an organisation’s legitimacy via a process of certification: groups that partner with well-respected organisations can increase their credibility in the eyes of the public and government because of the trust and approval implied in the connection.8 Of course, de-certification can also result if network partners are seen as untrustworthy or disreputable. Perhaps most famously, TANs can mobilise external powers to put pressure on recalcitrant governments when weaker domestic actors are unable to do so.9 This so-called ‘boomerang’ pattern, Keck and Sikkink argue, makes it possible for less powerful actors to increase their leverage vis-à-vis an uncooperative state. By mobilising the politics of shame and accountability, TANs are able to amplify the effect that any organisation acting in isolation could hope to have. Given their potential impact, it is not surprising that groups in many different movement sectors have turned to transnational advocacy networks to advance their agendas, from progressive movements for peace and global social justice, to right-wing movements, diaspora networks, self-determination movements, and even groups engaged in global terrorism.10 Success in this high-stakes game of transnational advocacy is contingent on several factors, including the type of issue around which the network mobilises, the vulnerability of the target, and the characteristics of the network itself.11 Keck and Sikkink, for example, argue that issues involving bodily harm



to innocents and issues involving legal equality of opportunity are the most conducive to TAN mobilisation. Target characteristics also matter, as governments that are vulnerable to material pressure or normative shaming are more likely to be open to persuasion by transnational networks.12 Finally, the characteristics of the network matter too. Keck and Sikkink single out two features – network strength and density – as particularly critical, arguing that networks that are dense, linking many actors together, and that feature frequent, reliable, and reciprocal exchanges of information are best positioned to influence state policy.13 This approach, however, has its limits when trying to understand transnational networks that share structural commonalities or that operate in the same political environment. In Northern Ireland, for example, the various networks that existed within the nationalist community had a common target (the British Government), a common issue (the constitutional status of Northern Ireland), a common political setting (liberal democracy), and a shared historical context. They featured similarly informal structures connecting a limited number of organisations over multiple years. Consequently, we might expect the resulting networks to demonstrate similar dynamics and comparable levels of influence. However, case studies of these TANs paint a different story.14 Some other axis of comparison must therefore be used for this type of within-country, within-movement comparison. Teasing out this variable begins with a more serious consideration of how identity shapes the behaviour of TANs. Understanding the dynamics and outcomes of TANs requires examining the identity of the member groups themselves, as these identities shape not only how actors behave once in the TAN, but also how other actors respond to the network’s pressure.15 Target vulnerability, for example, is not an objective or static condition; it is contingent on who poses the threat as well as who receives the threat. Keck and Sikkink account for the latter element when they argue that the most vulnerable states are those that want to raise their international standing or that subscribe to international behavioural norms.16 But they neglect the first factor: it also matters who is levelling the accusation and on what grounds. A government’s willingness to withstand international censure might be contingent on whether it is staring down a network that advocates for human rights or a network that advocates violent secession from the state. This distinction goes unremarked in much of the existing TAN research. Consequently, transnational networks can possess divergent value orientations that affect how each practises the politics of persuasion, even though all else remains relatively constant. Taken together, the differences of organisational identity suggest a new dimension of comparison: network licitness. Licit and illicit networks Transnational networks come in both licit and illicit forms, and both have been the focus of scholarly attention in recent years.17 Licit and illicit n ­ etworks can



be difficult to differentiate, however, because such classifications are inherently subjective. As Pardis Mahdavi points out, licitness is a constructed concept, and the actors that typically make these determinations (usually state authorities)18 do so based on their own specific beliefs about what types of flows should be permitted or prohibited, which are rooted in the particular norms of their respective societies as well as their own political interests and values.19 Mahdavi suggests, therefore, that one of the key criteria for distinguishing between these types of networks is whether the flows that occur across them are authorised by the sending or the receiving country; if the flow is not authorised by either country, then the network can be considered an illicit one. I argue that a second behavioural criteria is worth adding: what states perceive is the purpose or end to which the information and resources will be used, since states judge not just identities but behaviours.20 These criteria create a spectrum of network types, from licit ones that are accepted by all connected countries, that transfer information and resources overtly, and that are likely to use these flows for sanctioned ends; to illicit networks that fail on all these counts, engaging in proscribed flows made covertly for illegal ends. The spectrum also leaves open room for ambiguous, semi-licit networks that meet some, but not all, of these criteria and whose purpose and activities are open to debate. This classification is not foolproof, certainly. Because organisations can change their identities and their behaviours over time, past behaviour is not sufficient to place a group along this spectrum. But organisational reputation also tends to be ‘sticky’21 and past actions can colour the government’s view of a group’s motives even without contemporary evidence to support its assessment. Moreover, organisations can deliberately mislead or conceal who they are and what they are doing, which can result in groups being placed in one category when, given full and complete information, governments might classify them differently. Ultimately, states will respond to movements and TANs based on what they believe them to be, which may not have any connection to how groups perceive themselves. Licit and illicit transnational advocacy networks during the Troubles Transnational connections and information flows were a feature of Irish politics long before the Troubles began.22 Both nationalist and unionist organisations made use of transnational links during the Troubles to help them carry out their operations.23 However, there was a notable lopsidedness between the two sides, with fairly well-developed networks on the nationalist side contrasting with weaker linkages emerging from the unionist community.24 Accordingly, this analysis focuses on the transnational networks that linked organisations within the nationalist community to actors in other states. Both constitutional nationalists, like the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and republicans like the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Sinn Féin, established networks with like-minded individuals relatively quickly. John Hume, one of the founding members of the SDLP and later one of its



most influential leaders, travelled to the United States in 1969 in order to capitalise on increased global awareness of the situation unfolding in Northern Ireland and to gain support from Irish America. He would repeat this kind of American tour countless times, appearing in the media and meeting with influential Irish-American politicians and members of the business community.25 The republicans forged connections with sympathetic diaspora groups like the Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID) in 1969 to raise funds,26 as well as with like-minded militant separatist groups in Europe and beyond in the early 1970s.27 Both sides of the nationalist community looked to these transnational ties for strategic advantages, intentionally seeking out allies in the struggle for self-determination as a way of acquiring valuable resources, political leverage, and information about new, more effective tactics. The resulting transnational networks shared a number of structural similarities with each other. For example, they tended to be small and connected only a handful of actors across a limited number of sites. Networks demonstrated an acephalous, or undirected, relationship among member groups,28 in which no single organisation acted as the ‘head’ of the network and information flowed between members via multiple pathways. The networks lasted roughly the same length of time, stretching from the early days of the Troubles all the way to the end of the conflict, though the strength of individual connections among groups waxed and waned over time in response to changes in political ­leadership or the political environment more broadly. These developing cross-border partnerships most closely resembled transnational advocacy networks insofar as they consisted of mostly informal connections without an overarching organisational umbrella. In none of these cases did the TANs evolve into more substantial, complex forms of transnational partnership involving coordinated action across multiple sites, joint campaigns of non-violent resistance, simultaneous attacks against multiple government forces, or synchronised lobbying initiatives.29 Instead, these networks served primarily as conduits for information, resources, and services on a more intermittent basis, but also helped nationalist groups in their efforts to persuade the public and government actors to change their understandings of the Troubles and to change their preferences about how to bring the violence to an end. How they did so differed, based on whether they operated licitly or illicitly. Licit advocacy networks: the constitutional nationalists One of the principal licit networks that operated during the Troubles connected organisations and individuals who held moderate nationalist preferences and who hoped to bring an end to the Troubles via peaceful methods. The anchor of this TAN was the SDLP, the chief advocate for moderate, constitutional nationalism within Northern Ireland. The network also included influential figures of the Irish-American political establishment, their political allies in the US Congress, and government elites in Dublin. This network is represented in




Friends of Ireland Caucus

‘Four Horsemen’


Irish Government

Irish–US Parliamentary Group

Figure 5.1  Licit transnational network

Figure 5.1. The linchpin of the TAN wasthe decades-long friendship between John Hume and US Senator Edward Kennedy. The two had met in 1972, at the home of the Irish ambassador to Germany, to discuss the escalating violence in Northern Ireland. Kennedy, who had a longstanding interest in Irish affairs, had issued statements prior to this meeting that implied he was sympathetic to a more republican analysis of the conflict.30 However, Hume was able to win Kennedy over to the SDLP’s point of view, and this connection was cemented over the following decades.31 Kennedy, in turn, helped forge further ties between the SDLP and Irish-America, including other senior IrishAmerican politicians like New York Governor Hugh Carey, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Speaker of the House Thomas (Tip) O’Neill. Nicknamed the ‘Four Horsemen’ by republican opponents, they helped form the Friends of Ireland congressional caucus, which put pressure on the US Government to take a more active role in resolving the conflict.32 This advocacy network also connected the SDLP and its allies in the United States with political elites in the Republic of Ireland. The Friends of Ireland caucus in Congress facilitated the formation of the Irish–US Parliamentary Group in the Dáíl, thereby creating ties between supporters of constitutional nationalism in the two institutions.33 In addition, the SDLP established direct links to officials in Dublin. In one sixteen-month period between 1973 and 1974, for example, Irish Government records show at least nineteen separate meetings with the SDLP, which involved twenty-five different members of the leadership team.34 These working relationships allowed the SDLP to enlist the support of both the Irish and American governments for its agenda.35



For the SDLP, this licit network was useful in a number of ways. First, it allowed the party to tap into resources outside of Northern Ireland, including fundraising opportunities in both the Republic and the United States.36 More intangible, but no less powerful, were the symbolic resources that the SDLP was able to acquire through these cross-border connections. By developing a close partnership with powerful political figures in Irish America and the Republic, the SDLP’s claim of being the only legitimate representative of nationalist sentiments was given further credence and support. For the SDLP, which was locked in a zero-sum struggle with the republican movement for leadership of the nationalist cause, this yielded benefits both when dealing with the nationalist public and with the British Government. Having privileged access to elites in both governments something that the republican movement could not claim enhanced their claim to be the only ones in a position to ­facilitate diplomatic solutions to the conflict. In addition to resource flows and the symbolic value of the TAN, the SDLP was also able to use the network to influence and exert pressure on political authorities. After persuading the Four Horsemen that only the constitutional nationalist approach had any hope of resolving the conflict, the quartet used annual St Patrick’s Day speeches to urge Irish Americans to support only those groups that advocated moderation and peaceful tactics, thereby explicitly diverting possible support away from the SDLP’s militant rivals.37 Moreover, the Four Horsemen also used their access to the legislative and executive branch to persuade President Carter to issue a statement calling for an end to the Troubles and a promise of US aid to the region were that to occur.38 Such a statement was noteworthy in that it signalled an end to the de facto hands-off policy that the US Government had traditionally taken with respect to Northern Ireland, writing it off as an internal British matter.39 This new political turn instead signalled American willingness to get involved and put pressure on the British Government. The TAN also played a pivotal role in facilitating some of the key events that made the peace process possible. In 1994, for example, the Clinton administration decided to issue a visa to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams to visit the United States. Clinton was persuaded to permit the visit over the strong objections of the British Government because of a concerted lobbying effort by the Irish Government, led by Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, and the Four Horsemen, led by Kennedy.40 Both, in turn, had been persuaded to support the visit by Hume, who believed that such an overt signal by the US Government would further shore up Sinn Féin’s commitment to a peace process and help bring an end to IRA violence. Speaking to journalist Maureen Orth, Reynolds said ‘[John Hume] believed that there was a window of opportunity to be exploited, and he couldn’t take it any farther if the two governments weren’t prepared to take up the initiative and run with it … Hume brought me in and said “You bring in Major,” and I also brought in Clinton.’41 Orth, moreover, reports that Hume also persuaded Kennedy to use his influence on the president, recalling that ‘[a]t Tip O’Neill’s funeral … in January 1994, Ted Kennedy asked John Hume if



he wanted Adams to have a visa. Hume said yes. That did it. The Irish then had Kennedy’s enormously influential support.’42 In addition to these types of leverage politics, the SDLP’s connections to the TAN also made it possible for the group to hold government actors accountable for their actions and rhetoric. Such a dynamic occurred in 1979 when the outgoing Taoiseach Jack Lynch was replaced by Charles Haughey, who was perceived to be friendly to republicans and reached out to republican groups in the United States to strengthen ties. He also planned to reassign Seán Donlon, the current ambassador to the US and SDLP ally, to the United Nations, which would weaken the influence of the constitutional nationalist position in the United States. The TAN rallied to hold the Irish Government to account for this change in approach away from its stated condemnation of physical force republicanism; the Four Horsemen warned Haughey that doing so would be seen as giving support to militant republicans and undermine the relations between the two governments.43 Haughey capitulated and kept Donlon in his post, thereby demonstrating the persuasive power of this licit network. Illicit advocacy networks: the militant republicans The chief illicit counterpart to the above constitutional nationalist network connected the IRA44 with other militant separatist groups and their supporters. As an unapologetic advocate for armed struggle against the British Government, the IRA looked transnationally to find partners who could help it put increased pressure on the state via resource flows that it could use in its campaign of violence.45 The resulting diffusion of arms, funds, and training was illicit not only because the items themselves were usually contraband and smuggled illegally, but because they were intended to be used against the state. This network is represented in Figure 5.2. This TAN linked the IRA to partners groups like the Basque Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) or the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) whose nationalism was connected to a larger anti-imperialist struggle. This common cause was explicitly reinforced when several separatist groups, including the IRA and ETA, signed the Charter of Brest in February 1974. The Charter stated that the signatories, ‘aware of the universal character of imperialism and the extreme gravity of the situation in their countries by the continuance of the resulting colonial system, solemnly declare the need for a union between the oppressed peoples of Europe’.46 In addition to these European ­separatist groups, the IRA also established connections to the Palestinians, the  Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the African National Congress (ANC).47 The IRA’s connection with some groups also facilitated its introduction to others. The Basques, for example, are believed to have acted as the broker between the IRA and FARC.48 The Bretons introduced the IRA to the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which supported the IRA out of a commitment to an anti-Western, anti-imperialist foreign policy.49








alleged Libya

Figure 5.2  Illicit transnational network

For republicans, one of the chief benefits of this network was the expanded resources it made available.50 The IRA received cash from the Libyans some £5 million in aid51 as well as money from FARC for providing training to its fighters.52 In addition to financial resources, the IRA also traded weapons and tactical knowledge with its partners. For example, ETA provided the IRA with C-4 plastic explosives in exchange for training in making the kind of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that had become a hallmark of IRA campaigns.53 In addition, the IRA trained at camps with the PLO near Beirut and the Bekaa Valley54 and in Libya and Algeria with the ANC.55 It also received caches of weapons from the Libyans.56 For the IRA, these flows of weapons, funds, and information were vital resources that allowed it to continue with its strategy of armed struggle, even in the face of British counter-terrorist pressures.57 But the IRA also looked to its TAN for something else: legitimacy by association. The IRA’s network allowed it to position itself as a member of a broader anti-imperialist movement fighting for the right of popular self-determination around the world.58 The symbolic value of this connection signalled a shift in the IRA’s own self-conception, broadening it from a more narrow nationalist idea to a group whose ideology linked it to a global fraternity of groups,59 though it is debatable to what extent this reframing was sincere or merely an ‘ideological gloss’.60 Regardless, this repositioning also allowed the IRA to counter rhetoric by the British Government that painted the IRA as an organisation engaged in simple criminal activity and not entitled to any special political status.61 By claiming the connection to other groups who portrayed themselves as fighting



oppressive occupying powers, the IRA sought to reframe how they were understood by the public and, in turn, potentially leverage public sympathies against an illegitimate occupying power. Accordingly, the symbolic value of the TAN complemented the material resources that flowed across it. Semi-licit advocacy networks: republicans and the Irish-American diaspora In addition to licit and illicit networks, some TANs can occupy an uncertain middle ground between the two poles. Such ambiguous, or semi-licit, networks may sport mixed features that create conflicting signals about where they fit along the continuum. Some of these dynamics are visible in the semilicit network that connected the republican movement in Northern Ireland with their allies in the United States. This network is depicted in Figure 5.3. The central organisation in this TAN was the Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID), which was founded in 1970 by recent Irish émigrés to mobilise public support (and funds) for the republican cause. Though it was careful to insist that its activities did not fund the IRA An Cumman Cabhrach, a charitable organisation working with the families of prisoners, was its beneficiary its claim was considered suspect. One of the trustees of An Cumman was Joe Cahill, a leading figure in the IRA who had been involved in moving guns from Libya to Northern Ireland. NORAID’s core members, including its founder, Michael Flannery, also had known ties to, and were overt supporters of, the IRA, and questions persisted about where its funds ultimately ended up.62 NORAID members were also charged with gunrunning for the IRA, and four NORAID members were convicted in 1983. This led the US Government to require that the group register as a foreign agent of the IRA.63


An Cumman Cabharach


Ad Hoc Congressional Commiee

Figure 5.3  Semi-licit transnational network




NORAID was not the only organisation in this network, however. It also was an early member of the Irish National Caucus (INC), an umbrella group founded in 1974 to lobby the US Government on issues of interest to its IrishAmerican members. INC, in turn, encouraged the formation of the Ad Hoc Congressional Committee for Irish Affairs (AHCC), a group of over 100 elected officials who took an interest in the politics of Northern Ireland. Although these latter groups did not explicitly endorse armed struggle (and made an effort to distance themselves from the IRA over time), they both adopted positions that were seen as close to those of the republican movement. Moreover, there were some discordant actions that cast doubt on their identities and motives, even after they parted company with NORAID. For example, Father Seán McManus, the leader of the INC, had family connections to the IRA.64 Although the INC maintained that it supported peaceful methods, it did not repudiate the republican use of violence in the conflict. Its information director, Fred Burns O’Brien, even published an article in the Irish People that wondered ‘why isn’t the United States assisting the Irish Republican Army in its efforts to gain its national integrity and self determination?’65 The leader of the AHCC, Representative Mario Biaggi, also raised questions about the true intentions of his group.66 He travelled to Northern Ireland in 1978 and, while there, met with IRA representatives (including Joe Cahill); he also lauded the IRA for bringing more attention to the political problems of the region.67 This semi-licit TAN influenced the dynamics of the Troubles in a number of ways. Most notably, it was a source of considerable funding for republican-­ allied organisations. NORAID in particular funnelled thousands of dollars back to Northern Ireland where some proportion of it went to support the purchase of arms for the IRA.68 While the true extent of this fundraising effort is not known, NORAID’s own filings with the US Government give some partial accounting of this revenue stream (Table 5.1).The network also created valuable symbolic resources. The support of Biaggi and the other representatives in the AHCC provided some legitimation of republican views, as their support signalled that some elected officials believed that the republicans were justified in using armed struggle against the British Government. The INC also tried to mobilise the power of symbols by courting senior political figures to get their endorsement. For example, it arranged a meeting with Jimmy Carter during the 1976 presidential campaign, a meeting that an editorial in the Irish Echo, a paper sympathetic to the INC, called ‘a huge breakthrough’.69 In addition to resource flows and the symbolic value of claiming grassroots support, this semi-licit TAN also engaged in leverage politics. In 1979, for example, members of the AHCC joined with representatives of the licit network to oppose granting export licenses to sell arms to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in protest over its heavy-handed policing tactics. While Biaggi led this effort by introducing the amendment barring arms exports, it was also sanctioned by the Four Horsemen.70 But the semi-licit network was also occasionally able to use leverage politics on its own. One such example involves the successful INC-led campaign to adopt the MacBride Principles, a set of fair



Table 5.1  NORAID fundraising, 1977–90 Date

Transfers to ACC ($)

8/71–1/72 2/72–7/72 8/72–1/73 2/73–7/73 8/73–1/74 2/74–7/74 8/74–1/75 2/75–7/75 8/75–1/76 2/76–7/76 8/76–1/77 2/77–7/77 8/77–1/78 2/78–7/78 8/78–1/79 2/79–7/79 8/79–1/80 2/80–7/80 8/80–1/81 2/81–7/81 8/81–1/82 2/82–7/82 8/82–1/83 2/83–7/83 8/83–1/84 2/84–7/84 8/84–1/85 2/85–7/85 8/85–1/86 2/86–7/86 8/86–1/87 2/87–7/87 8/87–1/88 2/88–7/88 8/88–1/89 2/89–7/89 8/89–1/90 Total (1971–90)

128,099 312,700 150,437.97 121,722.63  99,966.21 N/A N/A 115,448.61 N/A  55,500 N/A  60,115  39,000  73,857.65  59,200 N/A  10,5230  52,300  69,200  92,800 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A  43,000  52,000  57,700  51,000  66,302.83  60,000  90,000  62,425  73,000  80,900  91,300  73,000  $2,347,705   $8,336,075 (in 2015 dollars)

Source: Department of Justice, Foreign Agent Registration Act Supplemental Statements

employment standards that were used to hold companies accountable for their actions and investments in Northern Ireland. Ultimately, eighteen states and over forty cities endorsed the Principles, which became federal law in 1998. Moreover, the campaign put increasing pressure on the British Government



to change its domestic anti-discrimination laws in order to comply with MacBride provisions. The success of this campaign is noteworthy not only for its widespread support within the US but also that it succeeded despite ­ambivalent-to-hostile reactions of the Four Horsemen.71 Comparing outcomes and impacts The above discussion highlights the range and diversity of transnational advocacy networks that existed within the same movement field and that, despite sharing similarities in context, target, structure, size, and duration, differed based on the relative licitness of their operations. One consequence of this licit/illicit division is the range of actions that each type of network was able to pursue. Keck and Sikkink argue that TANs pick and choose from four main types of persuasive action: information politics, which involves generating usable information and deploying it where it is most useful; symbolic politics, which calls on symbols, actions, and stories to frame a particular narrative or interpretation for a chosen audience; leverage politics, which makes use of more powerful allies to intervene on behalf of weaker ones; and accountability politics, which obliges actors to measure up to their own policies or principles.72 The brief case studies above highlight that the particular mix of persuasive politics that each network employed to advance its core agenda varied across type (Table 5.2). The licit TAN demonstrated the fullest range of tactical approaches, making use of information, symbolic, leverage, and accountability politics. The other two networks were more limited, with the illicit network being the most restricted in how it used its transnational connections. This is no coincidence. Ultimately, the licit network created a kind of political capital that was qualitatively different and could be ‘redeemed’ in more ways than the political capital generated by either the semi-licit or illicit networks. Ultimately, the capital that the licit network created was most useful when dealing with political elites, whereas the capital generated by the illicit or semi-licit network ended up alienating them from those same elites and limited their ability to engage in the full range of persuasive tactics. The licit network, which connected organisations recognised as legal in all connected countries and which only engaged in overt, sanctioned flows, was able to validate the SDLP’s standing as a credible organisation one that deserved to be taken seriously by institutional power holders. This process of certification73 made it possible for the SDLP’s information politics to be given credence Table 5.2  Persuasive tactics by network type Information politics Licit network Illicit network Semi-licit network

ü ü ü

Symbolic politics

Leverage politics

Accountability politics

ü ü ü






by elites outside of the network itself. For example, when John Hume travelled to the United States and spoke with Congressional authorities about the situation in Northern Ireland, they gave him an audience, listened attentively, and were often persuaded by his interpretation of events. A US State Department memo described one such visit in 1974, which included a lunch and discussion with elected officials. The memo commented that Hume’s performance was ‘persuasive and at times moving’, and that ‘Hume proved to be effective spokesman for moderates’.74 The insider access and the perceived credibility of the information were both enhanced by the SDLP’s connection to other influential network members, which generated positive reputational spillover. In turn, these positive associations provided the SDLP with certain advantages when trying to persuade government actors: the information it provided was more likely to be seen as credible and reliable, its claims more easily verifiable, and the moral authority gained from associating only with licit flows and legal actors made the SDLP politically benign insofar as other government actors could meet with its leaders without fear of embarrassment or scandal. None of these effects held in either the semi-licit or illicit network. The connection confirmed or suspected with groups known to be illegal or implacably hostile to the British Government made it difficult for network members to reap any positive reputational benefits with respect to most political elites. Whereas the SDLP’s information politics were seen as more trustworthy, the negative effects of being connected to proscribed groups and engaging in dubious transactions tainted the information that republican groups provided and led to their marginalisation by political elites. NORAID, for example, found that its suspected linkages with groups engaged in armed struggle limited its political influence and made it something of a pariah in US political circles; and the INC, because of its connections to NORAID and the IRA, was put under special surveillance.75 Moreover, network associations created a negative form of political capital that actively undermined the ability of TAN members to access political elites, as they were perceived as partisan and politically risky. Even individuals who occupied legitimate positions in government, like Representative Biaggi, found themselves tainted by association, as he discovered when he received a letter from Taoiseach Jack Lynch condemning his association with supporters of violence.76 The INC likewise experienced the downside of semi-licitness when Jimmy Carter, who had met with the group while on the campaign trail and had indicated broad sympathies towards their agenda, had to quickly backpedal and repudiate that connection when the Irish Government expressed dismay.77 The credibility that illicit and semi-licit networks afforded member organisations was instead oriented not towards government elites but other potential publics, particularly grassroots sympathisers. For the illicit TAN, the association with other self-styled liberation movements framed the work of the IRA and other militant republicans as morally justifiable, even when endorsing violence. Placing itself in the same category as self-determination movements allowed the IRA to ennoble its armed struggle and made its supporters less



ambivalent about that support. Their framing did nothing to change government assessments of group identity or legitimacy, but then again, the government was not always the intended target when the illicit and semi-licit networks engaged in symbolic persuasion. This grassroots-oriented framing, however, constrained groups’ ability to use leverage or accountability politics. While such groups could still negotiate with government representatives, such meetings were typically secret, lest the government be tarred with accusations of kowtowing to criminals or terrorists. Moreover, accountability politics was also of limited value since the act of holding governments responsible for their actions generally requires groups to have some minimum moral authority to mobilise public pressure and shame governments into living up to their obligations and beliefs.78 Illicit and semi-licit networks, by virtue of their connections with groups that endorsed violence against the British Government, may have maintained this moral authority with their own grassroots supporters, but lost that ground with respect to the government and the wider public. In this way, the capital generated by licit networks was a net asset in terms of playing the politics of persuasion, whereas the capital from illicit and semi-licit networks was a liability.79 As a result of these different forms of political capital and the constraints they created, the activities of the different TANs followed different pathways, with the licit TAN able to use ‘insider’ influence strategies and the illicit TAN limited to ‘outsider’ strategies; the semi-licit TAN attempted both, but the ambiguousness of its associations and purpose made insider strategies more uncertain. Most groups attempting to influence government actors select from a range of tactics, some of which are more typical of an insider path with its privileged access to elites, and some of which are more typical of an outsider path with its mix of more non-institutionalised activities.80 However, the general intuition about these paths is that, all else being equal, groups prefer insider pathways for their efficiency and direct contact with those who have the power to affect policy change.81 With the illicit TAN, insider strategies were impossible, as governments tend to resist leverage being exercised at gunpoint. Accountability politics were also blocked to the illicit TAN, since any calls for governments to adhere to their stated principles and policies could be u ­ ndermined by its own involvement with illegal activities and groups. The semi-licit TAN fared only marginally better when it came to accessing insider strategies. The legal status of groups like the INC and NORAID made it theoretically possible for them to work directly with powerful government actors. Even the AHCC which was itself an insider organisation, given its Congressional membership had limited ability to use leverage and accountability politics successfully since its association with militant republicanism made it difficult to sway decision-makers to its point of view. In some cases, the AHCC was able to sponsor legislative action that successfully put pressure on the British Government, like its RUC weapons ban. However, the AHCC’s success often required the explicit support of the Four Horsemen.82 The success of the MacBride campaign stands out as a key exception in this regard. However, the MacBride Principles, while



not enthusiastically supported by the groups in the licit network, were not uniformly opposed either. Even Moynihan, one of its more strident opponents, encouraged the British Government to pass anti-­discrimination legislation in advance of the Principles being adopted; that is, he did not oppose putting pressure on the British Government to reform its laws in this particular way, but did not want to give credit to the INC for the result.83 While this example suggests insider politics can be a strategy for semi-licit groups, the fact that the MacBride campaign is a bit of an outlier also points to the fact that such strategies are ­unreliable for groups with uncertain ties or shady flows. Illicit and semi-licit ties did have their distinct advantages, however. While they were not well suited to leverage politics or holding government actors accountable, covert ties and flows made it possible for groups like the IRA to maximise the value of resource flows across borders. While the licit network’s fundraising was constrained by various regulations and rules governing the transmission of money or other materials across borders, the illicit network (and parts of the semi-licit network) faced few such constraints. Not having to open up books for audit, not having to pay fees or taxes on arms imports, not having to adhere to customs rules and regulations, made these connected organisations able to move resources around as needed. This made it possible for groups in these networks to continue to use transgressive tactics even when the state attempted to restrict groups’ ability to do so. In the case of the IRA, the infusion of cash and weapons from Libya or other illicit partners allowed it to carry on with armed struggle despite considerable pressure from the government. However, this tactical benefit did not translate into a broader ability to influence the framework by which state actors interpreted the Troubles or successful (and subtle) long-term strategies for changing state behaviour via official channels. Conclusion The above discussion suggests that the way in which licit, illicit, and semi-licit networks operated during the Troubles differed qualitatively from one another in ways that conventional approaches to differentiating impacts focusing on structure, size, density, duration, issue, or target characteristics fail to capture. In the case of Northern Ireland, the different types of transnational advocacy networks that operated within the nationalist movement shared a number of structural and contextual similarities. What set them apart was operational differences (i.e. the types of flows among members) and the identities of the network members themselves. Licitness thus becomes a useful criteria to evaluate and distinguish networks as well as account for possible variations in their operational dynamics. The case of nationalists during the Troubles is a partial demonstration of why looking at licitness matters. What remains to be seen is if the dynamics observed in this particular case are generalisable to other contexts or are more specific by-products of these particular licit, illicit, and semi-licit networks.



Moreover, this analysis did not unpack potential interaction effects that might arise when organisations develop licit networks alongside illicit or semi-licit networks. Arguably, this dynamic obtains legitimacy in the Northern Ireland case as the peace process proceeds, as Sinn Féin develops cross-border partnerships that are more overt and deal with less contentious flows of information and resources, particularly to and from the US.84 The fact that organisations are capable of membership of simultaneous TANs, some of which might be fully licit and some less so, makes it possible that the reputation effects and political capital generated by one TAN might not function in the more clearcut ways described above. Instead, government actors as well as the public would have to reconcile different kinds of reputational spillover and the possibility that negative political capital from one network might undermine the positive political capital generated by the other (or vice versa). This occurred in the nationalist case when the illicit ties between the IRA and FARC undercut the positive relationship between the republicans and Irish Americans in the semi-licit network. Suddenly, the awareness that the IRA was receiving money from an organisation involved in the drug trade that negatively affected the US called into question whether Irish Americans should be supporting the republicans at all.85 The IRA’s ties with the PLO in its illicit network similarly created tensions with some of its Jewish AHCC supporters.86 The TANs in Northern Ireland, I argue, demonstrate that the full range of persuasive strategies are not always available to all transnational actors and that, apart from simple capacity questions, the reputational effects generated by membership in a network also matter in how other actors are likely to respond. In the cases described above, the licit network had access to the full menu of persuasive tactics while the illicit network had the fewest options. Whether this might hold true across other cases is an open question, but it certainly merits further investigation. At the very least, it suggests that the type of persuasive politics that Keck and Sikkink describe needs to be considered alongside how accessible each approach ultimately is to any given network. Essentially, the networks connecting the nationalist organisations in Northern Ireland to allies in different places were influential in a variety of ways: prompting policy changes, altering perceptions, enabling tactics, certifying (or de-certifying) groups in the eyes of different constituencies (and sometimes doing both at the same time), and making use of a broad array of information and resource exchanges to further member aims. In the end, we can better appreciate the causes and consequences of these variations if we take licitness, or lack thereof, seriously as a way of differentiating transnational advocacy networks. Notes  1 P. Dixon, ‘Northern Ireland and the international dimension: the end of the Cold War, the USA, and European integration’, Irish Studies in International Affairs, 13 (2002), 105–20; M. Cox, ‘Bringing in the “International”: The IRA ceasefire and the end of the Cold War’, International Affairs, 73:4 (1997), 671–93; L. O’Dowd



and C. McCall, ‘Escaping the cage of ethno-national conflict in Northern Ireland? The importance of transnational networks’, Ethnopolitics, 7:1 (2008), 81–99; F. Cochrane, B. Baser, and A. Swain, ‘Home thoughts from abroad: Diasporas and peace-building in Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 32:8 (2009), 681–704.  2 S. Khagram, J. V. Riker, and K. Sikkink, ‘From Santiago to Seattle: Transnational advocacy groups restructuring world politics’, in S. Khagram, J. V. Riker, and K. Sikkink (eds), Restructuring World Politics: Transnational Social Movements, Networks, and Norms (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002); M. E. Keck and K. Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998); M. E. Keck and K. Sikkink, ‘Transnational advocacy networks in international and regional politics’, International Social Science Journal, 51:159 (1999), 91–2.  3 Keck and Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders, p. 30.  4 B. Coates and R. David, ‘Learning for change: The art of assessing the impact of advocacy’, Development in Practice, 12:3/4 (2002), 530–41; W. L. Bennett, ‘Social movements beyond borders: Understanding two eras of transnational activism’, in D. della Porta and S. Tarrow (eds), Transnational Protest and Global Activism (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005).  5 Keck and Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders, p. 12.  6 D. Strang and S. A. Soule, ‘Diffusion in organizations and social movements: From hybrid corn to poison pills’, Annual Review of Sociology, 24 (1998), 265–90.  7 Keck and Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders.  8 D. McAdam, S. G. Tarrow, and C. Tilly, Dynamics of Contention (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); J. Smith, ‘Transnational processes and movements’, in D. Snow, S. Soule, and H. P. Kriesi (eds), Blackwell Companion to Social Movements (Malden: Blackwell, 2007), p. 325; L. D. Brown, ‘International advocacy NGOs and network credibility in global governance and problem-­solving’, in G. S. Cheema and V. Popovski (eds), Engaging Civil Society: Emerging Trends in Democratic Governance (Tokyo and New York: United Nations University Press, 2010).  9 Keck and Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders, pp. 12–13. 10 V. Asal, B. Nussbaum, and D. W. Harrington, ‘Terrorism as transnational advocacy: An organizational and tactical examination’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 30:1 (2007), 15–39; F. B. Adamson, ‘Globalisation, transnational political mobilisation, and networks of violence’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 18:1 (2005), 31–49; J. Kilberg, ‘A basic model explaining terrorist group organizational structure’, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35:11 (2012), 810–30; C. Bob, The Global Right Wing and the Clash of World Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012); F. Cochrane, ‘Civil society beyond the state: The impact of diaspora communities on peace building’, Global Media Journal, Mediterranean Edition, 2:2 (2007), 19–29; F. Cochrane, ‘Irish-America, the end of the IRA’s armed struggle, and the utility of “Soft Power”’, Journal of Peace Research, 44:2 (2007), 215–31. 11 Keck and Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders, pp. 28–9. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid. 14 Among others, see A. Guelke, ‘The United States, Irish Americans and the Northern Ireland peace process’, International Affairs, 72:3 (1996), 521–36; R. Mac Ginty,



‘American influences on the Northern Ireland peace process’, Journal of Conflict Studies, 17:2 (1997), 31–50; P. Arthur, ‘Diasporan intervention in international affairs: Irish America as a case study’, Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, 1:2 (1991), 143–62; Cochrane, ‘Irish-America, the end of the IRA’s armed struggle, and the utility of “soft power”’; B. Hanley, ‘The politics of NORAID’, Irish Political Studies, 19:1 (2004): 1–17; N. Ó Dochartaigh, ‘“Sure, it’s hard to keep up with the splits here”: Irish-American responses to the outbreak of conflict in Northern Ireland 1968–1974’, Irish Political Studies, 10 (1995), 13–60. 15 On identity as a key explanatory variable in social movements, see J. M. Jasper, The Art of Moral Protest (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997). 16 Keck and Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders, p. 29. 17 I. Abraham and W. van Schendel, ‘Introduction: The making of illicitness’, in W. van Schendel and I. Abraham (eds), Illicit Flows and Criminal Things: States, Borders, and the Other Side of Globalization (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005); M. Eilstup-Sangiovanni and C. Jones, ‘Assessing the dangers of illicit networks: Why al-Qaida may be less threatening than many think’, International Security, 33:2 (2008): 7–44; J. Arquilla and D. Ronfeldt, Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy (Santa Monica: RAND, 2001). 18 P. Andreas, ‘Illicit globalization: Myths, misconceptions, and historical lessons’, Political Science Quarterly, 126:3 (2011), 403–25. 19 P. Mahdavi, From Trafficking to Terror: Constructing a Global Social Problem (London: Routledge, 2014). 20 D. Kilcullen, Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerilla (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). 21 G. A. Fine, Sticky Reputations: The Politics of Collective Memory in Midcentury America (New York: Routledge, 2012). 22 M. Hanagan, ‘Irish transnational social movements, migrants, and the state system’, in J. Smith and H. Johnston (eds), Globalization and Resistance: Transnational Dimensions of Social Movements (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002); M. Hanagan, ‘Irish transnational social movements, deterritorialized migrants and the state system: The last one hundred and forty years’, Mobilization, 3:1 (1998), 107–26; G. M. Maney, ‘Transnational mobilization and civil rights in Northern Ireland’, Social Problems, 47:2 (2000), 153–79. 23 J. F. Murphy, ‘The IRA and the FARC in Colombia’, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 18:1 (2005), 76–88; J. L. Stone, Jr., ‘Irish Terrorism Investigations’, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 56 (1987), 20; G.  E.  Curtis and T. Karacan, The Nexus among Terrorist, Narcotics Traffickers, Weapons Proliferators, and Organized Crime Networks in Western Europe (Washington, DC: Library of Congress Federal Research Division, 2002); A.  J.  Wilson, ‘The Billy Boys meet Slick Willy: The Ulster Unionist Party and the American dimension to the Northern Ireland peace process, 1994–9’, Irish Studies in International Affairs, 11 (2000), 121–36; A. J. Wilson, ‘Ulster Unionists in America, 1972–1985’, New Hibernia Review, 11:1 (2007), 50–73. 24 For example, see P. Dixon, ‘Internationalization and Unionist isolation: a response to Feargal Cochrane’, Political Studies, 43:3 (1995), 497–505. 25 P. Routledge, John Hume: A Biography (London: Harper Collins, 1998). For more on Hume’s role in connecting to networks outside of Northern Ireland, see P. J. McLoughlin’s Chapter 4 in this volume. 26 B. Hanley, ‘The politics of NORAID’.



27 J. B. Wolf, ‘A global terrorist coalition—its incipient stage’, Police Journal, 50:4 (1977), 328–39. 28 V. MacGill, ‘Acephalous groups and their dynamics from a complex systems perspective’, in Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the ISSS [International Society for the Systems Sciences] Annual Meeting and Conference (San Jose: University of San Jose, 2013). 29 M. McKinley, ‘The international dimensions of terrorism in Ireland’, in Y. Alexander and A. O’Day (eds), Terrorism in Ireland (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1984). 30 Cochrane, Baser, and Swain, ‘Home thoughts from abroad’, 692; A. Sanders, ‘Senator Edward Kennedy and the “Ulster Troubles”: Irish and Irish-American p ­ olitics, 1965–2009’, Historical Journal of Massachusetts, 39:1&2 (2011), 206–40. 31 Kennedy even made reference to this longstanding relationship during a 1998 speech in Derry, when he noted that despite never having visited the city before, it felt familiar to him given how much time he had spent with Hume and how often he had heard Hume sing ‘The Town I Love So Well’. Edward Kennedy, Speech on Peace in Northern Ireland. Delivered at the University of Ulster, 9 January 1998. Edward Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. For more analysis of Hume’s relations with Kennedy and others in the US, see McLoughlin’s Chapter 4 of this volume. 32 A. Guelke, ‘The United States, Irish Americans and the Northern Ireland Peace Process’; G. Murray and J. Tonge (eds), Sinn Fein and the SDLP: From Alienation to Participation (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). 33 J. DeWind, Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government: Convergence and Divergence in Making Foreign Policy (New York: New York University Press, 2014), p. 117; A. J. Wilson, Irish America and the Ulster Conflict, 1968–1995 (Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1995), Ch. 9. 34 NAI [National Archives, Ireland] Records TSCH 2004/21/467, TSCH 2004/21/635, TSCH 2005/7/649, TSCH 2004/21/624, TSCH  2004/21/670, TSCH2004/21/670, TSCH 2004/21/673, TSCH2002/8/484, TSCH20 05/7/617, TSCH2005/7/621, TSCH2005/7/631, TSCH2005/7/633. 35 For example, see P. J. McLoughlin, ‘“Dublin is just a Sunningdale away”? The SDLP and the failure of Northern Ireland’s Sunningdale experiment’, Twentieth Century British History, 20:1 (2009), 74–96. 36 J. E. Thompson,  American Policy and Northern Ireland: A Saga of Peacebuilding (Westport: Praeger, 1999), p. 226; Murray and Tonge, Sinn Fein and the SDLP. 37 G. Murray, John Hume and the SDLP: Impact and Survival in Northern Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1998); M. C. Clancy, Peace without Consensus: Power Sharing Politics in Northern Ireland (Burlington: Ashgate, 2010). 38 J. Cooper, ‘“A log-rolling, Irish-American politician, out to raise votes in the United States”: Tip O’Neill and the Irish dimension of Anglo-American relations, 1977– 1986’, Congress and the Presidency, 42:1 (2015), 1–27. 39 Thompson, American Policy and Northern Ireland, pp. 74–5; MacGinty, ‘American influences on the Northern Ireland peace process’. 40 P. Wilkinson, ‘How significant was international influence in the Northern Ireland peace process?’ in J. Dingley (ed.), Combating Terrorism in Northern Ireland (London: Routledge, 2009), p. 253. 41 M. Orth, The Importance of Being Famous: Behind the Scenes of the Celebrity-Industrial Complex (New York: Henry Holt, 2004), p. 162.



42 Ibid., p. 165. 43 R. J. Briand, ‘Bush, Clinton, Irish America and the Irish peace process’, Political Quarterly, 73:2 (2002), 175. 44 Here, and elsewhere in this chapter, all references to the IRA are to the Provisional wing of this organisation. 45 McKinley, ‘The international dimensions of terrorism in Ireland’. 46 Translation from the original Catalan by the author. 47 Some of the members of this network were tied to each other, though the connections among them are not fully known or, in some cases, firmly established. The ties depicted among non-IRA groups in Figure 5.2, therefore, should not be taken as definitive or exhaustive. 48 McKinley, ‘The international dimensions of terrorism in Ireland’. 49 B. L. Davis, Qaddafi, Terrorism, and the Origins of the U.S. Attack on Libya (New York: Praeger, 1990), p. 10; L. Richardson, ‘Terrorists as transnational actors’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 11:4 (1999), 209–19. 50 J. G. Horgan and M. Taylor, ‘Playing the “Green Card”: Financing the Provisional IRA, Part I’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 11:2 (1999), 1–38. 51 McKinley, ‘The international dimensions of terrorism in Ireland’. 52 United States Department of State, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. ‘Country Reports on Terrorism, 2004’ (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2005). 53 McKinley, ‘The international dimensions of terrorism in Ireland’. 54 United States State Department, ‘Country Reports on Terrorism, 2004’. 55 A. Guelke, ‘Ireland and South Africa: A very special relationship,” Irish Studies in International Affairs, 11 (2000), 137–46. 56 E. Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA (New York: W.W. Norton, 2002), p. 9. 57 W. A. Tupman, ‘Where has all the money gone? The IRA as a profit-making c­ oncern’, Journal of Money Laundering Control, 1:4 (1998), 303–11. 58 S. Howe, Ireland and Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 170; Dixon, ‘Northern Ireland and the international dimension’, 111. For an exploration of revolutionary nationalism of the IRA before the peace process, see R. Snyder, ‘Sources of peace: The decline of revolutionary nationalism and the beginning of the peace process in Northern Ireland and the Middle East’, in T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), pp. 273–4. 59 Cox, ‘Bringing in the “International”’, 682; B. Rolston, ‘“The Brothers on the walls”. International solidarity and Irish political murals’, Journal of Black Studies, 39:3 (2009), 446–70; M. Frampton, ‘Squaring the circle: The foreign policy of Sinn Fein, 1983–1989’, Irish Political Studies, 19:2 (2004), 43–63. 60 Guelke, ‘The international system and the Northern Ireland peace process’, 5. 61 On the British government’s criminalisation strategy, see B. Gormally, K. McEvoy, and D. Wall, ‘Criminal justice in a divided society: Northern Ireland prisons’, Crime and Justice, 17 (1993), 51–135. 62 W. Richey, ‘On the trail of US funds for IRA’. Christian Science Monitor (14 January 1985). 63 L. N. Schuetz, ‘Arms Transfers to the Irish Republicans’ (MA Thesis, US Naval Postgraduate School, 1987). 64 L. J. McCaffrey, Textures of Irish America (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1992), p. 159.



65 M. Kilian, ‘Typewriter can be deadly if the topic is Ulster’, Chicago Tribune (28 February 1978). 66 J. Dumbrell, The Carter Presidency: A Re-evaluation (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995), p. 131; D. de Bréadún, ‘Member of congress suspected of IRA links’, The Irish Times (30 December 2008). 67 R. B. Finnegan, ‘Northern Ireland, transnational ethnic pressures and institutional responses’, in J. F. Stack and L. Hebron (eds), The Ethnic Entanglement: Conflict and Intervention in World Politics (Westport: Praeger, 1999), p. 65; J. Holland, The American Connection: U.S. Guns, Money, and Influence in Northern Ireland (New York: Viking, 1987), p. 120. 68 Guelke, ‘The United States, Irish Americans and the Northern Ireland peace ­process’; D. Byman, ‘Passive sponsors of terrorism’, Survival, 47:4 (2005), 129–30; Hanley, ‘The politics of NORAID’; A. Mumford, “’Intelligence wars: Ireland and Afghanistan The American experience’, Civil Wars, 7:4 (2005): 377–95; Schuetz, ‘Arms transfers to the Irish republicans’; W. Richey, ‘On the trail of US funds for IRA’. 69 ‘How the horsemen galloped the wrong way’, Irish Echo (24 August 2011). 70 Most crucially, Tip O’Neill, as Speaker of the House, allowed the amendment to move forward. See Finnegan, ‘Northern Ireland, transnational ethnic pressures and institutional responses’. 71 K. McNamara, The MacBride Principles: Irish America Strikes Back (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009), p. 37. 72 Keck and Sikkink, ‘Transnational advocacy networks in international and regional politics’, 95. 73 McAdam, Tilly, and Tarrow, Dynamics of Contention, p. 121. 74 US State Department, ‘Visit of John Hume to Washington’, Electronic telegram # 1974STATE087517, 29 April 1974. Available at createpdf?rid=67936&dt=2474&dl=1345 (accessed 13 July 2016). 75 Frampton, ‘Squaring the circle’, 57; DeWind, Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government, p. 111. For the demise of NORAID due to its decreasing legitimacy in the US, see D. A. Zach, Transnational Insurgent Sea: Irish America, the IRA, and the Northern Ireland Troubles (New York: New York University Press, forthcoming). 76 Lynch sent this letter after receiving a letter of support from Biaggi who applauded Lynch for calling on the British Government to declare their intention to withdraw troops from Northern Ireland during an interview. See Thompson, American Policy and Northern Ireland, p. 81. 77 Arthur, ‘Diasporan intervention in international affairs’. 78 D. Chandler, ‘Constructing global civil society’, in G. Baker and D. Chandler (eds), Global Civil Society: Contested Futures (London: Routledge, 2005), pp. 126–43. 79 On networks being assets versus liabilities, see J. Siegel, ‘Contingent political capital and international alliances: Evidence from South Korea’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 52:4 (2007), 621–66. 80 E. C. Page, ‘The insider/outsider distinction: An empirical investigation’, British Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 1:2 (1999), 205–14; S. S. Stroup, Borders among Activists: International NGOs in the United States, Britain, and France (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012), p. 21. 81 G. Jordan and W. Maloney, The Protest Business: Mobilizing Campaign Groups (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997). 82 Finnegan, ‘Irish-American relations’. 83 McNamara, The MacBride Principles.



84 Murray, John Hume and the SDLP, p. 239; Murray and Tonge, Sinn Fein and the SDLP, p. 99. 85 Murphy, ‘The IRA and the FARC in Colombia’. 86 Hanley, ‘The politics of NORAID’.


Gender, International Relations theory, and Northern Ireland Máire Braniff and Sophie Whiting

Approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1998 landmark Good Friday or Belfast Agreement, the age-old issue of security plagues the failed negotiations on dealing with the past and the issues of victimhood, justice, and historical accountability in Northern Ireland.1 The security dilemma is one of the most compelling issues in the real world of politics and in International Relations (IR) scholarship.2 The negotiations about how to deal with Northern Ireland’s past collapsed because of a number of issues, but a couple of core questions emerged: Should the UK provide access to historical documents in order to investigative paramilitary organisations? Should the government of the Republic of Ireland open archives and reveal national secrets to aid truth, recovery, and transitional justice mechanisms? Answering these questions is based on a fundamental IR problem: two states with contested pasts finding a way to negotiate how this past should be approached and understood. However, in this case, how to confront the past and provide for security in the present and future became very much imbued with gender. The streetscape in Northern Ireland often illustrates the key issues in local politics as well as IR.3 In 2016, a mural appeared on the Falls Road depicting two women: one the mother of a murdered son, the other the UK’s Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers. The mural placed gendered experiences of war, peace, and memory especially loss and bereavement, but also security and secrets at the centre of the current political stalemate. In the mural, opposites meet. The mural reflects, in part, the entrenched practice and narrative that women are understood in times of peace and conflict as mothers, daughters, and peacemakers. But it also diversifies the gendered experience and offers a political voice, presence, and agency to women. This mural reflects and opens up debates about the nature of peace in Northern Ireland and raises profound questions concerning the nature of post-conflict societies. This gendered approach to thinking through the security dilemma results in analysing security and IR in a more holistic way. This prompts us to remember that national security also has wider implications. For IR, it carries an implication that national security is relevant to that mother as well as the state.4 As Basch points out, ‘­ victimization



and agency are seen as two parts of a reality that should be addressed rather than as opposites as is usually the case’.5 This collision of different priorities of peace and security is not new, but this mural reminds us that gender matters. Because the politics in Northern Ireland remains focused on the sectarian conflict and the continuing insecurity that this conflict breeds, scholars and political leaders in Northern Ireland have tended to overlook or dismiss the need to see the conflict and peace process from a gendered perspective. Gender and IR Scholarship concerned with gender has made an unambiguous intervention into the traditional debates of war and peace that tend to preoccupy IR debates.6 The main priorities have been to challenge the conceptulisation of war and peace, as well as gender roles, activities, and performance. It is these dynamics that catapult gender to the heart of contemporary IR, yet the scholarly analysis of gender is far from coherent and consistent in methodology or epistemology. Rather, it is comprised of a diverse range of scholarship and contending approaches. This diversity is largely explained by feminism’s trans-disciplinary nature and the case studies that drive empiricism and theoretical conflicts. Contested and competing pressures drive diversity that dispute definitions of gender through clashes surrounding motivations and epistemological positions.7 Emerging themes of debate centre on whether the analysis of gender in IR should be focused on critiquing and addressing gender inequality or a broader debate about power. A further concern of gender in IR lies with women’s contributions to conflict and peace and contemplates the ways in which a gendered appraisal better elucidates how peace can be understood and practised. In this chapter, we contend that the multiplicity of approaches of gender-based scholarship remains a primary strength and offers a framework for analysing gender and IR in Northern Ireland. Gender as (in)-equality Traditionally, gendered approaches to IR have primarily been concerned with the absence of women in international political and public life.8 The under-­ representation of women in negotiating ceasefires, building peace, and implementing peace agreements remains a fundamental concern of gendered approaches to IR. This strand is more commonly understood as liberal feminism that advocates an ‘add women and stir’ approach. In societies with entrenched patriarchy, such studies act as an important initial step.9 Liberal feminist approaches tend to be empirically driven and centre on demands for equality, namely equal roles for women in society. Some have challenged such liberal feminist approaches, claiming that in seeking to gain equality, a social reality has emerged that historically and holistically entrenches binary notions of gender and cements asymmetric power relations.10 The liberal feminist approach has thus been critiqued due



to the richness, multiplicity, and range of gendered experiences, specifically regarding differences of class, race, space, age, nationality, physical ability, and sexual orientation.11 The move away from the ‘add women’ approach was driven by the challenge laid down by Tickner and Jones not to view women as a homogenous unit and not to view gender solely as something that concerns women.12 Whitworth argues it is not sufficient to simply ‘add women’ this ignores and renders invisible the other aspects and diversity of women in IR.13 Tickner’s approach is to link the research programme that focuses on gendered hierarchies with classic behaviour, such as actions that affect war and peace, extending the remit of analysis beyond the activities of women to include the gendered influence on war and peace and relationships between states.14 Jones, on the other hand, contends that gender should not be simply about women and maintains that epistemological inquiry should be focused on understanding what feminism is, how the gender variable is used in IR, and how gender should be applied to IR in the future.15 The key point is that gender is understood more broadly as a category of analysis, and the ­appropriate approach is to focus on women as well as men. When focusing on gender equality, empirical analysis may question why there are so few female political world leaders and consider the wider implications of this reality.16 For critical theorists, this approach is inadequate as the impact of ‘adding women’ cannot address deep and historical inequalities. More significantly, according to Steans, such studies leave questions of gender as a social relationship or an ideological/discursive construction unaddressed.17 Therefore, Weber’s argument that we are ‘never outside of gender’ gains currency. The challenge to feminist inquiry is to overcome an approach that centres on ‘adding women and stir’.18 Common and fertile ground is emerging in gendered approaches to IR as attention starts to focus on structures, agency, social reality, and power relations. For Spike Peterson, ‘the pervasiveness of gendered meanings shapes concepts, practices and institutions in identifiably gendered ways’.19 Through this lens, gender is both influenced by and influencing IR. Gender is individual identity, but it also can be understood as having an impact on shaping meaning, concept, and political practice. The nature of power remains a key focus of analysis. Gender as peace Dominant approaches to war and peace in IR theory have often neglected gender. As a result, much of IR scholarship and empirically driven studies focused on projects of nation-building, security, and economic transition which supplanted gendered issues as the key aspects of post-conflict recovery and transition. In practice, issues such as gender equality in political life and in peace negotiations, and gendered social justice, were subjugated. It is far from a unique phenomenon, and as Muftic´ and Carter Collins contend, the bitter and bloody conflict in Bosnia emerged reproducing traditional patriarchal gender attitudes by stressing the role of woman as mother (and biological



and cultural reproducer of the nation) and man as warrior (and defender) of the nation.20 The formation of separate gender roles is based on essentialist constructions of gender, which emphasise a special relationship between women and peace, while war and conflict is a male-dominated domain. This feminine/masculine dichotomy reinforces gender binaries by emphasising women’s role as mothers and the guardians of a new generation.21 The prominence of innate maternal characteristics reinforces the notion that caring responsibilities are uniquely women’s work and therefore can be utilised to exclude women from the public sphere and positions of power.22 This also has consequences for women who cross these distinct gendered spheres. Sjoberg and Gentry argue that those women who engage in violence are therefore constructed as flawed, imperfect, and pathologically damaged. As a result, there is a tendency to move agency away from women who decide to engage in violent acts.23 Hegemonic masculinity, on the other hand, praises strong, rational, and competitive characteristics, which are superior to femininity as well as other constructs of masculinity. The construction of hegemonic masculinity is often illustrated through the military, where being a soldier is traditionally characterised as possessing these masculine traits, which include capacity for violence.24 Such characteristics, which associate masculinity with strength and rationality while the opposite is aligned to femininity, are encouraged through social institutions that reinforce gender stereotypes and a private/public division to patterns of domination within institutions.25 Those from the Frankfurt school, critical theorists, and peace scholars focus on the contribution of women to peacebuilding and advancing social change. This is largely complementary to liberal feminism, which advocates that by bringing women into public spheres that tend to be dominated by hegemonic masculinity, the propensity for violence and conflict will diminish. By advancing greater inclusion of women in the public and political realm of IR, gender diversity and equality is understood to be a driver of peace and will eliminate dominant and historical inequalities. Gender analysis of peace and conflict reflects wider practical and trans-­ disciplinary priorities surrounding victimhood, war crimes, and security, but also extends into debates around who is war-mongering and who is peacemaking.26 For Hoogensen and Stuvoy, without a gendered analysis of any given IR debate, a fundamental power is erased from reality.27 Some feminist scholars contend that adding women does little to redress gender inequality as it fundamentally ignores the structural features of social and political action. For Willet, ‘gender mainstreaming has been grafted onto existing political structures that are circumscribed by the essentialist nature of binary opposites in which gender has been interpreted as women, and women remain different from men’.28 International efforts to mainstream gender have been criticised for rarely going to the heart of institutional inequalities that enforce power relations. Peace processes have been slow to recognise the role of women in conflict and peacebuilding. As Bell and O’ Rourke note, of 585 peace agreements signed



between 1990–2010, only 16% contained references to women, while women made up less than 8% of delegates to United Nations (UN) mediated peace process and account for less than 3% of signatories.29 With the war in Bosnia and genocide in Rwanda as a backdrop, the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995) was the largest UN conference ever organised, with 189 governments participating.30 The Platform for Action (PFA) that emerged from the conference was significant in recognising and raising awareness of global gender inequalitites. The PFA identified twelve critical areas of concern considered to represent the major obstacles to women’s advancement, which included poverty, education and training, health, armed conflict and power, and decision-making. The PFA also identified strategic objectives at the national, international, non-governmental organisation (NGO), and private sector level necessary to remove obstacles to women’s advancement. These included the participation of women in conflict resolution and decision-making. The Beijing +5 Review (2000) recognised major obstacles and the relative absence of women from decision-making positions at all stages of peace processes (pre-conflict, during hostilities, peacekeeping, and reconstruction). The significant barriers to women’s inclusion were stereotypical attitudes, men’s reluctance to share power, competing work and family responsibilities, and inadequate training. Consequently, the review concluded that ‘the actual participation of women at the highest level of national and international decision making has not significantly changed [since 1995]’.31 The assignment of traditional gender roles continued to limit women’s choices in education and careers and compel women to assume responsibilities in the private/domestic sphere. Criticism of the PFA centred on the lack of concrete numerical goals, benchmarks, and time frames. While commitments relating to women and armed conflict were largely being made at the international level, this had the consequence of diminishing government accountability at the national level. Porter describes the paucity of political commitment as leaving a ‘heavy responsibility on women’s civil organisations, which, whilst buoyant, often lack the access to power to make key decisions and are desperately under-resourced’.32 The efforts by feminist peace activists to bring international attention to the detrimental impact of armed conflict on girls and women and the positive impact women can play in the peacebuilding process was realised in the UN adopted Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) in 2000. UNSCR 1325 ackowledges the specific effect of armed conflict on women alongside women’s role in preventing and resolving conflict by ensuring female representation in peace processes, post-conflict reconstruction, and peacebuilding. The resolution goes further than previous efforts, as it recognised women as agents who could and should play a positive role in conflict resolution.33 While recognised as a milestone in the struggle for greater gender equality at all levels of peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and post-conflict reconstruction, there has been a lack of coherence in the implemention of UNSCR 1325. As Willet notes, UNSCR 1325 is not a treaty and consequently there are no mechanisms for ratification, compliance, or verification. The resolution, therefore, lacks the muscle



that can compel states to comply with its provisions, and consequently, the resolutions implementation has been erratic.34 The Good Friday/Belfast Agreement in 1998 determined the constitutional and legal framework for peace in Northern Ireland and pre-dated UNSCR 1325. While the UK was one of the first states to develop a National Action Plan (NAP) to implement UNSCR 1325 in 2006, the NAP remains centred on UK foreign affairs and defence policy without consideration for internal affairs. Since the plan does not specifically cover Northern Ireland, UNSCR 1325 carries little weight in the region.35 Thus, the Agreement and peacebuilding ­process has not been consciously formulated by and for women’s interests. This summary has shown that gender is undoubtedly a continuing priority for IR scholarship and practice. The salience of gender-sensitive analysis demonstrates how systems and structures affect social reality and international processes while highlighting their gendered consequences. The remainder of this chapter leverages this approach to explore how systems and structures affect the social reality and gendered consequences in Northern Ireland and considers how gender affects the international processes of peace and conflict in this post-Agreement society. The dovetailing of these two priority areas sits neatly with current foci of IR scholarship and practice and keeps the impetus on empirical and analytical discussions on the pervasive and historical gender inequalities in societies emerging from conflict. This chapter also stresses the need to (re-)construct the visibility of women’s lives and experiences by exposing gender bias, and advocates a number of corrective strategies. Heretofore, garnering support for such corrective strategies remains thwarted by the construction of a social reality that is predicated on notions of meritocracy, where meritocracy is not viable. In failing to formally acknowledge the entrenchment of gender inequalities in political life in Northern Ireland, there remains a widespread lack of support for the use of positive discrimination as a mechanism to foster change. Incumbency, patriarchy, and the dominance of an ethno-national political cleavage has resulted in a reliance on meritocracy and the absence of formal structures, such as quotas, to reduce gender inequalities in the public and political sphere. IR approaches and gender in Northern Ireland Typically, with regard to scholarship on Northern Ireland, the dominance of male, patriarchal structures remains the primary focus of much contemporary debate and analysis.36 Drawing on the theoretical framework set out above, we assess the ways in which a gendered social reality has bearing on a post-­ Agreement society, which continues to display the scars of over forty years of violence. Gendered spheres in society and space In exploring political agency in Northern Ireland, it is vital to consider how gendered and conservative discourse has shaped the conflict. According to



Galligan and Knight, the ethnically divided society in Northern Ireland has been injected with gender constructions of Catholic/nationalism and Protestant/ unionism.37 Within unionism, women were relegated to a supportive position where political participation tended to be an extension of their domestic role. Protestant conservatism also played a central role in the construction of the ideal unionist woman, emphasising their responsibility to support the active male in defending the union. Consequently, men were very much the voice of unionism within the public and political sphere.38 The result is a one-­ dimensional view of men’s and women’s lives that justifies the development and application of protectionist policies to ‘keep women in their place’.39 Within nationalism, gendered imagery evokes the portrayal of Ireland as the long-suffering mother. As the introduction to this chapter alludes, a recent mural portraying the investigation in to the Ballymurphy killings, where eleven civilians were shot by British Army paratroopers in 1971, depicts a motherly figure along with the caption: ‘This woman wants the truth.’ The result is an attempt to humanise and feminise Ireland’s struggle against British occupation. This meant Irish ‘sons were obliged to rescue her from foreign bondage’.40 Further and contrasting nationalist imagery also emphasises the active female ‘freedom fighter’ within the movement. The assertion that it is predominantly men involved in conflict and women are predominantly tasked with resolving it relies on essentialist and oppositional gender roles. Women as adjunct to male-dominated political processes fails to acknowledge the complex ways that conflict is created and sustained. This narrative does not acknowledge the role some women play in the continuation of conflict and the roles some men assume in its resolution.41 Women have participated in both republican and loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland in a variety of roles but have been much more militarily active in republican groups. The civil rights movement and community activism helped politicise nationalist women, and iconography has continued to celebrate the role of ‘female freedom fighters’ on a number of nationalist/republican street murals.42 While women were active in paramilitary groups, they were not necessarily on an equal footing to their male counterparts. As a result, roles were often still gendered. However, the role of women within armed campaigns highlights how it is naive to assume that women as a group are united in their opposition to conflict and should therefore mobilise for its transformation. According to Side, such a position assumes that women can and should set aside their political differences to work cooperatively, while it makes no similar demands of men.43 Women in political life Women play many roles in public and political life in Northern Ireland, yet often remain overlooked in contemporary analysis and scholarship. Political inequalities in Northern Ireland extend into every layer of government, with most local, regional, and national governments being dominated by men. Tickner outlines that ‘masculinity and politics have a long and close association’.44 In Northern



Ireland, this extends into public and political office. Between 2000 and 2014, males have consistently outnumbered females at the highest grades (Grade 5 and above) within the Northern Ireland Civil Service. The proportion of females at these grades has increased, however, from 11.3% in 2000 to 35.1% in 2014. Furthermore, in 2014, one-fifth (20.7%) of Northern Ireland Health and Social Care staff were male and the remaining four-fifths (79.3%) were female. The data collected shows that women continue to be underrepresented in relation to elected political office, appointments to public bodies, and in the judiciary. Historically, the invisibility of women within Northern Ireland’s formal political arena is striking. During the period of Home Rule (1921–69), political structures were ethnically discriminatory in favour of Protestant unionists, while also being gender exclusive. In the twelve elections to Stormont between 1921 and 1969, only thirty-seven of the 1008 candidates were women.45 Only one of these women ever became a minister. Across all parties, Northern Ireland has only returned a total of eight women to Westminster since 1922. While female representation in the rest of the UK was increasing throughout the twentieth century, during the final Stormont election in 1969, the proportion of female candidates dwindled to 2%, matching the levels achieved in the first election fifty years before.46 Women’s rights in Northern Ireland were generally seen as a lower priority, or even in conflict with the national interest. Galligan argues that the three decades of ethno-national conflict from the 1970s until the 1990s resulted in a ‘militarised and further masculinised society’ in which feminism was further subjugated than in other parts of the UK. 47 Gender equality was subordinate to the constitutional status of Northern Ireland, a trait that is still evident within post-Agreement politics.48 In the first Assembly election after the Agreement, women made up only 13% of elected representatives. While this figure has improved, across the four subsequent elections women only averaged 17% of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). As a point of contrast, other devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales have averaged 37 and 45% female representation respectively.49 The statistics also reflect an ethno-national divide, with nationalist parties having higher levels of female representatives than their unionist counterparts. The power-sharing institutions in Northern Ireland were designed to regulate conflict and were conceived from a realistic understanding of bi-polar nationalist– unionist positions. Advocates of this consociational power sharing argue that only by recognising ethnic and/or religious difference and building it into new political structures can deep-seated antagonisms be successfully regulated.50 While consociational models are often effective in mitigating conflict based on ethno-national identity by encouraging cross-communal representation, for other scholars, rather than resolving the problem, consociationalism further exacerbates ‘the malady it is designed to treat’.51 By recognising and reinforcing ethnic differences, consociationalism therefore prioritises communal division at the expense of addressing other forms of social inequality, for example those based on class or gender. This dynamic is highlighted through Enloe’s ‘Not now,



later’ perspective, where male nationalist organisers of discursive cultures have elevated national struggle and unity of the community to such an extent that the questioning of gender relations would be labelled as divisive. Those women who call for greater equality are told, ‘now is not the time, the nation is too fragile’. With some patience the nationalist goal can be achieved, and only then can gender inequalities be addressed.52 The dearth of female political representation in Northern Ireland is evident. The interactions between constitutional politics, past conflict, religion, and conservative societal values have produced a distinctive political culture in Northern Ireland where the cleavages of nationality and religion have tended to eclipse a cross-cutting gender cleavage. Small p to big P politics In 1996, a small group of women active across civil society organisations and academia formed the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC) and campaigned on a platform of reducing the barriers to women in political and public life. The NIWC demonstrated the ability to transcend the boundaries of informal politics and emerge onto the formal political arena by winning two seats on the Northern Irish forum in 1996. This platform is accredited with placing a spotlight on the lack of women in Northern Irish politics, as the two NIWC representatives were the only female faces at the multi-party talks.53 In the build-up to devolution, the movement exhibited vital agency and used the opportunity to assume its position within the new political institutions of Northern Ireland; however, such momentum was not sustained, and the NIWC disbanded in 2006.54 For the NIWC, the party and its persistence was constrained by structural arrangements, including the model of consociationalism following the Agreement and an inability to counter dominant discourses of the opposing constitutional positions: unionism and nationalism.55 While women may be acknowledged for their participation in negotiations, there are still too few mechanisms to ensure their political participation.56 The Agreement institutionalised the assumption that women will insert themselves into the existing political models and parties. Little attention is given to the ways in which participation is constrained by ‘tangible masculinized’ political spaces in Northern Ireland.57 Gendered conflict, gendered peace What impact does gender diversity have on peacebuilding and political decision-making regarding negotiating peace and ending conflict? Gender studies related to Northern Ireland have focused not simply on the documentation of the activities of women in both the Troubles and since the 1998 Agreement, but have also sought to reflect upon the attitudes of women to conflict and peace. In this vein, the way that post-conflict Northern Ireland has come to be understood, as dominated by patriarchy, reflects not only the study of peace and conflict in Northern Ireland, but also the practice of peace.58 Peace is not a given in Northern Ireland but is instead continually appraised, ­threatened,



undermined, and re-negotiated. In such a dynamic landscape for peacebuilding, the pertinent question becomes: what is the gendered experience of women in Northern Ireland’s ‘peace’? Gender shaped and was shaped by the forty years of conflict in Northern Ireland. There was a gendered experience of violence; public and private spaces were altered and transformed throughout violence.59 Darby and Mac Ginty remind us that the gendered experience of conflict was heavily dominated by the prevalence of militarism: ‘violence and its effects have worked their way into the very fabric of society and become part of normal life so that (people) become accustomed to the routine use of violence to determine political and social outcomes’.60While the withdrawal of British Army troops and the decommissioning of paramilitaries has largely demilitarised Northern Ireland, the masculine nature of political and public life remains largely untouched.61 Demands have been made to enhance gender diversity but also to understand and analyse more deeply the nature of gender and what gender means in the Northern Ireland context. This extension of gendered approaches to peace and politics in Northern Ireland moves beyond the liberal feminist approach of adding women in with a view to correcting the imbalance of political inequalities, treating women’s experience of conflict and of peace as diverse and heterogeneous. For Strickland and Duvvury, ‘[t]he way in which gender is integral to peace, violent conflict, and development makes clear that a gendered analysis of peacebuilding one that truly addresses the nature of power relations between women and men is essential to preventing and mitigating new violent conflict in societies while helping them recover from current conflicts’.62 The paramilitary ceasefires and landmark Agreement in 1998 were masculine, and male political and paramilitary leaders were primarily responsible for negotiating this Agreement. The traditional security dilemmas dominated, and the mutual accommodation of ethno-national interests outweighed the omnipresent yet neglected problem of gender inequality and patriarchy. Subsequent agreements at St Andrews (2006) and Hillsborough Castle (2010) equally overlooked the issue of female under-representation in political decision-making and the priorities of decommissioning, security, and justice issues. Ethnopolitical issues were fundamental in driving the conflict and naturally should be fundamental in negotiating and practising peace. The contention here is not to over-ride the ethno-political, but rather to avoid overlooking the gendered experience of both conflict and peace and of political process. Originally, in 1998, the Agreement and the focus on the binary divisions of unionist/nationalist afforded only a small space for women to emerge or be involved in the political process. This was most visible with the NIWC. Successive agreements focused on outstanding conflict-related issues and again the role of gender sank to the bottom of the agenda if it even reached the agenda. This remains clearly at odds with international best practice.63 The UNSCR 1325 calls for the full and equal participation of women and the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Peacebuilding is not simply about formal agreement and, as Bell and O’Rourke point out, UNSCR 1325 offers a longer term opportunity for



women to be central to the post-Agreement setting. For Bell and O’Rourke, the emphasis on longer term approaches to peacemaking ‘has accentuated, rather than replaced, the importance of agreement references to women’.64 The prioritsation of constitutional and socio-cultural issues, such as the Union, parading, flags, and ‘the past’, negated ascription to the aims of UNSCR 1325. Even with the absence of women in political life, there has been further discussion to extrapolate the debate on gender in Northern Ireland beyond this focus on ‘adding women’. A feminist postmodern reading of the post-1998 Agreement gendered situation would focus more on deconstructing the category of woman: ‘A woman cannot be: it is something which does not even belong in the order of being. It follows that a feminist practice can only be negative. At odds with what already exists so that we may say “that it is not it” and “that is still not it”.’65 There are serious limitations on that approach for a society, such as post-Agreement Northern Ireland, where political representation remains overwhelmingly male and a range of social, health, and policy issues remain highly challenging for women living in the region. The post-Agreement ­memory-scape reflects contemporary gendered experiences and informs IR practice and scholarship. Enloe reminds us that contemporary power relations depend upon sustaining certain notions of male and female and the appropriate roles within each.66 Yet, this is only part of the contribution. It is not simply about documenting the place of women in IR but also exploring the reasons why women’s role has functioned as it has. In thinking about dilemmas regarding security, for example, or for understanding access to justice, security, or social justice, the gendered experience of what peace means and who peace is for becomes all the more salient. Memorialising and commemorating war and conflict is in many ways the site of contemporary gendered power struggles. How gender is represented, performed, and symbolised in public spaces is often contested by the dominant masculine expressions and comprehensions of conflict and peace. The public performance of memory around Northern Ireland has often reinforced male privilege and power. The gendered experiences of war captured on the streetscape in murals, plaques, or remembrance gardens often simply capture a snapshot of a particular and temporally bound role that a woman played. What about the other contributions offered by a person in their lifetime? How and where are they remembered? Commemoration can define how we want to see a person or an event. It fixes an identity of the past which then impacts on our roles today. McDowell’s survey of commemoration found that almost every one of the 1574 combatants who were agencies of the state and paramilitary organisations – the majority of whom were men are physically commemorated in some way. This contrasts to only 30% of the 2074 civilian deaths marked in the public sphere, which compounds the representation of the Northern Ireland conflict as focusing on the commemoration of its male participants.67 Men crowd the public memorial spaces as well as the public political spaces in Northern Ireland. Even with the diversity of female experiences in the conflict, pursuit of peace, and political processes, women too often are not represented and presented in the public space in Northern Ireland.



Conclusion In leveraging contemporary IR theory, this chapter has shown that the values and assumptions driving conflict and peace in Northern Ireland are intrinsically male and masculine.68 Prioritisation of ethno-political and religious divisions have hollowed out a richer and more complex approach to longstanding inter/intra-state and cross-border tensions which remain a source of contestation. In the absence of gender diversity in political life, the spheres of influence, power, and decision-making remain predicated on achieving binaries on ethno-religious grounds and neglect wider societal diversities such as age, class, race, or gender. In Northern Ireland, the gendered experience of conflict has spilled into the nature of gender relations in the post-Agreement society. Hierarchies of gender remain socially constructed and unchanged by the almost twenty years of ceasefire and peace. Northern Ireland remains largely out of step with the aspirations of successive international attempts to deliver enhanced gender equality in the practice of IR and especially in building peace. Theories of IR based on analysis of gender bring different dynamics to understanding the politics of Northern Ireland and provide insights into how women and their interests are under-represented, neglected, or overlooked. The role of women in Northern Ireland’s post-conflict political life remains relegated to one of male dominance and power imbalance. Notes  1 See Northern Ireland Executive, ‘A Fresh Start: The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan’, Stormont: Northern Ireland Executive, 2015. Available at (accessed 26 March 2016).  2 M. J. Doyle, ‘Kant, liberal legacies, and foreign affairs’, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 12:3&4 (1983), 205–35; C. Glaser, ‘The security dilemma revisited’, World Politics, 50:1 (1997), 171–201; R. Jervis, ‘Hypotheses on misperception’,  World Politics, 20:3 (1968), 454–79; J. J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: Norton, 2001), pp. 35–6; B. Posen, ‘The security dilemma and ethnic conflict’, Survival, 35:1 (1993), 27–47; S. Tang, ‘The security dilemma: A conceptual analysis’, Security Studies, 18:3 (2009), 587–623.  3 See especially S. McDowell and M. Braniff, Commemoration as Conflict: Space, Memory and Identity in Peace Processes (Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan, 2014). There is a large scholarship on murals and their political significance in Northern Ireland. See G. Goalwin, ‘The art of war: Instability, insecurity and ideological imagery in Northern Ireland’s political murals, 1979–1998’, International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 26:3 (2013),189–215; B. Rolston, ‘“Trying to reach the future through the past”: Murals and memory in Northern Ireland’, Crime, Media Culture, 6:3 (2010), 285–307; A. Hill and A. White, ‘Painting peace? Murals and the Northern Ireland peace process’, Irish Political Studies, 27:1 (2012), 71–88; W. A. Wiedenhoft-Murphy and M. Peden, ‘Ulster-Scots diaspora: Articulating a politics of identification after “the peace” in Northern Ireland’, in T. J. White (ed.),



Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), pp. 103–6.  4 McDowell and Braniff, Commemoration as Conflict; J. A. Tickner, ‘Feminist responses to international security studies’, Peace Review, 16:1 (2004), 43–8.  5 L. Basch, ‘Human security, globalisation and feminist visions’, Peace Review, 16:1 (2004), 5–12.  6 Basch, ‘Human security, globalization and feminist visions’; C. Enloe, ‘Margins, silences and bottom rungs: How to overcome the underestimation of power in the study of International Relations’, in S. Smith, K. Booth, and M. Zalewski (eds), International Theory: Positivism and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); G. Hoogensen and K. Stuvoy, ‘Gender, resistance and human security’, Security Dialogue, 37:2 (2006), 207–28; Tickner, ‘Feminist responses to international security studies’.  7 E. M. Blanchard, ‘Gender, International Relations and the development of feminist security theory’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28:4 (2003), 1289– 1312; Enloe, ‘Margins, silences and bottom rungs’; C. Enloe and C. Cohn, ‘A conversation with Cynthia Enloe: Feminists look at masculinity and the men who wage war’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28:4 (2003), 1187–1207; Hoogensen and Stuvoy, ‘Gender, resistance and human security’; K. Hutchings, ‘Feminism, universalism, and the ethics of international politics’, in V. Jabri and E. O’Gorman (eds), Women, Culture and International Relations (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1999).  8 For discussion of this, see G. Youngs, ‘Feminist International Relations: a contradiction in terms? Or: why women and gender are essential to understanding the world “we” live in’, International Affairs, 80:1 (2004), 75–87.  9 Enloe, ‘Margins, silences and bottom rungs’; S. G. Harding, Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Thinking from Women’s Lives (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991). 10 J. A. Tickner, Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992). 11 Hoogensen and Stuvoy, ‘Gender, resistance and human security’. 12 A. Jones, ‘Does “gender” make the world go round? Feminist critiques of international relations’. Review of International Studies, 22:4 (1996), 405–29. 13 S. Whitworth, ‘Liberal feminism: Bringing women in’, in S. Whitworth (ed.), Feminism and International Relations (London: Palgrave McMillan, 1997). 14 Tickner, Gender in International Relations. 15 Jones, ‘Does “gender” make the world go round?’ 16 For this kind of analysis, see A. Reynolds, ‘Women in the legislatures and executives of the world: Knocking at the highest glass ceiling’, World Politics 51:4 (1999), 547–72. 17 J. Steans, Gender and International Relations (London: Polity, 2013). 18 Tickner, Gender in International Relations; Whitworth, ‘Liberal feminism’. 19 V. Spike Peterson, ‘Transgressing boundaries: Theories of knowledge, gender and International Relations’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 21:2 (1992), 194. 20 L. Muftic´ and S. Carter Collins, ‘Gender attitudes and the police in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Male officers’ attitudes regarding their female counterparts, Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, 15:5 (2014), 389–403. 21 See J. Elshtain, ‘Reflections on war and political discourse’, Political Theory, 13:1 (1985), 39–57.



22 J. Steans, Gender and International Relations (Cambridge: Polity, 3rd edn, 2013), pp. 99–100. 23 L. Sjoberg and C. Gentry, Mothers, Monsters, Whores: Women’s Violence in Global Politics (London: Zed Books, 2007). 24 C. Hooper, ‘Masculine practices and gender politics’, in M. Zalewski, and J. Parpart (eds), The ‘Man’ Question in International Relations (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994). 25 Steans, Gender and International Relations, pp. 99–100. 26 Hoogensen and Stuvoy, ‘Gender, resistance and human security’. 27 Ibid. 28 S. Willet, ‘Introduction: Security Council Resolution 1325: Assessing the impact on women, peace and security’, International Peacekeeping, 17:2 (2010), 143. 29 C. Bell and C. O’Rourke, ‘Peace agreements or pieces of paper? The impact of UNSC Resolution 1325 on peace processes and their agreements’, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 59:4 (2010), 941–80. 30 E. Porter, Peacebuilding: Women in International Perspective (London: Routledge, 2007), p. 12. 31 Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Beijing PFA. Excerpts from the Beijing process documents relating to women in decision-making and gender balance. Available at (accessed 24 March 2016). 32 E. Porter, ‘Women, political decision-making, and peace building’, Global Change, Peace and Security 15:3 (2003), 245–62. 33 Steans, Gender and International Relations. 34 Willet, ‘Introduction: Security Council Resolution 1325’. 35 S. Byrne, and A. McCulloch, ‘Gender, representation and power-sharing in post-conflict institutions’, International Peacekeeping, 19:5 (2012), 572–3. 36 See, for example, M. Braniff and S. Whiting, ‘There’s just no point in having a token woman: Gender and representation in the Democratic Unionist Party in post-Agreement Northern Ireland’, Parliamentary Affairs, 69:1 (2016), 93–114. 37 Y. Galligan and K. Knight, ‘Attitudes towards women in politics: Gender, ­generation and party identification in Ireland’, Parliamentary Affairs, 64:4 (2011), 585–611. 38 Braniff and Whiting, ‘There’s just no point in having a token woman’. 39 Bell and O’Rourke, ‘Peace agreements or pieces of paper?’ 40 Galligan and Knight, ‘Attitudes towards women in politics’, 587 41 K. Side, Patching Peace: Women’s Civil Society Organising in Northern Ireland (Newfoundland: ISER Books, 2015). 42 M. Alison, ‘Women as agents of political violence: Gendering security’, Security Dialogue, 35:4 (2004), 447–63. 43 Side, Patching Peace. 44 Tickner, Gender in International Relations, p. 3. 45 L. Racioppi and K. O’Sullivan See, ‘“This we will maintain”: Gender ethno-nationalism and the politics of unionism in Northern Ireland’, Nations and Nationalism, 7:1 (2001), 97. 46 R. Wilford, ‘Women and Politics in Northern Ireland’, in J. Lovenduski and P. Norris (eds), Women in Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 46. The proportion of women winning elected office was similarly dire in the Republic of Ireland. See C. McGing and T. J. White, ‘Gender and electoral representation in Ireland’, Études Irlandaises, 37:2 (2012), 33.



47 Y. Galligan, ‘Women in Northern Ireland’s politics: Feminising an “armed patriarchy”’, in M. Sawer, M. Tremblay, and L. Trimble (eds), Representing Women in Parliament: A Comparative Study (London: Routledge, 2006), p. 205. 48 See R. Sales, Women Divided: Gender, Religion and Politics in Northern Ireland (London: Routledge, 1997); R. Ward, ‘Invisible women: The political roles of unionist and loyalist women in contemporary Northern Ireland’, Parliamentary Affairs, 55:1 (2002), 167–78. 49 See J. Tonge, M. Braniff, T. Hennessey, J. McAuley, and S. Whiting, The Democratic Unionist Party: From Protest to Power (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). 50 A. Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977). 51 I. Shapiro, Democracy’s Place (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996), p. 102. 52 C. Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2nd edn, 2014), p. 120. 53 R. Ward, Women, Unionism and Loyalty in Northern Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2006), p. 4. 54 C. Murtagh, ‘A transient transition: The cultural and institutional obstacles impeding the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC) in its progression from informal to formal politics’, Journal of International Women’s Studies, 9:2 (2008), 41–58. 55 Ibid. 56 K. Side, ‘Women’s civil and political citizenship in the post‐Good Friday Agreement period in Northern Ireland’, Irish Political Studies, 24:1 (2009), 67–87. 57 Murtagh, ‘A transient transition’. 58 Whitworth, ‘Liberal feminism’. 59 M. Hoewer, ‘Women, violence and social change in Northern Ireland and Chiapas: Societies between tradition and transition’, International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 7:2 (2013), 216–31. 60 J. Darby and R.Mac Ginty, The Management of Peace Processes: Coming Out of Violence Project (London: Macmillan, 2000), p. 260. 61 Gallaher’s Chapter 3 in this volume highlights the continuing internal policing role for the (former) paramilitaries. 62 R. Strickland and N. Duvvury, Gender Equity and Peacebuilding: From Rhetoric to Reality: Finding the Way (Ottawa: International Centre for Research on Women, 2003) p. 6. 63 Y. Galligan, Women in Politics: Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (Belfast: Northern Ireland Assembly, 2013). 64 Bell and O’Rourke, ‘Peace agreements or pieces of paper?’ 947. 65 J. Kristeva, ‘Woman can never be defined’, in E. Marks and I. de Courtivron (eds), New French Feminisms (New York: Schocken Books, 1981) p. 137. 66 Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases. 67 S. McDowell, ‘Commemorating dead “men”: Gendering the past and present in post-conflict Northern Ireland’, Gender, Place & Culture, 15:4 (2008), 335–54. 68 For further discussion on this, see Tickner, Gender in International Relations.


‘A serious moral question to be properly understood’:1 Catholic human rights discourse in Northern Ireland in the 1980s Maria Power

The protection and promotion of human rights has been and remains an issue of concern to many in the field of International Relations (IR). Liberals have long recognised the rights of individuals and contested the absolute sovereignty of the state if it violates the rights of individuals or groups in cases of genocide or ethnic cleansing. Liberal scholars have focused on the important role of international organisations in developing norms, rules, and procedures for supporting human rights globally. While the promotion of human rights is a historic ideal pursued by liberals, human rights is not just an end in itself. Democratic peace theory has suggested that if states operate under democratic norms, including the protection of human rights, peace between states is more likely. Constructivists recognise norms and ideas are central to the formation of how groups and individuals define their identities and aspirations, including the importance they place on achieving human rights for all. Thus, human rights has historically been recognised as an important issue in IR with ­important ramifications for peace. Despite the historic concern, definitions of human rights remain contested, with tensions persisting between secular and religious meanings, leading in some cases to clashes between the two.2 This chapter highlights the important role that the Catholic Church has played in conceptualising, defining, and attempting to promote the realisation of human rights around the world, including Northern Ireland. The Catholic Church has long been recognised for playing a role in world politics, both as a transnational institution3 and nationally through its bishops who comment on developments within their own states based on their attempt to apply the universal teachings of the Church. In many cases the Catholic Church plays a key role in the context of local conflicts, as in Northern Ireland, through its influence on local populations and leaders. As the Church developed its teaching on human rights in the twentieth century, its leaders – both popes and local bishops – came to view ‘human rights as a way to articulate its view of international politics’.4 As a consequence of such discourses, Huntington concluded that the Catholic Church had become one of the major human rights actors on the global stage.5



While the Church may not have sought to become directly engaged in partisan politics, human rights became an important element of the Church’s teaching regarding politics and society in the modern world, and the campaign for their implementation and defence became an essential task. John Paul II, the pontiff credited with advancing the importance of human rights in the Church’s mission, connected the achievement of human rights with the realisation of peace and justice. In 1979 he stated that ‘human rights will become throughout the world a fundamental principle of work for man’s [sic] welfare. There is no need for the Church to confirm how closely this problem is linked with her mission in the modern world. Indeed it is at the very basis of social and international peace.’6 Human rights therefore played an integral role in how the Catholic Church came to analyse peace in the late twentieth century. The Church had defined peace as more than just the absence of war, as a process through which the causes of violence are addressed and resolved.7 Using the statements of bishops from Northern Ireland as evidence, this chapter will explore the human rights discourses of the Catholic Church during the 1980s. What priorities did the Catholic Church set for human rights? Given that the Church is a universal, transnational body, how consistently were such priorities followed in Northern Ireland? How did the Church use human rights to articulate its view of the political situation and thereby attempt to promote the cause of peace? How does the Church’s analysis of human rights challenge the effectiveness of government, society, and culture in conflict areas like Northern Ireland? Changes in world politics, the Catholic Church, and human rights The 1980s was a crucial decade in the development of the Catholic Church as a social actor in national and international politics. Huntington argued that democracy’s third wave was overwhelmingly Catholic,8 and the result was ‘the repositioning of the church from a bulwark of the status quo, usually authoritarian, to a force for change, usually democratic’.9 Consequently, ‘Catholicism was second only to economic development as a pervasive force for democratization in the 1970s and 1980s’.10 In many Latin American states, the Church became less tolerant of the human rights violations of dictatorial regimes and advocated democracy and the protection of citizens from abusive governmental policies. These included not only the oppression of political opponents of regimes but also government policies which supported the economic well-being of a few at the expense of the many. Even in countries that had a history of democracy, like Northern Ireland, the desire to end practices like discrimination which had historically been part of the political tradition of Northern Ireland now found support from Church leaders who supported the efforts to achieve equality for Catholics in Northern Ireland. Thus, even though Northern Ireland was not part of the third wave of democracy cited by Huntington, the increasing concern for human rights was manifest in Church support for societal changes intended to redress histori-



cal discrimination. While the Church never advocated or supported violence by republican paramilitaries, it indicated that the causes which had mobilised social and political efforts were of importance and worthy of non-violent ­political action. Hehir argues that there were two principal reasons for the centrality of human rights to Catholic teaching in the 1980s: changes in world politics and changes within the Church itself. ‘The developments in Catholic teaching provided the church with a new language of concepts, principles, and legitimation to engage the contemporary issues of human rights. Then the changing pattern of world politics in the 1970s and 1980s created a context for this ministry.’11 Changes in world politics included the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights in 194812 and developments in communication, technology, mobility, and travel which led to the creation of what liberals Keohane and Nye called ‘transnational relations’,13culminating in a greater understanding of transnational politics and, more crucially, the role of human rights in world politics. This, when combined with the attention given to the issue by the US Government throughout the 1970s and early 1980s – especially the emphasis on human rights stressed by the Carter administration – meant that an environment had been created in which human rights became the salient issue in IR.14 The Second Vatican Council (1962–65) was critical in the evolution of the Catholic Church from an authoritarian institution determined to exercise its power and control within states to one in which democracy was promoted, recognising the importance of religious freedom. In the decades before the Council, the Church conceived of its role in society in corporatist terms as a powerful interest group with a veto over legislation and government policy that failed to conform to Church teaching. While the Church’s support for democracy had not been the same everywhere (contrast, for example, the behaviour of the Church in 1970s Argentina and Spain), a strong differentiation in Catholic thinking and practice between Church and State emerged. This meant, according to Casanova, a continuing public role for the Church15 which provided it with the potential to ‘influence politics more powerfully – and democratically, through persuasion, protest and appeals to legitimacy’.16 Nowhere can this change be seen more clearly than in Catholic teaching on human rights. Catholic conceptions of human rights flow from the idea that all are created equal in the image of God. The dignity of the human person is thus central to the origin and definition of human rights for Catholics. The Catholic viewpoint on this is neatly summed up by Pacem in Terris which states: Any well-regulated and productive association of [humans] in society demands the acceptance of one fundamental principle: that each individual is truly a person. Theirs is a nature, that is, endowed with intelligence and free will. As such s/he has rights and duties, which together flow as a direct consequence from [t] his nature. These rights and duties are universal and inviolable, and therefore altogether inalienable.17



Human rights have become increasingly important to Catholic social thought over the past century and have played an important part in the Church adapting to modernity and finding its place and role in a modern society. As Calo suggests, through its adoption of, and engagement with, human rights ‘the Church opened itself to the modern world whilst also emerging as one of its most insistent critics’.18 Through the popes and bishops (both as individuals and through the various conferences, meetings, synods, and councils), the Church sought to hold society accountable for the rights of all of its members. Human rights and the language associated with it was thus ‘a way to describe and secure proper participation in the life of the community’.19 Prior to the late nineteenth century, the Catholic Church had an antagonistic relationship to the modern world. The Church, deeply hostile to liberalism and the values of the Enlightenment which emphasised individualism over social solidarity, preferred to speak in a language of duties rather than rights, rejecting notions such as religious freedom and freedom of expression.20A more constructive Catholic engagement with human rights began with Rerum Novarum in 1891 when ‘Leo XIII proposed a robust alternative to the liberal conception of human rights by renewing and adapting the tradition to the new material conditions of [humankind] in the modern world’.21 This encyclical affirmed in particular the right to marriage, the right to education, the right of association, the right to private property, and ‘the right of providing for the substance of his body’.22 As the twentieth century progressed, the Church became more accepting and tolerant of the modern world and even exercised some influence on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.23 The pontificate of Pius XII saw significant progress in the area of human rights, moving from a focus on economic rights to address civil and political rights, and placing an emphasis upon the international community as a means of managing conflict.24 The promulgation of Pacem in Terris by John XXIII in 1963 marked a turning point in Catholic teachings on human rights. Hehir has argued that this document is ‘unmatched as a moral and political statement in defence of the human person’.25 It is from this point onwards that we see the Church using human rights as the standard by which they hold governments and cultures accountable. This encyclical stresses: • The rights to life and worthy standard of living, including rights to proper development of life and to basic security (§11). • The rights of cultural and moral values, including freedom to search for and express opinions, freedom of information, and right to education (§ 12–13). • Rights to religion and conscience (§14). • Rights to choose one’s state in life, including rights to establish a family and pursue a religious vocation (§15–16). • Economic rights, including right to work, to a just and sufficient wage, and to hold private property (§18–22).



• Rights of meeting and association (§23). • Right to emigrate and immigrate (§25). • Political rights, including right to participate in public affairs and juridical protection of rights (§ 26–27). But it also outlines the following duties: • • • •

To acknowledge and respect rights of others (§30). To collaborate mutually (§31). To act for others responsibly (§39). To preserve life and live it becomingly (§42).

One of the key elements of this new form of teaching on human rights was that the Church now believed itself to be entrusted with the implementation of such ideas. Working for human rights was now ‘at the very core of Christian faith’.26 The Church now had an obligation to speak out against their violation. Furthermore, from the 1960s onwards the Church became aware ‘that peace is dependent on respect for human dignity and human rights’.27 In addition to Pacem in Terris, Dignitatus Humanae and Gaudium et Spes (both 1965) were also seminal works in the development of Catholic human rights thinking, affirming but also developing earlier thinking, especially in the field of religious freedom.28 These documents effectively separated Church from State declaring that no one should be ‘forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits’.29 In adopting such a position, the Church now placed itself firmly within society in order to more effectively critique it. Human rights now became the means through which people could hold the State and Society accountable. Ultimately, the pursuit and aim of human rights from a Catholic perspective was to be the creation of a more positive relationship with God, a relationship which was the binary opposite of the individualism of ­liberalism and the Enlightenment. Rights were therefore to be found in solidarity with the other, as full personhood, the ultimate aim of Catholic teaching, ‘can only be achieved through self-donation to others’.30 Such an aim could only be achieved through participation in community. This was a fundamental element of Catholic understandings of, and teachings on, human rights: the person could never function outside of the community. Person, community, and society were in a mutually enhancing relationship. None could be understood without the others. ‘Persons can live in dignity only when they live in a community of freedom, that is in a community in which both personal initiative and social solidarity are valued and embodied.’31 Catholic teachings on human rights were thus neither individualistic nor collectivist. Religious freedom (one of the most notable developments in Catholic thought in the twentieth century) was central to this and provided the Church with a mandate to engage with public life. This was because ‘it comes within the meaning of religious freedom that religious communities should not be prohibited from freely undertaking to show the



special value of their doctrine in what concerns the organization of society and the inspiration of the whole of human activity’.32 In such a critique of society, political, social, and economic all combined to underline the dignity of the human person in order to address inequality. Politically, this was achieved through an implicit endorsement of democracy. Gaudium et Spes had rejected despotism, affirmed the freedom of people to choose their type of government and their leaders, and promoted political participation.33 The Catholic Church in Latin America was the first to undertake this task with its ‘preferential option for the poor’ and with its clear focus on rights.34 This method was quickly adopted by other national churches. This meant that in all areas of life the Church now had an ideal standard to which it could hold the State and Society. Consequently, ‘having come to teach liberal democracy, the church could now act to bring it about’.35 Human rights were a central characteristic in John Paul II’s pontificate (1978–2005)36 and throughout the 1980s, under his leadership, the Catholic Church, both internationally and in many national contexts, took an active role in the defence and guardianship of the rights of the person. Thus, for the time period covered in this chapter, the promotion of human rights had become a fundamental element of the vocation and mission of the Church. However, despite the support of the Holy See and the need to promote human rights as a universal value, there are some tasks that can only be undertaken by the local church based on the circumstances of those who live within that society. ‘[T]his is particularly true when effective action on human rights requires tactical choices which only those with a detailed grasp of the concrete situation can grasp.’37 In 1971, Paul VI (1963–78) had invited national churches to apply the principles of Catholic social teaching on human rights to their particular context,38 and the Church in Northern Ireland took up this invitation. The Northern Irish context Context is the key to the promotion of Catholic social doctrine and, despite the universality of the Catholic Church, the behaviour of individual bishops rarely mimics others. This was especially true of the Church in Northern Ireland, which ministered throughout periods of protracted conflict. The bishops of Northern Ireland chose to emphasise matters that were crucial to their situation rather than blindly following the Vatican’s lead. Their methods involved issuing statements with the objective of educating for justice and attempting to promote peace as much as they could. In doing so, they placed an emphasis upon the agency of the laity in the promotion of human rights. They also used the issue of human rights to critique political structures which existed in Northern Ireland and were seen as unjust, leading to conflict and an absence of peace. Thus, the teachings of Vatican II regarding political agency can be clearly seen in the work of the Church in Northern Ireland. The Catholic Church in Northern Ireland was viewed by the British Government as an insidious outsider as a consequence of its allegiance to an



alternative centre of power: Rome. Historically, Catholics had suffered discrimination ever since Henry VIII declared himself Head of the Church in England. Catholics were not just heretics because of their lack of support for the British monarch as Head of the English Church, but they were traitors and disloyal subjects who could not be trusted. Penal laws stripped Catholics of their economic and political rights, which only forged a growing fusion of Catholic and nationalist political identity.39 Even though the penal laws were rescinded in 1829, the growing power and influence of the Catholic Church in the nineteenth century in Ireland fundamentally challenged British rule.40 ‘Home rule is Rome rule’ became a popular slogan during successive home rule crises of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After partition in 1921, Lord Craigavon, the prime minister, coined the phrase: ‘A protestant parliament for a protestant people’41 which served to highlight the political alienation of Catholics from the government of the region. After partition and prior to the changes brought by Vatican II, the Catholic Church in Northern Ireland had what could be termed an ambivalent relationship with the State. The Church only really engaged the State when its interests were threatened,42 with education and welfare reform acting as the main sources of conflict.43 It was to these issues that the bishops and priests confined their political efforts. However, bishops from Northern Ireland had been deeply affected by Vatican II and thus wanted to speak out in a way that conformed to Church teaching developed in the documents of this Council. Cahal Daly, then a lecturer in Scholastic Philosophy at Queen’s University, Belfast, attended all four sessions as peritus to Bishop William Philbin of Down and Connor. He was to go on to become outspoken critic of the state and a strong advocate of human rights.44 While he was certainly not alone in voicing his opinions, his was the voice to which the Vatican listened.45 Daly critiqued, inter alia, policing methods and the behaviour of the security forces. Security and the issue of prisoners In Northern Ireland, the Catholic Church, through the leadership of Cardinal Cahal Daly, had accepted the moral legitimacy of the state46 and sought to foster the integration of the Catholic community into it while challenging the government to create a more equal, just, and open society. The Northern Irish Catholic Church argued that such changes could only be achieved through dialogue with the government, which it was hoped would result in human rights being developed to the levels outlined in Pacem in Terris. The Catholic Church in Northern Ireland, mainly through the writings of Daly, argued that the British Government had failed the people of Northern Ireland through its abuse of human rights. It had done so through its strategy of political complacency47 combined with the adoption of a security policy which focused upon the consequences, rather than the causes, of violence, thereby placing security above human rights.48 Such a policy was totally contrary to Catholic teaching which instructed governments that ‘heads of state must make a positive



contribution to the creation of an overall climate in which the individual can both safeguard his own rights and fulfil his duties, and can do so readily’.49 In terms of Northern Ireland, policing concerns and military expediency took precedence over the common good, preventing, for example, a concentration upon the just treatment of prisoners or the provision of adequate housing and employment opportunities for young people. Such behaviour fuelled resentment and violence and, more significantly, provided republicans with further justifications for their actions: The greatest mistakes that have been made by the British administrations in the past twenty-one years have been those which resulted from the belief that there were quick, effective, ‘relentless and resolute’ military and police methods of eliminating violence in Northern Ireland. We are still living with the disastrous consequences of such counterproductive measures … It would be a strange kind of counter subversion that would give the subversives precisely what they want.50

Daly frequently condemned British behaviour, such as shootings by the British Army and policies like the use of plastic bullets.51 After assessing a number of issues, Daly concluded that the British were exacerbating the conflict and ­preventing peace and justice from being established. Daly was particularly exercised over the plight of prisoners, and he consistently criticised British Government policy on the issue. Motivated by the Gospels of Matthew and Luke52 which ‘characteristically referred to [prisoners] as objects of divine piety’,53 he sought to plead their case with the authorities and ensure that they received fair treatment.54 Once they were imprisoned, the British Government sought to treat those convicted of terrorist offences in the same manner as ‘ordinary’ inmates, namely as criminals rather than politically motivated combatants. While Daly agreed with this idea in principle, he argued that given the means, such as the use of ‘supergrasses’, through which some of these convictions were secured, ‘there [was] still something of a special category’ that should exist for paramilitaries.55 Furthermore, once imprisoned, the ideals that had inspired their crime dominated the behaviour of politically motivated detainees. For example, prisoners organised their own education in a variety of subjects, such as the Irish language and political debates. The British Government reacted to these activities in a way that Daly felt to be mistaken. While recognising the threat to public order that the political prisoners posed, he believed that by denying the rights of prisoners the British and prison authorities were not only treating the prisoners unjustly but exacerbating the problem of violence in Northern Irish society. ‘[T]hey [the prisoners] pose a special security problem, and their presence tilts the balance of prison policy towards security rather than towards the other objectives of a humane prison system.’56 Daly felt that British Government policy favoured retribution rather than rehabilitation, and this was the heart of his critique. The consequent degradation of human rights became his main concern, both when dealing with the issue of the H-Block protests and the treatment of prisoners in general.57 When ­speaking



of the treatment, such as a refusal by the authorities to allow prisoners to wear their own clothes, that provoked the 1978 blanket protest during which republican inmates refused to wash or wear any clothing other than a blanket, he commented: ‘It could be argued that the counter-measures taken by the prison authorities were unnecessarily severe. Part of the present procedures are intimate body searches, which are performed in a manner which is degrading and brutalising for prisoners … and which are conducted with a frequency which does not seem necessary or justified by strict needs of prison security.’58 Daly used Catholic social teaching on human rights to critique and offer a resolution to the issue of prisoners’ rights. John XXIII had stipulated that people had a ‘right to freedom from bodily harm as well as a right to those commodities necessary for an appropriate standard of living, inter alia a right to family life, clothing, a home, education and health care’.59 Daly built upon these ideas and combined them with the Church’s emphasis upon rehabilitation for prisoners, which acted as the test of a civilised society. When commenting on the H-Block issue, he suggested that ‘a general review of prison conditions could well remove entirely the anachronistic and by now nearly superseded obligation to wear prison clothes. It could devise ways of ensuring that even non-cooperative prisoners have access to the excellent educational and recreational services which are normally available and which these prisoners need ever more than others.’60 In addition, he argued for the use of clemency by the British Government in its dealings with prisoners.61 ‘Prudent acts of clemency, conducted in a responsible and systematic manner, could be a recognition of society’s collective responsibility for what the whole community did and failed to do in allowing a political and social situation to develop in which young people were left at the mercy of emotional and passional forces stronger than themselves.’62 Through his work on the pressing issue of prisoners, he attempted to demonstrate how a just society could be established in Northern Ireland. Everyone’s human rights would be respected as a principle separate from the individual’s behaviour, and prisoners would be given access to work and education as a means of rehabilitation. If the British were to engage with such policies, they would remove one of the main grievances of republicans (and other paramilitary groups), thereby demonstrating the efficacy of a non-violent approach and removing one justification for violence. Conclusion Given the centrality of human rights to Catholic social discourses, it is an excellent lens through which to view the Church’s role as an actor in IR, particularly as it relates to peace and security. This chapter set out to answer two key questions. First, how did the Catholic Church develop its teaching on human rights? Second, how did the Catholic Church use human rights as a means through which to view the conflict in Northern Ireland? The Church has been consistent in its overall teaching on human rights, and local bishops have been



responsible for applying Catholic teaching to their specific context. Human dignity lay at the heart of the Church’s discourse on human rights, and it is via this issue that the Church has come to measure political, social, and cultural effectiveness in the modern world. However, despite the common assumption that the Church’s vision is monolithic, it is apparent that context is most important when the Church speaks in regard to human rights. In Northern Ireland, the behaviour of the British Government and its attitude towards prisoners was seen to be the most pressing human rights issue in the 1980s. In directing its teaching toward the need to protect the human rights of prisoners, the Catholic Church challenged the morality of government policy. The case of Northern Ireland clearly demonstrates that the Catholic Church, both internationally through papal teachings and locally through the messages of bishops, has become an important actor in world politics, attempting to hold governments, societies, and culture to account for the human rights of their people – seeing this as the very highest standard by which a community could be measured. By focusing on human rights, the Church highlighted the faults and frailties of a social and political system that denied people their human dignity while never accepting the violence employed for the cause of changing or challenging the injustices present in Northern Ireland. The importance of providing this prophetic voice plays a consistent and important role in shaping the norms of human behaviour that motivate governments and individuals to act. Constructivists emphasise the role of ideas in IR. Clearly, in Northern Ireland, the Catholic Church with its emphasis on human rights played an important role in challenging and helping to create a more just society built on human rights and social equality that were hallmark achievements of the Northern Ireland peace process. Despite these achievements, Church teaching regarding the injustice of chronic unemployment and economic degradation highlights the challenges to peace that continue in Northern Ireland. Notes   1 A. Nolan, ‘The Church challenges the government on its legitimacy’, c. 1987, ‘The legitimacy of the government’, Catholic Institute for International Relations Papers, Senate House Library, London, ICS151/CIIR/A/1/3/26.  2 For Catholic conceptions of human rights, see T. Hoppe, ‘Human rights’, in J. A. Dwyer (ed.), The New Dictionary of Catholic Social Thought (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1994), pp. 467–9; P. G. Carozza and D. Philpott, ‘The Catholic Church, human rights, and democracy’, Logos, 15:3 (2012), 15–43. For a more secular conception of human rights in international relations, see J. Donnelly, International Human Rights (Boulder: Westview Press, 4th edn, 2013).  3 Hehir has defined a transnational institution as one which is ‘based in one place, present in several others, possesses a trained corps of personnel, a single guiding philosophy and a sophisticated communications system’. See J. B. Hehir, ‘Religious activism for human rights: A Christian case study’, in J. Witte and J. van der Vyver



(eds), Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective, Vol. 1 (Leiden: Brill, 1996), pp. 101–2. See also I. Vallier, ‘The Roman Catholic Church: A transnational actor’, International Organization, 25:3 (1971), 479–502.  4 K. R. Himes, Christianity and the Political Order: Conflict, Cooptation, and Cooperation (New York: Orbis, 2013), p. 306.  5 S. Huntington, ‘Religion and the third wave’, National Interest, 24 (1991), 29–42.  6 John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis (1979). Available at­ content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jpii_enc_04031979_redemptor-hominis.html (accessed 10 August 2015), §17.  7 John XXIII, Pacem in Terris (1963). Available at john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_11041963_pacem.html (accessed 10 August 2015).  8 S. P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991), p. 76.  9 Huntington, ‘Religion and the third wave’, 31. 10 Ibid., 35. 11 Hehir, ‘Religious activism for human rights’, p. 107. 12 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Available at­ documents/udhr/ (accessed 11 August 2015). 13 R. O. Keohane and J. S. Nye, Power and Interdependence (Boston: Little Brown, 1977). 14 For a fuller treatment of this, see Hehir, ‘Religious activism for human rights’, pp. 108–10. 15 J. Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994). 16 D. Philpott, ‘The Catholic Wave’, Journal of Democracy, 15:2 (2004), 41. 17 John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, §9. 18 Z. R. Calo, ‘Catholic social thought and human rights’, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 74:1 (2015), 94. 19 Himes, Christianity and the Political Order, p. 306. 20 Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors (1864). Available at p9syll.htm (accessed 11 August 2015), §15 and 80. 21 Carozza and Philpott, ‘The Catholic Church, human rights, and democracy’, 20. 22 Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum (1891). Available at, (accessed 11 August 2015), §7. 23 See Carozza and Philpott, ‘The Catholic Church, human rights, and democracy’, 20; M. A. Glendon, ‘The influence of Catholic social doctrine on human rights’, Journal of Catholic Social Thought, 10:1 (2013), 69–84. 24 Hehir, ‘Religious activism for human rights’, pp. 101–2. For a more complete ­analysis of the historical development of Catholic human rights discourses, see Calo, ‘Catholic social thought and human rights’, 95–103; Himes, Christianity and the Political Order, pp. 306–10; Hoppe, ‘Human rights’. 25 Hehir, ‘Religious activism for human rights’, p. 105. 26 D, Hollenbach, ‘Pacem in Terris and human rights’, Journal of Catholic Social Thought, 10:1 (2013), 7. 27 Ibid., p. 7. 28 These three documents should be read in tandem with one another. 29 Second Vatican Council, Dignitatis Humanae (1965). Available at



archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html (accessed 10 August 2015), §2. 30 Calo, ‘Catholic social thought and human rights’, 107. 31 Hollenbach, ‘Pacem in Terris and human rights’, 10. 32 Second Vatican Council, Dignitatis Humanae, §4. 33 Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes (1965). Available at archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651207_ gaudium-et-spes_en.html (accessed 12 August 2015). 34 D. Tombs, Latin American Liberation Theology (Boston: Brill, 2002). 35 Philpott, ‘The Catholic wave’, 36. 36 J. J. Coughlin, ‘Pope John Paul II and the dignity of the human being’, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, 27:1 (2003), 65–79. 37 Hehir, ‘Religious activism for human rights’, pp. 110–11. 38 Paul VI, Octogesima Adveniens (1971). Available at­content/ paul-vi/en/apost_letters/documents/hf_p-vi_apl_19710514_octogesimaadveniens.html (accessed 27 August 2015), §24–5. 39 See T. J. White, ‘The impact of British colonialism on Catholicism and nationalism: Repression, reemergence, and divergence’, Études Irlandaises, 35:1 (2010), 21–37. 40 For the growing power of the Church in the middle of the nineteenth century, see E. Larkin, The Making of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, 1850–1860 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980). 41 Northern Ireland Parliamentary Debates, 1933–4, vol. 16, pp. 1095–6. Available at =1095 (accessed 10 September 2015). 42 For a detailed exposition of this argument, see L. T. Chu, ‘God is not dead or violent: The Catholic Church, just war, and the “resurgence” of religion’, Politics and Religion, 5:2 (2012), 419–40. 43 M. Elliott, The Catholics of Ulster: A History (London: Penguin, 2000), pp. 457–70. 44 It was common for periti to be influenced towards social justice by their experiences at the council. See M. Power, ‘In pursuit of the common good: Derek Worlock and David Sheppard, and the ecumenical response to the 1981 Toxteth Riots’, Crucible: The Christian Journal of Social Ethics (July–Sept 2014), 26–33. 45 ‘[I]t was Cahal Daly’s advice and views on the conflict in Northern Ireland which were sought by the Vatican.’ See D. O’Hagan, ‘Allies or antagonists? Irish Catholicism and Irish Republicanism during the 1980s’ (PhD dissertation, Queen’s University, Belfast, 1998). 46 The acceptance of the Northern Ireland state by the Catholic Church goes back to the 1920s, when Cardinal O’Donnell, Archbishop of Armagh, argued that Catholics must work for the general good of the community in that jurisdiction. See P. Donnelly, ‘Political identity in Northern Ireland: An issue for Catholic theology’, Studies, 86 (343) (1997), 239. 47 The relative peace Northern Ireland experienced from the 1920s through the 1960s allowed many to ignore the underlying problems associated with the politics of partition. See F. Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013); N. Mansergh, The Unresolved Question: The Anglo-Irish Settlement and its Undoing, 1912–1972 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991). 48 For Daly’s full critique of security policy, see C. Daly, The Price of Peace (Belfast: Blackstaff, 1991), pp. 139–66. Daly also advocated the employment of ‘non-­violent



policing techniques’ as a means of resolving the conflict. ‘Bishop says the NI political vacuum is unpardonable’, The Irish Times (1 January 1977). 49 Pacem in Terris, §63. 50 Daly, The Price of Peace, p. 141. Daly also stated: ‘When will governments ever learn that terrorism cannot be overcome by a counter-terrorism which sometimes imitates its methods and acts as though it were competing with it in v ­ iolence?’ C. Daly, ‘Violence destroys the work of justice’, The Furrow, 31:2 (1980), 80. 51 See, for example, ‘Bishop Daly wants independent enquiry into police action’, The Irish Times (15 August 1984); ‘Irish Primate calls for inquiry into shooting’, New York Times (2 January 1991). 52 Matthew 25:36 and Luke 4:18. 53 Daly, The Price of Peace, p. 92. In his autobiography, Daly states that ‘work for the needs and rights of prisoners and for the welfare of prisoners families is also a clear command of the Lord in the Gospels’. C. Daly, Steps on My Pilgrim Journey: Memories and Reflections (Dublin: Veritas, 1998), p. 252. There are a number of charitable actions for the common good which reflect the Church’s teachings on Catholic Social Justice. These include feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and visiting prisoners. As well as carrying out such actions, advocating for such groups is seen as a central element of the Catholic faith. 54 While his central aim was the promotion of justice for a marginalised group, thus securing peace as Paul VI asked by working for justice, one of the side effects of this would be the removal of a propaganda tool for the Irish Republican Army (IRA), further promoting peace: ‘I am firmly convinced that this would make a significant contribution to the prospects for peace, and would, at the same time, deliver a blow to IRA propaganda’. Daly, ‘Violence destroys the work of justice’, 78. 55 Ibid. 56 Daly, The Price of Peace, p. 98. 57 For an analysis of the H-Block protests, see F. S. Ross, Smashing H-Block: The Popular Campaign against Criminalization and the Irish Hunger Strikes 1976–1982 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011). 58 Daly, ‘Violence destroys the work of justice’, 79. 59 Hoppe, ‘Human rights’, p. 460. 60 Daly, ‘Violence destroys the work of justice’, 79–80. 61 For a practical example of this, see T. Malcolm, ‘Cardinal calls for prisoner transfer’, National Catholic Reporter (26 April 1996). 62 Daly, The Price of Peace, p. 108.

Northern Ireland and the EU


Northern Ireland and the EU: applying a theory of multi-level governance Mary C. Murphy

Northern Ireland’s politically turbulent past is well documented. Studies of the Troubles have largely focused on the internal dynamics of the conflict, the dispute between competing national identities, and constitutional preferences. Some studies have examined the role of external protagonists, including the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and the contribution of the US to the peace process has also been documented. This chapter considers another important, yet often overlooked, external dimension – the European Union. The EU forms a major political and economic backdrop against which the Northern Ireland conflict, peace process, and settlement have played out. The outbreak and early years of the conflict coincided with the UK’s accession to the EU and Northern Ireland’s political and economic landscape has been shaped by the EU’s political and policy framework. The post-conflict period will coincide with the UK’s exit from the EU following a referendum decision by the UK electorate in June 2016 for the UK to leave the European Union. Interestingly, the Northern Ireland electorate voted to remain in the EU. Like Scotland, a majority of Northern Ireland voters (56% in total) opted for continued UK membership of the EU. Theories of EU integration and governance have evolved in tandem with the physical and political expansion of the EU. Few theorists, however, have considered the disintegration of the EU, an oversight which now appears remiss.1 A large number and variety of theoretical studies have attempted to analyse and capture the complexity of the EU’s dynamics and trajectory. A traditional focus on the nation state as a key unit of analysis remains evident in the wider EU integration literature; however, studies have also acknowledged and documented a role for both the supranational and the subnational levels in understanding the attributes of the EU. Multi-level governance (MLG) fits within this category. It views the EU as based on complex interactions between multiple levels and actors and suggests that these relationships can empower subnational units. The model also proposes new forms of governance which offer a specific conception of EU politics based on an altered relationship between state and non-state actors, where the latter have become increasingly influential. MLG is synonymous with the idea of a movement from government to governance.



It is also often associated with undermining or bypassing the role and power of the central state. The introduction of devolution in Northern Ireland, under the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, provides a ready case study for examining the application and accuracy of the MLG model. This chapter focuses on how the EU context influenced and shaped the evolution of the Northern Ireland subnational unit during the period since the late 1990s. Four categories are investigated: new political and administrative arrangements in Northern Ireland; the role of key state and non-state actors; subnational engagement with the EU policy process; and the cultivation of new relationships and linkages. Analysis of these categories provides insights about how effectively MLG animates our understanding of Northern Ireland’s relationship with the EU, thus helping to explain why certain events do or do not happen, and how related outcomes occur. The chapter also questions if MLG has left a legacy in Northern Ireland in the context of the UK departure from the EU. The European Union The European Union is an interesting and unusual creation. Less than a super-state, more than an international organisation, there are no readily comparable political constructs. Born out of the chaos of the Second World War, the early EU – then named the European Economic Community (EEC) – aimed to stabilise the European continent following the devastation of war. A unique exercise in transnational cooperation, the EU’s enduring objective is to facilitate and promote peace between European nation states, and to support the growth and stability of the European economy. The centrepiece of the EU (then and today) is the Single European Market (SEM). The progressive strengthening of the SEM since the 1950s is a response to increasing levels of economic interdependence between states and a reaction to the highly competitive global economic environment. Based on free market principles, the SEM involves the removal of all barriers to trade between member states and  it  is supported by a complex institutional architecture which oversees an intricate system of EU governance involving the sharing of national sovereignty between member states. The EU’s institutions have changed over time and its policy scope has expanded substantially since the creation of the EEC. The increased size of the EU and changing political, economic, environmental, and geostrategic developments have resulted in a growth in the policy competence of the EU. Major EU treaties have sporadically introduced new policy competences and extended the policy remit of the EU, but incremental policy change has happened too. Member states continue to maintain primary responsibility for key areas of national public policy – such as education, health, and welfare – but a raft of other areas of public policy are directed from the EU’s Brussels headquarters, including agriculture, the environment, external relations, energy policy, social policy, employment policy, trade policy, and others.



As an experiment in transnational governance, the EU can point to a number of successes including the political and economic stabilisation of the European continent, the enlargement of the EU from six to twenty-eight member states, and the creation of the Euro. However, the EU has also weathered political and economic storms. The most serious related to the global economic crisis post 2007 which threatened to fatally undermine the stability of the Eurozone area. External challenges – including conflict on the borders of the EU, particularly in the Ukraine and Turkey, and inward migration from war-torn parts of Africa and the Middle East – have also posed immense difficulties. The EU and its member states have struggled to deal with the ­magnitude of the refugee crisis. The challenge has been further intensified by terrorist attacks  in  France and Belgium which have challenged the EU’s ability to respond collectively and decisively to an altered security landscape. Internal issues, such as the sporadic rejection of treaties by some member states which were related to concerns about the EU’s political trajectory, its democratic credentials, and  legitimacy, have slowed the European integration process. However, perhaps the most profound challenge for the European integration project today is the UK vote to leave the EU following a referendum in 2016. The decision by the UK electorate potentially undermines the integrity, resilience, and future of the EU. The possibility of deepening and further expanding the EU is at least temporarily halted as the polity grapples with  the process of removing the UK from the full rigours of EU membership  while simultaneously battling growing populist sentiment in other member states. The EU’s complex combination of institutions and policies, challenges and achievements, has produced a polity which has a pervasive influence on EU citizens. The polity is based on a multi-layered and multi-level process involving a plethora of institutions, actors, and interests across and within states. Multi-level governance seeks to capture this dynamic, and to use it as a means to explain how the EU operates. The model has also been applied as an analytical framework at the national level to understand the changing nature of the British state.2 Multi-level governance As the EU has evolved, so too have theories of EU integration and EU governance. The unusual nature of the EU has spawned much theoretical and conceptual interest among scholars. Grand theories of European integration were split between opposing interpretations of the causes and effects of the early European integration process. Haas and Lindberg pioneered neofunctionalism,3 while Hoffman and Moravscik are most closely associated with intergovernmentalism.4 In tandem with the growth and development of the EU, new conceptual tools emerged to challenge and complement existing theoretical accounts of the integration process. These more recent theories, concepts, and models have reflected a governance turn or a comparativist turn in EU



studies. Some are less ambitious in scope, seeking to explain and understand elements of the integration process rather than the entirety of that process. Multi-level governance is one such model. The first reference to MLG can be dated to 1993 when Gary Marks first mooted it as a means of understanding the dynamics of European governance.5 Marks’ early articulation of MLG was influenced by the study of domestic/comparative politics and international politics.6 His analysis was influenced not just by the growth in size and powers of the EU, but also by the renewed push during the 1980s to complete the single market programme, the reform of the structural funds, and the signing of the Maastricht Treaty. Collectively, these developments mobilised new actors, prioritised new ideas, and introduced new concepts. The drive to complete the SEM activated interest groups. The reform of the structural funds emphasised partnership. Agreement on the Maastricht Treaty spawned the notion of subsidiarity (i.e. that, where possible, decisions are best taken at the level that is closest to the citizen). This increasingly diverse and complex policy environment embraced more policy issues and aroused greater interest among actors across both political levels and policy sectors. MLG seeks to capture and explain this new era of governance where power relations between levels and actors have altered. MLG is based on a conceptualisation of changed relations between different  levels and different actors. There is an emphasis on the multi-level nature  of  EU politics and, most notably, the model depicts important roles, not just for national governments, but also for subnational units and supranational institutions in the EU policy process. The MLG model has three key features:7 1. Decision-making competencies are shared by actors at different levels rather than monopolised by state executives. 2. Collective decision-making among states involves a significant loss of control for individual state executives. 3. Political arenas are interconnected rather than nested. The MLG model depicts the EU policy process as one which involves complex interactions between different levels: the supranational, national, and sub­ national. It challenges the traditionally dominant role of the state and suggests that policy decisions emerge from a process which involves not just the central state, but also other territorial tiers. MLG, however, does not foresee the demise of the state. Although the model recognises a multitude of actors and levels, it maintains that state executives continue to enjoy primacy within the EU political system.8 The MLG model, however, was not without its detractors.9 Critics alleged that MLG underestimated the ability of central governments to act as gatekeepers and to preserve the traditional parameters of state sovereignty. The model has also been criticised for its depiction of governance, which portrayed a movement away from government. This interpretation of governance lacked specificity and failed to fully acknowledge the role of non-state actors. In response, Marks and his collaborators refined the MLG model. They proposed



two distinct types of MLG.10 Type 1 MLG and Type 2 MLG distinguish between general purpose jurisdictions and special purpose jurisdictions: Type I multilevel governance, with its federalist overtones, speaks increasingly to the formal devolution of powers in Britain, particularly in creating new general-purpose jurisdictions. Type II multilevel governance is altogether more messy and ad hoc, capturing the complex array of quangos, agencies, and partnerships and so on that exist not only at territorial levels marked out by devolution, but also in the spaces in between and below (intraregional, subregional, sublocal, and so on).11

More recently, Hooghe and Marks have acknowledged the role of identity, claiming it is decisive for MLG.12 The EU is thus part of a multi-level governance system which is driven by more than functional and distributional forces. Identity politics plays an instrumental role in shaping the EU polity and in explaining jurisdictional design. It is clear that since MLG was first articulated, the term has mushroomed in meaning and application. Stephenson identifies five ‘uses’ and ten ‘focal points’ which track the scholarship of MLG over time.13 He reveals how modifications of the model have lent it continued relevance, but he calls for greater applied research in order that MLG continue to maintain usefulness in the context of an increasingly complex EU polity. The Northern Ireland case study which follows responds to his call. Northern Ireland The smallest of the UK’s regions (relative to Scotland and Wales), Northern Ireland is geographically removed from the rest of the UK, but shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland. Scarred by an extended period of conflict which, in its most intense form, endured from the late 1960s to 1994, Northern Ireland was experiencing profound political instability during the early years of UK accession to the EU. Support for UK membership of the EU in 1973 was muted in Northern Ireland. Only one political party, the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was vocal in supporting accession. Unionists and republicans were less enthusiastic. Their concerns centred largely around the perceived negative impact on UK and Irish national sovereignty. A lack of domestic support for the EU was not the only factor limiting Northern Ireland’s early relationship with the EU. Engagement was also thwarted by Northern Ireland’s own internal political troubles and the operation of direct rule. The conflict dominated political discourse and discussion in Northern Ireland, to the point where other policy priorities were sidelined. The direct rule governance arrangements which pertained until the signing of the 1998 Belfast Agreement did not facilitate a high degree of regional autonomy. The operation of direct rule effectively allowed the Northern Ireland political class to distance themselves from conventional political and policy debates. The introduction of devolution in 1999 altered Northern Ireland’s constitutional status within the UK. The region was granted advanced ­decentralised powers



and was to be managed by a directly elected cross-community Assembly and Executive. This move demanded much of Northern Ireland’s political parties and personnel. It required the new administration to engage more robustly with a ‘normal’ policy agenda and less with constitutional and security issues. For the first time in generations, Northern Ireland politicians began to grapple with a range of pressing socio-economic challenges across policy portfolios including health, education, welfare, and the environment. Northern Ireland was not unique in being granted devolved powers. Scotland and Wales also benefited from a wider process of constitutional reform which included the asymmetrical provision of devolved powers to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and London. This regionalisation process was in line with a broader trend towards the embrace of various forms of devolution in many European states. A range of factors including globalisation, nationalism, and EU developments influenced ‘a general renaissance of the regional level’.14 The completion of the SEM by 1992 and the impact of this on peripheral regions persuaded EU policy-makers to allocate additional funding to these European regions in order to allow them to adjust to the demands of an increasingly competitive economic environment. The revised and enlarged structural funds directed EU finance towards regions, rather than member states. The resultant impact was an invigoration of the regional level, influenced by a regional desire to access funds. This was coupled with a growing sense of regional (national) identity and a related interest in greater regional political autonomy. The ‘Europe of the Regions’ narrative also emerged during the late 1980s. It envisioned a Europe of regions, rather than one of nation states. This was seized upon by regional actors and used as a means to petition support for the devolution of powers to regional units. The achievement of devolution for Northern Ireland coincided with this broader series of territorial political developments. Despite its supposed exceptionalism related to a history of violent conflict, Northern Ireland is not unlike other parts of Europe in experiencing constitutional and territorial change. The region is also not entirely unique when compared with other European regions of similar population size. With reference to a variety of economic and social indicators, Northern Ireland’s performance is not out of sync with similar regions elsewhere in Europe.15 The key difference between Northern Ireland and other devolved European regions relates to the distinct form of regional government which applies there, one based on power sharing and consociational principles. Regardless of its specific operational characteristics, however, the Northern Ireland regional administration shares many of the same policy challenges confronted by regions elsewhere. The regionalisation process evident across Europe has transformed the European political and territorial landscape. In its analysis of how the EU has reacted and responded to this and other developments, MLG traces an elevated role for the subnational level. Northern Ireland’s changed political status has meant that it has been part of that broader process of political and territorial change. To what extent does Northern Ireland’s experience of, and interaction



with, the EU policy process confirm or reject key tenets of the MLG position? Has Northern Ireland manipulated its devolved status in ways which conform to MLG analysis? Is there evidence of the UK state being bypassed by a politically strengthened Northern Ireland? Given the contrasting referendum vote in Northern Ireland, has the region been empowered by MLG? And will this mean that Northern Ireland is better enabled to pursue vigorously its specific (and arguably unique) interests during the UK exit negotiations? Examination of a series of variables and developments unpacks the ways in which Northern Ireland has engaged with the EU in the period since the devolution of powers in 1999 and sheds light on the extent to which MLG has application in the Northern Ireland setting. Political and administrative arrangements in Northern Ireland The introduction of devolution created new political institutions in Northern Ireland. These institutions are mandated to exercise a range of executive and legislative powers. The Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly have responsibility for a series of transferred matters, most of which are of an economic and social nature and include health, education, social services, housing, culture, transport, environment, and so on. ‘Relations with the EU’ was designated a reserved matter for the UK Government, meaning that legislative authority generally rests with Westminster, although the devolved unit can legislate with the consent of the Secretary of State. Such is the pervasiveness and reach of the EU, however, that many transferred matters have a strong EU context and so require the Northern Ireland regional administration to necessarily be engaged with the European policy agenda. The UK’s devolution project recognised the complexities this entailed and created a series of intergovernmental mechanisms designed to combat interadministration disputes and to ensure UK EU policy is consistent and coherent.16 A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and related documents detail the framework for relations between central government and the devolved regions, and a Joint Ministerial Committee on Europe (JMC[E]) acts as the key forum wherein communication and discussion between administrations is facilitated. These institutional innovations allow for specific regional concerns to be voiced, but not necessarily pursued. ‘New vertical links between the regions and UK central government are very much dominated by the latter.’17 The JMC[E] has not always been mobilised to facilitate input from the devolved administrations. For example, there was no JMC[E] meeting in advance of the February 2016 European Council when then Prime Minister David Cameron agreed a settlement on EU reform. On occasion too, where there are differences of opinion, the JMC[E] has failed to adequately recognise regional stances and the national position has been prioritised. Northern Ireland’s administrative architecture was adapted to cater to devolution. A recalibration of government departments loosely matches the transferred responsibilities of the Northern Ireland administration. Political expediency played a role in determining the number of new departments, each



of which is led by a Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive. More departments mean more ministerial positions, and potentially more influence for political parties. There is no dedicated Minister for Europe – that responsibility is assumed jointly by the two Junior Ministers in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM). There is also a dedicated unit in OFMDFM which is charged with the coordination of EU affairs. All other government departments have some EU dimension to their policy portfolio – extensive in the case of agriculture, structural funds, and the environment; marginal for departments with responsibility for health and education. Devolution means that Northern Ireland Ministers and civil servants are freed to identify, articulate, and pursue specific Northern Ireland–EU interests. Since the introduction of devolved power, there has been a more determined attempt by Northern Ireland’s political authorities to engage with the EU. Much of this has been driven by financial enticements and challenges, including structural fund support, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) assistance, and the threat of EU fines. The ability of individual government departments to be proactive on EU issues is linked to earlier levels of engagement and interaction. Some departments, including Agriculture and Finance, have a strong tradition of EU engagement which continues, while others, such as Environment, are less plugged into the EU policy arena. OFMDFM has sought to coordinate a Northern Ireland approach to EU matters which is built around a vision of engagement focused on more than a singular economic agenda. Key state and non-state actors The altered UK political and constitutional environment allowed new actors to infiltrate the EU policy process and to influence the UK policy relationship with the EU. The creation of new devolved institutions brought new regionally elected political personnel into the process and increased the number of avenues of influence available to civil society interests and other actors. The breadth of Northern Ireland’s engagement with the EU clearly expanded since the devolution of powers. The very existence of a devolved administration and their new-found responsibility for directing Northern Ireland–EU affairs meant that officials and politicians were required to engage more directly with EU issues. The manner of this engagement, however, has not always been uniform. Consociational political systems allow an elevated and privileged role for political parties, because it is political parties which contribute to the power-sharing arrangement. In this way, parties tend to have a dominant political role.18 The introduction of devolution also meant that expectations of the Northern Ireland political class and political parties altered. The devolved political system requires political parties to engage with a broad suite of policy issues for which they now have responsibility. Whereas previously Northern Ireland political parties were heavily focused on constitutional and security issues, today they must necessarily develop policy platforms around key devolved



areas. An examination of political party manifestos reveals that Northern Ireland parties have developed positions across a range of domestic policy issues. More interestingly, ‘bread and butter’ issues have increasingly become the focus during recent election campaigns. The 2015 Westminster election in Northern Ireland involved ‘significant arguments over a disparate array of topics ranging from welfare reform to same-sex marriage’, although this coexisted with traditional communal voting patterns.19 Discussion of the EU, however, did not feature during the election campaign. Indeed, political party positions on the EU were only minimally discussed in party manifestos and the election campaign itself was largely an ‘EU free’ affair. This was also the case during the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly elections which took place six weeks before the UK referendum on EU membership. Both the election and referendum campaigns in Northern Ireland in 2016 failed to ignite any substantive discussion of UK membership of the EU, and the possible i­mplications for Northern Ireland of a vote to Remain or Leave. Political parties and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) have engaged with the EU through the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly. Much of this is channelled through Assembly Committees which are charged with scrutinising the policy process. The Committee of OFMDFM (and its predecessor the Committee of the Centre) produced some broad-based reports on the Northern Ireland–EU relationship. Other committees have considered specific aspects of the EU including: the transposition of EU legislation, structural funding, and sectoral policy concerns. The Assembly, however, only minimally considered how the EU referendum result might impact on Northern Ireland. The Enterprise Committee investigated the economic implications for Northern Ireland and estimated that economic output would be 3% lower in the event of a UK departure from the EU.20 These findings were largely confirmed by other reports and analysis including those conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (Ireland), the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, and the UK Treasury. There are other concerns for Northern Ireland too, including support for the farming sector in the absence of CAP and the status of the Common Travel Area (CTA) between the UK and Ireland. If the UK is outside the SEM, free movement between the two countries is threatened. The possible imposition of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland may destabilise economic, political, and communal relations on the island. The absence of a dedicated minister for Europe in Northern Ireland typically meant that the EU – as a discrete policy area in its own right – did not have a strong advocate. The European Unit within OFMDFM has played an important role in driving the EU agenda, although it has sometimes been hamstrung by ministers focused on other policy priorities (and the OFMDFM has responsibility for a high number of policy issues). There have also been instances where progress on EU related policy issues suffered as a consequence of tense relations between Northern Ireland political parties. The third Peace Programme (2007–14) proposed to support the creation of a Conflict



Resolution Centre at the site of the Long Kesh/Maze Prison (the setting for the Irish Republican Army Hunger Strikes during the early 1980s). This was a highly sensitive proposal which exposed serious differences between Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and pointed to differing political perspectives about how to integrate the two communities in Northern Ireland.21 Agreement on the proposed location of the Centre was protracted and mired in controversy. There were also concerns that political disagreement would jeopardise European Commission financial support of £20 million for the project. The lure of financial gain from the EU is not always effective in moving political parties away from traditionally entrenched positions. The UK referendum on EU membership also exposed differences between the two largest political parties. The DUP supported the Leave position, while Sinn Féin advocated for a vote to Remain. This effectively meant that the Northern Ireland Executive (unlike the Scottish Executive) was unable to develop an agreed position on the referendum question. Devolution has allowed Northern Ireland political parties to collectively consider and promote some of Northern Ireland’s EU policy interests. For example, opposing political parties have been able to reach coherent positions on the CAP and structural funding. In contrast, when EU issues touch on sensitive questions related to the UK’s constitutional future, sovereignty, identity, or the conflict, neither devolution nor the EU has provided a means to secure ­agreement at the subnational level. Before the introduction of devolution, civil society played an important role in Northern Ireland. The voluntary and community sector, in particular, was heavily involved in the delivery of key services during the period of the Troubles.22 Like political parties, civil society was, and continues to be, segregated. Wolff advises that post-conflict societies require a vibrant civil society which is not divided according to communal identity.23 The consociational nature of the Northern Ireland administration, however, emphasises key roles for political elites, and this arrangement has had implications for civil society. Many of the services once delivered by the sector have been reclaimed and are now delivered by various agencies connected to the Northern Ireland administration. In this way, the dynamics of the current consociational system do not facilitate the promotion of civil society. In contrast, the European Commission has tacitly acknowledged the need to support civil society in Northern Ireland. Successive Peace Programmes have aimed to foster civil society by involving various sectors in programme delivery mechanisms. (See Chapter 9 of this volume.) The current Peace Programme, Peace IV (2014–20), is constructed around two thematic pillars, one of which is: ‘Building a strong civil society that encompasses all communities, through the continued implementation of the Agreements and promoting a rights-based society, political stability and respect for all’.24 The reinvigoration of civil society in Northern Ireland remains a work in progress. MLG depicts the EU system as one which offers a form of governance where a variety of state and non-state actors, operating at various levels, interact to create altered power relations. In Northern Ireland,



however, increased opportunities for civil society interests to be expressed and pursued, since the devolution of power, have not undermined the dominant role of the regional organs of the state. Moreover, EU efforts to support various civil society sectors, although important, have not seriously challenged the supremacy of political actors under the consociational arrangement. The theory that devolved status can allow subnational units to bypass the central state and/or elevate the contribution of non-state actors is not confirmed in the Northern Ireland experience. EU policy progress Northern Ireland’s engagement with EU policies has expanded following the devolution of powers. In a series of documents since 2001, the devolved administration identified key Northern Ireland–EU interests and priorities and proposed ways and means of advancing these. Various Programmes for Government provide limited indications as to Northern Ireland’s position on a variety of EU issues and policies. These programmes have generally tended to be vague on detail. The cross-party nature of the Northern Ireland executive invariably made it difficult for Northern Ireland political parties to agree on issues where they demonstrate very different views and positions. The EU exposes the community divide in Northern Ireland – in contrast to nationalists, unionists are less enthusiastic about European integration. This was especially evident during the 2016 UK referendum on EU membership. Both nationalist political parties, Sinn Féin and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), were in the Remain camp. The unionist bloc was divided on the issue. The DUP, and other smaller unionist parties including the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV), were in favour of the Leave position while the UUP (at least officially) supported the UK staying in the EU. Opinion polls in advance of the referendum and the referendum result (56% support for the UK to remain in the EU) suggest that the vote is based on strong nationalist backing but minority unionist support.25 Unlike the Northern Ireland Executive, the Northern Ireland Assembly has been more adept at discussing how Northern Ireland might best engage with the EU. The Committee of the Centre’s EU Inquiry (2002) produced some comprehensive discussion and detailed some interesting and creative views about how to engage with the EU. Led by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), OFMDFM responded to a number of these ideas and produced Taking Our Place in Europe 2006–2010. This document identified a series of EU priorities for the Northern Ireland administration but, interestingly, it emphasised that advancing these priorities required a primary engagement with the UK central government and a commitment to keeping in line with agreed UK policy. This is unsurprising given that the document was agreed during the suspension of the Northern Ireland administration. Following the reinstatement of devolved power in 2007, the Northern Ireland Task Force (NITF) created by then European Commission President,



Jose Manuel Barroso, worked to support the new Northern Ireland administration. A resource neutral initiative, the NITF connected Northern Ireland civil servants with their equivalents in the European Commission. The NITF aimed to help the devolved administration to engage effectively with the policy and funding opportunities offered by the EU. Implicitly, the NITF aimed to support Northern Ireland’s economic competitiveness with a view to stabilising and consolidating the new administration. The Northern Ireland Report of the Task Force was specifically tailored to the needs of Northern Ireland and contained some targeted advice for the new administration.26 The reaction to the report in Northern Ireland, however, was initially muted. The expectation that the Northern Ireland administration would agree to action plans did not immediately materialise. Engagement with the NITF was held hostage to domestic circumstances. The leading political parties in the Northern Ireland Executive – Sinn Féin and the DUP – encountered considerable difficulty in agreeing plans for a proposed Conflict Resolution Centre, an initiative which the NITF supported. This made the process of responding to the NITF challenging. Having eventually overcome these difficulties, engagement with the NITF became more regular and more comprehensive. Northern Ireland recorded a series of successes in terms of winning competitive EU funding and put in place business processes for managing the Northern Ireland–EU relationship.27 Many of these were concerned with increasing the quality and intensity of engagement between Northern Ireland and Brussels in specific policy areas. This increased activity focused primarily on maximising the financial gains for Northern Ireland through improved contacts, networks, and information awareness. Staff capacity building has been central to this process, and this is where assistance from the NITF has been particularly instrumental. These new modes of engagement between Northern Ireland and the EU span specific policy priorities, many related to the Europe 2020 agenda. Crucially, however, these more developed arrangements do not clash with broader UK interests. Northern Ireland’s EU policy interests have been ­comfortably c­ onducted within the parameters of the existing UK–EU relationship. Where policy divergence arises between Northern Ireland and the UK, the latter maintains dominance. Agricultural policy tends to expose clear differences between Northern Ireland and central government. Recent controversies in relation to payments to dairy farmers reveal how Northern Ireland interests can sometimes be sidelined and/or misunderstood by the central UK authorities. In these instances, Northern Ireland does not have the capacity to directly pursue its interests via exclusively Brussels channels. The UK Government is an effective gate-keeper. MLG points to ways in which the regions of Europe can engage with the EU and challenge the dominant role of the nation state. The Northern Ireland experience of the EU since the introduction of devolution demonstrates how the region has altered its engagement with the EU policy process. A traditional emphasis on EU funding and financial support remains, but it is no longer the sole focus of the Northern Ireland–EU relationship. Engagement



became broader and more diverse, spanning additional policies and networks. However, although the breadth and manner of Northern Ireland’s engagement increased and diversified, it tended not to challenge the dominance of the central state. The UK Government effectively polices the broad parameters of Northern Ireland’s relationship with the EU. New relationships and linkages The work of the NITF broadened Northern Ireland’s involvement in the EU policy process. However, the NITF is not alone in this respect – other relationships and linkages have been established and these too contributed to the evolution of Northern Ireland’s relationship with the EU. An important creation was the establishment of the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels (ONIEB). This is Northern Ireland’s regional office in Brussels. The office operates under the UKRep (UK Permanent Representation to the EU) umbrella. This means that ONIEB is part of the broader UK national family in Brussels, and not independent of the central state. The office has grown in both size and stature, and its work is structured around key themes related to the Europe 2020 priorities. The functions of the office include liaising with the EU institutions in the pursuit of Northern Ireland interests, hosting visits to Brussels by ministers and civil servants, and increasing the region’s profile in Brussels. The office also collects and disseminates information to interests back home. The office has experienced some tension with UKRep in terms of the extent to which UKRep effectively represents Northern Ireland interests. However, the facilitating role played by ONIEB has enhanced, in some instances, Northern Ireland’s capacity to pursue policy objectives and relations with other regions and with the Republic of Ireland.28 The ONIEB has pursued interests and relationships which are beneficial to Northern Ireland. However, this is always within parameters permitted by the UK central state and in the context of Northern Ireland ­priorities which do not conflict with broader UK interests. The 1998 Belfast Agreement contained provision for the formalisation of relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Importantly, the Agreement is predicated on joint UK and Irish membership of the EU. The creation of the North–South Ministerial Council (NSMC) and related north– south bodies have provided an additional route for the articulation of Northern Ireland’s shared interests with the Republic of Ireland. Much of this is filtered through the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), one of the implementation bodies created under the terms of the Agreement. The SEUPB was given responsibility for the management of cross-border aspects of EU funding programmes. The organisation is unique with no other comparable unit anywhere in the EU. It is thus potentially innovative in terms of its contribution to governance on the island of Ireland. However, the very uniqueness of the body prompted challenges in terms of its ability to leverage a role for itself. The SEUPB interacts with a variety of actors across regional, national, and EU levels. This produces a complex working environment where differences in



procedures, practices, and culture have led to confusion, delays, and frustration in the administration of EU funds. This has diminished the extent to which this body can be viewed as an experiment in innovative governance.29 More significantly, the future of the SEUPB is unclear. The UK’s departure from the EU eliminates the need for such a body. The British–Irish Council (BIC) was a further institutional innovation created  under the terms of the 1998 Agreement. The institution brings together ministers from the UK and Irish governments, the three devolved ­administrations  – Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – and the autonomous territories of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey. The institution does not have executive or legislative powers, but considers areas of mutual interest and aims to produce consensus among participants on agreed policy concerns. The institution itself was created to appease Northern Ireland unionists who wished to see East–West relations institutionalised in the same way as North–South relations were through the NSMC. The BIC, however, is not as developed as its North–South counterpart and it has not been an important location for transnational and cross-border EU policy deliberations. Paradoxically, the BIC has acquired relevance since the UK voted to leave the EU. In July 2016, an extraordinary meeting of the institution was convened to consider the outcome of the referendum. New institutional creations have allowed Northern Ireland to develop relationships and linkages with the potential to feed into the EU policy process. Some of these institutions have been utilised more effectively than others in representing and pursuing Northern Ireland–EU interests. Here, again, the institutions are part of a complex institutional landscape which is overseen by the central state, and in some cases involves the central state. New relationships forged in Brussels, on the island of Ireland, and across the British Isles offered new and alternative avenues of access, but did not necessarily promise the kind of autonomous influence suggested by the MLG model. More significantly, the continued existence of some of these institutions is in doubt following the ­referendum result. Conclusion The EU has been a powerful force in European politics since the 1950s, and member states have been deeply influenced by its actions and decisions. Theories of the EU that emerged early in its life aimed to capture the entirety of the European integration process. Over time, and in response to the trajectory of the EU, theories have been restructured and, currently, there is an evident focus on middle-range theories. MLG fits within this category. The model aims to explain what the EU is and how it is evolving. It emphasises a role for supranational and subnational units and acknowledges inputs from non-state actors. It highlights ways in which power is dispersed and suggests that the central state has lost some competences and capacity, although state power is not necessarily in decline.



Empirical examination of the several elements of MLG in different settings produces different assessments of its accuracy and applicability. In Northern Ireland, the introduction of devolved power provides an opportunity to trace how a region adapts to new challenges and opportunities. The analysis suggests that the Northern Ireland administration was slow to test the limits of its autonomy vis-à-vis the EU. Three key factors explain this reluctance. First, the UK central state has been adept at preserving its preeminent role in the EU policy process. Through the MOU and concordat, the state can effectively oversee regional engagement with the EU and, by tying regional representation in Brussels to UKRep, regions are kept within the broader UK family. Northern Ireland found some room for manoeuvre, for example through its direct engagement with the NITF, and the region was also able to express and pursue its interests through new cross-border institutions and by cultivating relationships in Brussels. None of these linkages, however, transgressed or seriously challenged the centrality of the UK central state. Second, the complexity of the devolved arrangements in Northern Ireland and the equally complicated EU policy process produced a challenging environment for a new region, and particularly one with limited experience of self-government. Northern Ireland officials and politicians faced a steep learning curve in operationalising the new devolved system. The need to consolidate new institutions, to foster working relationships, to deal with policy pressures, and to manage public expectations were intense. An awareness of and interest in prioritising EU issues was not high on the agenda, and this limited the region’s capacity to engage with the EU policy process. An appreciation of the need for structured and informed regional engagement with the EU has developed in the years since 1999, but progress has been slow as various home-grown crises threatened the sustainability of the administration and focused minds on domestic issues. The legacy of the Northern Ireland conflict continues to deliver unwelcome interruptions. The consociational system also limits the involvement of civil society by emphasising the role of political elites. Even though civil society has a champion in the European Commission and support through EU funding programmes, this has not been sufficient in promoting more governance and less government. Third, old communal divisions in Northern Ireland have also impacted on the region’s capacity to engage with the EU. The power-sharing arrangement effectively compels cross-party agreement on policies and positions. However, political party positions on the EU are polarised and reflect the community divide – a situation which can make consensus decision-making difficult. Where EU issues touch on sensitive and controversial subjects related to the conflict or constitutional questions, agreement between political parties becomes challenging. In these instances, the EU serves as an obstacle to regional empowerment. Nevertheless, across a variety of non-controversial policy issues – including, most notably, agriculture – Northern Ireland has recorded some success in pursuing policy objectives.30 The EU backdrop against which the Northern Ireland conflict, and later the peace process, played out is about to disappear. The UK decision to leave the



EU will shortly lead to the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and the formal process of negotiating exit arrangements will commence. Northern Ireland’s (and Scotland’s) support for remaining in the EU sits uneasily with the overall UK choice to exit. Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to involving the devolved administrations in the exit process and related discussions and negotiations. Such assurances may not be enough for Scotland and the Scottish National Party (SNP), which is ultimately committed to achieving an independent Scotland in the EU. The discussion is less clear cut in Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin has used the referendum result to argue for a referendum on Irish unification. The party interprets majority support in Northern Ireland for the UK to remain in the EU as providing a rationale for supporting Irish unity, given that Ireland is a member of the EU. The DUP has welcomed the referendum result, a result the party campaigned for, and is committed to securing Northern Ireland’s best interests during the exit process. As Northern Ireland embarks on a new phase in its relationship with the EU, the legacy of its engagement with the EU and EU issues may live on. MLG suggests that in the EU setting, subnational units, such as Northern Ireland, can find a means to bypass the state in the pursuit of regional interests. This empirical study of Northern Ireland and the EU reveals that this is evident, but there are limits. The UK central government has successfully policed and overseen EU related decisions and actions of the devolved unit. The complex nature of the political settlement, coupled with the youth and inexperience of key actors, created an institutional landscape that was initially difficult to navigate and which was also hostile to civil society. In addition, political divisions in Northern Ireland undermined the region’s ability to consistently act as a cohesive unit vis-à-vis the EU. And yet it is important to acknowledge that Northern Ireland’s experience of the EU has been largely positive, both politically and economically. Its future outside the EU is less secure. Indeed, the region may suffer more than other parts of the UK during and after the exit process. The easing of the Northern Ireland conflict altered Northern Ireland’s engagement with the EU. Devolution meant greater political autonomy. MLG suggests how that autonomy can be exercised in the EU setting. For Northern Ireland, however, MLG only partially explains its EU story. The next chapter of that story will likely see Northern Ireland experience life outside the EU where MLG may continue to have some relevance, although the setting will clearly be very, very different. Notes  1 See, for example, D. Webber, ‘How likely is it that the European Union will disintegrate? A critical analysis of competing theoretical perspectives’, European Journal of International Relations, 20:2 (2014), 341–65.  2 I. Bache and M. Flinders, ‘Multi-level governance and the study of the British state’, Public Policy and Administration, 19:1 (2004), 31–51.



 3 E. B. Haas, The Uniting of Europe: Political, Social, and Economical Forces, 1950–1957 (London: Stevens, 1958); L. Lindberg, The Political Dynamics of European Economic Integration (London: Oxford University Press, 1963).  4 S. Hoffmann, ‘Obstinate or obsolete? The fate of the nation-state and the case of Western Europe’, Daedalus, 95:3 (1966), 862–915; S. Hoffmann, ‘Reflections on the nation-state in Western Europe today’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 21:1–2 (1982), 21–37; A. Moravcsik, ‘Negotiating the Single European Act: National interests and conventional statecraft in the European Community’, International Organization, 45:1 (1991), 19–56; A. Moravcsik, ‘Preferences and power in the European Community: A liberal intergovernmentalist approach’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 31:4 (1993), 473–524; A. Moravcsik, The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998).  5 G. Marks, ‘Structural policy and multilevel governance in the EC’, in A. Cafruny and G. Rosenthal (eds), The State of the European Community (Vol. 2): The Maastricht Debates and Beyond (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1993).  6 I. Bache, ‘Multi-level governance in the European Union’, in D. Levi-Faur (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Governance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).  7 G. Marks, L. Hooghe, and K. Blank, ‘European integration from the 1980s: State centric v. multi-level governance’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 34:3 (1996), 341–78.  8 Ibid., 346.  9 For an overview of critiques of MLG, see A. Warleigh, ‘Conceptual combinations: Multi-level governance and policy networks’, in M. Cini and A. Bourne (eds), Palgrave Advances in European Union Studies (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006). 10 G. Marks and L. Hooghe, ‘Contrasting visions of multi-level governance’, in I. Bache and M. Flinders (eds), Multi-Level Governance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). 11 I. Bache, Europeanization and Multilevel Governance (Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008), p. 29. 12 L. Hooghe and G. Marks, ‘A postfunctionalist theory of European integration: From permissive consensus to constraining dissensus’, British Journal of Political Science, 39:1 (2009), 1–23. 13 P. Stephenson, ‘Twenty years of multi-level governance: “Where does it come from? What is it? Where is it going?”’ Journal of European Public Policy, 20:6 (2013), 817–37. 14 U. Bullman, ‘The politics of the third level’, in C. Jeffery (ed.), The Regional Dimension of the European Union: Towards a Third Level in Europe? (Abingdon: Frank Cass and Co., 1997), p. 4. 15 European Commission, Northern Ireland Report of the Taskforce, Communication from the Commission, COM 2008(186), Brussels, 7 April 2008, p. 20. 16 S. Bulmer, M. Burch, P. Hogwood, and A. Scott, ‘UK devolution and the European Union: A tale of cooperative asymmetry?’ Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 36:1 (2006), 75–93. 17 M. C. Murphy, Northern Ireland and the European Union: The Dynamics of a Changing Relationship (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014), p. 100. 18 For the classic formulation of consociational theory, see A. Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977). For more recent formulations, see J. Coakley, Pathways from Ethnic Conflict:



Institutional Redesign in Divided Societies (New York: Routledge, 2010); A. Finlay, Governing Ethnic Conflict: Consociationalism, Identity and the Price of Peace (New York: Routledge, 2011). 19 J. Tonge and J. Evans, ‘Another communal headcount: The election in Northern Ireland’, Parliamentary Affairs, 68:1 (2015), 117. 20 L. Budd, The Consequences for the Northern Ireland economy from a United Kingdom exit from the European Union, Briefing note: Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment/Open University (March 2015). Available at uk/globalassets/documents/raise/publications/2016/eti/2116.pdf (accessed July 2016). 21 C. Knox, ‘Cohesion, sharing and integration in Northern Ireland’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 29:3 (2011), 548–66. 22 C. McCall and A. Williamson, ‘Governance and democracy in Northern Ireland: The role of the voluntary and community sector after the Agreement’, Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, 14:3 (2001), 363–83. 23 S. Wolff, ‘The peace process in Northern Ireland: Success or failure of post-Agreement reconstruction?’ Civil Wars, 5:1 (2002), 87–116. For a further exploration of the need for civil society to emerge to bring peace to post-conflict zones, see T. J. White, A. P. Owsiak, and M. E. Clarke, ‘Extending peace to the grassroots: The need for reconciliation in Northern Ireland after the Agreement’, in T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). 24 European Commission, Cooperation Programmes under the European Territorial Cooperation Goal (Ireland-United Kingdom (PEACE)) (2014–2020), (2015). Available at CEIV_CP_Decision_OK_2015-11-30.sflb.ashx (accessed 11 December 2015). 25 According to a Lucidtalk exit poll, 33% of unionists voted Remain. 26 European Commission, Northern Ireland Report of the Taskforce. 27 See Northern Ireland Executive, European Priorities 2014–2015: Mid-Year Progress Report (Belfast: Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, 2015). 28 M. C. Murphy, ‘Regional representation in Brussels and multi-level governance: Evidence from Northern Ireland’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 13:4 (2011), 551–66. 29 Murphy, Northern Ireland and the European Union, p. 147. 30 See M. C. Murphy, ‘Europeanization and the sub-national level: Changing patterns of governance in Northern Ireland’, Regional and Federal Studies, 17:3 (2007), 293–315.


Peace and the private sector: Northern Ireland’s regional experience of globalised trends Katy Hayward and Eoin Magennis

Analyses of Northern Ireland’s peace process tend to concentrate on either the public sector (specifically systems, institutions, and parties of governance) or the community and voluntary sector (which has traditionally carried a huge responsibility in the delivery of essential grassroots support in peacebuilding). While economic development has been widely acknowledged as being crucial to progress, the much-anticipated peace dividend has tended to be assessed in terms of aid and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).1 The peacebuilding function of the private sector itself has been more or less ignored in the mainstream literature.2 This reflects the fact that Northern Ireland’s economy remains dominated by the public sector, as almost a third of those employed work within it. The private sector is underdeveloped with too few Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) innovating, exporting, and providing employment. The dearth of studies in this area may also reflect a longstanding gap in peace studies regarding the role of business. This, however, is changing as there has been a steady growth of academic and policy interest in the role of business in building peace.3 In International Relations (IR) theory, liberal assumptions about the spillover effects of economic development on peaceful state relations have morphed into wider discussions about the potential for globalisation to improve international connections and ties, thus making recourse to violence less likely. At a sub-state level, the same liberal premises are present in the concept of ‘business-based peacebuilding’,4 which identifies a natural complementarity between the objectives of private sector actors and the maintenance of a stable, sustainable peace. To explore the relationship between business in Northern Ireland and IR theory, we have devised a typology of private sector contributions to peace processes. Previously, we considered the function of the private sector in cross-border cooperation and its connection to peace on the island.5 This chapter is quite different in that we do not consider the cross-border or EU dimension in any detail; instead we concentrate on the regional experience and its connection to theoretical understandings of the function of private sector contributions to building and maintaining peace. In this way, this chapter serves



to ­complement the previous chapter (Chapter 8) by Mary C. Murphy on the EU role in Northern Ireland and the next chapter (Chapter 10) by Sandra Buchanan on economic aid. Our chapter instead focuses on the role of the ­private sector within the region and its capacity to effect peaceful change. Our understanding of the peace process in Northern Ireland reflects a change in our understanding of the role of business in post-conflict societies, namely the social importance of not just the outputs of business but also the importance of the ways in which businesses operate. Thus, we consider the ways in which corporate social responsibility can be connected to peacebuilding.6 The chapter concludes with an analysis of the ways in which partnerships between actors in the private, public, and community/voluntary sectors are changing peacebuilding. Before analysing the impact of business on the peace process, it is necessary first to present a summary of the condition of the private sector in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland’s private sector As noted above, the private sector in Northern Ireland is relatively weak. The economy suffered from violence and industrial restructuring in the 1980s. In the summer of 1994, the Northern Ireland branch of the Confederation of British Industry (representing the larger firms) argued that an end to violence would be ‘profound’. It would mean ‘significant benefits relating to inward investment opportunities, tourism, the indigenous industrial base and the freeing up of public expenditure for wealth creation activities and social needs’.7 The next step was to quantify these benefits, and this was done for the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation in 1995, when consultants estimated that peace would mean a net increase in employment of between 19,500 and 30,900 by the year 2000.8 Two decades on, there is still some way to go in Northern Ireland before sustainable economic development is a reality. In its report on the cost of the sectarian division in Northern Ireland, almost a decade after the 1998 Agreement, Deloitte noted that the ‘unquantifiable risk’ associated with investing in the region during the Troubles had a severely negative impact on its economic strength.9 The subsequent reliance on the public sector as a ‘surrogate’ support for economic growth (including through government schemes for Selective Financial Assistance)10 poses long-term problems, and not just in terms of cost. Looking ahead, NI [Northern Ireland] cannot rely on the public sector as a source of growth of the magnitude that is required to close the gap in living standards with the rest of the UK. The public sector can provide a form of insurance against the worst effects of a slowdown in growth, however it is not a suitable vehicle for promoting growth on the scale that a higher trajectory requires. This is the challenge for the private sector.11

The process of rebalancing away from a dependence on the public sector and subventions from the UK Treasury (of more than £9 billion annually)



is o ­ ngoing. The continuing significance of the role of public-funded development agencies in the identification and development of future markets that are currently missing in Northern Ireland reflects the relative inexperience and enduring caution that characterises much of the region’s private sector.12 One of the most sustained efforts to address this has been the establishment of  organisations dedicated to advising and supporting individuals keen on establishing their own business. Local Enterprise Agencies, for example, support the delivery of workspaces, training, grants, and loans to potential entrepreneurs in each of the region’s constituencies of local administration. Somewhat ironically, however, these initiatives still rely heavily on public funding. The consequence of this for a small, open economy like Northern Ireland’s is that it faces a significant challenge to become more internationalised. The region is also attempting to ape the success of its neighbour, the Republic of Ireland, with an economic development policy based upon increasing FDI. Hence, the plan is to lower corporate tax to be more in line with the Republic rather than other regions of the UK. There has already been some success in attracting FDI, with the key economic development agency, Invest Northern Ireland, reporting more than £3 billion of forward-planned investment and up to 27,000 new jobs between 2002–03 and 2013–14.13 Northern Ireland has attracted more FDI relative to the rest of the UK over this period, although it continues to be outperformed by the Republic of Ireland. However, the jobs this FDI has generated are not going to the areas of greatest economic need in the region.14 Like most developed economies, Northern Ireland’s business base is dominated by SMEs. The numbers of SMEs either innovating, exporting, or both remains much too low, on a par with other regions of the UK, but well behind other small economies such as Denmark, Belgium, or Estonia.15 Those large firms (employing more than 250 people) which do operate in Northern Ireland account for a sizeable majority of exports (69% in 2013/14) and of expenditure on research and development (62% in 2013).16 However, there are too few of the larger businesses here contributing only 25% of GVA (Gross Value Added) in Northern Ireland compared to 51% in the UK as a whole and 48% in the Republic of Ireland.17 In fact, it is most accurate to say that the Northern Ireland economy, in terms of the number of businesses, the numbers they employ, and – to a lesser extent  – the largest share of output is taken by micro-enterprises (employing fewer than ten persons each).18 Many of the businesses are small, family-owned firms whose markets are local to Northern Ireland or, at most, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain (which combined take over 80% of the manufactured goods sold outside the domestic market).19 Of course, this can mean that the businesses are that much more in touch with local customers, suppliers, and the communities around them.20 The question of whether these local ties can prove an asset to wider society, even if they are not modelling economic development expected in the context of globalisation, is something the rest of the chapter will explore.



Key variables in the peacebuilding role for business The role of the private sector in a peace process depends on the nature of the conflict and the stage of the peace process. In the case of Northern Ireland, the conflict is primarily a political conflict (i.e. centring on questions of power, rights, legitimacy, and representation), albeit one intrinsically linked to questions of communal identity and grounded in historical conditions of socio-­ economic disadvantage and discrimination. At this stage of the peace process, the conflict’s root causes are not as vital as the current interests of the major protagonists; acknowledgement of this opens up the need for recognising different types of actors in a peace process, including those from the private sector.21 The manifestation of conflict also affects the role the private sector can play in peacebuilding. Terrorist tactics deliberately disrupt normal economic and social activities. Therefore, the process of building peace is simultaneously a process of normalisation which necessarily involves the private sector as much as the public and voluntary sectors. Principles essential to normalisation, such as human security and sustainable livelihoods, can be upheld by public institutions but they can only be fully achieved with a healthy private sector. Other variables to consider, of course, are the qualities and characteristics of the private sector in the conflicted society. Rettberg has noted that the extent to which pro-peace businesses can form a unified front is significant;22 as we shall see, collectivised action for peace by businesses in Northern Ireland has been sporadic and concentrated in the period around the ceasefires of 1994, which has no doubt affected the type of roles that businesses have played. According to Rettberg, the amount of access that businesses have to policy-making makes significant differences to the character of business input into any such process and its outcomes.23 Ganson notes that there can be great variation between businesses and that some may simply not be suited for any type of peacebuilding contribution. If a company’s distinctive organisational capabilities may contribute to conflict mitigation or resolution, the matter of how this is the case also varies widely according to context and case.24 Businesses organise in different ways even when attempting to make the same type of contribution. Moreover, their motivation, decision-making processes, and level of commitment to the process also significantly affect their impact on peace. Ben-Porat’s study of businesses in the cases of Israel and Northern Ireland demonstrates the effects of these variables.25 A typology of business contributions to a peace process Even allowing for the variables noted above, studies show that contributions that can be made by the private sector to peacebuilding include a highly diverse array of activities. In order to enable a comparison between experience in Northern Ireland and the evidence that has informed new IR theory in this area since the early 2000s, we have categorised the contributions to be made by the private sector to peace processes under five headings (see Figure 9.1):



Spillover Indirect; development aiding conflict migaon and diversion

Agent Pragmac, acon; wide ranging, in interests of the business

Facilitator Secret or open, drawing on negoaon skills from business

Exemplar Partner

Model pracce and Transforming norms with pracces and knock-on norms effects through formal crosssectoral relaonships

Figure 9.1  Typology of private sector contributions to a peace process

• Spillover: Indirect, consequence of successful business practice, affecting non-protagonists or potential protagonists to avoid conflict or counter its negative economic effects. • Agent: Pragmatic, pro-peace actions directly connected to primary ­interests and functions of business. • Facilitator: Direct input, either hidden or public, beyond the usual function and scope of business, but drawing on status and skills from within it. • Exemplar: Offers principles, norms, and practices that can lend themselves as a model for other types of organisation, or that can make a contribution to positively changing the post-conflict environment. • Partner: Close connection to public and voluntary sector organisations, with the effect of changing the norms and practices of particular organisations across all three sectors’ practice, and wider norms in the post-­ conflict society As noted above, these five broad roles for businesses in the transition out of conflict vary greatly according to the stage and nature of conflict, the case context, and the capacity and commitment of the business. Having said that, as Ben-Porat notes, globalisation means that local structures, institutions, and practices hold an increasing amount in common across countries. This not only affects the nature of conflict and the relationship between state and society, but is also manifest in private sector practice and assumptions across cases.26 We now move to outline each of these roles in turn, considering their theoretical assumptions, pertinent global references, and evidence from Northern Ireland. Spillover Proponents of the liberal concept of ‘spillover’ claim that economic development mitigates the effects of conflict and reduces the likelihood of violence. Oetzel et al. have noted that this can come in the form of economic spillovers



such employment and investment27 as well as operational spillovers such as ‘technology transfer, knowledge diffusion, management practices’.28 Traditional analyses that consider the potential of the private sector for building peace assume material development will reduce conflict. Collier et al., for example, describe a ‘poverty-conflict trap’ in which the prospects for peace are undermined by poverty, which is then further worsened by violent conflict.29 They also argue that armed conflict is more likely in countries with lower Gross National Product (GNP) per capita. In the case of Northern Ireland, numerous scholars have noted the correlation between indices of multiple deprivation and effects of conflict.30 Relative deprivation is particularly pertinent in Northern Ireland, where groups consider themselves to be treated unfairly and suffer from inequality compared to the ‘other’. Since the 1998 Agreement, relative deprivation has increasingly become associated with Protestant group identity,31 despite the fact that Catholics are still more likely to suffer from multiple deprivation.32 The persistence of poverty and worsening inequality is a social problem that bedevils post-Agreement Northern Ireland,33 but other studies have indicated the need for this connection between low income and conflict to be drawn with caution. Cramer and Goodhand, for example, note the different effects of different types of inequality in different contexts.34 Other studies have highlighted the ways in which economic growth can actually increase the likelihood of armed conflict in certain contexts.35 Nevertheless, the classical liberal presumption that closer economic relations can foster peace remains predominant36 and is very evident in approaches to Ireland’s peace process.37 This presumption lies behind the idea of a ‘peace dividend’, namely that ceasefires or a settlement would lead to greater business activity and more investment in areas of the economy and society besides security. This was a key element in the peace process in the 1990s, and, among younger business leaders, there is already some nostalgia for that period when President Clinton not only visited Ireland but also lent his weight to investment conferences in Washington (May 1995) and Pittsburgh (October 1996). The conferences provided an opportunity to promote Northern Ireland as a good place to do business. From the perspective of these business leaders, the peace dividend lasted up to 2000, with perhaps a second period in 2007–09 when the i­nstitutions were restored under the Paisley/McGuinness leadership.38 The nostalgia can, at times, be mixed with the view that the peace dividend was all about the prospect of US inward investment. Awareness of the role of EU funding is much less sharply defined among business leaders. Sometimes when it is discussed, it is interpreted as an opportunity wasted: ‘While all of the peace and reconciliation stuff, the cross-community connecting, was worthwhile, I wonder could more have been done to rebalance the economy?’39 The role of the EU in opening markets and lowering barriers to trade is certainly welcomed, but there is much less of a sense of its peacebuilding role. The wider assumption is that economic development will naturally evoke conditions more conducive to peace. This sentiment is summed up well in the Peace



through Commerce initiative, which claims that the interdependence of commerce and culture can foster peaceful environments.40 At times, the rationale behind this view is one that advocates neoliberalism uncritically. Strong, for example, uses the case of Northern Ireland to argue that economic freedom was essential to giving local entrepreneurs the capacity to contribute to peace even in the midst of the Troubles. However, there is little evidence presented that one led to the other.41 Nevertheless, this assumption supports the current strategy of cutting ­corporation tax in the hope that more multinational corporations will be attracted to the region. The incorporation of a deal on corporation tax rates in the Stormont House Agreement (December 2014) publicly signified the increasingly close connection between Northern Ireland’s peace process and private sector development. Indeed business leaders, led by CBI (Confederation of British Industry) Northern Ireland, were delighted at this Agreement, not only for the political stability it promised but also the prospect of lower corporation tax. As one leader stated: ‘this could be the real peace dividend, one that could bring new jobs to every part of the North’.42 The belief that social reconstruction and transformation can be achieved by free-market solutions is also evident in the policy of the devolved government’s support for public–private partnerships and generic, consumer-centred urban regeneration initiatives.43 Caution should be urged, however. It should not be assumed that benefits to the private sector will necessarily bring wider societal gains, let alone ones that will improve the lives of those most affected by poverty and conflict. Lessons should be learned from the Middle East, in which an elitist peace process only served to further exacerbate the divide between rich and poor.44 Indeed, Bouillon claims that big business in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan promoted the peace process but failed to distribute its dividends, focusing instead on the ­preservation of their privileged position.45 The spillovers expected from the Stormont House Agreement’s linking of cutting corporation tax to the peace process came from the presumed enhancement to Northern Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for FDI including job creation, diversification, and entrepreneurship. However, it is notable that FDI as a peace dividend is very much part of a virtuous circle that is easily broken. As Gary Hart the Special Envoy to Northern Ireland commented in 2015, political stability may be secured by FDI but it cannot be started by it as that investment will only come on the condition that the region has already been shown to be economically and political secure.46 Not all business leaders believe that the spillovers from economic development are straightforward. One prominent activist contends that ‘business does not operate in a vacuum. It is part of the society where it operates and that includes civic society institutions.’47 Others see the limits of this role; for example, spillover can only be achieved collectively not always easily achieved in an environment that thrives on competition rather than collaboration. Even proponents of this rationale recognise that commerce per se is far from the only ingredient for peace; rather, the legal environment for the practice of commerce and the articulation of culture is



critical. As one key individual told another in 1992 when asked what solution there was in Northern Ireland: ‘Look … let us do our job in business and do it well. And leave it to the politicians then. The better we do our job we create a climate in which whatever solutions people conjure up with can be more acceptable whatever they come to.’48 When the role of business moves beyond this to support the direct, purposeful, and strategic promotion of development as a direct contribution to peacebuilding, it falls beyond the category of spillover into one in which business takes agency in a peace process.49 Agent During the Troubles, business in the North kept its head down. As one business leader commented, ‘When we got to the end of the [19]90s it was important to us that business had a voice and a strong voice in saying, “come on, let’s sort it out”. And business has a pragmatism with that, and I think that is the basis for how that [peacebuilding] work should be done.’50 As with spillover, the role of agent is one that also falls within the normal practice of businesses, but is more directly focused on creating social change. Businesses act as agents in a peace process through the direct use of their resources. These initiatives may be explicitly economic (investing in development projects and measures to tackle social exclusion), political (funding ‘yes’ campaigns in referendums on peace agreements and lobbying for political change), or social (such as improving local security).51 Many such actions are a consequence of businesses seeking to improve the environment in which they are operating. When business leaders in Northern Ireland refer to their role in encouraging better intercommunal or cross-border relations, they focus on the importance of networking and creating safe spaces to do this. In witness seminars with business leaders for the Breaking the Patterns of Conflict project, participants described the North as ‘an exceedingly bad place for communication’ unless a ‘protected atmosphere’ is provided.52 The use of formal occasions, such as business breakfasts, to get people around a table and talk prompted one businessman to note that ‘the business community [is] realising it has a multi-faceted role in the development of Northern Ireland’.53 However, there are few examples of such involvement in Northern Ireland. Even the ‘Yes’ campaign in the 1998 referendum on the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement was largely funded by contributors from outside Northern Ireland itself.54 In comparison, Darby and Mac Ginty note the example of the Business against Crime initiative in South Africa, which sought to expand existing law enforcement capacities as a practical means of establishing peaceful conditions.55 In the Basque Country, the business community was keen to see an end to violence, but they did not go so far as to exert political pressure on policy-makers to maintain momentum in the peace process. The cost–benefit analysis in this case meant that the impact of the private sector fell somewhat short of accelerating the embryonic transformation of conflict.56 This assessment of the effects of this cost–benefit analysis (at which businesses are



far more practised than public sector institutions) led Sweetman to view the agency of businesses in peacebuilding as necessarily dependent on their assessment of pragmatic and short-term gains for the actors involved.57 He claims that the success of private sector input depends on a rational assessment of the needs behind the conflict and the capacity of businesses to directly address these; moreover, it depends on their assessment of the benefit to accrue to them from this engagement.58 This is a twist on Burton’s Basic Needs theory, which argued that conflict is driven by unfulfilled physical and non-physical needs for human development, such as identity and safety, and that conflict can only be resolved by satisfying these.59 That said, the model of business as an agent in peacebuilding centres almost wholly on an economistic analysis of the conflict; when a private organisation moves beyond this to have a role in a peace process that is centred on some other business characteristic, it may sometimes take on the role of facilitator. Facilitator The facilitating role of the private sector in peacebuilding is more difficult to assess because it depends on preserving the anonymity and perceived independence of those concerned. As the chairman of Northern Foods, Chris Gibson, told interviewers back in 2007, businesses were constrained in their peacebuilding role to merely calling for churches to engage with one another, and they themselves actively ‘tried to stay out of that so they could assist the debate’.60 The facilitating role that business can play in a peace process is one acknowledged in mainstream peace studies literature; for example, in his model of ‘levels of action’ in peacebuilding, Lederach included business leaders in his identification of the ‘middle range leadership’ necessary for peacebuilding.61 His argument for their inclusion was based on the assumption that respected business leaders necessarily have strong connections to the ‘grassroots’ constituency yet are likely to be known by top-level elites. Moreover, their low visibility in the public eye is an advantage in peace negotiations; much of their success depends on ‘behind the scenes’ activity. Perhaps this same low profile is one reason why the role of ‘middle range’ business leaders remains relatively underexplored. We know that so-called Track Two approaches to diplomacy involve non-governmental mediating efforts that work in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, Track One negotiations entailing the protagonists and political leadership.62 Track Two mediating may come from the business community and can take the form of facilitating secret or open talks, finding agreement among stakeholders to come to the table, securing a ceasefire, and encouraging decommissioning.63 The effects of this type of activity can make a critical difference, not just directly to the actors concerned but also to wider processes and norms. It is notable that John Burton used his direct experience from Track Two diplomacy involved businesses in Belfast to inform his seminal writing on this form of peacebuilding.64 Paul Arthur, in his reflections on his experience of



Track Two diplomacy, notes the role of the businesses in achieving an office for Northern Ireland in Brussels.65 Similarly, the business community itself even if some members still remember their reservations and concerns at the time opened their events to republican leaders in the early 1990s when this was still unusual.66 The transcripts gathered through the Breaking the Patterns of Conflict project contain many examples of contacts being used to arrange such things as ‘in camera dinners’ between political party leaders who could not meet in public and opportunities for Northern business leaders to discreetly come to Dublin at times when this was politically difficult.67 Beyond facilitating contacts, there are several examples of leaders using skills honed in their long business experience to attempt to make a direct contribution to peacebuilding. Most of these direct contributions, it should be noted, arise from the initiative of individual business leaders rather than as offshoots of typical business practice. One of the most striking examples where mediation and negotiation skills used in business were applied was in an effort at mediating between the Orange Order and the mainly Catholic residents of the Garvaghy Road who objected to their wish to march through their area in the mid 1990s.68 Other business respondents in the witness seminar gave very few examples of such facilitation; and all those that were given centre on that particular period in the mid to late 1990s when communities were convulsed by parading disputes.69 Facilitating resolution to parading disputes in Derry is connected through the involvement of Brendan Duddy, a businessman from the city, to an earlier much more extraordinary role of a back-channel intermediary. Using the extensive archive kept by Duddy, Niall Ó Dochartaigh has begun to piece together the three ‘extensive periods’ between 1973 and 1993 where he acted as an intermediary between the British Government and the leadership of the Provisional Irish Republican Army.70 This research demonstrates that Duddy was not a mere carrier of messages between two sides, but shaped these messages in a way that made him much more valuable as an intermediary, acting as a facilitator of eventual progress in these talks. The example of Brendan Duddy may or may not be unique, but there is a sense that not only his personal connections but also his ability, as a businessman, were crucial to facilitate trust. Exemplar Of course, the private sector in Northern Ireland is not a mere bystander in the conflict; it was implicated as one of the causes of conflict: discrimination in employment. Looking at private sector and other discrimination before 1968, John Whyte concluded that it may not have been the only cause of Catholic disadvantage but it bore a large share of the responsibility for it.71 The work of the Fair Employment Agency and later equality legislation centred on improved recruitment practices to circumvent employing people within certain networks and make job interviews more open and transparent.72 Thus, the business community in Northern Ireland has had to travel a long distance towards



becoming an exemplar for peacebuilding. There is growing recognition of the possibility of businesses acting as exemplars for other types of organisations in a peace process. Nelson’s groundbreaking principles for private sector contributions to conflict prevention call for businesses to recognise their role in value-creation, their multi-level and cross-sectoral influence, and their capacity to ‘lead by example’ in terms of accountability, corporate responsibility, and partnership.73 This can begin with good practice ‘in house’. Fort and Schipani claim that companies which act on the basis of transparency and good community and development practices have a great deal to contribute to our conception of peace as well as to its enhancement.74 For example, gender equity, constructive dialogue, and employee empowerment have all been shown to have a positive impact on peaceful relations inside and outside of the workplace itself.75 Bishara and Schipani stretch this notion to argue that businesses can build complementary alternative benefits for their employees, such as stress reduction programmes, which in turn encourage a healthy and collegial workforce less prone to resolve conflicts by violence.76 A more common experience of business as exemplar relates to the role of businesses in challenging some of the less tangible barriers to cooperation, including psychological ones. In their review of the role of the private sector in building peace in Cyprus, Katsos and Forrer claim that the main contribution came through the joint promotion of trade across the Green Line, making cooperation acceptable and normal, challenging preconceptions of bias or threat, and addressing the roots of communal distrust by simple acts of contact.77 Such simple acts are seen as particularly important in identity-based conflicts, such as that in Northern Ireland. Building ‘networks of trust’ through trade and business cooperation is seen as leading the way to cross-community reconciliation.78 Another particular focus of good business practice rests on the principle of corporate social responsibility. A key tenet of this principle is to ‘avoid creating negative social impacts while contributing positively to the communities and societies’ in which businesses operate.79 Such contributions should not only be direct but should also consider the long-term consequences of current actions. For example, the principle of sustainability is wholly in accordance with corporate social responsibility. The International Institute for Sustainable Development recognises that trade and investment can have harmful, conflict-exacerbating effects unless it is grounded in practices that recognise the needs of local communities, protect natural resources, and avoid environmental damage.80 A broader, long-term and global perspective can also assist in embedding good practice in the private sector and, thus, in the wider community. For example, the adoption by businesses of principles of external valuation and international codes of conduct in conflict-torn societies can be a vital first step in helping to process transition out of conflict for the wider community.81 As corporate social responsibility becomes an increasingly active task rather than passive stance, Wenger and Möckli contend that companies can find themselves to be strategic partners in conflict prevention



and ­transformation.82 This type of partnership is the final, and arguably most advanced, category of the role for business in peacebuilding. Partner The final role for business in peacebuilding is that of partner. This role is one in which a business moves from supporting particular initiatives or fundraising activities of voluntary organisations, to one in which the nature of the relationship changes altogether. The pinnacle of business engagement in a peace process is when a company becomes a partner with other stakeholders to embed peace. Partnerships between private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can provide complementary skills, competencies, and capabilities to engage in social change and build peace.83 Partnerships can begin with small-scale initiatives in which business calls upon the NGO to help address a community based problem (e.g. tackling anti-social behaviour ­outside a fast food restaurant by financing a youth club). In many cases in Northern Ireland, individual business leaders have taken the role of partnership, often through sitting on boards of organisations such as Cooperation Ireland (formerly Cooperation North). Indeed, as a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cooperation Ireland has acknowledged, the board membership of high-profile business actors (particularly those with a unionist background), such as Brum Henderson and William Poole, was essential to giving the organisation respectability and connections that were crucial to getting it off the ground.84 Cooperation North was founded by a southern businessman, Brendan O’Regan, in 1979 to forge better cross-border connections and thus to foster mutual respect and understanding between North and South. Its Board was a centre for successive business leaders to get involved in this type of peacebuilding and enter partnerships with other actors from the community and voluntary sector. This type of activity is often ‘messy’, involving extended networks and individual kudos as well as the moral leverage and pragmatic rationale of the ‘cause’ itself. 85 With the channelling of EU peace funding through the organisation in the mid-to-late 1990s, its operation became further complicated and flexible governance was replaced by something much more tied to compliance with EU regulations to the annoyance of some of those involved, including business actors.86 This idea that peacebuilding is not only messy but also cumbersome is something commented on by current business leaders and does not conform to a ‘can-do’ entrepreneurial spirit.87 Another obstacle to the partnership approach is a lack of awareness that there might be a role for business leaders in peacebuilding. This arises from a wish of business not to identify their activity as political and a predominant view that peacebuilding is for the third sector. Several private sector leaders consulted said they had never been approached to do peace-related work. They believe that their management experience or mediating/negotiating skills may be beneficial, but one commented that the closest they had come to that



­ ctivity was sitting on a school board of governors.88 This suggests a thick line a of division between sectors which may be preventing a full partnership from emerging for peacebuilding. The most advanced form of business influence on a peace process can centre on transforming the nature and functions of voluntary organisations themselves. With diminishing public funding and a sense of frustration over the limits of funded projects, NGOs are increasingly looking to develop their own economic capacity through taking lessons and models from the business sector. The spread of social entrepreneurship – finding solutions to social problems through business techniques indicates a fundamental shift in the perception of the applicability of business operations to societal needs.89 The most advanced manifestation of the closer ties between the private and community sector in Northern Ireland is in the growth of social enterprise. Social enterprises are organisations which combine a business logic of private ownership and competition with a service logic of empathetic, charitable works.90 The leading example of a social enterprise in Northern Ireland is the Bryson charitable group, known as Bryson House. Founded as the Belfast Charity Organisation Society in 1906, it became the Belfast Council of Social Welfare fifteen years later, intending to ensure that the new policies of social welfare were well informed and properly administered. Becoming ‘Bryson House’ in the 1980s, today it runs several social business units, including recycling, care, ‘future skills’, and energy. These include charitable companies and social enterprise trading companies, operating on principles that include sustainability, social innovation, entrepreneurship, and reinvestment, all with the mission of service provision to address real social needs. Thus, of the income to Bryson House, 93% thus comes from contracts, sales, rents and service receipts, and 91% of this is spent on the delivery of its social objectives.91 It is, therefore, unsurprising that many NGOs are seeking to emulate this model of social enterprise. This represents a growth in confidence in the community sector, recognising that local government has depended on NGOs for key aspects of service delivery, particularly in multiply deprived communities and ‘hard to reach’ groups, such as NEETS (Young people Not in Education, Employment or Training). In Northern Ireland, social enterprise has become well established in the lexicon of actors traditionally involved in peacebuilding. Although there is still a conceptual gap between what conflict transformation requires and what business functions can offer, the themes of innovation and sustainability find long echoes in the community sector in the region. It is important to note that the blurring of the lines between the sectors need not always go in one direction. Grove and Berg claim that there is a growing ­phenomenon of companies transforming into social businesses.92 Conceptualised and put into practice by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus, such social businesses are designed to address social ills that persist despite public and charitable investment, such as health care problems and education gaps. The rationale behind this model is the notion that capitalism can ‘serve humanity’s most pressing needs’.93 Yunus’ aim is to



redeem the failed promise of free market enterprise to fulfil human needs in a way that harnesses the energy of profit-making and the dynamism of commercial enterprise without exploiting the poor and most vulnerable. Such a model is admirable in its ambition, aiming to completely redefine the practice and principles of capitalism as we know it. Arguably, what this model represents is not so much a redefinition of capitalism but a portend of its ultimate manifestation, in which it is increasingly difficult for any collective organisation (public, community, voluntary) to function without drawing on the essential principles and mechanisms of capitalism. Conclusion One key lesson from Northern Ireland is that a peace process is long, undulating, and testing. Perhaps the most critical quality any company ought to have if making a step towards peacebuilding is high-level determination to sustain any such commitment. Any such involvement almost inevitably is going beyond the ‘safe zone’ of familiar business practice and therefore high-­ quality leadership is required. It is not surprising that individual business leaders people willing to make a pitch to their boards, employees, and shareholders are key in any such process.94 This is not to diminish the value of a sector-wide assessment of such actions; indeed, it is quite clear that the impact of such actions was so significant because they came from within the business community, using the status, networks, and access to resources and acumen acquired from that particular sector. However, there are relatively few examples of business groups being involved in direct initiatives for peacebuilding for any length of time. The commitment of resources by the private sector to peacebuilding has, on the whole, been ad hoc, occasional, and usually focused on a particular moment in time, although they can sometimes play a crucial role. One needs to recognise the clear limitations of private sector involvement in terms of delivering a sustainable peace process. Economic investment can make a contribution to conflict resolution (as the Business for Peace model claims), but it cannot substitute for a holistic peace process that enhances civil democracy. This is important to bear in mind given that the ‘Business for Peace’ (B4P) paradigm is being standardised through all multi-lateral aid activities by the United Nations,95 offering a role for multinational corporations in place of traditional development aid in areas of war and post-conflict transition.96 There is a risk through Business for Peace initiatives that the unequal local and regional socio-economic structures are merely reinforced through the medium of economic growth at all costs. There are also risks in the growth of private sector input in areas traditionally linked to peacebuilding (such as through public–private regeneration partnerships). Transparency and accountability can be reduced in the interests of efficiency. Moreover, the need for businesses to be able to justify their engagement on economic as well as moral grounds means that some of the more challenging and ‘risky’ tasks of peace entrepreneurship (such as in areas of multiple deprivation) are avoided.



Finally, the public purse can end up offering long-term subsidies for private engagement that might better be spent elsewhere. In Northern Ireland, the role of business has been consistently overlooked, the assumption being that its underdevelopment made it unable to make any significant contribution. In contrast, the sustainability of the peace process rests on a common commitment to positive change and ‘normalisation’, one that must entail economic development that does not solely rely on public investment. Therefore the involvement of business be it local or global offers significant opportunities for promoting peace. However, it must never be assumed that this relieves the public sector of its duty of civic oversight and legal scrutiny, or that it subverts the community sector of its privileged place in identifying the real needs and potential of people in fragile post-conflict environments. Notes  1 J. Bradley, ‘A peace dividend for the economy’, Parliamentary Brief/NI Brief, (1995), 27–8; S. Byrne and C. Irwin, ‘Economic aid and policy making: Building the peace dividend in Northern Ireland’, Policy and Politics, 29:4 (2001), 413–29; D. O’Hearn, ‘Peace dividend, foreign investment, and economic regeneration: The Northern Irish case’, Social Problems, 47:2 (2000), 180–200.  2 Notable exceptions would include G. Ben-Porat, ‘Between power and hegemony: Business communities in peace processes’, Review of International Studies, 31:2 (2005), 325–48.  3 See, for example, J. H. Holt, International Political Economy: The Business of War and Peace (London: Routledge, 2015); S. MacDonald, ‘Peacebuilding and the private sector’, in C. Zelizer (ed.), Integrated Peacebuilding: Innovative Approaches to Transforming Conflict (Boulder: Westview, 2013).  4 J. Banfield, C. Gündüz, and N. Killick (eds), Local Business, Local Peace: The Peacebuilding Potential of the Domestic Private Sector (London: International Alert, 2006). Available at (accessed 12 November 2015); D. Sweetman, Business, Conflict Resolution, Peace: Contributions from the Private Sector (London: Routledge, 2009).  5 K. Hayward and E. Magennis, ‘The business of building peace: Private sector cooperation across the Irish border’, Irish Political Studies, 29:1 (2014), 154–75.  6 A. Wenger and D. Möckli, Conflict Prevention: The Untapped Potential of the Business Sector (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2003).  7 Quoted in G. Ben-Porat, Global Liberalism, Local Popularism: Peace and Conflict in Israel/Palestine and Northern Ireland (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2006), p. 233.  8 KPMG, The Social and Economic Consequences of Peace and Economic Reconstruction (Dublin: Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, 1995), p. 233.  9 Deloitte, Research into the Financial Costs of the Northern Ireland Divide (Belfast: Deloitte, 2007), p. 28. 10 For detailed elaboration of some of these schemes, and their limited effects on addressing inequalities in employment and development, see O’Hearn, ‘Peace ­dividend, foreign investment and economic regeneration’.



11 Deloitte, Research into the Financial Costs of the Northern Ireland Divide, p. 28. 12 Ibid., p. 29. 13 D. Sterling, ‘Economic Performance of the Northern Ireland Economy’, presentation to the Chief Executives Forum, 28 May 2014. Available at www.ceforum. org/upload2/David_Sterling_-_CEF_Presentation_-_May_2014.pdf (accessed 10 November 2015). 14 D. O’Hearn, ‘How peace has changed the Northern Ireland political economy’, Ethnopolitics, 7:1 (2008), 101–18. 15 C. Neuwalaers, K. Maguire, and G. A. Marsan, ‘The Case of Ireland-Northern Ireland Regions and Innovation: Collaborating Across Borders’, OECD Regional Development Working Papers, 2013/20, OECD Publishing, p. 14. 16 Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (NI), Northern Ireland Economic Strategy (2012). 17 ‘SME Growth in Northern Ireland’, unpublished research paper, May 2014, p. 4. 18 Ibid., p. 5. 19 Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Manufacturing Sales and Exports Survey, 2013/14 (December 2014). 20 Another possible line of discussion, difficult to pursue for lack of hard evidence but probably critical when peacemaking is considered, is that the Northern Ireland business class is also changing from one that was, until the 1980s, dominated by the unionist community, to one more reflective of the political and religious demographics of the region. 21 Wennmann makes a vital point when noting that the interests and priorities of conflict protagonists change over time; therefore, any organisation engaged in efforts towards a peace process needs to focus not on what was important when the conflict began, but rather what is most important to the main stakeholders at the point they move from being belligerent actors to negotiating parties. See A. Wennmann, The Political Economy of Peacemaking (New York: Routledge, 2011), p. 127. 22 A. Rettberg, ‘Private sector and peace in El Salvador, Guatemala and Colombia’, Journal of Latin American Studies, 39:3 (2007), 463–94. 23 Ibid. 24 B. Ganson, ‘Business in fragile environments: Capabilities for conflict prevention’, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 7:2 (2014), 121–39. 25 Ben-Porat, ‘Between power and hegemony’. 26 Ben-Porat, Global Liberalism, Local Popularism. 27 J. Oetzel, M. Westermann-Behaylo, C. Koerber, T. L. Fort, and J. Rivera, ‘Business and peace: Sketching the terrain’, Journal of Business Ethics, 89:4 (2009), 351–73. Also see T. L. Fort and C. A. Schipani, The Role of Business in Fostering Peaceful Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd edn, 2009). 28 Oetzel et al., ‘Business and peace’, 355; J. W. Spencer, ‘The impact of multinational enterprise strategy on indigenous enterprises: Horizontal spillovers and crowding out in developing countries’, The Academy of Management Review, 33:2 (2008), 341–61. 29 P. Collier, V.L. Elliott, H. Hegre, A. Hoeffler, M. Reynal-Querol, and N. Sambanis, Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy (Washington, DC: World Bank and Oxford University Press, 2003). 30 V. Mesev, J. Downs, A. Binns, R. S. Courtney, and P. Shirlow, ‘Measuring and mapping conflict-related deaths and segregation: Lessons from the Belfast “Troubles”’,



in D. Z. Sui (ed.), Geospatial Technologies and Homeland Security: Research Frontiers and Future Challenges (Dordrecht: Springer, 2008). 31 R. Mac Ginty and P. I. du Toit, ‘A disparity of esteem: Relative group status in Northern Ireland after the Belfast Agreement’, Political Psychology, 28:1 (2007), 13–31. 32 P. Nolan, Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report No. 2 (Belfast: Community Relations Council, 2013), pp. 90–4. Available at uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/ni-peace-monitoring-report-2013-­layout-1.pdf (accessed 6 November 2015). 33 The Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey of 2014 found that 24% of children in Northern Ireland are in low income families. The study also found that those who had a ‘high experience’ of the conflict (e.g. rioting at interfaces, experience of paramilitary intimidation) were significantly more deprived than those with no conflict experience. See M. Tomlinson, P. Hillyard, and G. Kelly, ‘Child poverty in Northern Ireland: Results from the Poverty and Social Exclusion Study’, in Child Poverty Alliance (ed.), Beneath the Surface: Child Poverty in Northern Ireland (Belfast: Child Poverty Alliance, 2014), pp. 11–34. 34 C. Cramer, ‘Does inequality cause conflict?’ Journal of International Development, 15:4 (2003), 397–412; J. Goodhand, ‘Enduring disorder and persistent poverty: A review of the linkages between war and chronic poverty’, World Development, 31:3 (2003), 629–46. 35 F. Stewart (ed.), Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict: Understanding Group Violence in Multiethnic Societies (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). 36 P. Uvin, ‘The development/peacebuilding nexus: A typology and history of c­ hanging paradigms’, Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, 1:1 (2002), 5–24. 37 O’Hearn, ‘Peace dividend, foreign investment and economic regeneration’. 38 Business roundtable, 13 August 2015. 39 Quotes from Business roundtable, 13 August 2015. 40 M. Lavine, ‘From scholarly dialogue to social movement: Considerations and implications for peace through commerce’, Journal of Business Ethics, 89:4 (2009), 603–14. 41 M. Strong, ‘Peace through access to entrepreneurial capitalism for all’, Journal of Business Ethics, 89:4 (2009), 529–38. 42 Business roundtable, 13 August 2015. 43 J. Nagle, ‘Potemkin village: Neo-liberalism and peace-building in Northern Ireland?’ Ethnopolitics, 8:2 (2009), 173–90. 44 M. E. Bouillon, The Peace Business: Money and Power in the Palestine-Israel Conflict (New York: I. B. Tauris, 2004). 45 Ibid. 46 ‘Peace envoy Gary Hart: America will invest in Northern Ireland, but only if there is political and economic stability’, Belfast Telegraph (13 June 2015). Available at (accessed 9 November 2015). 47 Witness seminar, 18 November 2009. 48 Witness seminar, 10 December 2009. 49 T. L. Fort, ‘Peace through commerce: A multisectoral approach’, Journal of Business Ethics, 89:4 (2009), 347–50; P. J. Buckley and P. N. Ghauri, ‘Globalisation,



economic geography and the strategy of multinational e­nterprises’, Journal of International Business Studies, 35:2 (2004), 81–98. 50 Witness seminar, 18 November 2009. 51 Banfield, Gündüz, and Killick, Local Business, Local Peace. 52 Witness seminar, 10 December 2009. 53 Witness seminar, 18 November 2009. 54 Oliver cited in Ben-Porat, Global Liberalism, p. 249. 55 J. Darby and R. Mac Ginty, ‘Northern Ireland: Long, cold peace’, in J. Darby and R. Mac Ginty (eds), The Management of Peace Processes (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), p. 77. 56 L. Mees, ‘The Basque peace process, nationalism and political violence’, in Darby and Mac Ginty, The Management of Peace Processes, pp. 162, 166. 57 Sweetman, Business, Conflict Resolution, Peace. 58 That said, Banfield, Gündüz, and Killick in Local Business, Local Peace examined the phenomenon of ‘peace entrepreneurship’ and found that business leaders need a moral imperative as well as an economic incentive for contributing to peacebuilding. 59 J. Burton, Conflict: Human Needs Theory (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1993). 60 Quoted in J. Brewer, G. Higgins, and F. Teeney, Religion, Civil Society and Peace in Northern Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), p. 198. 61 J. P. Lederach, Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 1997). 62 J. Montville, ‘The arrow and the olive branch: A case for Track Two Diplomacy’, in J. W. MacDonald, Jr. and D. B. Bendahmane (eds), Conflict Resolution: Track Two Diplomacy (Washington, DC: Foreign Service Institute, 1987), pp. 5–20. 63 J. Darby and R. Mac Ginty, ‘Conclusion: Peace processes, present and future’, in J. Darby and R. Mac Ginty (eds), Contemporary Peacemaking: Conflict, Violence, and Peace Processes (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 257. 64 Burton, Conflict. 65 P. Arthur, ‘Reciprocity and recognition: Exercises in track two diplomacy’, in J. J. Popiolkowski and N. J. Cull (eds), Public Diplomacy, Cultural Interventions & the Peace Process in Northern Ireland: Track Two to Peace? (Los Angeles: Figueroa Press, 2009), p. 25. 66 This is noted several times and by several contributors in Witness seminar, 10 December 2009. 67 Witness seminar, 10 December 2009. 68 The description of the experience proffered by one of those involved was: ‘[W]e have found ourselves doing the shuttle thing between the Order and the Garvaghy Road My wife called it “Jaguar Diplomacy” because we all seemed to own one! And being in the middle … you were suddenly able to appreciate, if not agree with, these very extreme views that actually, I suppose, were characterised by the fear of both sides. And we didn’t solve the problem, but, sure, it will never be solved … But at least we suddenly found ourselves with a better understanding  … There was the business community with unique leadership in charge and able to at least have two sides, two extreme sides of the community talking to each other, albeit sort of through the central voice.’ Witness seminar, 18 November 2009. 69 Witness seminar, 10 December 2009. 70 See N. Ó Dochartaigh, ‘The role of an intermediary in back-channel negotiation: The evidence from the Brendan Duddy papers’, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, 4:3



(2011), 214–25; N. Ó Dochartaigh, ‘“The Contact”: Understanding a communication channel between the British government and the IRA’, in J. J. Popiolkowski and N. J. Cull (eds), Public Diplomacy, Cultural Interventions & the Peace Process in Northern Ireland: Track Two to Peace? (Los Angeles: Figueroa Press, 2009). 71 J. Whyte, ‘How much discrimination was there under the unionist regime, 1921–1968’, in T. Gallagher and J. O’Connell (eds), Contemporary Irish Studies (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1983). 72 Ibid. 73 J. Nelson, The Business of Peace: The Private Sector as a Partner in Conflict Prevention and Resolution (London: International Alert/ International Business Leaders Forum/ Council on Economic Priorities, 2000). 74 Fort and Schipani, The Role of Business. 75 G. Spreitzer, ‘Giving peace a chance: Organizational leadership, empowerment, and peace’, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 28:8 (2007), 1077–95; T.  M. Dworkin and C. A. Schipani, ‘Linking gender equity to peaceful societies’, American Business Law Journal, 44:2 (2007), 391–415. 76 N. D. Bishara and C. A. Schipani, ‘Complementary alternative benefits to promote peace’, Journal of Business Ethics, 89:4 (2009), 539–57. 77 J. E. Katsos and J. Forrer, ‘Business practices and peace in post-conflict zones: Lessons from Cyprus’, Business Ethics: A European Review, 23:2 (2014), 154–68. 78 C. McCall and L. O’Dowd, ‘Escaping the cage of ethno-national conflict in Northern Ireland? The importance of transnational networks’, Ethnopolitics, 7:1 (2008), 81–99. 79 J. Shankleman, Oil, Profits, and Peace: Does Business have a Role in Peacemaking? (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2006), p. 60. 80 Available at (accessed 6 November 2015). 81 Oetzel et al., ‘Business and peace’. 82 Wenger and Möckli, Conflict Prevention. 83 Oetzel et al., ‘Business and peace’. 84 Tony Kennedy, conversation with author, 8 October 2015. 85 The entry for Henderson in the Dictionary of Ulster Biography notes: ‘O’Regan was as keen to involve Henderson as the latter was keen to be involved, and, aided by business and personal connections on both sides of the Irish border as well as in the United States (including having a house in Florida) he worked assiduously at fundraising in America, this usually involving “working” wealthy businessmen, which he did with a good deal of success. He was made Vice-Chairman of Co-operation Ireland, a post created especially for him’. Available at www.newulsterbiography. (accessed 6 November 2015). 86 Witness seminar, 10 December 2009. 87 A point made by several in the Business roundtable, 13 August 2015. 88 Business roundtable, 13 August 2015. 89 J. Defourny, L. Hulgådrd, and V. Pestoff, Social Enterprise and the Third Sector: Changing European Landscapes in a Comparative Perspective (London: Routledge, 2014). 90 B. Gidron and Y. Hasenfeld, Social Enterprises: An Organizational Perspective (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). 91 Bryson Charitable Group Annual Review, 2013-14 (Belfast: Bryson, 2014), p. 14. Available at Review%202013%20-%202014.pdf (accessed 6 November 2015).



92 A. Grove and G. A. Berg, Social Business: Theory, Practice, and Critical Perspectives (Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 2014). 93 M. Yunus (with K. Weber), Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs (New York: Public Affairs, 2011). 94 Hayward and Magennis, ‘The business of building peace’. 95 See, for example, the UN Global Compact, ‘Advance peace while ensuring long-term business success’. Available at governance/peace/background (accessed 6 November 2015) and the UN Private Sector Forum of 2015, ‘With a view to ushering in a new era of enhanced collaboration between the UN and the private sector’. Available at pdf (accessed 6 November 2015). 96 The assumption of the rightness of the businesses’ own cost–benefit analysis, the ‘spillover’ benefits of economic expansion, plus the role to be played by heavily invested ‘corporate social responsibility’, is coming to outweigh clear assessment of the long-term consequences of this privatisation of post-war reconstruction and aid. One major criticism of the ‘Business for Peace’ model is that it reflects the inequity of the global liberal system and strengthens the position of the most powerful states through multi-national corporations. See J. Miklian, ‘The past, present and future of the “Liberal Peace”’, Strategic Analysis, 38:4 (2014), 493–507.


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 the risk of being self-defeating.’1 Moreover, successful conflict transformation requires the meaningful involvement of those directly affected by it if peace is to be sustained over the long term, which is achievable internally by engaging grassroots actors.2 Yet specific support efforts maintained over the long term are rarely considered by governments in their efforts to transform violent societies, largely because of their short-term political thinking and difficulty in understanding ‘the importance of sustaining such programmes over the necessary longer term’.3 However, such efforts exist and are viable. In the Northern Ireland context, a number of external funding support programmes have concentrated their efforts on supporting the peace process since the mid 1980s through social and economic development, under the guise of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and the EU Peace Programmes (Peace I, II, and III), having contributed billions of euros to the region’s conflict t­ ransformation process. These programmes provide a case study for assessing the efforts of external funding of peace processes as they prompted previously unforeseen levels of citizen empowerment and local ownership of the Northern Ireland peace process by reaching over 800,000 participants through the Peace I Programme and supporting the creation of more than 55,000 jobs through the IFI, for example. They have assisted in sustaining the peace process during its most challenging periods. This chapter examines the significance of their work by theoretically contextualising the role of social and economic development in transforming conflict, providing some background information on the organisational makeup and work of the two programmes, exploring some of their impact on the transformation process, and developing and integrating vertical



and horizontal capacity through the involvement of all levels of society, before offering some lessons. The role of social and economic development in transforming conflict Conflict transformation is influenced by Galtung’s understanding of three separate and dynamic but interrelated forms of violence. ‘[M]uch direct violence can be traced back to vertical structural violence, such as exploitation and ­repression … [while] in the background is cultural violence legitimising both the structural violence and direct violence to undo it and to maintain it.’4 Conflict can therefore be viewed as the result of unequal and oppressive political and social structures. Building peace means seeking constructive and sustainable social and economic change over the long term. Lederach asserts that ‘building peace in today’s conflicts calls for long-term commitment to establishing an infrastructure across all levels of a society … that empowers the resources for reconciliation from within that society and maximises the contribution from outside’.5 This requires the development and integration of vertical and horizontal capacity, illustrated by Lederach’s peacebuilding pyramid.6 The work of the IFI, for example, ‘brought thousands of Protestants and Catholics into working relationships within communities in NI, and between NI and the Republic of Ireland’.7 The IFI and the Peace Programmes adopted strategically multi-level and multi-­ sectoral approaches which, while supported by outsiders, focused their efforts at the grassroots. This strategic approach proved a driving force in the region’s transformation efforts because, as Galtung notes, ‘the most naïve view one can possibly have of a conflict is to believe that a conflict is solved once the elites from the parties of the conflict transformation have accepted the solution, as indicated by their signatures on some document outlining the new formation’.8 If the understanding of an end goal for conflict transformation is required, it can be proffered through the idea of ‘a just peace, a dynamic state of affairs in which the reduction and management of violence and the achievement of social and economic justice are understood as mutual, reinforcing dimensions of constructive change’.9 In the Northern Ireland context, while a political framework in the form of the Good Friday Agreement was put in place by the two governments with support from all levels of society, this constituted ‘a particular institutionalisation of three sets of relationships within a constitutional agreement’10 and as such represented only a small component of the conflict transformation process. Indeed, Smith’s ‘peacebuilding palette’ includes four strands of which a political framework is only one strand. The other three are security, reconciliation and justice, and socio-economic foundations.11 The IFI and EU Peace Programmes contributed to the socio-economic change ­necessary for long-term peace in Northern Ireland. Lederach observes ‘there are significant gaps in our capacity to build and sustain peace initiatives … [T]he gaps emerge from a reductionism focused on techniques driven by a need to find quick fixes and solutions to complex,



long-term problems rather than a systemic understanding of peace-building as a process-structure.’12 In terms of Northern Ireland, many of the solutions to the conflict ended in failure, in part due to top-heavy concentrations on the political. Once an agreement was reached, the conflict was viewed as having been solved, when in fact the (political) agreement was only opening the door to a whole new process. The work of the IFI and the Peace Programmes has allowed those most affected by conflict to have a say in designing and implementing local peace programmes, ensuring ownership of the process and a vested interest in its sustainability and success. International Fund for Ireland Background and funding The International Fund for Ireland came into existence on 12 December 1986 following the signing of the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). Article 10(a) of this Agreement stated that ‘the two governments shall co-operate to promote the economic and social development of those areas of both parts of Ireland which have suffered from the consequences of the instability of recent years, and shall consider the possibility of securing international support for this work’.13 This was one of the first formal recognitions of a role for social and economic development in finding an alternative to the conflict, as its twin objectives were ‘to promote economic and social advance [and] to encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between Nationalists and Unionists throughout Ireland’.14 The United States, the EU, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have contributed €898 million/£714 million to IFI as of September 2015,15 with its total cumulative funding provision being considerably higher. As of September 2005 ‘the Fund has been able to lever further support from the public, private and voluntary sectors on a ratio of more than 1:2, producing a total investment of more than £1.5bn (€2.25bn)’.16 In the intervening years, a further €75 million has been raised from public/private/voluntary sources, increasing its total funding provision considerably. Management structures The IFI has a complex multi-layered management structure, one that has been important to ensure its work is carried out on a transformative cross-border basis. The Irish and British governments jointly appoint a Chairman and a six-member Board which oversees the direction and operation of the Fund. The Board is representative of the communities on both sides of the Border, with meetings alternating North and South. The coordination and administration of the Fund’s work, however, is carried out by a Secretariat based in Dublin and Belfast and made up of civil servants from the British and Irish administrations and led by two joint Directors-General. The Board is assisted by an Advisory Committee of officials, appointed by and representative of the Irish and British



governments, which meets prior to Board meetings to advise the Board on projects and other issues. The Advisory Committee’s Joint Chairmen or their deputies then attend Board meetings. The Fund’s programmes are administered by a joint Programme Team, which brings together relevant expertise from government departments and specialist agencies, North and South, who act as administering agents for the IFI, under the direction of Designated Board Members (DBMs). In addition, the IFI put in place a team of ten locally based Development Consultants to liaise with local communities in identifying suitable projects and in formulating proposals. Those appointed by the two governments and particularly the Board itself are independent of the governments. Hence, each donor country provides an observer at each of the Board’s meetings to independently observe its work. Programme activities The IFI’s activities have altered and adapted over the years as the changing circumstances of the region’s peace process necessitated. During its early years, the Fund’s main priority was the economic development of disadvantaged areas. However, it began to increase activities aimed at building community capacities when it restructured its programmes in 1995 to include an overall programme on Communities Initiatives. This saw the introduction of the Communities in Action programme and the Building Bridges programme (replacing the Community Relations programme, focused on reconciliation and conflict resolution) alongside a Community Leadership (training) programme. Further restructuring in 1999 saw all its programmes placed under three strands: Regeneration of Deprived Areas, Community Capacity Building, and Economic Development. In 2006, in recognition of the changing political, economic, and social context, the Fund restructured its activities under four broad headings: Strategic Framework for Action 2006–2010: Building Foundations; Building Bridges; Integrating; and Leaving a Legacy. These were launched through its five-year exit strategy ‘Sharing this Space’, as it wanted to tackle sectarianism and segregation. Despite the launch of this exit strategy, the Fund has continued to operate on a reduced and continuously diminishing scale. Since 2012 under its ‘Strategic Framework for Action 2012–2015’, the Fund has concentrated its efforts on its Community Transformation Strategy, focusing primarily on its Peace Walls Programme, Peace Impact Programme, and to a lesser extent Completion and Sustainability17 and now Consolidation through its 2016–20 strategy.18 EU Peace Programmes outlined Background, funding, and activities Following the 1994 paramilitary ceasefires, the European Commission, in seeking to provide practical assistance to the region’s fledgling peace process,



provided €500 million, along with €167 million from both governments, to create the EU Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (Peace I, 1995–99). Its funding was divided between Northern Ireland and the Border Counties (80/20%).19 The programme’s strategic aim was ‘to reinforce progress towards a peaceful and stable society and to promote reconciliation by increasing economic development and employment, promoting urban and rural regeneration, developing cross-border cooperation and extending social inclusion’.20 The Programme’s priorities included supporting employment, urban and rural regeneration, cross-border development, social inclusion, productive investment and industrial development, and district partnerships (in Northern Ireland only).21 Peace II was essentially a continuation of Peace I, from 2000–04, providing a further €835 million. In February 2005, a two-year extension was announced to the end of 2006, providing a further €160 million. Its rationale was based on ‘the continuing overwhelming need to maintain the momentum for peace. In particular, the prevailing economic and social needs of the region identified by the ex-ante appraisal.’22 Its strategic aim, ‘to reinforce progress towards a peaceful and stable society and to promote reconciliation’,23 echoed that of Peace I. However, its two strategic objectives, ‘addressing the legacy of the conflict [and] taking opportunities arising from peace’,24 were more finely tuned than previously. It also contained a number of priorities through which the aims and objectives would be achieved, namely economic renewal, social integration, inclusion and reconciliation, locally-based regeneration and development, outward and forward-looking region development, and cross-border cooperation.25 Peace III officially ran from 2007–13 (with some activity continuing into 2014) with €333 million, maintaining the strategic aim of Peace II and focusing on two strategic priorities: reconciling communities and contributing to a shared society.26 Peace IV (2014–20) with €270 million, called for applications in March 2016 (with projects expected to begin at the end of 2016 or in 2017). Management structures The Peace Programmes had highly complicated management structures: the priorities and sub-measures of Peace I were delivered through a complex mix of centralised government departments, (decentralised) Intermediary Funding Bodies (IFBs), and newly established local delivery mechanisms in the form of District Partnerships in NI and County Council-Led Task Forces (CCLTFs) in the Border Counties, with sixty-four separate implementing bodies in total involved. Adding to the complexity, some priorities were shared between multiple agencies. Nevertheless, the delivery structures increased considerably the level of devolved responsibilities. While the programme was jointly managed by the Dublin and Belfast Departments of Finance, it was instrumental in pioneering the use of IFBs on a large scale on both sides of the Border. These were bodies, independent of the state, who were invited to take on the



role of ­delivering certain priorities and/or their sub-measures depending on their area of expertise, such as childcare, youth work, community relations/­ development, rural development, and combating poverty. A further (local) delivery mechanism was the District Partnership which emerged as a specific priority for Northern Ireland only under Peace I. These new partnership structures were set up in each of the twenty-six District Council areas, consisting of one-third each elected Council members, ­community/­voluntary sector representatives, and trade union and business representatives. Each received funding according to their area’s population and relative deprivation. They were responsible for developing an action plan (including a reconciliation strategy) to meet identified needs in their areas with four themes to be prioritised, those of social inclusion (almost 50%), urban and rural regeneration, productive investment, and employment. These plans were submitted for approval to the independent NI Partnership Board. In the Border Counties, six CCLTFs were set up to undertake a similar local delivery role, although they were only responsible for administering 10.6% of the programme. In addition, projects were required to set up management committees to manage finances, administration, and staff locally. These management committees were required to be representative of the local communities that generated the project application. This feature continued with Peace II. A number of changes were made to the delivery structures for Peace II. In terms of complexity, the huge number of agencies involved in programme delivery continued. The use of IFBs continued. The biggest change came with the addition of another (centralised) management layer in the form of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) as the programme’s overall managing authority, which took over from the Departments of Finance. SEUPB was set up under Strand Two of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement as one of the six North/South Implementation Bodies to manage certain EU Structural Funds along with responsibility for implementing the Common Chapter.27 SEUPB also chaired the programme’s supervisory Monitoring Committee. Moreover, the District Partnerships, which previously had an equal tripartite membership under Peace I, became bipartite, consisting of local government and the main local-level statutory agencies and the social partners. This increase in the role of the District Councils emanated from the newly established Assembly and the local authorities. The NI Partnership Board, which oversaw the work of the District Partnerships under Peace I, was replaced by the Regional Partnership Board. In the Border Counties, the six CCLTFs became sub-committees of the County Development Boards, their work now overseen by the Border Regional Authority. Under Peace III, the management structures were further centralised: SEUPB continued as the Managing Authority as well as the Joint Technical Secretariat, Corporate Services, and chair of the Monitoring Committee. A Steering Committee was set up to select cross-border projects. Only one other IFB was appointed to implement the theme ‘acknowledging and dealing with the past’, Border Action in the Republic of Ireland and the Northern



Ireland Community Relations Council. The CCLTFs in the Border Counties became known as Peace Partnerships, located within the County Councils and retaining a much greater role in terms of responsibility for programme implementation. Taking a long-term approach When the IFI was initially established, a long-term approach to peacebuilding was not taken. However, based on pressure from the bottom, a longer term approach rapidly emerged.28 Consequently, one of the Fund’s key strengths has become its commitment to the peace process on a long-term basis, a cornerstone strategy of successful conflict transformation. One independent assessment noted the Fund’s ‘unique ability to build long term relationships with organisations at local level in disadvantaged areas’ and ‘the flexibility which the Fund’s independent Board provides … by the avoidance of excessive bureaucracy’.29 The Fund’s emphasis on local inputs differentiates it from alternative funding mechanisms, such as a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) programme that might have been an alternative means of funding peacebuilding in Northern Ireland. The Fund’s long-term focus has not been undermined by a need to achieve rapid successes. Donors ‘have been quite understanding about the long-term dimension of the work’.30 Despite dependency on the United States as its largest donor,31 the IFI has benefitted from continuous donor funding; despite receiving its funding on a short-term basis, its operations were never negatively affected by this.32 Since the IFI’s programmes have limited terms, one can question whether the Fund has really taken a long-term view of the transformation process. This is not how those on the inside view it. Rather, ‘the overall approach of the Fund has been a very long-term thing but there are … from time to time, different needs, and the Fund is transitioning with less emphasis on economic things now to more people-orientated things’33 – towards community transformation rather than conflict management, concentrating on reconciliation. This flexibility is another key feature of the long-term nature of the Fund’s work. ‘[I]t is inherently a much more flexible outfit than either EU programmes as a whole or government because … you have an independent Board that … can do anything it likes with donor money provided it doesn’t give it to paramilitaries.’34 Moreover, as the IFI was not dependent on EU Structural Funds with its strict expenditure rules, it could take up projects on an ongoing basis, leaving it better placed than the Peace Programmes to address the long-term requirements for successful transformation. Such flexibility has meant that ‘where there is weak infrastructure [with] no background or experience of seeing a project through, we’ve stuck with that through thick and thin and we’ve taken … unmerited and unwarranted criticism for doing that’.35 In contrast, the long-term approach of the Peace Programmes, while theoretically existing, has been problematic due to the stop/start nature of the programmes. The worst of this could be seen with the long and confusing



period between the end of Peace I in 1999 and the effective commencement of Peace II (2000–04) in 2002, and to a lesser extent in moving from Peace III (2007–14) to Peace IV (2014–20) which has only just called for applications in March 2016. Although some organisations did receive gap funding, it was far from a smooth process, not least because any gains made under Peace I were lost and many groups were threatened with closure as they had become largely or wholly dependent on Peace funding. The difficulties included high staff turnover; loss of expertise, experience and knowledge; deviation from the purpose of the project; and organisational insecurity. In addition, the transition between the two programmes was characterised by discontinuity with changes among many of the personnel on the European and governmental side. The House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee articulately summarised the effect: ‘It would appear that little attention was paid to the importance to the overall success of the Peace Programme of managing the gap as Peace I and Peace II themselves were, and are, managed.’36 This requires consideration of the long-term sustainability of projects and organisations funded by such external supports, as this is central to any transformation process. Research has highlighted how ‘local initiatives had made a significantly higher impact where the project had run from Peace I through to Peace II’.37 If project sustainability is not possible, then successful transformation becomes questionable. However, while a number of Peace II projects became sustainable by virtue of the fact that they were mainstreamed, many simply did not continue. While many grassroots actors accepted that ‘some of the best and most needed projects are not sustainable’,38 attempts, particularly by IFBs, to get those at the top to accept this were not so easy because ‘there isn’t that mainstream budget line, there isn’t an acknowledgement for the need for specific peacebuilding work … [P]eople will want to categorise it in what they know, rather than in something new.’39 Government did not recognise that ‘community development and innovations by its very nature is not self-sustaining … you don’t make a programme sustainable in three, four, five years. You have to be in it for the long haul.’40 Despite these issues, most involved in the Peace Programmes recognised the long-term nature of the work as ‘the key lessons learned from the many excellent schemes is that peacebuilding is a slow and long-term process. It is critically important t­ herefore, to continue this work to make real and lasting progress.’41 Impacts of developing and integrating vertical and horizontal capacity In examining the impact of the IFI in developing and integrating vertical and horizontal capacity, one source of such involvement is consultations on the conceptualisation and establishment of such programmes. Unfortunately, very little consultation took place prior to setting up the IFI ‘because they were different days to now, where the political [and] the terrorist situation was very, very difficult’.42 This lack of consultation was clear from the sustained h ­ ostility



and criticism the Fund received from the unionist community, who firmly believed it was an attempt to bribe their acceptance of the AIA (Anglo-Irish Agreement), bluntly stating on more than one occasion that ‘US blood money is not wanted in Ulster’.43 Even if the governments had wanted to consult those on the ground, it would have been quite difficult for them to do so. Hence, they utilised development consultants ‘to go to places where central government wouldn’t go’44 or, more likely, could not go. Charged from the beginning with consulting communities on support design and implementation, their utilisation ensured the Fund did not abandon the consultation process altogether and created the necessary link between the grassroots, middle, and top levels of Lederach’s peacebuilding pyramid, therefore enabling the development and integration of vertical and horizontal capacity. Despite this lack of formal consultation in the early days, the Fund managed to work with communities at all levels, including ‘the communities [with] no real social infrastructure’.45 In so doing it ‘did a lot more than it was ever given credit for’.46 While it was fiercely criticised by the unionist community initially, it also faced opposition from the republican community. Nevertheless, the Fund enabled the empowerment of those at the grassroots ‘to be able to stand on their own two feet and to articulate their case, to seek the resources for their communities that wasn’t being delivered by central government’47 and those in the middle by ‘giving people a stake in their own community … [and] … the means to create … shared spaces in their own local areas’.48 This development and integration of capacity in the region has worked on a number of levels. While the impact of the Fund’s Wider Horizons training programme on unemployed young people49 has often been cited as an example of horizontal capacity development at the civil society level, along with the ‘tremendous opportunities created through the IFI for folk to come together … in … community economic regeneration’,50 its vertical capacity development and integration efforts should not be underestimated. This has been achieved through the use of various government departments, North and South, working together to administer IFI monies and deliver its programmes, giving civil servants ‘a reason for working together’.51 When one considers that the IFI was a top-down rather than a bottom-up creation, the extent of the IFI’s role in this empowerment process is clear, in contrast to the Border Counties where clientelism played a very important role because people engaged with their politicians and thus engaged with government.52 However, for many years in Northern Ireland those at the grassroots had no relationship with their political representatives. ‘[T]hey didn’t have to … [T]he paramilitary organisations were the real holders down of their communities for a really long time … [I]f you wanted something done that’s who you went to, but the price was that you engaged [with them].’53 This lack of engagement with political representatives left people bereft of any empowerment. This also extended to the top levels, to the extent that even today there is not ‘a complete understanding of what parliamentary or representative democracy is about … [C]ivil servants in the North find it very difficult to deal with political representation … but organisations like the Fund have caused them



to have to grapple with it.’54 As the Fund sees it, if good community leaders are developed, they have the confidence to influence government. ‘[P]olitics is still a dependency relationship and … the Fund has addressed that dependency relationship to make it more of a collaborative partnership relationship.’55 The Peace Programmes were instrumental in targeting the local and taking account of local variations, thereby helping to facilitate peace beyond the elite level. At its most basic, Peace I projects were widely dispersed geographically. Funding was granted for approximately 96% of 566 Census wards containing 97% of the population in Northern Ireland.56 Moreover, more than 20% of projects involved marginalised groups and local communities in the development and management of projects,57 a central component of social inclusion practice. The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, for example, estimated that ‘over 10,000 people across NI were involved in the Management Committees of the projects that were in direct receipt of funding under the Peace I Measures administered by the Foundation as only one of a number of Intermediary Funding Bodies’.58 The other tangible format of dispersal and involvement has been that of the Peace I District Partnerships, allowing for the involvement of representatives from all three levels of Lederach’s peacebuilding pyramid who otherwise might never have met, including many who had quite simply never been formally part of local decision-making processes. While the District Partnerships continued as Local Strategy Partnerships (LSPs) under Peace II, the previously attained widespread geographical coverage was not as extensive, due in part to the noticeable absence of the European Commission, who had pushed for this under Peace I.59 The more centralised management structures of SEUPB and the influence of the newly established Assembly, eager to push its economic agenda, also influenced this. Nevertheless, the use of such delivery mechanisms for the programmes ensured the provision of locally-based ­decision-making which brought about and reinforced the bottom-up approach through the close involvement of local communities. Despite this progress, the overall development and integration of vertical and horizontal capacity is not quite as clear cut. Certainly the programmes enabled this horizontally at both the grassroots level, through projects and community/voluntary participation, and the middle level, with ‘good links between decision making bodies … the semi-states … the civil service and … a lot of understanding and offers of ways of working and even structures’.60 It has also enabled vertical capacity integration between these two levels with ‘a lot of understanding and inter-linking between the middle tier and the bottom tier’.61 While the programmes made genuine attempts to reach the most disadvantaged, certainly in principle, the reality was difficult; Peace I ensured that ‘the opportunity was there to be involved [but] in some communities there was more capacity to do that’,62 and this proved to be one of the biggest challenges the programmes had to face.63 It was questionable whether the most disadvantaged could actually manage project funding or the audit and administrative requirements Peace demanded. This lack of capacity, while evident for years,



was certainly not helped by those at the top: ‘when the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed … the Catholic community was well on its way to community development … [which] in the Protestant side was non-existent … Mr Paisley and his party very often tell you that Protestants didn’t get their fair share of the money. It wasn’t to do with getting a fair share of the money, there was no capacity to use it.’64 Moreover, despite the success of the District Partnerships, many at the grassroots believed ‘politicians have contributed least to peacebuilding’.65 Public consultations on the Peace II extension in 2004 and public discussions on the Peace III Programme in 2006 revealed simmering grassroots anger at central government. Participants believed that one of the major weaknesses of Peace II was that government departments were allowed to administer 45% of the funding, which ‘shouldn’t be allowed to continue; central government getting money to build roads is wrong. It is essential that community-based peacebuilding is the core for going forward.’66 This view was also shared, to an extent, by some IFB staff in terms of the CCLTFs who also had responsibility for administering Peace I and II funding. This has continued under Peace III, particularly in the Border Counties, where the role of statutory agencies such as the CCLTFs (known as Peace Partnerships under Peace III) and SEUPB, was increased to deliver and implement the programme. There was clearly more grassroots support for decentralised local delivery mechanisms than for central government, which was essentially seen as ‘reinforcing the situation as was; because of their long history of neglect they should not reinforce a system that did not work well for us’.67 While this implies an inherent danger in trying to transform a society that disengages from government, many within civil society felt that balance was needed but that the right level did not exist as ‘leaving the burden of peace and reconciliation to those with the least resources allows large state institutions off the hook’.68 However, in analysing the success of the first programme at the top (political) level, Northern Ireland’s three Members of the European Parliament were of the generous opinion that ‘its contribution to the political process can be measured, above all, by the fact that all elected representatives across the entire spectrum of the political parties support it; are participating in it; and unanimously and unequivocally wish to see it continue’.69 Yet for many practitioners, top-level involvement has been questionable. ‘[T]o some extent they devise the programmes and they sign off on the programmes but to what extent they’re actually involved in receiving of the programmes … is limited.’70 Nevertheless, the mid-term evaluation for Peace II, for example, concluded that it was evident that it played a vital role in supporting transformation activities and strategies: ‘In the absence of such a programme the responsibility of building peace and advancing reconciliation would be consigned primarily to the politicians and civil servants with no involvement of civil society, and potentially no interaction with the wider community. Peace II has made it possible for the community, the social partners and the general public to become actively engaged in the search for an agreed and peaceful community.’71



Lessons for sharing There is still a lack of understanding about supporting peace (externally) over the long term, the role social and economic development can play in such support, and ‘a perceptible weakness in theoretical knowledge about the precise links between economic development, social inclusion and reconciliation’.72 Nevertheless, a number of lessons can be shared from these two particular external support programmes.73 In the case of the IFI, its management structures have been pivotal. Its unique set up – whereby it has an independent Board that cannot be dictated to by government, with funding that has been channelled independently, and with the flexibility to draw up its own programmes and implementation timescales has been crucial in carrying out its work in a neutral manner, thus giving ‘a community in its own right, a negotiating position … on its own behalf’.74 These structures allowed it to connect stakeholders at all levels of society. Additionally, its work was project- rather than funding-led, adapting when necessary to meet the ever changing needs of grassroots communities as the peace process itself changed. Because of this, a key feature of its work has been its ‘first money on the table’ or leverage role; by placing its trust in communities to be able to manage substantial amounts of money for the first time, it made them less dependent on central government and gave them ‘the freedom to respond to what we need rather than what ­government thinks we need’.75 Another key feature of the IFI was the weight given to horizontal and vertical relationship building. The Fund initially concentrated more on the horizontal at the grassroots and middle levels during the conflict, with the vertical gaining more value in the post-Agreement phase. At the end of his sixteen-year chairmanship in 2005, William McCarter argued that ‘the Fund has been a catalyst for a lot of activity … it has brought a lot of people from both communities together in working relationships that has helped to create a much more stable society at local level and hopefully at national level’.76 This increased development of vertical relationships, particularly at the top, played out in the joint management and delivery of programmes and influenced government thinking.77 Importantly, the IFI and indeed its donors recognised the absolute necessity of a long-term commitment to conflict transformation work if it was to have any impact. They learned ‘that it’s really not enough to offer short school exchanges over a short period of time; you need a sustained programme, one that goes on for several months for the participants but one also that goes on for decades in terms of making a real impact on attitudes’.78 Nevertheless, the IFI began working towards an exit strategy in 2006 as it was pragmatic enough to recognise that ‘the Fund was never conceived as a permanent funding mechanism and that present levels of international support cannot be maintained indefinitely’.79 This has seen the Fund progress towards consolidation and completion of its previous social- and economic-centred programmes and work towards leaving a legacy through its community transformation



programmes in the form of its Peace Walls and Peace Impact Programmes. As the Fund sees it, ‘during uncertain times for the Peace Process, we are delivering the difficult but essential interventions that other funders and government bodies simply cannot undertake’.80 The Peace Programmes provided those at all levels of society, but particularly those at the grassroots, with an opportunity for meaningful involvement in the transformation of Northern Ireland. Peace I received more than 31,000 applications, funding over 48% of them, while Peace II received over 12,000 applications, approving over 6,000 for funding. By supporting the involvement of Track Three actors in the transformation process, through the use of social and economic development, the Peace Programmes have been critical in opening up the debate on conflict transformation to a much wider audience. Consequently, they have ensured the development and integration of the vertical and horizontal capacity of all levels of society in the transformation process, thereby enabling citizen empowerment. Subsequently, this approach assisted in the sustainment of the peace process during its darkest political periods. Peace I, for example, went some way towards meeting the democratic deficit as work continued, maintaining the involvement of all political parties, including those who did not attend the 1996 constitutional talks. A number of features ensured Peace I and II facilitated grassroots actors in the transformation process: extensive consultation processes at the design stage, a social inclusion agenda, and the use of decentralised local delivery mechanisms.81 These demonstrated that ‘the European Union was making a wider commitment to engaging all of the key social and political partners in peacebuilding and a broader commitment to building new partnership-based models of stakeholding and participation’.82 They illustrated that consulting widely (at all levels) at the design stage is crucial for successful implementation and consequently the overall transformation process. Critically, they highlighted how a two-way dialogue needs to be taken. While its management structures were highly complex, they played a key role in the success of this funding support programme. Peace I and II were instrumental in pioneering the use of IFBs and local delivery mechanisms. These were unique and hugely successful, particularly the District Partnerships in Northern Ireland because of their innovative membership structure, their terms of reference, and their effectiveness with respect to expenditure rates equalling government departments. These were landmark developments in funding implementation as they facilitated a bottom-up approach despite complex bureaucratic requirements. Harvey et al. noted how they did ‘much to underpin the peace process by providing close co-operation between civil society organisations and political leaders at the local level’.83 They provided genuinely bottom-up involvement in the programme delivery which presaged the key component of partnership included in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The strengths of IFBs in conflict transformation terms far outweighed weaknesses, largely measured in administrative terms. Simply put, Peace I ‘could not have been delivered without the additional capacity [they] represented’.84



Certainly their use of decentralised and local delivery mechanisms was crucial to allowing a grassroots-led approach to transformation such that local ownership of the process was acquired and progress and success ensured. However, the complexity of the delivery structures put in place, in comparison to those of the IFI, need to be minimised. This requires reducing the barriers to participation. The Peace Programmes have undoubtedly empowered those living at the grassroots level of society. They allowed people ‘to look … at the effects and causes of the conflict in their immediate area or with their lives’.85 Conclusion This chapter has assessed the work of the International Fund for Ireland and the Peace Programmes on the conflict transformation process in Northern Ireland through social and economic development and developing and integrating vertical and horizontal capacity, particularly with grassroots actors. This analysis was theoretically contextualised by the work of Galtung and Lederach’s peacebuilding pyramid. The value of the external aid programmes has been considerable. In the case of the International Fund for Ireland, international donors and their observers ensured independence, accountability, and transparency, while its work ensured ‘the support and encouragement from our donors [that] has enabled the Fund to underpin the Peace Process and assist the British and Irish governments in their efforts to deliver a lasting peace on the island of Ireland’.86 In the case of the Peace Programmes, principally Peace I, ‘the influence of the EU was particularly important in terms of programme design (widespread consultations), implementation (decentralised delivery mechanisms) and activity type (social inclusion agenda). Moreover, bottom-up co-operative partnership arrangements and increased involvement of civil society were fundamental values it wanted to promote.’87 However, the normalisation of politics in Northern Ireland requires the transformation process as a whole, including social and economic development, to take centre stage if it is to succeed. This has been recognised by these external actors, as social and economic development are at their core, suggesting deprivation, poverty, and social exclusion are viewed by the IFI’s international donors and (perhaps reluctantly) the Irish and British governments as part of the conflict’s legacy. Moreover, government thinking has also reflected this in the 2006 Comprehensive Study on the All-Island Economy and the Ireland National Development Plan 2007–2013, which included for the first time a chapter on the all-island economy. In February 2014, the first ever joint Irish, UK, and Northern Ireland trade mission went to South East Asia. Despite this coordinated effort to maximise growth for Northern Ireland through trade, Gorecki warns that ‘public policy should be concerned with more than [just] maximising the growth of the economy as measured by GDP … [T]he social dimension is [also] crucial if a region is to be considered a success.’88 The economic growth that Northern Ireland needs must be focused on alleviating the poverty that foments disillusionment and alienation, the sources of the



continuing threat of loyalist and dissident republican violence. The security threat from paramilitaries is significant and remains severe compared to the rest of the UK.89 The peace process has teetered on the brink of collapse for over two years, even with the Stormont House Agreement in December 2014. The Ulster Unionist Party’s (UUP’s) decision to leave the Executive on 29 August 2015 and the resignation of Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) ministers on 10 September 2015 illustrated the continuing fragility of Northern Ireland’s peace.90 In 2006 the IFI noted its indefinite status.91 Following sharp reductions in EU structural funds assistance from 2007, the final effects of which will not be understood for decades, there is a real danger that apathy will set in after twenty years of ‘peace’ and that less effort will be put into supporting the peace process which is still very much required; the Community Relations Council argued on 9 October 2014 that ‘the lack of funding and the lack of urgency to support reconciliation work, is threatening the community infrastructure that will make reconciliation real within and between communities now and in years to come … [T]here needs to be proper, robust and effective regional, strategic co-ordination at an arm’s length from government.’92 External funding supports, including those focusing on social and economic development, are essential for supporting such reconciliation within any peace process in the international context. As Farrell and Schmitt note, ‘underdeveloped and fragile states are … far more likely to experience a repetitive cycle of conflicts. This underlines the imperative to tackle economic and state underdevelopment in order to enable the vulnerable civilian populations of such states to escape the “conflict trap”.’93 While these particular support programmes and, more generally, programmes like them, are limited in what they can achieve, they are a necessary part of building peace in a post-conflict society. Notes  1 O. Richmond, ‘Conclusion: Strategic peacebuilding beyond liberal peace’, in D. Philpott and G. F. Powers (eds), Strategies of Peace: Transforming Conflict in a Violent World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 361.  2 See, for example, J. P. Lederach and R. S. Appleby, ‘Strategic peacebuilding: An overview’, in D. Philpott and G. F. Powers (eds), Strategies of Peace: Transforming Conflict in a Violent World, pp. 19–44; F. Cochrane, Ending Wars (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008), p. 182; S. Ryan, The Transformation of Violent Intercommunal Conflict (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007); T. Paffenholz, ‘Peacebuilding: A comprehensive learning process’, in L. Reychler and T. Paffenholz (eds), Peacebuilding: A Field Guide (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001), pp. 537–40; J. P. Lederach, Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997).  3 A. Pollak, ‘How does cross-border co-operation contribute to peace building in Ireland?’ in Bordering on Peace? Learning from the Cross-Border Experience of Peace II. Learning from Peace II, Volume 4 (Belfast: Community Relations Council, 2006), p. 28. See also Ryan, The Transformation of Violent Intercommunal Conflict, p. 155.



 4 J. Galtung, Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilisation (Oslo: PRIO International Peace Research Institute, 1996), p. 270.  5 Lederach, Building Peace, p. xvi.  6 Ibid., p. 39.  7 W. McCarter, ‘Economics of peace making: The case of the International Fund for Ireland’, Asia Europe Journal, 6:1 (2008), 94.  8 Galtung, Peace by Peaceful Means, p. 89.  9 Lederach and Appleby, ‘Strategic peacebuilding’, p. 23. 10 L. O Dowd, ‘The future of cross-border co-operation: issues of sustainability’, Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland, 1 (2006), 5. 11 D. Smith, Towards a Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding: Getting their Act Together. Overview Report of the Joint Utstein Study of Peacebuilding (Oslo: Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2004), p. 28. 12 J. P. Lederach, ‘The challenge of the 21st Century. Just peace’, in European Centre for Conflict Prevention (ed.), People Building Peace: 35 Inspiring Stories from Around the World (Utrecht: European Centre for Conflict Prevention, 1999), p. 28. 13 Anglo-Irish Agreement, 1985. Available at aiadoc.htm (accessed 15 August 2015). 14 International Fund for Ireland, International Fund for Ireland Annual Report and Accounts 2015 (Dublin/Belfast: International Fund for Ireland, 2016), p. 8. 15 Ibid. 16 International Fund for Ireland, Annual Report and Accounts 2005 (Dublin/Belfast: International Fund for Ireland, 2006a), p. 5. This is the most recent date for which cumulative funding data has been published. 17 See IFI Annual Reports and Accounts 1989–2015 for information. 18 International Fund for Ireland, Community Consolidation Peace Consolidation. A Strategy for the International Fund for Ireland 2016–2020 (Dublin/Belfast: International Fund for Ireland, nd). 19 €300 million was initially provided for the period from 1997–99 with further funding for the remaining two years subject to a Commission review. Two ­further tranches of €100 million were consequently made available in 1998 and 1999. 20 European Structural Funds, Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties of Ireland 1995–1999 (nd), p. 31. 21 It is not possible within the constraints of this chapter to list all the Peace I sub-measures; see European Structural Funds, Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties of Ireland 1995–1999 (nd), pp. 49–50. 22 EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland 2002–2004, Operational Programme (nd), p. 14. 23 Ibid., p. 30. 24 Ibid., p. 31. 25 Again, it is not possible to list all the Peace II sub-measures; see EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland 2002–2004 Operational Programme (nd), pp. 59–160. 26 Special EU Programmes Body, European Union Programme for Territorial Co-operation, Peace III, EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation 2007–2013, Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland. Operational Programme (Belfast/Omagh/Monaghan: SEUPB, nd), p. 43.



27 A framework for building and developing appropriate and mutually beneficial forms of cooperation including cooperation along the Border Corridor, North/ South within the island of Ireland, and East/West between the island of Ireland and Great Britain, Europe, and internationally. 28 Author interview, 29 March 2005. 29 KPMG Management Consulting, The International Fund for Ireland, Assessment of the Fund’s Impact on Contact, Dialogue and Reconciliation between the Communities and on Employment (Belfast: KPMG, 2001), p. 9. Emphasis in original report. The lack of excessive bureaucracy referred to was in stark contrast to that of the EU Peace II Programme, for example. 30 Author interview, 13 July 2006. 31 See, for example, C. O’Clery, ‘Bush to look for cut in fund for Ireland’, The Irish Times (12 March 2003). 32 Author interview, 29 March 2005. 33 Author interview, 15 February 2005. 34 Ibid. 35 Author interview, 15 August 2006. 36 House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Peace II. Seventh Report of Session 2002–03 Volume 1. (London: The Stationery Office Ltd., 2003), pp. 23–4. 37 S. Pettis, ‘Round table reflections: Highlighting the key issues’, in Community Relations Council (ed.), Shaping and Delivering Peace at Local Level? Learning from the Experience of Peace II. Learning from Peace II, Volume 3 (Belfast: Community Relations Council, 2005), p. 34. 38 Participant comment at an SEUPB ‘Peace II Extension 2005 to 2006 Consultation’, Derry, 7 September 2004. 39 Author interview, 21 July 2005. 40 Author interview, 6 January 2005. 41 H. Johnston, ‘Peace process needs to focus on poverty and inequality’, The Irish Times (1 September 2004). 42 Author interview, 15 February 2005. 43 News Letter (8 March 1996) and (8 May 1986). 44 Author interview, 29 March 2005. 45 Author interview, 13 July 2006. 46 Author interview, 15 February 2005. 47 Author interview, 13 January 2005. 48 Author interview, 15 August 2006. 49 This programme brought together unemployed young people from North and South of the Border (one-third Protestants and one-third Catholics from the North and one-third from the Republic), to participate together in training and work experience while also working on mutual understanding and reconciliation issues. 50 Author interview, 15 August 2006. 51 Ibid. 52 The exchange of goods and services in return for political support. 53 Author interview, 29 March 2005. 54 Ibid. 55 Ibid. 56 PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ex-Post Evaluation of Peace I and Mid-term Evaluation of Peace II. Final Report (Belfast: Special EU Programmes Body, 2003), p. 35. 57 Ibid., p. 60.



58 The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, Taking ‘Calculated’ Risks for Peace II (Belfast: CFNI, 2002), p. 21. 59 One interviewee was of the opinion that ‘the Europeans, not the British and Irish … really wanted … the money to be spread out … [under Peace I] it was spread out and that led to widespread involvement and widespread consultation … since then they’ve pulled back on that … the governments have more had their way. Peace II … was given to fewer … and larger groups. So that very wide involvement of civil society … that’s gone now.’ Author interview, 11 April 2005. 60 Author interview, 7 January 2005. 61 Ibid. 62 Author interview, 6 January 2005. 63 As one interviewee noted: ‘There still is an issue about whether the most disadvantaged can actually manage the project funding or indeed the audit requirements and project requirements that the Peace programme demanded. Particularly in communities that were internally divided among themselves or groups were there might have been literacy problems or whatever … as a funder sometimes you were standing back saying, well should we encourage this group or not? Are you actually setting them up to fail? they might be better looking for funding elsewhere … and that was much truer of Peace II than Peace I.’ Author interview, 28 January 2005. 64 Author interview, 6 January 2005. 65 Participant comment at SEUPB Peace II Extension 2005 to 2006 Consultation, Derry, 7 September 2004. 66 Participant Comment at SEUPB public discussion on the European Territorial Co-operation Programmes 2007–2013 (Peace III and INTERREG IV), Derry, 15 June 2006. 67 Participant comment at SEUPB Peace II Extension 2005 to 2006 Consultation, Derry, 7 September 2004. 68 Participant comment: Cross Border Consortium, 3 September 2004. 69 Northern Ireland’s MEPs, Ian Paisley, John Hume, Jim Nicholson, Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties of Ireland Revisited. Report to Jacques Santer, President of the European Commission (1997), p. 3. 70 Author interview, 14 December 2004. 71 PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ex-Post Evaluation, p. 280. 72 Morrow, Wilson, and Eyben cited in The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, Taking ‘Calculated’ Risks for Peace II, p. 78. 73 For a more detailed discussion, see S. Buchanan, Transforming Conflict through Social and Economic Development: Practice and Policy Lessons from Northern Ireland and the Border Counties (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014). 74 Author interview, 29 March 2005. 75 Author interview, 13 January 2005. The leverage or leverage money that this interviewee talks about is the ability of those accessing IFI funding to access or lever funding from other sources (e.g. County Councils, EU Peace funding etc …) once they have received an offer of funding from the IFI, which many were previously unable to do. 76 Author interview, 15 February 2005. 77 Department of Foreign Affairs/Office of the Minister and Deputy First Minister, Comprehensive Study on the All-Island Economy (Dublin/Belfast: DFA/OMDFM,



2006); Government of Ireland, Ireland National Development Plan 2007–2013. Transforming Ireland: A Better Quality of Life for All (Dublin: Stationery Office, 2007). This included a chapter on the all-island economy for the first time. 78 Author interview, 13 July 2006. 79 International Fund for Ireland, Sharing this Space: A Strategic Framework for Action 2006–2010 (Dublin/Belfast: International Fund for Ireland, 2006b), p. 1. 80 International Fund for Ireland, ‘Chairman’s Foreword’, Annual Report and Accounts 2014 (Dublin/Belfast: International Fund for Ireland, 2015), p. 2. 81 See Buchanan, Transforming Conflict. 82 D. Morrow, ‘Introduction: shaping our shared future’, in Community Relations Council (ed.), Shaping and Delivering Peace at Local Level? Learning from the Experience of Peace II, Learning from Peace II, Volume 3 (Belfast: Community Relations Council, 2005), p. 5. 83 B. Harvey, A. Kelly, S. McGearty, and S. Murray, The Emerald Curtain: The Social Impact of the Irish Border (Carrickmacross: Triskele Community Training and Development, 2005), p. 129. 84 PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ex-Post Evaluation, p. 110. 85 Author interview, 3 December 2004. 86 International Fund for Ireland, Annual Report and Accounts 2014, p. 5. 87 S. Buchanan, ‘Transforming conflict in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties: some lessons from the Peace Programmes on valuing participative democracy’, Irish Political Studies, 23:3 (2008), 393. 88 P. Gorecki, ‘Conclusion’, in Democratic Dialogue (ed.), Hard Choices: Policy, Autonomy and Priority-setting in Public Expenditure, Report No. 10 (Belfast: Democratic Dialogue, Eastern Health and Social Services Board, Northern Ireland Economic Council, 1998), p. 93. 89 P. Nolan, Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report Number Three (Belfast: Community Relations Council, March 2014), p. 37. A separate ranking was introduced for Northern Ireland in 2010; previously the UK was assessed as a single unit. See also ‘Power of paramilitaries in Northern Ireland still evident with latest figures on people being forced from their homes’, The Irish Times (27 June 2015). 90 The IFI recently observed: ‘sustainable peace in Northern Ireland and the ­southern border counties has not been achieved … The political institutions … are far from stable. There remains a viable threat to undermine the fragile peace and many serious and persistent issues remain unresolved and are likely to continue for the foreseeable future’. See International Fund for Ireland, Annual Report and Accounts 2014, p. 5. 91 International Fund for Ireland, Sharing this Space, p. 1. 92 CRC presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, Dublin, 9 Oct 2014. Available at­relations. (accessed 31 August 2015). 93 T. Farrell and O. Schmitt, The Causes, Character and Conduct of Armed Conflict, and the Effects on Civilian Populations 1990–2010 (Geneva: UNHCR, Division of International Protection, July 2014), p. 31.


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 the British Government, or the development of relations between two actors. This chapter explains the complexity of the Northern Irish peace process and conversion to cooperation based on the multiple actors that were part of the dynamic that led to the Good Friday Agreement and the effort to implement this Agreement. Negotiators representing different states and groups came to their decisions based on the expected reaction of others. Thus, the strategies states and other actors employed in this peace process evolved as they sought to pursue their interest while recognising their policy choices rested on the decisions made by others. The complexity of this interaction came to be appreciated by the actors themselves who demonstrated sensitivity to their negotiating partners. Cooperation theory allows us to understand how and why leaders pursuing their own agenda come to support those who have different and perhaps even diametrically opposed interests. Cooperation theory Robert Axelrod is principally responsible for the development of cooperation theory,1 and his theory of cooperation stresses the interconnectedness of leaders’ decision-making. For states that have had a long history of mutually beneficial relations, the expectation is that those who have cooperated in the past will continue to do so in the present and future. This suggests that the mutual benefits of cooperation can continue, and under these circumstances it makes sense to continue cooperating with a historic ally or friendly state. If a state has historically been an enemy and seems likely to be hostile in the future,



one has much less incentive to cooperate since the negative sanction for failed cooperation will be far worse than cooperating. Thus, negotiators representing different states and groups come to their decisions based on the expected action and reaction of others. Cooperation theory defies traditional realist assumptions which minimise the possibility for cooperation in world politics. For realists, the lack of a central authority means that there is no enforcement mechanism for those who violate norms and are not cooperative (defect). Thus, states and their leaders are egoists, seeking to maximise their own self-interest often at the expense of others. Cooperation can only be achieved when it is in the mutual interest of states to do so. While Axelrod accepts the assumption that states and their leaders are egoists, he does not conclude that defection is the dominant strategy in world politics. The shadow of the future and the potential benefit that is achieved when states develop a pattern of mutual cooperation means that states have a large incentive to cooperate.2 Thus, the introduction of cooperation in a world of egoists can spawn a pattern of cooperation among states that have had a history of defection and at least short-term incentive to defect.3 To illustrate the potential for actors to learn to cooperate even in a world of egoists, Axelrod applied an iterated version of prisoner’s dilemma. (See Figure 11.1.) Like the real world of politics, the game of prisoner’s dilemma highlights the difficulty of achieving cooperation given the incentives to defect and pursue one’s narrow self-interest. In a one-play version of the game, the dominant choice for both actors is defection. However, this results in the second lowest score for each player. In an iterated version of the game, where there are multiple and an unknown number of plays (more accurately simulating a world where actors do not know when the world will end), the best stable outcome for both players is to cooperate on each play.4 This yields the second

Prisoner’s dilemma matrix


Row player


Column player



Reward for mutual cooperation (3,3)

Sucker’s payoff and temptation to defect (0,5)

Temptation to defect and sucker’s payoff (5,0)

Punishment for mutual defection (1,1) Dominant strategy

Source: Adapted from R. Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation (New York: Basic Books, 1984), p. 8.

Figure 11.1  Prisoner’s dilemma matrix



highest payoff. This means there is always a temptation to defect because a player can earn the highest payoff on a single play when his or her opponent cooperates, while the player defects. The actor who cooperates while the other player defects earns the lowest possible payoff: the sucker’s payoff. This outcome is not likely to yield a long-term pattern of success for the defecting player because the opposing player is not likely to continue to cooperate and endure the sucker’s payoff. Nevertheless, temptation is great in a world where there is no mechanism available to enforce threats or commitments. There is no way to be certain what the other player (state or actor) will do (cooperate or defect),5 and there is no way to eliminate the other player or actor. One must assume there will be future interactions and take into account how one’s action may affect how a player chooses to interact in the future (the shadow of the future).6 Prisoner’s dilemma also assumes there is no way to change the payoffs (the structure of the international system). While one may assume other actors or players are rational, they often make decisions based on standard operating procedures, habit, and stereotypical views of the other actor’s behaviour. According to Axelrod, success in world politics and in iterated prisoner’s dilemma is based on four principles.7 First, avoid unnecessary conflict by ­cooperating as long as the other player does. This requires that players do not become greedy. This is a great temptation in International Relations (IR), but the symmetric rewards and punishments in prisoner’s dilemma are based on quite different assumptions than offensive realism’s assumptions of power disparity and how this serves to motivate great power aggression.8 The iterated version of prisoner’s dilemma does not reward actors who find themselves in a continuing cycle of defection. This is clearly an inferior means of advancing one’s score in the game and interest in world politics since long-term patterns of mutual cooperation yield a much greater score. Second, players in the iterated version of prisoner’s dilemma should not continue to cooperate if their opponent defects. This avoids the sucker’s payoff. It is not in any actor’s interest to be taken advantage of by another actor who has no interest in cooperation. This assumption conforms to neo-realism’s emphasis on the need for states to be prepared for any eventuality, including attack, in the anarchic international system.9 The need to defend oneself is well established in IR theory, and models of deterrence were built on the assumption that long-term patterns of hostile relations would yield better outcomes than cooperating amid the continuing defection of the other actor.10 Third, be ready to forgive if that can induce future cooperation and prevent a continuing cycle of defection.11 Thus, one should reciprocate the behaviour of the other actor whether they defect or cooperate. This is the strategy ‘tit for tat’ that Axelrod identifies as the best strategy. This means not only should one not continue to cooperate when the other actor defects and receive the sucker’s payoff, but one should not take advantage of another player’s cooperation and seek the short-term benefit of the temptation payoff. The defection is likely to prevent future mutual cooperation and thus could begin a long-term pattern of mutual defection that is in neither actor’s interest.



Fourth, be clear in your behaviour, so the other player understands your pattern of action (can pick up your strategy) and will not miscalculate or misperceive your strategy. There has been a long tradition of appreciating problems related to miscommunication and misperception in the field of IR. If an actor fails to follow a clear pattern of cooperative behaviour, other actors might be prone to defect due to the security dilemma and the uncertainty of whether or not the other actor will cooperate. While Jervis depicted this insecurity as primarily experienced by states,12 other scholars have applied the logic of the security dilemma to ethnic conflict between groups within states.13 This kind of analysis is applicable to the competing groups in Northern Ireland.14 Later, Axelrod added complexity to explain the origin and evolution of cooperation.15 This analysis went beyond assumptions of a two-person iterated prisoner’s dilemma game. Axelrod’s version of complexity theory recognised that interactions come from many actors over time and stressed agent-based modelling and intuition.16 The interaction of local or individual agents can produce large-scale effects that Axelrod identifies as ‘emergent properties’. These patterns can explain the potential for cooperative behaviour among a number of actors. Axelrod’s modelling allows for adaptive behaviour by actors and does not assume rationality of actors as it assumes actors learn.17 This is more realistic as people cannot possess the foresight and information rationality assumes.18 Rather, decision-makers base their actions on what they have learned to expect from interacting with others over time. More recently, dynamic systems theory has been used to explain how seemingly intractable conflicts can become more peaceful.19 This theory stresses that conflicts exist because of the persistence of an attractor or a mental state among the group in conflict which resists change. Discrepant information which challenges the existing cognitive evaluation of the ‘other’ is ignored or discounted. Thus, self-destructive conflict can continue because attractors provide a coherent view of the conflict and a stable platform for action. This analysis very much conforms to the pattern of mutual defection identified by Axelrod in his analysis of the iterated prisoner’s dilemma. At some point, inconsistent elements (i.e. information) may transform the system of thought so that the existing attractor becomes abandoned due to the growing attraction of a latent attractor that has increasingly become viable. Enough evidence emerges that challenges one’s existing understanding of the ‘other’ to take advantage of the potential for improved outcomes beyond the traditional intractable conflict.20 It is at this point that long periods of conflict (or peace) can be transformed into a new dynamic system. This can help explain breakthroughs in conflict resolution. Mediation can also play an important role in promoting cooperation among parties to a historic conflict or rivalry. Kydd has demonstrated that mediators who are not too biased, are committed to honesty, and have a stake in a moderate outcome to the conflict can help build trust between historic enemies.21 The Northern Ireland case demonstrates that moving from violence (defection) to peace (cooperation) is slow, as it takes time for enough trust to develop to come to a negotiated settlement. First, diplomatic overtures through



i­ ntermediaries create enough trust for public negotiation. In Northern Ireland, this took more than a decade.22 Then, a third party mediator, George Mitchell, had to establish the rules for negotiations and a deadline that forced concessions and allowed a settlement to be reached.23 Vallacher et al. contend it is the subjective process of coming to re-evaluate and re-conceptualise the ‘other’ that causes the transition to peace, not power asymmetries, inequality, and quests for justice.24 As Owsiak contends in Chapter 2, this process of reconfiguring the ‘other’ may be led by elites in a negotiating process, but these leaders must take into account the opinion of their constituents. The ceasefires of the mid 1990s and the Agreement in 1998 provided an opportunity for both communities to take into account the willingness of the other side to agree to a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Northern Ireland.25 This re-evaluation also allows mutual cooperation to develop that links the interests if not the identities of those historically stuck in a pattern of conflict and rivalry.26 The recalculation of the appropriate means of achieving a foreign policy objective implies that states should periodically evaluate whether historic spirals of conflict can be overcome by diplomatic overtures. Larson has argued that unilateral gestures may launch bilateral cooperation.27 Building from this assumption, Nincic contends that positive inducement may be a successful means to achieve US foreign policy interests.28 Given the disappointing record of economic sanctions and military force,29 positive engagement (i.e. the use of diplomacy and material inducements) offers the hope of better achieving foreign policy goals, such as enhancing one’s peace and security. Nincic’s model is built on the assumption that offering conciliatory moves can be a more effective strategy than just responding to others (reciprocation, as in tit for tat). Nincic stresses that inducements can foster cooperation. These inducements can be symbolic, political, or economic. The inducements are most likely to be effective when they are sufficiently beneficial to a target state to allow them to garner further domestic support and consolidate their domestic position.30 This argument builds on the selectorate theory that Owsiak stresses in Chapter 2 of this volume. The ultimate goal of inducements is not just to create an exchange of concessions, but to alter the foreign policy priorities of the other state or actor. This reorientation of policy choices builds upon assumptions similar to Axelrod’s analysis of the potential for the emergence of cooperation and the theory of dynamic systems mentioned above. Like these theoretical approaches, a theory of positive inducement cannot be explained by the major paradigms of neorealism and neoliberalism.31 A model of positive inducement also builds on earlier models of path dependence which stress the importance of history as well as the timing and sequencing of events in determining foreign policy choices and outcomes.32 Recently, Findley has stressed the interdependence of bargaining that occurs in all three stages of peace processes: the negotiations, reaching the agreement, and implementing the agreement. Stalemates and actors play different roles in helping create the conditions for peace and implementing the peace depending on the stage of the peace process, but this process is one in which there is a complex



pattern of bargaining among the multiple actors.33 If a pattern of cooperation can emerge among historic rivals, this results in a network of cooperation that supports further cooperation. Network dynamics assume that states that have had existing relationships are likely to build on those to establish new levels of cooperation in the future. States which have multiple agreements and commitments are more likely to be attractive to states that want to cooperate in the future. Network dynamics suggests the reinforcing pattern of cooperation among states and other actors.34 An intricate process of interconnected decision-making allows historic rivals and enemies to learn to cooperate with each other. What follows is my effort to explain the complex pattern of cooperation that emerged in the Northern Ireland peace process, building on the ­theoretical assumptions of cooperation theory. Cooperation theory in the context of the Northern Ireland peace process The actors in the Northern Ireland conflict (primarily unionists and nationalists, but also the British and Irish governments) historically had been engaged in conflict. One could argue that there was an extremely long history of conflict, but the conflict became a repeated pattern of violence during the Troubles. In the logic of iterated prisoner’s dilemma, a pattern of mutual defection was in place. There was no single, simple event that triggered the peace process, but a long, slow evolutionary process of learning developed among the different actors. Actors had to explore relations with each other, so they might move from patterns of mutual defection to begin cooperation (fearful of the sucker’s payoff). Actors had to learn what policies or strategies would not work in engaging others. The actors learned that the peace process had to be inclusive,35 allowing all parties to have a stake in the negotiated settlement so that spoilers could be marginalised and all would have a stake in implementing the agreement. The actors also came to understand that any settlement required some form of power-sharing between unionists and nationalists,36 ending the historic dominance of Protestants in governing Northern Ireland. The most critical learning and evolved pattern of cooperation had to take place between the British Government and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Gupta’s theory of selective engagement provides great insight into how and why the British engaged with the IRA.37 (See Figure 11.2.) Gupta’s theory emphasises that as Sinn Féin reemerged in the 1980s and developed a ballots and bullets strategy, it became an increasingly attractive bargaining agent. The British Government could abandon its historic view of the IRA as a terrorist group that provided too little threat and possessed too little legitimacy to be a negotiating partner. Through an intermittent process of indirect negotiations, the British Government learned that Sinn Féin was interested in a negotiated path to achieve their objectives and was not just a political front for the IRA with no serious intentions to abandon the armed campaign to remove the British presence from Ireland. The increased popularity of Sinn Féin at the polls



Levels of harm

Low – Non-violent


High – Violent

State will not bargain because risk is too high even if group has legitimacy

State increasingly willing to bargain – e.g. Sinn Féin moves into quadrant in 1990s


Levels of support/legitimacy

Gupta’s theory of selective engagement

State will not bargain with group because of lack of legitimacy – e.g. Sinn Féin 1972–80

Low level of support means state need not engage – not threatening

Source: Adapted from D. Gupta, ‘Selective engagement and its consequences for social movement organizations: Lessons from British policy in Northern Ireland’, Comparative Politics, 39:3 (2007), 331–51.

Figure 11.2  Gupta’s theory of selective engagement

after the Hunger Strikes in 1981 provided them with ­increasing ­support within the nationalist community, and thus they became a more legitimate negotiating partner. The peace process involved IRA ceasefires, which demonstrated that Irish republicans were at least interested in exploring a diplomatic solution and that Sinn Féin could negotiate effectively on behalf of the IRA. After the signing of the Agreement in 1998, Sinn Féin gained further popular support such that they became increasingly important to the British and critical to the implementation of the Agreement. Ó Dochartaigh offers a narrative similar in its logic to explain the bargaining process between Irish republicans and the British Government.38 (See Figure 11.3.) He emphasises that the British had to move from a strategy of repressing the IRA to negotiating with Sinn Féin, just as the IRA and Sinn Féin had to learn that violence was not convincing the British to leave Northern Ireland and perhaps negotiations might yield some concessions. The leaders of Sinn Féin, especially Adams and McGuinness, also learned that they could trust the British Government enough to pursue negotiations. While the British and the IRA learned to negotiate and cooperate with each other based on increasing perceptions of positive rewards for doing so, cooperation was also derived from the manipulation of threats. Both sides recognised throughout the negotiating process the continuing ability of the other to ‘hurt’.39 (See Figure 11.4.) There was no victory of the British over the IRA,40 and the IRA could not see a near-term removal of British forces from Northern Ireland. However, each could provide continuing costs to the other side. Even after secret talks had led to enough trust for the direct negotiations, the British were reluctant to negotiate publicly with Sinn Féin without the IRA decommissioning first. The IRA refused to decommission before negotiations



Ó Dochartaigh’s long bargaining process Negotiate – Nonviolence

Long War – Violence

Bargaining that leads to a political settlement



British policy toward the IRA

IRA/Sinn Féin

The Troubles

Source: Model adopted from the argument presented in N. Ó Dochartaigh, ‘The longest negotiations: British policy, IRA strategy and the making of the Northern Ireland peace settlement’, Political Studies, 63:1 (2015), 202–20.

Figure 11.3  Ó Dochartaigh’s long bargaining process

Responding to bad behaviour? State behaviour

Terrorist group

Few attacks Frequent attacks


Don’t negotiate

States are forced to negotiate with terrorists because of the ‘power to hurt’

State can afford to ignore or not negotiate with terrorists because they do not threaten the state

Source: Adapted from J. Thomas, ‘Responding to bad behavior: How governments respond to terrorism’ , American Journal of Political Science, 58:4 (2014), 804–18.

Figure 11.4  Responding to bad behaviour

and an agreement. Even after the Good Friday Agreement was signed, the IRA did not decommission until it was satisfied with the implementation of this Agreement. The British would not allow the governing institutions created by the Agreement to function in the long term without IRA decommissioning. Thus, each side attempted to keep a negative sanction in place to prevent backsliding as they simultaneously explored and attempted to reach new levels of cooperation to pursue their interests.


Payoff matrix according to Brams and Togman


Sinn Féin/IRA


Great Britain



Compromise (3,3)

Sinn Féin capitulation (2,4)

British British Capitulation capitulation (4,1) (4,1)


Violent strategy (1,2) Dominant strategy

Source: S. J. Brams and J. M. Togman, ‘Cooperation through threats: The Northern Ireland case’, PS: Political Science and Politics, 31:1 (1998), 33.

Figure 11.5  Payoff matrix according to Brams and Togman

Not all depict the payoff structures for the IRA and the British as symmetrical, as assumed by Prisoner’s Dilemma (See Figure 11.1.) Brams and Togman change the payoff structure so that capitulation and defeat for the IRA is somehow not worse than continued violence and British control over Northern Ireland.41 (See Figure 11.5.) This assumption is questionable. Capitulation offered Sinn Féin and the IRA no hope of achieving an Irish Republic, while violence had historically been justified by republicans as the only means by which they could gain their freedom from British rule. Thus, even though Britain and the IRA could be described as asymmetrical in classic conceptions of power, I contend that the payoff structure of iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma more accurately portrays the choices made by the British and the IRA and better explains the incentives for cooperation that propelled the Northern Ireland peace process forward than Brams and Togman’s model that stresses the asymmetrical payoffs of these two actors.42 While the IRA and British Government needed to learn to cooperate to achieve peace in Northern Ireland, the Irish and British governments also needed to overcome a historically antagonistic relationship.43 There were few, if any contacts, between the Irish and British governments until both joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. Periodic meetings of the EEC provided informal settings for leaders to develop personal relationships and discuss issues of mutual importance like Northern Ireland.44 Gradually, British and Irish leaders learned to cooperate even though they may have had different motivations when they negotiated. For example, with respect to the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) in 1985,45 British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher believed this Agreement would provide greater security both in Northern Ireland and in the rest of the United Kingdom, while the Irish Taoiseach, Garret Fitzgerald, hoped that the AIA would



quell the growth of Sinn Féin and prevent the Troubles from spilling over from Northern Ireland into the Republic. Later, in a similar fashion, John Major and Albert Reynolds issued the Downing Street Declaration in 1993. For Major, this Declaration was intended to pressure the IRA into a ceasefire and decommissioning, while Reynolds hoped the Declaration would provide an avenue for Sinn Féin to enter the peace process. The major breakthrough in Anglo-Irish relations came with the elections of Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair in 1997. Both were prepared to engage and trust each other not just in negotiating the 1998 Agreement, but also to support each other in its implementation. To understand how the British and Irish governments came to cooperate in the context of the peace process, we need to appreciate their interaction with a number of actors and how these patterns of cooperation were extremely complex and intricate. Adding complexity to the Northern Ireland peace process The analyses of the British/IRA dyad or the British/Irish dyad allows one to understand only pieces of a much larger and complex interaction among numerous actors who played critical roles in the Northern Ireland peace process. Adding this complexity allows appreciation of the role of third parties that has been highlighted in scholarship on peacemaking.46 Thus, the cooperation necessary to bring peace to Northern Ireland was not merely bilateral but ­multi-lateral and interdependent among the British, Irish, and US governments; parties, paramilitaries, and societal groups in Northern Ireland; and international actors including the EU and the International Commissions for Policing and Decommissioning. Success was at least partly based on encouraging all to participate in the peace process, thereby marginalising spoilers.47 Cooperation gained momentum, and the advantages of continuing the peace process provided the necessary incentive for most parties to overcome obstacles to negotiation.48 Some actors in the peace process purposefully attempted to garner international support for the process. McLoughlin contends in Chapter 4 of this volume that John Hume sought to enlist support from the US and the EU to promote the peace process at critical junctures. Similarly, Gupta demonstrates in Chapter 5 that Hume and his party were able to develop links with key US business and political leaders to promote a peace agenda. By applying path dependence theory to Northern Ireland, one can identify the increasing returns that came with cooperation. Peace was achieved through a long process of negotiations, changed policies, emergent trust, altered identities, and increasing coordination among the actors amid continued conflict.49 Conversely, the problems that emerged in the peace process, for example, were often due to the lack of cooperation among the parties. For example, when the British and US governments disagreed regarding the granting of a visa to Gerry Adams, this undermined the process of legitimating Sinn Féin as a negotiating partner. The refusal of the British to negotiate with Sinn Féin after its first ceasefire demonstrated the lack of coordination among the p ­ arties. While the Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP) and Irish and US governments believed Sinn



Féin should have been allowed to negotiate after its ceasefire and without decommissioning, it took some time and the results of the Independent Commission on Decommissioning led by George Mitchell to convince the British and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) that Sinn Féin should be allowed in the talks. Many specific acts of emerging cooperation in the Northern Ireland peace process highlight the growing commitment to each other and the process which embedded the different actors in a web of interdependent decision-making. For example, after Sinn Féin became party to the talks leading up to the Good Friday Agreement, most of the negotiations regarding the actual three strands of the Agreement were led by the SDLP and the UUP.50 Sinn Féin did not even make submissions regarding Strands 1 and 2 until the final week of negotiations51 and during the negotiations had focused on issues that were less central to the three strands of the Agreement.52 As the negotiations reached their climax and a final agreement was reached, Sinn Féin capitulated to the Agreement not because it was their idea or creation but because they had been included in the negotiations and being embedded in this process meant that they could not oppose what they were seen to help create. Another example of coordinated cooperation among several actors was the effort to ‘save Dave’, enlist support for David Trimble as he made concessions to secure his leadership of the UUP and keep the peace process moving forward.53 The British and Irish governments, as well as the SDLP and Sinn Féin, recognised that many unionists opposed the peace process and the concessions that Trimble seemed to be making in the 1998 Agreement. Not only did the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Paisley oppose the Agreement and accuse Trimble of selling out the unionist cause, but several important leaders of his own party, the UUP, defected to the DUP to indicate their disapproval of the Agreement. By the 1990s, all of the leaders recognised that their efforts at a negotiated settlement required support by both communities in Northern Ireland. Many feared that it would be impossible to gain unionist support for the Agreement without Trimble’s leadership. All were keenly aware of the failure to gain unionist support for the Sunningdale Agreement a quarter-century earlier. Therefore, all leaders sought to keep Trimble on board the peace process. Otherwise, all of the risks and ­concessions they had made would have been made in vain. Similarly, decommissioning was the result of a complex orchestrated set of policies among a number of actors. An Independent International Commission for Decommissioning was created in 1997 that slowly and methodically verified the process of paramilitary decommissioning. Retired General John De Chastelain from Canada chaired this Commission, and a Finnish General and American served as the other two members. To attempt to ensure the normalisation of political life in Northern Ireland and prevent continuing paramilitary activity, the British and Irish governments also established the Independent Monitoring Commission in 2003. It included Lord Alderdice, the former leader of the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland, and members from Britain, Ireland, and the US. In addition to these international commissions, the domestic actors within Northern Ireland played an important role, including Sinn Féin



and the IRA convincing republicans, as well as loyalist leaders convincing Protestant paramilitaries to disarm and disband. The British and Irish governments played the role of ‘good cops’, nudging decommissioning along but not placing excessive pressure on Adams and McGuinness who they saw as under threat by hardline republicans.54 Meanwhile, the US under envoy Mitchell Reiss played the role of ‘bad cop’, withholding visas and visits to the White House for Adams and McGuinness because of delays in decommissioning and other republican (mis)behaviour (murders and bank robberies).55 In sum, decommissioning and the marginalisation of paramilitaries is a result of a long pattern of cooperation among a number of different actors. (See Chapter 3 for a more complete analysis of decommissioning.) Perhaps the ultimate orchestration of interdependent decision-making among numerous actors in Northern Ireland was demonstrated in the successful process of getting ‘Dr No’, Ian Paisley, to say ‘yes’ to share power with Martin McGuinness and Sinn Féin in May of 2007. By this time, the British and Irish governments under Blair and Ahern had a decade of experience of working closely with each other and had achieved a level of cooperation unimaginable in previous eras. Their diplomatic efforts had resulted in the St Andrew’s Agreement of 2006 which attempted to address the problems that Paisley and the DUP had stressed with the 1998 Agreement. The British and Irish governments also worked effectively to garner the support of Sinn Féin for police reforms and the Justice Ministry in the Stormont Government. By attempting to remove every possible objection they could, they placed increasing pressure on Paisley to either agree to share power in governing Northern Ireland or face the undesired outcome of British and Irish government joint administration of Northern Ireland. Thus, the British and Irish not only created incentives highlighting the benefit of cooperation, but also illustrated the negative consequences of failure to do so. This strategy ultimately proved effective as Paisley finally said ‘yes’ and agreed to share power with McGuinness. (See Figure 11.6.)

Payoff matrix for devolution in 2007 British and Irish governments



Paisley and the DUP


Jointly admin

Mutual reward for devolution and self-governance (4,4) Mutual punishment for failure to cooperate (0,2) More painful for DUP

Figure 11.6  Payoff matrix for devolution in 2007



Conclusion This chapter has provided evidence that actors in the Northern Ireland peace process demonstrated sensitivity to their negotiating partners. This behaviour was clearly learned gradually and cumulatively, culminating not only in the initial Good Friday Agreement in 1998 but in subsequent successful efforts to re-establish Stormont’s governing institutions in 2007 and in keeping them operational ever since. Cooperation theory allows us to understand how and why leaders pursuing their own agenda come to cooperate with those who have different interests, often by structuring payoffs that incentivise reluctant parties to cooperate. Actors during the peace process gradually learned the benefits of mutual cooperation, and this persuaded them to abandon historic patterns of mutual defection and violence which characterised the Troubles as an intractable conflict. Focusing on the complex nature of the cooperation that has been achieved in Northern Ireland does not negate the ongoing reality of conflict in Northern Ireland,56 but it does allow one to understand the potential for changed relations among numerous actors who turn away from violence and seek peaceful means of pursuing their interests. Notes  1 R. Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation (New York: Basic Books, 1984). For an earlier analysis of the strategy of conflict in international politics, see T. Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963).  2 The benefit of, and potential for, long-term stable cooperation is stressed in J. Bendor and P. Swistak, ‘The evolutionary stability of cooperation’, American Political Science Review, 91:2 (1997), 290–307.  3 R. Axelrod, ‘The emergence of cooperation among egoists’, American Political Science Review, 75:2 (1981), 306–18. For a similar argument that cooperation can emerge and expand between rival states, see G. Blum, Islands of Agreement: Managing Enduring Armed Rivalries (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007).  4 For the superiority of cooperation over defection as a strategy, see J. Bendor, R. M. Kraker, and S. Stout, ‘When in doubt …: Cooperation in a noisy prisoner’s dilemma’, Journal of Conflict Resolution 35:4 (1991), 691–719.  5 Even if the other actor or player is appearing to negotiate, they may only be trying to take advantage of the other with no sincere interest in cooperating. See E. Glozman, N. Barak-Corren, and I. Yaniv, ‘False negotiations and s­ cience of not reaching an agreement’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 59:4 (2015), 671–97.  6 This argument is stressed in P. D. Bó, ‘Cooperation under the shadow of the future: Experimental evidence from repeated games’, American Economic Review, 95:5 (2005), 1591–604.  7 Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation, pp. 109–23.  8 For the classic exposition of offensive realism, see J. J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (Updated Edition) (New York: W. W. Norton, 2014).  9 For the classic formulation of neo-realism, see K. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1979).



10 For theories of deterrence, see A. L. George and R. Smoke, Deterrence Theory in American Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974); Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict. 11 For the benefits of cooperation, see Bendor, Kraker, and Stout, ‘When in doubt …’. 12 R. Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976). Jervis also contends that cooperation is possible given the security dilemma, but it requires each actor to assume all others will cooperate. His model goes beyond a two person game and recognises there are multiple actors in world politics. See R. Jervis, ‘Cooperation under the security dilemma’, World Politics, 30:2 (1978), 167. 13 B. R. Posen, ‘The security dilemma and ethnic conflict’, Survival, 35:1 (1993), 27–47; P. Roe, Ethnic Violence and the Societal Security Dilemma (New York: Routledge, 2005). 14 See D. Mitchell, Politics and Peace in Northern Ireland: Political Parties and the Implementation of the 1998 Agreement (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015), pp. 10–20; T. J. White, A. P. Owsiak, and M. E. Clarke, ‘Extending peace to the grassroots: The need for reconciliation after the Agreement’, in T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), p. 228. 15 R. Axelrod, The Complexity of Cooperation: Agent-based Models of Competition and Collaboration (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). 16 For other attempts to apply complexity theory to conflict, see D. J. D. Sandole, Capturing the Complexity of Conflict: Dealing with Violent Ethnic Conflicts in the PostCold War Era (London: Pinter, 1999); L. D. Sword, ‘A complexity science view of conflict’, Emergence: Complexity & Organization, 10:4 (2008), 10–16. 17 Even rational choice theorists admit that political behaviour, including c­ ooperation, is not purely rational. See B. Bueno de Mesquita and R. McDermott, ‘Crossing no man’s land: Cooperation from the trenches’, Political Psychology, 25:2 (2004), 271–87. 18 For the limits to rationality, especially simple expected utility models of human behaviour, see H. A. Simon, ‘Rationality in political behavior’, Political Psychology, 16:1 (1995), 45–61. 19 R. R. Vallacher, P. T. Coleman, A. Nowak, and L. Bui-Wrozinska, ‘Rethinking intractable conflict: The perspective of dynamical systems’, American Psychologist, 65:4 (2010), 262–78. 20 For an explanation of narratives that sustain and transform intractable conflicts, see D. Bar-Tal, N. Oren, and R. Nets-Zehngut, ‘Socio-psychological analysis of conflict supporting narratives: A general framework’, Journal of Peace Research, 51:5 (2014), 662–75. 21 A. H. Kydd, ‘When can mediators build trust?’ American Political Science Review, 100:3 (2006), 449–67. 22 N. Ó Dochartaigh, ‘Together in the middle: Back-channel negotiation in the Irish peace process’, Journal of Peace Research, 48:6 (2011), 767–80; E. O’Kane, ‘Talking to the enemy? The role of the back-channel in the development of the Northern Ireland peace process’, Contemporary British History, 29:3 (2015), 401–20. 23 For Mitchell’s own analysis of his role, see G. J. Mitchell, Making Peace (New York: Random House, 1999); G. J. Mitchell, The Negotiator: A Memoir (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015), pp. 239–54. 24 Vallacher et al., ‘Rethinking intractable conflict’.



25 This point is stressed by Landon Hancock in ‘Peace from the people: Identity Salience and the Northern Ireland peace process’, in T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process, pp. 67–8. 26 The literature on rivalries stresses how past experiences of rivalry shape future expectations. See P. F. Diehl and G. Goertz, War and Peace in International Rivalry (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000). These rivalries need to be transformed if cooperation is to emerge. See C. Kupchan, How Enemies become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010). 27 D. Welch Larson, ‘Crisis prevention and the Austrian State Treaty’, International Organization, 41:1 (1987), 56–7. 28 M. Nincic, The Logic of Positive Engagement (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011). 29 See D. Byman and M. Waxman, The Dynamics of Coercion: American Foreign Policy and the Limits of Military Might (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002). 30 Nincic, The Logic of Positive Engagement, pp. 61–2 and 181–2. 31 Ibid., p. 184. 32 P. Pierson, ‘Increasing returns, path dependence, and the study of politics’, American Political Science Review, 94:2 (2000), 251–67. 33 M. G. Findley, ‘Bargaining and the interdependent stages of civil war resolution’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 57:5 (2013), 905–32. Fearon argues that if actors expect an agreement to be enduring, they will bargain harder in the earlier phases of negotiations to secure their interest. See J. Fearon, ‘Bargaining, enforcement, and international cooperation’, International Organization, 52:2 (1998), 269– 305. Also see D. Filson and S. Werner, ‘A bargaining model of war and peace’, American Journal of Political Science, 46:4 (2002), 819–37. For how bargaining occurred among the different actors in the different stages of the Northern Ireland peace process, see J. Todd, ‘Northern Ireland: Building sustainable peace: Timing and sequencing of post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding’, in A. Langer and G. Brown (eds), Building Sustainable Peace: The Timing and Sequencing of Postconflict Reconstruction and Peacebuilding, Volume II (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). 34 The theory of network dynamics presented here comes from B. J. Kinne, ‘Network dynamics and the evolution of international cooperation’, American Political Science Review, 107:4 (2013), 766–85. This argument fully supports the earlier cooperation theory devised by Axelrod in The Evolution of Cooperation. 35 See T. J. White, ‘Lessons from the Northern Ireland peace process: An introduction’, in White, Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process, pp. 7–8. Also, see J. Powell, Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland (London: Bodley Head, 2008) p. 8. 36 While there is a debate whether the 1998 Agreement and the Northern Ireland peace is built on consociational principles, there is little doubt that the peace is built on a model of power-sharing. See J. McEvoy, Power-sharing Executives: Governing in Bosnia, Macedonia, and Northern Ireland (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), pp. 39–104. 37 D. Gupta, ‘Selective engagement and its consequences for social movement organizations: Lessons from British policy in Northern Ireland’, Comparative Politics, 39:3 (2007), 331–51. 38 N. Ó Dochartaigh, ‘The longest negotiations: British policy, IRA strategy and the making of the Northern Ireland peace settlement’, Political Studies, 63:1 (2015), 202–20.



39 The logic of this argument comes from J. Thomas, ‘Responding to bad behavior: How governments respond to terrorism’, American Journal of Political Science, 58:4 (2014), 804–18. 40 This is stressed in P. Dixon, ‘The victory and defeat of the IRA? Neoconservative interpretations of the Northern Ireland peace process’, in White, Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process as well as by Dixon in Chapter 1 of this volume. 41 S. J. Brams and J. M. Togman, ‘Cooperation through threats: The Northern Ireland case’, PS: Political Science and Politics, 31:1 (1998), 33. 42 Brams and Togman’s analysis is similar to that offered by British neoconservatives of the peace process. For a critique of this perspective and support for my contention of the symmetrical payoffs for cooperation and defection between the IRA and the British Government, see P. Dixon, ‘The victory and defeat of the IRA? Neoconservative interpretations of the Northern Ireland peace process’, in White, Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process. 43 B. O’Duffy, British-Irish Relations and Northern Ireland: From Violent Politics to Conflict Resolution (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2007). 44 This argument was made by M. C. Murphy in ‘The role of international organizations in peace processes: The case of the EU in Northern Ireland’, Pi Sigma Alpha Lecture at Xavier University, 14 April 2015. Similarly, Gillespie contends that the British and Irish began to cooperate from the 1960s through the time of the peace process with regard to Northern Ireland based on traditional liberal assumptions of increased interdependence. See P. Gillespie, ‘The complexity of British-Irish interdependence’, Irish Political Studies, 29:1 (2014), 37–57. 45 For the background, text, and early evaluation of the Agreement, see T. Hadden and K. Boyle, The Anglo-Irish Agreement: Commentary, Text and Official Review (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1989). For more recent assessments, see A. Aughey and C. Gormley-Heenan, ‘The Anglo-Irish Agreement: 25 years on’, The Political Quarterly, 82:3 (2011), 389–97; E. O’Kane, ‘Re-evaluating the Anglo Irish Agreement: Central or incidental to the Northern Ireland peace process?’ International Politics, 44:1 (2007), 711–31. While the Anglo-Irish Agreement is seen as failing in terms of its inclusiveness (especially the parties and leaders of Northern Ireland), it may have brought institutional change that promoted the peace process. See E. Tannam, ‘Explaining British-Irish cooperation’, Review of International Studies, 37:3 (2011), 1191–214; J. Todd, ‘Institutional change and conflict regulation: The Anglo-Irish Agreement (1985) and the mechanisms of change in Northern Ireland’, West European Politics, 34:4 (2011), 838–58. McLoughlin sees the AngloIrish Agreement as serendipitous to the SDLP’s effort to encourage republicans to negotiate and enter a peace process. See P. J. McLoughlin, ‘“The first major step in the peace process”? Exploring the impact of the Anglo-Irish Agreement on republican thinking’, Irish Political Studies, 29:1 (2014), 116–33. 46 Third parties can strengthen the parties’ commitments and use influence on ‘their’ side in the negotiations. See B. F. Walter, ‘The critical barrier to civil war settlement’, International Organization, 51:3 (1997), 335–64. Svenson argues that biased third parties are more likely to be more effective mediators in a conflict because they will not rush to reach a resolution of the conflict that is unfavourable to their protégé. See I. Svensson, International Mediation Bias and Peacemaking (London: Routledge, 2015). Also see K. Favretto, ‘Should peacemakers take sides? Major power mediation, coercion, and bias’, American Political Science Review, 103:2 (2009), 248–63. Some research suggests that neutrality and the ability to impose costs are critical



for successful third party intervention. See A. H. Kydd and S. Straus, ‘The road to hell? Third-party intervention to prevent atrocities’, American Journal of Political Science, 57:2 (2013). 673–84. 47 K. M. Greenhill and S. Major, ‘The perils of profiling: Civil war spoilers and the collapse of intrastate Peace Accords’, International Security, 31:3 (2006/2007), 7–40; S. E. Goddard, ‘Brokering peace: Networks, legitimacy, and the Northern Ireland peace process’, International Studies Quarterly, 56:3 (2012), 501–15. 48 On the need for groups who have committed to peace to continue to see that operating under the terms of the peace agreement is in their interest, see S. Werner and A. Yuen, ‘Making and keeping peace’, International Organization, 59:2 (2005), 261–92. To see how incentives versus penalties worked in the context of Northern Ireland, see E. O’Kane, ‘To cajole or compel? The use of incentives and penalties in Northern Ireland’s peace process’, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, 4:3 (2011), 272–84. For the role constructive ambiguity played in this process, see D.  Mitchell, ‘Cooking the fudge: Constructive ambiguity and the implementation of the Northern Ireland Agreement’, Irish Political Studies, 24:3 (2009), 321–36. 49 C. McGrattan, ‘Modern Irish nationalism ideology, policymaking, and path-­ dependent change’, in A. Guelke (ed.), The Challenges of Ethno-nationalism: Case Studies in Identity Politics (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 177–90; J. Ruane and J. Todd, ‘Path dependence in settlement processes: Explaining settlement in Northern Ireland’, Political Studies, 55:2 (2007), 442–58; E. O’Kane, ‘The perpetual peace process? Examining Northern Ireland’s never-ending, but fundamentally altering peace process’, Irish Political Studies, 28:4 (2013), 515–35; J. Tonge, P. Shirlow, and J. McAuley, ‘So why did the guns fall silent? How interplay, not stalemate, explains the Northern Ireland peace process’, Irish Political Studies, 26:1 (2011), 1–18. 50 For the negotiations between the UUP and the SDLP, see S. Farren, The SDLP: The Struggle for Agreement in Northern Ireland, 1970–2000 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2010), pp. 324–5. 51 Ibid., pp. 340–1. 52 These issues were prisoners, human rights, and policing; very important to Sinn Féin, but less important to the overall Agreement and the other parties to the negotiations. See G. Murray and J. Tonge, Sinn Féin and the SDLP: From Alienation to Participation (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), p. 196. 53 M. C. Clancy, Peace without Consensus: Power Sharing Politics in Northern Ireland (Burlington: Ashgate, 2010), p. 83; P. Dixon, Northern Ireland: The Politics of War and Peace (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd edn, 2008), p. 286. 54 Clancy, Peace without Consensus, p. 153; M. C. Clancy, ‘The lessons of third party intervention? The curious case of the United States in Northern Ireland’, in White, Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process, p. 181. 55 Clancy, ‘The lessons of third party intervention’, pp. 184–7. 56 Little contends that analyses that seek conflict resolution create a discourse that does not allow for the complex reality of conflict and cooperation able to exist simultaneously. See A. Little, ‘Debating peace and conflict in Northern Ireland: Towards a narrative approach’, in K. Hayward and C. O’Donnell (eds), Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution: Debating Peace in Northern Ireland (London: Routledge, 2011).


Responsibility, justice, and reconciliation in Northern Ireland Cillian McGrattan

In an August 2014 interview, which was widely covered north and south of the border, the US diplomat and former senior aide to Bill Clinton, Nancy Soderberg, launched a blistering attack on Northern Ireland’s political class. Soderberg accused Northern Irish politicians of an ‘abysmal abdication of leadership’ in relation to what she saw as their failure to develop a coherent policy programme. They were ‘far too stuck in the past’, she asserted, which made ‘progress vulnerable and even reversible’. Warming to her theme, she issued an arguably even more damning indictment: a decade and a half after the historic Belfast/Good Friday Agreement of 1998, she reasoned, the political leaders were merely reflective of the general public who had taken peace ‘for granted’. The ‘two communities’, she stated, ‘remain far too focused on the injustices of the past’.1 The importance of leaders taking responsibility for the risks that peace demands underpins Soderberg’s critique. President Clinton, in her view, embodied that ideal. Although he granted Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams a visa to travel to the United States in January 1994, the expected quid pro quo of an Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire was not immediately forthcoming. In fact, it did not occur until the end of August that same year. Clinton, she related, felt ‘let down’ and she herself had ‘frankly given up hope’ by the summer of 1994.2 I wish to suggest that the episode and the interview contain several themes recurrent in discussions of dealing with the past, particularly associated with the relationship between political responsibility and post-conflict societal reconciliation. This chapter explores these themes and applies insights from the broader literature on International Relations (IR) theory to elucidate aspects of the case of post-conflict Northern Ireland, especially the seemingly intractable debates around the issue of dealing with the region’s divided past. My contention is that these insights help reveal the importance of the factors shaping, facilitating, and constraining discussion and policy. This chapter complements themes running throughout this collection; in particular, the argument in a number of chapters regarding the importance of recognising constructivist insights into the ambiguous, multi-faceted nature



of understandings at the levels of political elites and broader cultural, social or ideological dynamics (see, for example, Dixon, Chapter 1; McLoughlin, Chapter 4; and White, Chapter 11). Constructivist theorising warns against the temptation to overgeneralise. An undercurrent of this chapter is scepticism towards the implementation of that warning; namely, the application of generalised norms to the Northern Irish case. The Soderberg analysis illustrates that temptation. The risk that Clinton took in awarding a visa to Adams did not, arguably, entail much cost or benefit to himself or his presidency as such, the lesson of responsible leadership that Soderberg implicitly draws is in fact a rather weak one. It is easy to be responsible when no or little personal cost exists. The construction of responsibility must, as such, be seen to be linked to calculations about power. Clinton could act because he could avoid much damage to his position; conversely, other leaders at the time may have been more restrained in taking risks because of the potential for blowback.3 It seems, then, that responsible leadership entails some element of what might be termed ‘counterfactuality’. In this case, an implicit calculation that by doing nothing or not agreeing to issue the visa the Clinton administration would potentially have achieved less than by issuing it.4 The presence of counterfactual calculation links to Dixon’s concerns in Chapter 1 with the non-static, non-­essentialising dimensions of politics, in that they speak to contingency, uncertainty, and ambiguity within policy design and implementation. Extrapolating from that emphasis on construction, I suggest that the types of concerns outlined in other chapters help to unveil some of the underlying issues involved in the persistence of the past in contemporary Northern Irish politics, not to mention its tendency (as Soderberg infers) to dominate discussion and debate over policy in Northern Ireland. My core argument relates to what follows from that suggestion: namely, a refiguring of policy to do with reconciliation and the past around substantive definitions of democracy and politics rather than basing that policy design on proceduralist visions which dominate at present. It is my contention that a wider, more substantive vision of reconciliation policy would focus on the idea of reconciliation as open ended and less on it being an event or an end goal. Reconciliation tends to be defined as something that is achieved through a step-wise process or as an outcome, rather than a journey or something that is being done. Reconciliation as a process often is lost when policies put an emphasis on rules and procedures.5 To restrict reconciliation to an outcome or to see it as involving a number of steps6 delimits it and risks creating conditions whereby reconciliation might be said to have occurred, but individuals are left more marginalised than they were before they entered into the process.7 This may take place where incommensurable versions or narratives about the past exist (between a ‘perpetrator’ and his or her ‘victim’, for example). I suggest that the emphasis on storytelling within current policy design, while understandable, risks giving rise to that eventuality. The importance of IR theorising and case study work around dealing with traumatic or divided pasts and reconciliation after protracted and violent conflicts is, I argue, essential



to understanding these potentialities and is an aspect of policy learning that seems to be somewhat under-appreciated in contemporary debates over policy design in Northern Ireland. Memory, IR theory, and reconciliation Recent literature in the field of memory studies has increasingly looked to constructivism and international norms in analysing the resilience of collective memory and the politics of apology.8 In a similar fashion, research under the more specific rubrics of commemoration studies and post-conflict approaches to truth recovery and transitional justice have also begun to explore in much greater depth globalisation and the transfer of internationally recognised tropes in producing memorial cultures. Often this research takes the form of a case study.9 Elizabeth Jelin captures much of the substance of these debates regarding memory politics in transitional states in what she terms the ‘cultural framework of interpretation’. On the one hand, there may be a conflict-based response to newly apparent or emerging political opportunities. The interregnum that tends to follow the collapse of authoritarian governments creates space, she argues, for the development of narratives, repertoires, and claims-making by memory entrepreneurs. These play out on many different levels in the public sphere, including the design of public policy and the articulation of a national vision. ‘Periods of transition of political regimes take place in scenarios of confrontation between actors with opposing political experiences and expectations. Each position involves a vision of the past and an (often implicit) agenda regarding how to deal with it in the new era, always defined as a break and as a moment of change vis-à-vis the previous regime.’10 The culturalist or interpretative lens, on the other hand, is suggestive and constitutive of the potential to move beyond competitive memory struggles. At times, this can involve the suppression of politically inconvenient or unpalatable memories; as she explains, ‘[i]n the sphere of public life not all memories of the past are equally admirable. There can be gestures of vengeance; alternatively, there may be learning experiences.’11 Memories can, then, become narrativised and thus have the potential to become politically and culturally useful. As many scholars of nationalism have pointed out, this tendency towards resilience and reification seems to be intrinsic to nationalist politics. Anthony Smith, for example, has argued that many nationalist conflicts are conditioned on assertions of grievance to bolster claims of self-determination and justifiability of cause. This staking of claims relates to a ‘territorialization of shared memory’, Smith argues, that elides geography, history, and tradition into powerful assertions of community.12 A complicating factor in this process, as Paloma Aguilar points out, is that the resilience of memory may confront the persistence of the past: the past may not be entirely malleable or serviceable to political exigencies in the present.13 This can be a subversive and/or an empowering dynamic, for, as Stef Jansen explains in relation to the former Yugoslavia, ‘[b]y embedding [memories and references to the



past] in authoritative discourses of nationalism, people exerted control over their version of history and thereby over their own personal narrative’.14 In other words, non-dominant, subterranean, personal or counter-memories may reside within overarching political discourses, and even within what may appear to be tightly knit communities (and families), alternative narratives about the past may be held. If memories are read as narratives, then they are always constructed and reconstituted afresh each time they are articulated. But substantial reification can occur, Aguilar demonstrates, because of the process of variation and iteration. Building on the work of Nancy Bermeo on policy-making as lesson learning, Aguilar explains that the ‘lessons’ that we take from specific historical events or episodes will most likely be partial and biased but are nonetheless compelling because they speak to other (ideological) ‘truths’; this lesson-drawing, she infers, depends on the effacement of counterfactual consideration. When a political decision is successful, the costs of that decision are rarely considered, nor is any consideration given to whether a different decision might have been able to produce better results. This means that, in many cases, few lessons are learned when the outcome is successful, given that nobody ever inquires into whether this outcome has really been achieved as a result of a political decision or whether, on the contrary, it has been achieved in spite of that decision.15

For example, a principal ‘lesson’ that the Irish nationalist community has taken from Bloody Sunday, when in January 1972 British paratroopers opened fire and killed fourteen civil rights protesters on an anti-internment march, was that the atrocity was planned at and directed from a high level of the British Government and/or military. Although the finding of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, chaired by Lord Saville (1998–2010), was that the soldiers acted without direction, the conspiracy theory has been kept alive because of the massive amount of evidence that was collected. The editorial of History/ Ireland, for example, claimed that the inquiry has generated ‘a massive and invaluable historical archive that will allow historians now and in the future to interrogate Saville’s questionable conclusion that primary responsibility lies with soldiers on the ground’.16 Elsewhere, contradictory ‘lessons’ seem to have been taken from the first attempt at power sharing in Northern Ireland, the so-called ‘Sunningdale Assembly’ of 1974: nationalists tended to hold that the settlement collapsed because of unionist obduracy and Westminster spinelessness; unionists tended to argue that the experiment fell because of overreach by nationalists on both sides of the border.17 The political ramifications of such historic memories are associated with a political culture of division, suspicion, and mistrust. As Eric Langenbacher points out, the constructivist approach to IR tends to emphasise the importance of memory in fostering such value judgements and identity frames. ‘The remembered past’, he writes, ‘helps explain who people are today and what they stand for, thereby generating emotional bonds, solidarity, and trust.’18 He goes on to cite Jenny Edkins’ work on the



politics of trauma and its intersection with international norms, arguing that memorialisation of traumatic events works to unveil political realities that we tend to take for granted. Edkins, for example, contends that such memory work is ultimately unsettling of established norms and power relations. This is because traumatic memories call into question the relationship of the governed to the governing, as the eruption of violence can be represented as an act of betrayal or oversight on the part of leaders who are expected to protect their citizens.19 Memory work, then, is inherently political in that it involves questions of power. For Langenbacher, the constructivist ‘message’ is that memories and identities ‘are not eternal or primordially given but contested by (elite) actors with vested interests and the desire for power. Hence, as with any cultural phenomena, identities are always dynamic and need to be produced and ­reproduced continually.’20 The potential to unveil power asymmetries is part of what Langenbacher sees as the positive contribution of constructivism to IR and memory studies. But it also has a more critical and negative consequence in that it is frequently framed against primordialist or essentialist assumptions about identity and the normative paradigms of realism and idealism that have tended to dominate IR analysis. For if behaviour is linked to memory, which is itself continually ‘produced and reproduced’, then it seems understandable that the constructivist project will be suspicious of ‘ahistorical, overly abstract, and universal behavioural maxims’. This approach implicitly underpins the work of cultural scholar, Michael Rothberg, in Multidirectional Memory. He suggests that the constructed nature of memory work means that the narrativisation of the past draws on a range of different sources; furthermore, he argues, rather than simply a silo effect taking place among competitive groups whereby particularistic narratives serve as taboos, resonant ideas and tropes are taken-up and located across the political spectrum. For Rothberg, then, ‘[i]t is precisely that convoluted, sometimes historically unjustified, back-and-forth movement of seemingly distant collective memories in and out of public consciousness that I qualify as memory’s multidirectionality’.21 Rothberg’s model allows him to draw links between the memorialisation of the Holocaust and colonialism (and to downplay the role of the human rights movement, according to Samuel Moyn),22 but its real value for the Irish experience seems to lie in both its delineation of how ideas are translated across competing groups, often with an emphasis on recognition and justice. Thus, apparently reified, sectarian visions of history may not be as ossified as they once appeared. Even the mythology surrounding the undoubted atrocity that was Bloody Sunday, for example, has a much more complicated history than at first appears. Brian Conway outlines the development of a coherent and compelling narrative surrounding the event that worked to depict it as a sort of ur-atrocity within the nationalist imaginary the key event for which justice must be delivered before and above that of other massacres and outrages. Conway carefully outlines how the elevation of Bloody Sunday over comparable events, such as the Ballymurphy shootings (in which eleven civilians



were killed by the parachute regiment in August 1971), depended on evolving national politics and media interventions along with the importation of liberationist and internationalist frames by groups representing the victims and survivors.23 Rothberg also draws on Nancy Fraser’s work on recognition theory to describe how memory can work to focus attention not simply on what must be (re)distributed, but on to who is worthy of a voice in that planning, who should count as a recipient, and what is a relevant community or group in the process. The importance of framing is, Rothberg argues, determinative of these disputes. The Bloody Sunday and Sunningdale examples demonstrate that the negotiated and negotiable characteristics of memory work remain central to debates about identity and politics in Northern Ireland. Graham Dawson ­suggests that these debates are filtered through and shaped by cultural frames: The legacy of the past imposes itself on and could even be said to structure how we experience ourselves and our lives. But as active agents of remembrance, we work to recall, understand and make sense of this legacy in particular ways, fashioning cultural representations that may confirm or redefine the current relevance of past experience, and organize the social relation between past and present in new, as well as traditional, configurations.24

Extrapolating from those insights, it seems possible to posit that if a group can borrow frames from elsewhere including its ideological opponents then a basic, fundamental level of (political) communication is possible, both despite and because of memory division. Andrew Schaap speaks to this potential when he describes reconciliation as involving the construction or constitution of a community that is ‘not yet’.25 What he refers to as the ‘politics’ of reconciliation is a problematising and a repudiation of the urge within reconciliation practices to foreclose, resolve, or restore.26 He goes on to argue against a temptation towards relativism for example, the notion reportedly expressed by Richard Haass (see below) that the past is some kind of a Rorschach blot that is open to endless interpretation and absorbs contradictory readings by explaining how any discussion about the past inevitably involves acknowledgement of an empirical and lived reality through the act of naming. ‘By naming, we individualise events … and recognise sameness and difference (relate this event to others).’27 We also give meaning by narrativising the past and it is in that shared communication that some degree of understanding or critical empathy seems to reside, and in which, perhaps, some degree of reconciliation may lie. Dealing with the past in Northern Ireland As Dominick LaCapra argues, this kind of critical empathy stands in contrast to the logics of identity politics, which ‘may be defined as simply repeating and further legitimating or acting out the subject positions with which one begins and without subjecting them to critical testing that may either change or in certain ways validate them’.28 The description is perhaps sadly applicable



to much of what constitutes commemoration and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, which is reflective of what the literary scholar Edna Longley once described as the practice of ‘remembering at’.29 I wish to suggest that aspects of policy design can facilitate that practice, before articulating an alternative means of conceiving of reconciliation based on a common vision of democracy. In part, the seeming lack of progress in implementing policy on dealing with the past in Northern Ireland lies in the lack of consensus about when the ‘past’ began. Certainly, the Troubles can be linked to the fragmentation of the Northern Irish state in the late 1960s under the challenge of the civil rights movement a mass movement that garnered support for reforms in voting practices, employment, social housing policies, and policing from across the two Northern Irish communities. The heavy-handed and cumbersome response by authorities and local Protestant leaders such as the Reverend Ian Paisley inspired a movement towards street politics that was overtaken by militants on both sides of the political divide. With the police stretched to breaking point, London intervened in August 1969 by sending the British army to restore order. However, sensing an opportunity to finish the revolution that was started in 1916, Irish republicans reinstituted armed struggle through the IRA to, as they saw it, take the ‘war to the Brits’. The ensuing conflict, which was largely a history of sectarian assassination and car bombing, resulted in almost 4,000 deaths and upwards of 40,000 people injured until the IRA called a ceasefire in 1997. Republicans were the foremost perpetrators of killings and violence, accounting for just under 60% of the deaths, loyalist paramilitaries were culpable of around 30%, and state forces just under 10%. Although in absolute terms the figures pale in comparison with some other ethnic conflicts, in proportional terms around one out of every three people were directly affected by the violence in Northern Ireland.30 The 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement was an exercise in political containment that represented the culmination of a lengthy process of negotiation between the main political leaders in Northern Ireland and the two governments in London and Dublin. The Agreement’s aims were set out in the ­declaration of support: The tragedies of the past have left a deep and profoundly regrettable legacy of suffering. We must never forget those who have died or been injured, and their families. But we can best honour them through a fresh start, in which we firmly dedicate ourselves to the achievement of reconciliation, tolerance, and mutual trust, and to the protection and vindication of the human rights of all … We are committed to partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between these islands.31

The Agreement set out an elaborate institutional framework that would provide devolution for Northern Ireland, cross-border cooperation on a consultative basis, and fora for discussing issues pertaining to the British Isles and Ireland. It also included provisions for the reform of policing, the early release of paramilitary prisoners, and the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons



and the demilitarisation of Northern Ireland. The latter issues were to bedevil the implementation of that framework until 2007 when the two main nationalist and unionist parties, Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party, agreed to share power and the British Government agreed to devolve responsibility for policing and justice to the Northern Irish Assembly. Since 2007, what have become known as ‘legacy issues’ pertaining to victims’ rights, the possibility of a truth and reconciliation process, and public symbolism surrounding the flying of flags and parades have dominated political debate. The first detailed consultation exercise on dealing with the past was carried out by the Consultative Group on the Past in Northern Ireland (CGPNI) in 2008–09. CGPNI was a body established by the then Labour Government and comprised mainly church leaders and civil society spokespersons. Its key proposal of a legacy commission to deal with outstanding issues relating to truth recovery and victims’ needs and rights was, however, overshadowed by its call to award a £12,000 compensation payment to the relatives of all the bereaved a kind of blanket payment that did not discriminate between bystanders, innocent victims, and individuals killed while carrying out operations on behalf of paramilitary organisations.32 Since then there have been two further attempts to provide a roadmap for moving what might be called the politics of the past off the centre stage. First, in the autumn of 2013, Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan chaired a series of consultations and negotiations with Northern Irish politicians. Their detailed report separated truth recovery or storytelling approaches to the past from the more forensic work of the police and judiciary.33 The parties in Northern Ireland were largely in agreement about dealing with the past, but remained divided on public symbolism. The following year, Northern Irish politicians were again brought into a talks process, this time under pressure from the British and Irish governments. The resulting Stormont House Agreement (SHA) reaffirmed the Haass/O’Sullivan approach, and again the parties seemingly agreed on much of the substance of the proposals surrounding dealing with the past but strongly disputed the deal’s welfare components.34 The SHA proposes to parcel the past into seven distinct but overlapping and related institutions, principles, and practices. It is in the overlaps particularly with regard to information retrieval that potential unintended consequences may unravel. The primary reasons for this warning are a disjuncture between the principles that the SHA suggests legislation should follow, and the proposed bodies and the functions of the bodies themselves. The principles are that any initiative must promote reconciliation; uphold the rule of law; acknowledge and address the suffering of victims and survivors; facilitate the pursuit of justice and information recovery; be human rights compliant; and be ­balanced, proportionate, transparent, fair, and equitable.35 The SHA reduces the prominence given by Haass/O’Sullivan to symbolic ‘acts of acknowledgement’ to a commitment that the two governments will ‘consider statements of acknowledgement and would expect others to do the same’.36 The Haass/O’Sullivan emphasis on the principle of ‘choice’ for victims



and survivors in accessing care is maintained, but the potential for some form of financial compensation, which was mooted by the CPGNI, is deferred. The SHA states that the Northern Ireland Executive ‘will, by 2016, establish an Oral History Archive’,37 and as part of the archive, a ‘research project’ will be set up that will be ‘led by academics to produce a factual historical timeline and statistical analysis of the Troubles’ and which would report within twelve months.38 New legislation will establish a Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) to ‘take forward outstanding cases that formed part of the police investigation into unresolved murders, the now-suspended Historical Enquiries Team, and the work of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI). A report will be produced in each case.’39 The HIU ‘will be overseen by the Northern Ireland Policing Board’;40 it is unclear how it will be staffed, but ‘[i]n respect of its criminal investigations, the HUI will have full policing powers’.41 An Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) will be set up by the two governments to provide information to victims and survivors of the Troubles in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It will be led by a five-member team appointed by the governments and the Northern Ireland Executive42 and will be ‘given the immunities and privileges of an international body’43 while being held ‘accountable to the principles of independence, rigour, fairness and balance, transparency and proportionality’.44 The ‘objective’ is ‘to enable victims and survivors to seek and privately receive information about the (Troubles-related) deaths of their next of kin’.45 Finally, an Implementation and Reconciliation Group will be established by the Executive and the governments to ‘oversee themes, archives and information recovery’. It will commission a report after five years on ‘themes’.46 This notion of a thematic approach to dealing with the past first appeared in the report of the CGPNI and formed a significant part of the Haass/O’Sullivan paper; but the actual ‘themes’ ­themselves have disappeared from the SHA. A number of discrepancies can be detected between the proposals for an oral history archive and research project and the core principles, which, I suggest, are primarily the product of the attempt to legislate for storytelling. For example, the terms of submission of testimony to the archive are to be voluntary and the idea is to create a ‘central place for people from all backgrounds (and from throughout the UK and Ireland) to share experiences and narratives related to the Troubles. As well as collecting new material, this archive will attempt to draw together and work with existing oral history projects.’47 To be clear, my criticism is not so much with the practice of oral history itself, which undoubtedly helps incredibly damaged individuals to retain some semblance of control over their lives. Instead, the issue, as I see it, is with trying to legislate in this area in this way. In order to avoid historical and political imbalance, any proportionate archive would reflect the standard accounts of responsibility for the killings: 60% attributable to republicans; 30% to loyalists, and just under 10% being the responsibility of state forces.48 It is doubtful if the principle of proportionality could be met for a number of reasons: first, there has, arguably, been much higher profile sought and given to the republican narrative of the



Troubles. Second, there has been a silencing that has occurred where people are not allowed to speak. Third, many people would presumably wish to retain the privatised aspects of their mourning rather than share it in a public arena. Fourth, it would seem that in the context of the Boston College Tapes controversy, people may be much more guarded and defensive about what they might divulge regardless of promises of confidentiality; in other words, it may be expected that testimonies may be less specific and more generic. This potentially gives way to the cherry-picking of incidents that confirm received ideas and more easily facilitate the Google-ised editorial approach that would simply turn the archive into another space that promotes sectarian ideologies. Finally, the conflation of a public body with localised storytelling networks elides differences of standards. Significant questions remain over the methodologies of these projects, including the robustness of their mechanisms for ensuring transparency and proportionality. Of course, these standards are often not the point of localised archives that are run by individuals and groups to maintain shared understandings of traumatic events. This may be the case even in larger groups that gain European Union funding, such as the Falls Community Council’s Dúchas oral history archive, which, arguably, promotes partial and self-serving historical narratives. For example, their latest publication, a 128-page collection of stories entitled Living through the Conflict: Belfast Oral Histories,49 was ostensibly cross-community (involving contributors from both the republican Falls Road and the loyalist Shankill Road), but does not contain any mention of loyalist or republican repression, intimidation or terror of their own communities.50 The timelines project, as envisaged by the SHA, may also seem to meet the uncertainties thrown up by storytelling by providing an evidence-based assessment. Yet, the document circumscribes the project to a chronology and a statistical analysis51 both of which are easily accessible through the Ulster University-hosted Conflict Archive on the Internet (commonly known by the acronym ‘CAIN’) website and the volumes of Lost Lives.52 In other words, the aims and goals of localised oral historical or storytelling projects may not be appropriate to be extrapolated to a societal level where principles such as ­proportionality, fairness, transparency, and balance must apply. It is in the overlap between the remit of the HIU and the ICIR that, arguably, the SHA most troubles the principles of balance, proportionality, and transparency. Again, the problem seems to centre around the very limited, subjective, and potentially ethnicised histories that storytelling offers. Again, this is due to a number of reasons. In the first place, although the ICIR will be based on ‘the precedent provided by the Independent Commission on the Location of Victims’ Remains’,53 it also seems to take its point of departure from the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. This is implied in paragraph 46: ‘The ICIR will not disclose information provided to it by law enforcement or intelligence services and this information will be inadmissible in criminal and civil proceedings.’ In what seems to be an allusion to the Boston College Tapes controversy, the SHA goes on to state that the body ‘will not disclose the identities of people who



provide information. No individual who provides information to the body will be immune from prosecution for any crime committed should the required evidential test be satisfied by other means.’54 The latter sentence is curious: Why do we even need an ICIR if other evidence exists? A suspicious reading might be that the sentence is there to provide political cover against the charge of amnesty, but even then it does not answer the scenario of cross-testimony. In other words, what happens to evidence in the HIU if it is presented in another form to the ICIR? The contradictions between the two bodies may, in fact, result in amnesty by another name. Everything is hypothetical at the time of writing, but it seems that the drafters have given real consideration to the possibility of cross-testimony. The door for prosecutions remains open, but given the lack of evidence now available for paramilitary crimes, the SHA seemingly shifts the balance of potential litigation towards being against the state. A related issue here is the discrepancy that the same pledge has not been made by the Irish Government, which merely promises to ‘put in place … necessary arrangements … to ensure the HIU has the full cooperation of all relevant Irish authorities’. The failure to extend full disclosure to all participants in the processes simply reproduces the subjectivities at the heart of storytelling. Again, to repeat, there may be nothing intrinsically problematic about those subjectivities after all, stories are, principally, personal accounts of the past. But the attempt to legislate for them, as proposed in the SHA, ignores their very limitations. Unlike the South African case, where full disclosure was written into legislation, it was felt that in Northern Ireland it would be an impossible condition for participation.55 But the failure to secure the principle means that, as with the CGPNI, the process has no compliance mechanism. The core political point in all of this is the scenario of a fragmentation of the victims’ lobby into two groupings. It is not difficult, for example, to envisage a scenario whereby the UK Government and some victims and survivors groups decide to opt for what might be seen as the more legal or law and order route of pursuing justice through the HUI, while the Irish Government and other groups decide to opt for the kind of truth recovery provided by the ICIR. Although advocate-counsellors will be provided to assist in the decision,56 the principle of fairness57 does not seem practicable or applicable because, in this reading, a choice has to be made in the absence of evidence. The HIU/ICIR divide then equates to a bet do victims give up on due process for a truth report, or do they hold on (for the five years the ICIR is supposed to run)58 for material evidence to come to light? Conclusion The 1998 Agreement evaded the question of dealing with the past through institutional mechanisms. It placed an emphasis on relationships, partnership, and honouring the dead by moving forward in peace. A decade and a half on from that concord those hopes look somewhat utopian. Instead, the debate over what have become known as ‘legacy issues’ including meeting victims’



rights and needs, entrenched segregation, and persistent sectarianism have become linked to rather nebulous notions of reconciliation. In the process, the two-sided nature of reconciliation, implicit in the 1998 Agreement, as both an objective and a transition, seems to be increasingly lost. In other words, the substantive vision of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement that reconciliation would develop from stable and transparent relationships has increasingly been displaced by a proceduralist notion that reconciliation can be reached if only the correct institutions are established and the right set of rules followed. The insights from the constructivist approach outlined above do not ignore the importance of rule setting or institution building; instead, they argue that the operation, interpretation, and understanding of rules and institutions are often fluid and context specific. While this can result in confusion and stasis, constructivism also suggests that re-interpretation and negotiation is also possible. As regards the current impasse regarding reconciliation and dealing with the past in Northern Ireland, I have suggested that this in and of itself is also wishful thinking because the kind of understandings that are necessary to design and implement policy as regards to a ‘right’ way forward are not readily apparent at an elite or ground level. In that regard, Soderberg is correct to highlight the importance of leadership and responsibility, for the implication of the constructivist argument in this chapter is that understanding will never be perfect and, therefore, a degree of responsibility for recognising or even overlooking incongruence is necessary. A counter-argument might be that this is untestable a chicken-andegg-type scenario: responsibility either follows from or precedes reconciliation. Again, this counter-argument, I would aver, may not be completely compelling. Although the 1998 Agreement was rococo in many instances, it adopted an approach to reconciliation which was minimalist and interpretative (in the dual sense of alluding to the past and looking to the future). This is not to discount the need for legislation to deal with outstanding issues relating to, for example, victims’ rights or historic crimes; it is, rather, to suggest that any overarching attempt to deal with the past ought to return to those first principles of the 1998 Agreement and adopt a substantive, rather than the present almost exclusively proceduralist, lens. Notes  1 G. Moriarty ‘“Abysmal” NI politicians too stuck in past, says ex-Clinton aide’, The Irish Times (28 August 2014). Available at (accessed 15 June 2015).  2 Ibid.  3 This limits of leaders taking risks for peace is stressed by Owsiak in Chapter 2 of this volume.  4 A counter-argument might be that Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams would have lost political capital had the IRA not called a ceasefire; however, this ultimately seems



to be a non sequitur given the time lag between the two events and an unstated assumption that Adams had not, in effect, made (sufficient) political capital out of the US visa. See M. C. Clancy, Peace without Consensus: Power Sharing Politics in Northern Ireland (Farmham: Ashgate, 2010), p. 65.  5 C. McGrattan, ‘Reconciliation, nationalism and ideology in Northern Ireland’, Political Ideologies, 21:1 (2016), 61–77; C. McGrattan, Peacebuilding and the Politics of Trauma: Lessons from Northern Ireland (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).  6 See, for example, B. Hamber and G. Kelly, ‘Reconciliation: A working definition’ (Belfast: Democratic Dialogue, 2004). Available at papers/dd04recondef.pdf (accessed 18 June 2015).  7 See K. Simpson, Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).  8 See, for instance, E. Langenbacher and Y. Shain (eds), Power and the Past: Collective Memory and International Relations (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010); J. Lind, Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010).  9 See, for instance, O. G. Encarnación, Democracy without Justice in Spain: The Politics of Forgetting (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014); E. Gordy, Guilt, Responsibility, and Denial: The Past at Stake in Post-Miloševic´ Serbia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013); S. Macdonald, Memorylands: Heritage and Identity in Europe Today (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013); C. Moon, Narrating Political Reconciliation: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2009). 10 E. Jelin, State Repression and the Struggles for Memory (London: Latin American Bureau, 2003), p. 31. 11 Ibid., p. 41. 12 A. D. Smith, ‘Culture, community and territory: The politics of ethnicity and nationalism’, International Affairs, 72:3 (1996), 445–58. For further analysis of the role of territory in defining identity in the context of Northern Ireland, see Chapter 2 in this volume. 13 P. Aguilar, Memory and Amnesia: The Role of the Spanish Civil War in the Transition to Democracy, trans. M. Oakley (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2002). 14 S. Jansen, ‘The Violence of memories: Local narratives of the past after ethnic cleansing’, Local History, 6:1 (2002), 79. 15 Aguilar, Memory and Amnesia, p. 21. For Bermeo’s work on policy-making as lesson learning, see N. Bermeo, ‘Democracy and the lessons of dictatorship’, Comparative Politics, 24:3 (1992), 273–91. White’s analysis in Chapter 11 does try to apply a theory of cooperation where decision-makers learned lessons to build cooperation from a historical conflictual situation. For the idiosyncratic nature of lesson learning in Northern Ireland, see W. Hazleton, ‘”Look at Northern Ireland”: Lessons best learned at home’, in T. J. White (ed.), Lessons from the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). 16 Cited in C. McGrattan, Memory, Politics, Identity: Haunted by History (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), p. 75. 17 See D. McCann and C. McGrattan, Sunningdale and the Struggle for Democracy in Northern Ireland (Manchester: Manchester University Press, forthcoming). 18 E. Langenbacher, ‘Collective memory as a factor in political culture and international relations’, in Langenbacher and Shain (eds), Power and the Past: Collective Memory and International Relations, p. 22.



19 J. Edkins argues that ‘[w]hat we call trauma takes place when the very powers that we are convinced will protect us and give us security become our tormentors: when the community of which we considered ourselves members turns against us or when our family is no longer a source of refuge but a site of danger’ in Trauma and the Memory of Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 4. 20 Langenbacher, ‘Collective memory as a factor in political culture and international relations’, p. 22. 21 M. Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009), p. 17. 22 S. Moyn, Human Rights and the Uses of History (London: Verso, 2014), p. 95. 23 See B. Conway, Commemoration and Bloody Sunday: Pathways of Memory (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). 24 G. Dawson, Making Peace with the Past? Memory, Trauma and the Irish Troubles (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007), p. 13. 25 A. Schaap, Political Reconciliation (Abingdon: Routledge, 2005), p. 4. 26 Ibid., p. 21. 27 Ibid., p. 137. 28 See also D. LaCapra, Writing History, Writing Trauma (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001). 29 E. Longley, ‘Northern Ireland: Commemoration, elegy, forgetting’, in I. McBride, History and Memory in Modern Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). 30 See A. Edwards and C. McGrattan, The Northern Ireland Conflict: A Beginner’s Guide (Oxford: Oneworld, 2012). 31 The Belfast Agreement, 1998. Available at­publications/ the-belfast-agreement (accessed 20 November 2015). 32 C. McGrattan, Northern Ireland, 1968–2008: The Politics of Entrenchment (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 176–7. 33 The Haass/O’Sullivan report is entitled ‘Proposed agreement, 31 December 2013: An agreement among the parties of the Northern Ireland executive on parades, select commemorations, and related protests; flags and emblems; and contending with the past’. Available at (accessed 11 August 2015). 34 The Stormont House Agreement, 2014. Available at uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/390672/Stormont_House_ Agreement.pdf (accessed 11 August 2015). 35 Ibid., paragraph 21. 36 Ibid., paragraph 53. 37 Ibid., paragraph 22. 38 Ibid., paragraph 25. 39 Ibid., paragraph 30. 40 Ibid., paragraph 37. 41 Ibid., paragraph 36. 42 Ibid., paragraph 44. 43 Ibid., paragraph 47. 44 Ibid., paragraph 50. 45 Ibid., paragraph 41. 46 Ibid., paragraph 51.



47 Northern Ireland (Stormont House Agreement) Bill: Summary of measures, September 2015, p. 3. Available at system/uploads/attachment_data/file/462888/Policy_Paper_-_Summary_of_ Measures_23_Sept_2015_Final.pdf (accessed 20 November 2015). 48 D. McKittrick, S. Kelters, B. Feeney, and C. Thorton, Lost Lives: The Stories of the Men, Women and Children who Died as a Result of the Northern Ireland Troubles (Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1999), p. 1476. 49 Dúchas, Living through the Conflict: Belfast Oral Histories (Belfast: Falls Community Council, 2014). 50 L. Kennedy, They shoot children, don’t they? An analysis of the age and gender of victims of paramilitary ‘punishments’ in Northern Ireland, August 2001. Available at http:// (accessed 11 August 2015). This is important as violence within the communities has become the typical pattern since the 1998 Agreement. See Chapter 3 of this volume. 51 The Stormont House Agreement, paragraph 25. 52 See McKittrick et al., Lost Lives. The CAIN homepage is at index.html (accessed 15 August 2015). 53 The Stormont House Agreement, paragraph 41. 54 Ibid., paragraph 49. 55 Author interview with talks participant, London, December 2013. 56 The Stormont House Agreement, paragraph 29. 57 Ibid., paragraph 50. 58 Ibid., paragraph 43.

Conclusion: Northern Ireland and International Relations theory Timothy J. White

This volume has attempted to analyse the peace process in Northern Ireland through the lens of a variety of theories developed in the fields of International Relations (IR), security, and peacebuilding. While this case confounds the theoretical predictions of multi-lateral governance and the literature on decommissioning, contributors to this volume have found certain theoretical approaches, especially those emanating from constructivism, useful in explaining the arrival of a peace settlement in Northern Ireland. Constructivism has the advantage, as Dixon details in Chapter 1, of allowing the researcher to focus on the unique characteristics of the actors involved and the ideas and ideologies they devised and employed to pursue their interests, including peace. Dixon believes that a constructivist realist approach provides the best means of understanding the nuances and complexities of leaders and their decisions in the peace process. This approach provides the flexibility to appreciate both the possibilities that constructivism allows and the limitations based on the constraints that realism stresses. The constructivist realist approach allows one to understand how and why the peace process in Northern Ireland was prolonged and arduous but ultimately successful in reaching a settlement, despite a difficult and elongated process of implementation. Overcoming the fundamental conflict in Northern Ireland over territory and boundaries was no easy task, and realists offer little hope of explaining how this occurred. Owsiak, building on constructivist assumptions that actors can alter their identities and policies, contends that Irish nationalists were able to reconceptualise partition and their identity’s link to territory based on the opportunity that the peace process offered.1 Like Dixon, Owsiak believes that leaders who sought peace were limited by the interests and identities of their constituents. Employing selectorate theory, Owsiak demonstrates in Chapter 2 that even if political elites sought to lead their followers, there were important limitations on what could be compromised and how long it would take to convince supporters of the benefit of concessions and agreement. Both the redefining of nationalist identity in terms of territory, as well as other concessions by numerous actors, required not only agents willing to take risks for



peace, but also an ability to alter heretofore fixed or intransigent conceptions of identity. Constructivists have also stressed that ‘anarchy is what states make of it’.2 Irish nationalists were not passive actors to structural conditions, for if they were the historic Protestant dominance in Northern Ireland would have continued unabated. However, as McLoughlin demonstrates in Chapter 4, Irish nationalists, especially John Hume, were able to articulate a new vision for how to pursue their interests beginning in the 1960s. Hume played a central role in the peace process, both in promoting ideas that changed how many actors viewed the conflict in Northern Ireland and as a political leader engaging republicans, unionists, the British Government, the Irish Government, and key figures in the European Union and the US Government. The central role Hume played in the context of American foreign policy toward Northern Ireland was aptly summarised by Nancy Soderberg: ‘Simply put, John Hume drove US foreign policy on Northern Ireland for nearly three decades.’3 Thus, Hume demonstrated the importance of agency and ideas central to ­constructivist conceptions of IR. In order to be successful, Hume recognised that he needed to mobilise support from international actors who would support this nationalist vision, especially leaders connected to Irish-American groups. The Irish-American diaspora was diverse, with some supporting republicans, others supporting nationalists, fewer supporting unionists, and many with no strong connection to the conflict in Northern Ireland. Gupta’s Chapter 5 in this volume explains the various networks that connected Irish nationalists and republicans to groups and leaders in the US, and she highlights how the licit link Hume developed with IrishAmerican leaders was critical to garner American support for the peace process. This pressure successfully led to the US Government diplomatically intervening at critical times to support the peace process, and led to the demise of the illicit link between some Irish Americans and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Similar to his befriending of key Irish-American allies, John Hume developed connections with leaders in the European Union who also came to support the peace process. They did so through the economic assistance that they provided through the various EU Peace Programmes. In Chapter 10 in this volume, Buchanan discusses not only the peace funding that came from Europe but also other international funding that came through the International Fund for Ireland. Because it is impossible to know what would have developed without these external funds supporting the peace process, it is difficult to state with certainty what the contribution of these funds has been for peace in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland. However, given that the private sector is notoriously weak in these areas and that these funds were targeted at not only providing jobs and economic growth, but also specific peacebuilding initiatives at the local level, it is fair to assume that these programmes have benefitted many in Northern Ireland and provided meaningful support for the emergence of better local relations among unionists and nationalists.



While Buchanan identifies the important economic role the EU has played, Mary C. Murphy in Chapter 8 analyses the theoretical means of evaluating the effect of the EU by applying the theory of multi-level governance. Murphy finds that the support the EU has provided Northern Ireland has not undermined the power of the British state as earlier and more contemporary theories of regional integration, like multi-level governance, suggest. Nevertheless, she agrees that the EU has been an important actor through a number of initiatives of supporting Northern Ireland as a region within the EU. The effectiveness of the EU, however, is not based on circumventing the power of the British state but by the desire of the central government to develop Northern Ireland as a peaceful region within the United Kingdom. White’s Chapter 11, applying and extending cooperation theory developed by Axelrod, attempts to explain the fundamental logic of coordinated action among numerous actors in the Northern Ireland peace process. Early cooperation theory was developed from extending the logic of a simple two person game of prisoner’s dilemma. By highlighting the incentives of an iterated version of this game, Axelrod demonstrated that even if actors were egoists they benefitted from long-term cooperation. Subsequent research has extended this fundamental logic to the complexity of numerous actors with competing interests over time. White provides several examples of coordinated cooperation among numerous actors to promote not only reaching the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) but implementing it afterward. On numerous occasions multiple actors coordinated their behaviour to be sensitive to the constraints reluctant or recalcitrant actors faced to encourage their participation in and accession to the peace process. While many of the theories that were employed and explored in this volume explain the success of the peace process in Northern Ireland, some highlight the limitations and negative ramifications of what has been achieved. Gallaher in Chapter 3 adeptly identifies the realities associated with a slow and deliberate process of decommissioning paramilitaries. While this process was successful in dramatically reducing violence across the sectarian divide, the effort to keep the paramilitaries in the peace process allowed them great autonomy within their communities in terms of an internal police function. This has resulted in less than an ideal internal security system where local paramilitaries continue to police within their own communities, undermining the reformed police service’s capacity to function effectively. Significant levels of violence within the communities have been the result.4 This volume has also highlighted the important role of actors often ignored or minimised in IR. Braniff and Whiting in Chapter 6 demonstrate that the failure to integrate women effectively into the peace process, their perspective and their agency, has prevented their potential contribution to the peace. Despite the short-term success of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC), women have been marginalised and had their role subsumed to the ethnic or nationalist cause, dominated by men and masculine conceptions of interest in each community. Braniff and Whiting contend that not only has the paucity of



women achieving electoral representation minimised their role in making and building peace, but their exclusion suggests that male forms of social organisation and power relationships have tended to perpetuate conflict and violence. Power’s Chapter 7 focuses on the important role that the Catholic Church came to play in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. Her research connects the argument made by Huntington and others that the Catholic Church became a more important actor in world politics in this decade. Power demonstrates that this was caused by the emergence of human rights as an important part of Catholic theology. Cahal Daly began to apply Catholic conceptions of human rights to republican political prisoners in the 1980s. Thus, Power demonstrates that the Church no longer was associated with a conservative politics that attempted to assert its power over a society, but increasingly acted as an advocate for those who the powerful had abused or not respected. Her analysis highlights how the universal teachings of the Church developed in papal encyclicals and in Church Councils, like Vatican II, have become operationalised by the local bishops and priests who attempt to apply the universal teachings of the Church in a local context. Hayward and Magennis in Chapter 9 explain both the theoretical and practical ways the private sector has played a role in the Northern Ireland peace process. This sector is assumed by liberal IR scholars to promote peace by providing employment and economic growth as a result of peace. Hayward and Magennis find that simple assumptions regarding the role of the private sector need to be refined and defined to explain the more specific ways businesses have actually contributed to peace. They demonstrate that there are numerous ways in which business can support peace processes, and they apply their theoretical framework to numerous activities that go well beyond providing employment to more purposive programmes and policies that are targeted to promote peace. McGrattan’s Chapter 12 offers a critical analysis employing recent theoretical explorations of reconciliation in IR. Much of the peacebuilding literature has stressed the need for truth and reconciliation as central to peacebuilding, as well as the need to promote trust across the sectarian divide.5 The continuing efforts and failures to deal with the past whether it was the proposals of the Haass/Sullivan recommendations or the Stormont House Agreement highlight how it is difficult for Northern Ireland to move forward without first coming to grips with its past. As McGrattan finds, the process of seeking truth is itself so politicised that there is really no hope for this process to do anything other than reignite resentment and prevent any real healing across the sectarian divide. Instead of focusing on the need to find the perpetrators of crimes on the ‘other’ side, it might be more helpful for different groups to take responsibility for their own past behaviour. This is more likely to allow a more sincere sense of forgiveness from those on the other side of the conflict. The various chapters in this volume do not advance a single theoretical approach or blindly follow one of the competing paradigms in IR. What this volume collectively demonstrates is that the case of Northern Ireland is



­incredibly rich in allowing scholars to assess and apply a plethora of theoretical approaches. While some explored here were found to be problematic in this case, others were found to be helpful in explaining both the successes and limitations of what has been achieved in Northern Ireland. As Dixon argues in Chapter 1, the goal of theory is not to be so abstract that it cannot be applied in a single case; but to analyse a case one needs a theoretical framework to organise how to best conceive the causal mechanisms at work. Enough time has now passed since the peace process has begun and a settlement reached that we can identify theoretical frameworks that allow us to understand both how and what kind of peace has been reached in Northern Ireland. Existing theoretical frameworks were deficient in explaining decommissioning and the role of the EU in Northern Ireland. Refining or modifying these theories based on this case is part of the never-ending process of improving theory and our understanding of IR. Notes 1 Owsiak’s analysis confirms earlier analysis of how Irish nationalists’ modified their identity without ending their ultimate goal of Irish unity. See J. Ruane and J. Todd, ‘A changed Irish nationalism? The significance of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998’, in J. Ruane, J. Todd, and A. Mandeville (eds), Europe’s Old States in the New World: The Politics of Transition in Britain, France, and Spain (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2003). 2 A. Wendt, ‘Anarchy is what states make of it: The social construction of power p ­ olitics’, International Organization, 46:2 (1992), 391–425. 3 Nancy Soderberg, ‘In America’, in Seán Farren and Denis Haughey (eds), John Hume: Irish Peacemaker (Dublin: Four Courts, 2015). 4 Morrison shows that the slow process of disarming the paramilitaries has undermined the building of a lasting peace across the communal divide in Northern Ireland. See J. F. Morrison, ‘Peace comes dropping slow: The case of Northern Ireland’, in I. Tellildis and H. Toros (eds), Researching Terrorism, Peace and Conflict Studies: Interaction, Synthesis, and Opposition (London: Routledge, 2015). 5 For example, see J. B. Kenworthy, A. Voci, A. Al Ramiah, N. Tausch, J. Hughes, and M. Hewstone, ‘Building trust in a postconflict society: An integrative model of cross-group friendship and intergroup emotions’, Journal of Conflict Resolution (forthcoming).



1947 Education Act (Northern Ireland) 75 2003 Assembly election 18 Ad Hoc Congressional Committee for Irish Affairs (AHCC) 103, 107, 109 Adair, Johnny 67 Adams, Gerry 44–8, 83–4, 99–100, 207, 210, 212, 218 Afghanistan 28 Africa 146 African National Congress 100 Aguilar, Paloma 220–1 Ahern, Bertie 210 Al Qaeda 21 Albania 57 Alderdice, John (Lord) 211 Algeria 101 Alliance Party 24, 211 An Cuman Cabhrach 102 Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) 82–5, 87–8 British-Irish cooperation 209 and the International Fund for Ireland 184, 189–90, 192 and Irish role in Northern Ireland 82 and John Hume 78–80 and shift in Irish public opinion regarding Northern Ireland and unification 46 US Role 79 Arendt, Hannah 26 Arthur, Paul 170 Article 50 (Lisbon Treaty) 159 Axelrod, Robert 9, 201–5, 235 Australia 184

Autodefensas Unidos de Colombia (AUC) 57 Ballymurphy killings (shootings) 122, 222 Barroso, Jose Manuel 155 Basch, Linda 116 Basic Needs Theory 170 Basque Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) 100–1 Beijing + 5 Review 120 Belfast Agreement 1, 18, 116, 121, 145, 156, 218 negotiated settlement 224 procedural settlement instead of reconciliation 229 similarities to the Sunningdale Agreement 36 see also Good Friday Agreement Belfast Charity Organization 174 see also Bryson Charitable Group Belfast Council of Social Welfare 174 see also Bryson Charitable Group Belgium 146, 164 Bell, Christine 119, 126 Ben-Porat, Guy 165 Berg, Gary 174 Bermeo, Nancy 221 Biaggi, Mario 103, 106 Bishara, Norman 172 Blair, Tony 19, 22, 26, 30–1, 210 Bloody Sunday (1972) 221–3 Inquiry 221, 223 Bloomer, Stephen 68 border settlement 3, 37–42 see also territorial settlement Bosnia 118, 120

240 Boston College Tapes controversy 227 Bouillon, Markus 168 Brams, Steven 209 Braniff, Máire 5, 10, 116, 235 Breaking the Patterns of Conflict Project 169, 171 British-Irish Council (BIC) 157 Brooke, Peter 84 Bruce, Steve 63 Bryson Charitable Group (Bryson House) 174 see also Belfast Charity Organization; Council of Social Welfare Buchanan, Sandra 8, 11, 163, 182, 235 Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce 2 Burke, Dick 79 Burke, Edmund 25 Burns O’Brien, Fred 103 Burton, John 170 business and peace 7–8, 162–5, 175–6 roles for business in peace 165–6 agent 169–70 exemplar 171–3 facilitator 170–1 partner 173–5 spillover 166–9 business in Northern Ireland 163–4 Business Against Crime Project (South Africa) 169 Business for Peace (B4P) 175 Cahill, Joe 102–3 Calo, Zachary 134 Cameron, David 150 Cambodia 57 Canada 57, 184, 211 Carey, Hugh 98 Carr, E. H. 25, 27 Carter, Jimmy 79, 99, 103, 106 Carter Collins, Sue 118 case study (studies) 2, 117, 182, 220 Catholic Church (Church) 6 and human rights 131–40 Charter of Brest 100 Chichester-Clark, Robin 30 civil rights movement 93, 122 John Hume 75 Clinton, Bill 22, 99, 167, 218–19 Coady, Tony 25 Cold War 28, 79 Collier, Paul 167 Columbia 57 Commemoration studies 10, 126


Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 151–3 Common Travel Area (CTA) 152 Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN) 227 Conflict Transformation Initiative 64 consociationalism (consociational systems) 123, 151 constructivism (constructivists) 3, 10, 18, 28–9, 140, 219, 234 importance of ideas and agency 5, 74–5, 89, 233 and memory studies 10 and partition 4 constructivist realism 27–32, 233 Consultative Group on the Past in Northern Ireland (CGPNI) 225–6, 228 Contras (in Nicaragua) 121 Conway, Brian 222 Cooperation Ireland 173 cooperation theory 9, 201–13, 235 County Council-Led Task Forces (CCLTFs) 186–8, 192 Craig, William 30 Craigavon, Lord (James Craig) 137 Cramer, Christopher 167 Cuban exiles 121 Cyprus 172 Daly, Cahal 6, 137–9, 236 Darby, John 48, 125, 169 Davis, Earl 42 Dawson, Graham 223 De Chastelain, John 211 De Valera, Eamon 40–2 decommissioning 2, 4, 29, 36, 55–69, 207, 233 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) demand for decommissioning 64 differences with Sinn Féin regarding Conflict Resolution Centre 153, 155 growing support after the GFA 23–4, 64 opposition to GFA 211 power sharing with Sinn Féin 18, 26, 212, 225 resignation in September 2015 196 support for leaving the EU in Brexit vote 154 Denmark 164 Devlin, Paddy 30



devolution 7, 60–1, 145, 148–9, 151, 153–4, 212 diaspora(s) 6 Dignitatus Humanae 135 Disarmament – demobilization – reintegration (DDR) – 4, 55–8, 68 see also decommissioning District Partnerships 186–7, 191 Dixon, Paul 3, 10, 18, 75, 219, 233 Donlon, Seán 100 Downing Street Declaration (DSD) 84–5, 210 Drumcree (marching) 23 Duddy, Brendan 171 Duvvury, Nata 125 dynamic systems theory 204

Fitt, Gerry 30 Fitzgerald, Garret 46, 80–1, 209 Flannery, Michael 102 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) 162, 164, 168 Forrer, John 172 Fort, Timothy 172 Forum for Peace and Reconciliation 163 Four Horsemen 98–100, 105, 107 France 146 Frankfurt school 119 Fraser, Nancy 223 Friends of Ireland caucus 98 Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) 56 functionalism 7

Edkins, Jenny 221–2 Edwards, Anthony 68 Ellison, Graham 64 El Salvador 56–7 Enloe, Cynthia 123 Estonia 164 ETA see Basque Euskadi Ta Askatasuna Europe of the Regions 149 European Economic Community (EEC) 145, 209 European Council 150 European Union (EU) 58, 182–9, 191–2, 194–6, 210, 227, 234–5 and border conflicts 7 and Northern Ireland 144–59 theoretical role 10, 146–8 Peace Funds (Peace Programmes I, II, III, IV) 8–9, 58, 152–3, 182–4, 186–9, 191–2, 194–6, 234 background, funding and activities 185–6 management structures 186–8 UK exit 144, 150, 152–4, 158–9 Eurozone 146

Gaddafi, Muammar 100 Gallaher, Carolyn 2, 4, 10, 55 Galligan, Yvonne 122–3 Galtung, Johan 183, 195 Ganson, Brian 165 Gaudium et Spes 135–6 gender in conflict 5 as (in)-equality 117–18 in International Relations (IR) 5, 117–21, 127 in Northern Ireland 121–7 as Peace 118–21 in peacebuilding 5 Gentry, Caron 119 George, Alexander 2 Gerring, John 2 Gibson, Chris 170 Goddard, Stacie 38, 41, 47 Good Friday Agreement (GFA) 1, 5, 24, 30, 37, 116, 121, 194, 208, 218 altering constitutional claim by Irish Republic to Northern Ireland 40 consociational interpretation 27 constitutional settlement 183 cooperation among multiple parties 201, 213, 235 David Trimble and his role 88 differences with Sunningdale Agreement 78 elite driven 3 John Hume and his role 74–5, 81–2, 85–8 negotiated by moderate parties 18, 211 negotiated settlement 224

Fahey, Tony 46 Fair Employment Agency 171 FARC see Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia Farrell, Theo 196 Faulkner, Brian 30, 47, 49 federalism 7 Fianna Fáil 40, 80–1 Findley, Michael 205 Fine Gael 80–1 Finland 57

242 Good Friday Agreement (GFA) (cont.) procedural settlement instead of reconciliation 229 Referendum Campaign 26, 30, 31, 169 second strand (north-south coordination) 4, 187 similarities to the Sunningdale Agreement 36, 77–8 see also Belfast Agreement Goodhand, Jonathan 167 Gorecki, Paul 195 Gray, John 28, 33 Grove, Andrea 174 Gupta, Devashree 5, 10, 11, 93, 206, 234 H-Block protests 138–9 Haagerup Report 79 Haas, Ernst 146 Haass, Richard 10, 223, 225, 236 Hamas 21 Hancock, Landon 46 Harryville Church (Antrim) 23 Hart, Gary 168 Harvey, Brian 194 Haughey, Charles 100 Hayes, Bernadette 42, 46 Hayward, Katy 7, 162, 236 hegemonic masculinity 119 Hehir, J. Bryan 133–4 Henderson, Brum 173 Henry VIII 137 Hezbollah 21 Hillsborough Castle (Agreement) 125 Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) 226–8 Hoffmann, Stanley 146 Holy Cross School (North Belfast) 23 Hoogensen, Gunhild 119 Hooghe, Liesbet 148 Hume, John 5, 11, 30, 36, 44–8 Anglo-Irish Agreement 78, 82–4, 87–8 early career and thinking 75–7, 87–9 Good Friday Agreement 74–5, 85–8 on partition 39 relations with EC and EU 79–80, 82, 89, 210 relations with Irish America and US government 78–9, 82, 89, 96– 100, 106, 210, 234


relations with Republic of Ireland 80–1, 88–9 relationship with Ted Kennedy 78, 98–100 talks with Sinn Féin 83–4 human rights 50, 131 and the Catholic Church131–40 and police reform 59 Hunger Strikes 207 Huntington, Samuel 131–2 idealists (idealism) 3, 18–26, 29–33 and deception 20–1 left-wing (civil society) idealists 22–4, 32 neo-conservative idealists 21–2 see also liberals improvised explosive devices (IEDs) 101 Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) 226–8 Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland 61, 210 Independent Monitoring Commission 57, 59, 62, 67, 211 Intermediary Funding Bodies (IFBs) 186–7, 192–3 International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) 57, 64–5, 210–11 International Fund for Ireland (IFI) 9, 182–5, 188–9, 191–6, 234 background and funding 184 management structures 184–5 Programme activities 185 Iraq 28 Irish Echo 103 Irish National Caucus (INC) 102–3, 106–8 Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID) 97, 102–4, 106–7 Irish People 103 Irish Republican Army (IRA) – (Provisional IRA or PIRA) 18, 59, 85, 96, 171 armed struggle (1969) 224 ceasefire 218 decommissioning 55–7, 62–5, 208–9, 212 and Irish-America 78–9 keeping in peace process 47, 61 learned cooperation with the British government 206–9 and neoconservatives 21–2, 32


as a non-state actor 36 paramilitary policing 66–7 punishment shooting 60 relationship with Sinn Féin 44–5 transnational networks of support 96, 100–3, 106–9, 234 Irish-US Parliamentary Group 98 Jameson, Richard 67 Jansen, Stef 220 Jelin, Elizabeth 220 Jervis, Robert 204 John XXIII 7, 134, 139 John Paul II 132, 136 Joint Declaration for Peace 84 see also Downing Street Declaration (DSD) Joint Ministerial Committee on Europe (JMC[E]) 150 Jones, Adam 118 Katsos, John 172 Kearney, Andrew 60–1 Keck, Margaret 5, 94–5, 105, 109 Kennan, George 25 Kennedy, Ted (Edward) 78, 82, 98–9, 110 Keohane, Robert 133 Kissinger, Henry 25 Knight, Kathleen 122 Kosovo 57 Kydd, Andrew 204 Labour Party (in Ireland) 80–1 LaCapra, Dominick 223 Lake, David 37 Langenbacher, Eric 221–2 Larson, Deborah 205 Lederach, John Paul 170, 183, 190–1, 195 Leo XIII 134 liberal feminism 117, 119 liberals (liberal scholars) 3, 6, 7, 8, 131, 236 see also idealists Libya 28, 101–2, 108 Lindberg, Leon 146 Lisbon Treaty (Article 50) 159 Local Strategy Partnerships (LSPs) 191 Long Kesh Prison 153 Longley, Edna 224 Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) 67 Lynch, Jack 100, 106

243 Maasctricht Treaty 147 MacBride Principles 103, 107 Machiavelli, Niccolò 25 Magennis, Eoin 7, 162, 236 Major, John 22, 31, 46–7, 84, 210 Mac Ginty, Roger 48, 125, 169 Mahdavi, Pardis 96 Mansbach, Richard 37 Marks, Gary 147–8 May, Theresa 159 Maze Prison 153 McAllister, Ian 42 McCarter, William 193 McDowell, Sara 126 McGrattan, Cillian 9, 11, 218, 236 McGuinness, Martin 63, 167, 207, 212 McKeown, Michael 65–7 McLoughlin, Peter J. 5, 10, 74, 210, 219, 234 McManus, Seán 103 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) 123, 152 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) 150, 158 memory studies 10, 220 Middle East 146 Mitchell, David 64 Mitchell, George 205, 211 Möckli, Daniel 172 Moloney, Ed 44–5 Moravcsik, Andrew 146 Morgenthau, Hans 25, 36 Moryn, Samuel 222 Mowlam, Mo 22, 60–1 Moynihan, Daniel Patrick 98, 108 Muftic´, Lisa 118 multi-level governance (MLG) 2, 7, 144, 146–59, 233, 235 Murphy, John 41 Murphy, Mary C. 2, 7, 10–11, 144, 163, 235 Nationalist Party 76 NEETS (Young people Not in Education Employment or Training) 174 Neiman, Susan 20 Nelson, Jane 172 neoconservatives 21–2 networks (transnational advocacy networks or TANS) 6, 36, 93–109, 206 illicit 6, 93, 95, 100–2

244 networks (transnational advocacy networks or TANS) (cont.) licit 6, 93, 95, 97–100 semi-licit 102–5 New Ireland Forum (NIF) 80–2, 85–6 New Zealand 184 Nicaragua 121 Niebuhr, Reinhold 25 Nincic, Miroslav 205 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) 6, 42, 173–4 NORAID see Irish Northern Aid Committee North-South Ministerial Council (NSMC) 156–7 Northern Ireland Arms Decommissioning Act (1997) 65 Northern Ireland Office (NIO) 154 Northern Ireland Task Force (NITF) 154–6, 158 Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC) (Women’s Coalition) 5, 24, 124–5, 235 Nye, Joseph 133 Ó Dochartaigh, Niall 171, 207 O’Leary, Brendan 2 O’Neill, Terence 30, 46 O’Neill, Tip (Thomas) 78, 82, 99 O’Regan, Brendan 173 O’Rourke, Catherine 119, 126 O’Sullivan, Meghan 10, 225, 236 Oetzel, Jennifer 166 Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) 151–2, 154 Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels (ONIEB) 156 On the Runs controversy 32 Oral History Archive 226 Orange Order 171 Orth, Maureen 99 Orwell, George 26 Owsiak, Andrew 3, 10, 36, 205, 233 Pacem in Terris 7, 133–5, 137 Paisley, Ian 18, 30, 64, 167, 192, 211– 12, 224 Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) 100–1, 109 partition 4, 36, 39 Paul VI 7, 136 peace dividend 167


Peace Programmes (I, II, III, IV) see EU Peace Programmes People’s Mujahedin (in Iran) 121 Peterson, V. Spike 118 Philpin, William 137 Pius XII 134 Platform for Action (PFA) 120 Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) 226 Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) 58, 61–2, 67 Poole, William 173 Powell, Jonathan 19 Power, Maria 6, 11, 131, 236 prisoner’s dilemma 202–4, 206, 209, 235 process-tracing 2 Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) 67–8 Provisional IRA (PIRA) see IRA Putnam, Robert 43 Reagan, Ronald 82 realists (realism) 3, 18, 24–9, 36–7, 233 conservative realism (consociationalism) 26–7, 30, 32 constructivist realism 27–8, 30–2 pragmatic 19 reconciliation 9, 218–29, 236 Reiss, Mitchell 212 Rerum Novarum 134 Rettberg, Angelika 165 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) 100–1, 109 Reynolds, Albert 84, 99, 210 Richmond, Oliver 182 Rothberg, Michael 222–3 Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) 61–2, 66–7, 103, 107 Ruane, Joseph 78 Runciman, David 31 Rwanda 120 St. Andrews Agreement 24, 125, 212 Sartre, Jean Paul 25 Schaap, Andrew 223 Schipani, Cindy 172 Schmitt, Olivier 196 Scotland 123, 144, 148–9, 157, 159 Scottish National Party (SNP) 159 Second Vatican Council 133, 137, 236 security dilemma gendered approach 116, 125 selective engagement 206–7


selectorate theory 4, 36, 43–9, 233 Shirlow, Peter 64 Sikkink, Kathryn 5, 94–5, 105, 109 Silke, Andrew 2 Single European Market (SEM) 145, 147, 149 Sinn Féin 18, 23–4, 26, 46–8, 63–4, 208–9 Adams’ visa and legitimation 210, 218 and decommissioning 210–12 increased support after GFA 207 negotiating GFA 211 negotiating with Trimble leading to the GFA 89 networks of support 96, 109 opposition to Brexit 153–4 political relationship with the IRA 44–5, 207 post-Brexit call for Irish unification 159 post-ceasefire negotiations 85 power sharing with DUP 225 response to NITF Report 155 rise after Hunger Strikes 80, 206–7 secret negotiations with the British 84, 206–7 talks with SDLP 83–4, 88 Sinnott, Richard 42, 46 Sjoberg, Laura 119 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) 162, 164 Smith, Anthony 220 Smith, Dan 183 Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 210–11 2003 Assembly Election result 24 John Hume 5, 77, 89 networks of support, especially in US 96–100, 105–6 opposition to Brexit 154 secret negotiations with Sinn Féin 44 support for joining the EEC 148 Socrates 25 Soderberg, Nancy 218–19, 229, 234 South Africa 10 Business against Crime Initiative 169 reconciliation process 228 sovereignty 37 Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) 156–7, 187, 192 Stephenson, Paul 148

245 Stormont House Agreement (SHA) 8, 168, 196, 225–8, 236 Strickland, Richard 125 Strong, Michael 168 Stuvoy, Kirsti 119 Sunni Militias in Iraq 21 Sunningdale Agreement 36, 47, 49, 77–8 Sutton, Malcolm 58 Sweetman, Derek 170 Taliban 21 territorial settlement (conflict) 36–42 Thatcher, Margaret 82, 209 Thucydides 25 Tickner, J. Ann 118, 122 Todd, Jennifer 78 Togman, Jeffrey 209 Track Two Diplomacy 170–1 Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) 154 transnational social movements 5 see also networks transnational action networks (TANS) see networks Trimble, David 22, 30, 88–9, 211 Troubles, the 18, 63, 66, 74, 144, 153 and civil rights movement 224 and John Hume 5, 77 political limitations of leaders 29 republican narrative 226–7 transnational dimension 6, 93, 96, 108 women 124 Turkey 146 UK Permanent Representation to the EU (UKRep) 156, 158 Ukraine 146 Ulster Defence Association (UDA) 55, 63–5, 67–8 Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV) 63 Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) 24, 30, 46–7, 154, 196, 211 Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) 55, 63–5, 67–8 Ulster Workers’ Council strike 78 United Nations Declaration on Human Rights 133 United Nations’ (UN’s) Fourth Conference on Women 120 United Nations (UN) Mission in Liberia 56

246 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325) 120–1, 125 United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 188 US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland 8 Universal Declaration of Human Rights 134 Vallacher, Robin 205 Vasquez, John 37 Vatican II see Second Vatican Council Vietnam War 28 Villiers, Theresa 116 Wales 123, 148, 149, 157 Weber, Max 25


Wendt, Alexander 3 Wenger, Andreas 172 White, Timothy 9–10, 201, 219, 233, 235 Whiting, Sophie 5, 10, 116, 235 Whitworth, Sandra 118 Whyte, John 171 Willett, Susan 119–20 Wolff, Stefan 153 Women’s Coalition see Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition Wright, Billy 67 Young people Not in Education Employment or Training (NEETS) 174 Yugoslavia 22, 220 Yunus, Muhammad 174