Historians and the Stormont house Agreement

Twelve historians and social scientists from several different universities in Britain and Ireland came together recently for a workshop on the Stormont House Agreement. The aim was to consider the role of academics in dealing with the past and to make some recommendations on the kind of contribution they might make. I have pasted in the first few paragraphs from the report below. The full report is available online at http://irishhistoriansinbritain.org/ In the interests of disclosure I should say that … Read more

Looking back on the Hunger Strikes

Three key figures reflect on the Irish Republican hunger strikes of 1980 and 1981 in filmed interviews and a public talk posted online by the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway to mark the 35th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike. The videos include a public interview with former hunger striker Laurence McKeown in March 2016; an interview with Intermediary Brendan Duddy at his home in 2010; and a public talk at NUI Galway by former senior … Read more

New Media, New Politics: Social Media and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

This Roundtable brings together bloggers, journalists, and academics to discuss the changing use of new technologies in Northern Irish politics, focusing in particular on the use of social networks in recent political campaigns and street protests. This session is part of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI) annual conference but it is open to the public and is free of charge. Further details on the conference, and a full programme, are available at http://psaitcd.wordpress.com When: Friday 18 October, 2pm … Read more

Peace Process Parallels: Northern Ireland and the Middle-East

In the wake of the UN decision to recognise the state of Palestine (albeit not as a full member of the UN) it seems timely to return to the question of parallels between the peace process here and in the Middle East, most recently highlighted on Slugger in relation to remarks by former US envoy Richard Haass. The decision by many firm allies of the US to support the Palestinian bid despite US opposition was one of the most striking … Read more

The Peace Process in an Age of Uncertainty

The latest issue of The Political Quarterly includes articles from a recent symposium on ‘Northern Ireland: The Peace Process in an Age of Uncertainty’. It is freely available online until the end of April. The Political Quarterly “is dedicated to political and social reform and has long acted as a conduit between policy-makers, commentators and academics” (as they put it themselves). The articles address a range of themes including the role of media, loyalism, dissident republicanism, unionism, the peace process … Read more

Negotiating Peace

A symposium on Negotiating Peace taking place in the National University of Ireland Galway next Tuesday afternoon may be of interest to some on Slugger. The speakers include Michael Oatley, a key British official involved in back-channel communication with the Republican leadership over many years, Seán Ó hUiginn, former senior Irish diplomat who was deeply involved in the peace process as head of the Anglo-Irish division of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, Professor Paul Arthur, Honorary Associate at the International … Read more

Bloody Sunday: A calculated confrontation?

The Saville Inquiry has uncovered strong evidence that Bloody Sunday was the outcome of a determined military plan to stage a major and unprecedented confrontation in Derry, but will the final report reflect this evidence? The Bloody Sunday Inquiry has not found proof of a British Government plan to carry out a massacre of civilians in Derry in January 1972. Instead it has revealed the contours of a much more complex story, of a major confrontational initiative planned at the … Read more

Bloody Sunday: Error or Design?

The publishers of ‘Contemporary British History’ have agreed to allow free access until the end of June to an academic article on Bloody Sunday that I wrote recently. The article draws on the evidence generated by the Saville Inquiry to trace the outlines of an intense internal struggle to shape security policy in Derry. It argues that the operation that day was aimed at disrupting an established policy of relative restraint by the security forces in Derry and that Bloody … Read more

Derry Essays 2: A city on the border…

Derry is in the UK, true enough, but not only in the UK. The potential ‘UK City of Culture’ now stretches well beyond the boundaries of the state. Housing estates full of Derry commuters have sprung up in recent years on all the roads that stretch north, south and west of the city centre and across the nearby international boundary. Some people jokingly refer to Golan Hill on the outskirts of Buncrana in Co Donegal as ‘Golan Heights’ because there … Read more