Download Northern Ireland 1968–2008: The Politics of Entrenchment by C. McGrattan PDF

By C. McGrattan

A second look of the Northern eire clash and the continued peace strategy, utilizing formerly unreleased archival fabric. The ebook seems at offerings and omissions through the most political events and the British and Irish states that lay at the back of the emergence and patience of the 'Troubles.'

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An anachronism arises from the fact that the approach identifies ethnonationalist differences as the primary factor, before looking back to history to justify this assumption. In other words, the concept of ‘ethno-nationalist antagonism’ is not tested heuristically – its primacy is unquestioned and the problem of whether other factors, omissions or actions could have produced similar outcomes (such as polarisation and entrenchment) is never raised. Instead, secondary source material and elite interviews are deployed to demonstrate that certain outcomes existed (the perpetuation of the conflict) to fulfil societal needs (endemic ethnic antagonisms).

Moderation and reform were ruled out and nationalist politics became progressively more entrenched. The decision by the SDLP to withdraw from the Northern Ireland parliament following the shooting of two Catholics by the British army in Derry in July 1971 set in motion a policy direction based on the pooling of gains, the glossing over of losses and the targeting of further concessions. The maximalism inherent in the original decision meant that the party would not return to political participation prior to radical concessions – in its view, an institutionalised role for Dublin (the ‘Irish dimension’) and executive power-sharing.

A remark attributed to the Irish diplomat Seán Ó hUiginn, captures this idea of incessant momentum: Irish nationalism is ‘like a shark. 113 The image of the SDLP, in particular, to emerge from these pages is of an essentially conservative party which pursued a long-term agenda. 114 That evidence suggests that rather than simply acquiescing to the violent campaign or the threat of nationalistic ‘outbidding’ by the IRA or Sinn Féin, the SDLP retained a gradualist or reformist bent – undoubtedly, due in part to the longevity within the party’s hierarchy of key civil rights leaders such as John Hume, Austin Currie and Paddy Devlin and Gerry Fitt.

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