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John Hume and the Revision of Irish Nationalism$
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P. J. McLoughlin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719079566

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719079566.001.0001

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A united Ireland or nothing

A united Ireland or nothing

(p.19) 2 A united Ireland or nothing
John Hume and the Revision of Irish Nationalism

P. J. McLoughlin

Manchester University Press

The reformist agenda that had evolved through the 1960s was being overtaken by the demands of the Catholic masses. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) was formed after six months of secretive negotiations, and John Hume was clearly the key factor in bringing it together. The SDLP was more explicit in its appeal to the Protestant community. Bloody Sunday represented the culmination of a process of radicalisation of the minority that began with the first attacks on civil rights marches in 1968. Hume claimed that ‘the achievement of full justice and equality in the North would produce a radical change among those in the North traditionally opposed to the state’. His focus on Westminster's position on the constitutional future of Northern Ireland, and his emphasis of the need for the British government's support for Irish unity would be recurring themes in his political discourse.

Keywords:   John Hume, SDLP, Northern Ireland, British government, Bloody Sunday, civil rights, Protestant community, Irish unity

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