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Socio-ideological Fantasy and the Northern Ireland ConflictThe Other Side$
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Adrian Millar

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719066962

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719066962.001.0001

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The republican Real

The republican Real

(p.81) 4 The republican Real
Socio-ideological Fantasy and the Northern Ireland Conflict

Adrian Millar

Manchester University Press

The wider Catholic community's experience of the Real in Northern Ireland is evident in the literature. In Them and Us?: Attitudinal Variation Among Churchgoers in Belfast, the writers note that over two-thirds of church-goers who support Sinn Fein have had someone close to them killed or injured in the conflict. These statistics provide us with some indication of the experience of pain of the republicans. The authors also remark that ‘Among churchgoers, Catholics are three times more likely to have been intimidated and twice as likely to have had their homes bombed as Protestants’. Interviews with former members of the Irish Republican Army make it clear that they had all suffered as a result of their being caught up in conflict. There is tragedy, fear, moral confusion, pain and fragmentation at the heart of the interviewees' self-interpretations. A number of the interviewees try to make sense of hurt and pain by blaming others for what they experience as negative. Against this backdrop, victimhood is what offers the interviewees wholeness.

Keywords:   Real, Protestants, Catholics, victimhood, Irish Republican Army, conflict, pain, republicans, Northern Ireland

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