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Abandoning Historical Conflict?Former Political Prisoners and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland$
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Peter Shirlow, Jon Tonge, and James McAuley

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719080111

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719080111.001.0001

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Politically motivated prisoners in Northern Ireland

Politically motivated prisoners in Northern Ireland

(p.4) 1 Politically motivated prisoners in Northern Ireland
Abandoning Historical Conflict?

Peter Shirlow

Jonathan Tonge

James McAuley

Catherine McGlynn

Manchester University Press

Long after the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, the far-reaching consequences envisaged in the consociation of the competing political groupings of Ulster unionism and Irish nationalism became manifest. A long and tortuous path led to the formation of an inclusive coalition government headed by the supposed political extremes of the Democratic Unionist Party, representing the Unionist-British position, and Sinn Fein (SF), part of the wider Irish republican movement. Among the extensive range of interviews conducted, there was a near complete rejection that the peace process and demilitarisation was either a rejection of violence as being terrorist-inspired and that previous military activity lacked ideological reason or that the discursive value of loyalism or republicanism had been abandoned. Republican consciousness, as it pertained to demilitarisation and demobilisation of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), has been closely allied to the fortunes of SF, although not all former IRA prisoners are supportive of that particular political party.

Keywords:   Northern Ireland, peace process, Democratic Unionist Party, Good Friday Agreement, loyalism, republicanism, Irish Republican Army, Sinn Fein, coalition government, demilitarisation

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