Paths to a Settlement in Northern Ireland
21.6 x 13.8 cm. x, 252 pp. 2000
For generations in Northern Ireland, unionist and nationalist communities have been frozen in isolation from one another, preferring demonstrations of communal solidarity to negotiation and cooperation. This absorbing book was published in 2000, and therefore reflects the situation at that time, and examines the many attempts to resolve the conflict in Northern Ireland, beginning with the civil rights movement and Prime Minister Terence O'Neill's reform efforts in the mid-1960s, continuing up to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. It finds that early attempts at peacemaking suggested only mechanical political solutions, which only deepened the antagonistic pattern of relationships. It was not until these existing relationships were challenged, most crucially through the Anglo-Irish agreement of 1985 and subsequent initiatives jointly determined by the British and Irish governments, that the main parties began to participate in efforts to create a democratic peace. The authors contended that a political and cultural process was now in motion that gave peace its first real chance in Northern Ireland's history. Fifteen years on, we can see how much the situation in Northern Ireland has changed and what problems still remain.