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Addressing the Roots of Conflict
Analysis of the Long War in N. Ireland
Oliver Corr & Tommy McKearney
Tommy McKearney
Oliver Corr
Perceptions of Northern Irish conflict may be arbitrary
•  Dates are only a starting point
Colonisation… Williamite war … French revolution… Foundation of
Northern Ireland state … Conflict of late 20th century.
1994 ceasefire.
1998 Good Friday Agreement ended physical conflict but did not
provide a conclusive accord for future
•  An uneasy calm
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson says that the
arrangement is no longer fit for purpose
Some misconceptions about Irish conflict
•  Religious war?
Communities defined historically by religion but not a conflict over
theology e.g. Israel & Palestine
•  Fighting Irish … congenitally predisposed to violence
Not true. Famine… Republic post 1923 & post 2008
•  Britain separating two warring tribes
London had/has strategic stake in Ireland
Roots of Northern Irish conflict
•  17th Century colonialism
Plantation or Settlers displace indigenous in order to garrison
•  Super power concerns in 20th century
Great Britain was world super power until after WW11
•  Unequal and discriminatory society
Northern Ireland systematically practiced discrimination and enforced it
by authoritarian regime
•  One community privileged & authorised to police other
Regular police plus armed civilian population
Recent Northern Irish conflict
•  Struggle to change nature of NI regime
1968 Civil Rights movement … bitterly resisted by state &
•  Resistance from local and central governments
1969 street protest turned bloody. Drift towards insurrection
•  Armed and bloody conflict
Battle between;
1) anti-state forces i.e. IRA
2) Central government plus local state & supporters
•  Ended when outside intervened
1994 … IRA ceasefire. Ground-work involved initiative by British central
government, Irish government, US government and IRA
Current Northern Irish conflict
•  Constant awareness of demographics
Catholic population increasing… a majority in under 40s.
Exacerbating unease and fueling sectarian politics.
•  Economic decline
Globalisation has led to relative poverty & unemployment
•  Changing face of UK
British economy has changed … London centric and finance
•  Scottish referendum (Catalonia)
Adding to unease…British PM offers federalism… No military
Expac Ltd … its foundation & ethos
•  Founded in 1997 as prisoners assistance group
Realisation of needs greater than welfare provision
•  Need to share understanding of conflict
Need to challenge misconceptions and recognise realities
•  Need to engage across the board
Not just with former prisoners but dialogue with all sections of
Expac Ltd … efforts and outcomes
•  Welfare provision for former prisoners & families
Assistance post release…research into impact … representation
•  The Other View magazine
Joint editorship …Understanding that all criticism is not dangerous
•  Conflicts of Interest training
Exchange of views but no proselytizing
•  Provision of contact and conduits of communication
Work and progress unseen and often underrated
Expac Ltd … Future
•  Communication for marginalised communities
Technology in modern age & Techniques for the new technology
•  Engaging: discontented, disconnected & unsatisfied
Encouraging people to promote their view openly and respectfully and
with impact
•  Speaking on air leads to speaking in person
Sharing experiences and needs leads to positive common
Thank You
Contact: [email protected]
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