Northern Ireland

Hume’s legacy: British-Irish relations need strengthening to face the challenges of Brexit

Hume’s legacy: British-Irish relations need strengthening to face the challenges of Brexit

The formal side of British-Irish relations needs strengthening to face the challenges of Brexit. In this post, in the week the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement is marked and ahead of the UK’s impending exit from the EU, Etain Tannam  invokes John Hume’s peacebuilding legacy to better explain the current state of British-Irish relations. She argues that Hume’s concept of the totality of British-Irish relations has taken on new importance and is as significant as it was thirty years ago. 

Critical actors and abortion law: a group of individuals in Northern Irish politics obstructs change

Critical actors and abortion law: a group of individuals in Northern Irish politics obstructs change

There are various reasons why progress on legal abortion in Northern Ireland has been blocked over the years. Key among them is that individual politicians rule out any suggestion of change, writes Jennifer Thomson. She argues that more attention should be given to the actions of individual actors, considering their role can often be as important as that of political parties or institutions. 

Gender and power-sharing – why a Citizens’ Assembly is needed in Northern Ireland

Gender and power-sharing – why a Citizens’ Assembly is needed in Northern Ireland

The prospects for Northern Ireland’s power-sharing democracy look bleak. A Citizens’ Assembly is planned for members of the public to deliberate on the disputed topics. Claire Pierson and Jennifer Thomson argue that these forms of public participation have a particular benefit for the representation of women, and has the potential to break down entrenched party political divides.

Sinn Féin MP’s resignation demonstrates the dangers of social media for politicians

Sinn Féin MP’s resignation demonstrates the dangers of social media for politicians

On 15 January, Barry McElduff, Sinn Féin MP for West Tyrone, resigned after a video he posted on Twitter offended victims and families of the 1976 IRA Kingsmill massacre. Paul Reilly (University of Sheffield) examines what this incident means for politicians who make use of social media in Northern Ireland.  

The illusionary norm of political stability: the unruly democratic politics of the United Kingdom

The illusionary norm of political stability: the unruly democratic politics of the United Kingdom

Democratic politics in the UK is currently rife with conflict because this multi-national state encourages it, writes Helen Thompson (University of Cambridge). Maintaining political stability has historically required prudence and pragmatic restraint. Minority governments and more frequent elections have occurred when the UK’s economic and political relationships with the rest of the world are disputed, and […]

Brexit has blown open the unreconciled divisions in Northern Ireland

Brexit has blown open the unreconciled divisions in Northern Ireland

The British and Irish governments have long tried to keep a lid on the tensions in Northern Ireland. But Brexit, argues Duncan Morrow (Ulster University) has exposed the weaknesses of the Good Friday and St Andrew’s Agreements – deals that never required each side to give up their aims of ruling Northern Ireland alone. Now […]

Audit 2017: How democratic are the institutions of devolved government in Northern Ireland?

Audit 2017: How democratic are the institutions of devolved government in Northern Ireland?

Devolved government in Northern Ireland centres around unique institutions, a power-sharing Executive with ministers chosen on a proportional basis, answering to an Assembly elected using PR. It was designed to overcome the intercommunal strife that has characterised Northern Ireland public life: the challenges it has faced have been particularly acute, and its record has, inevitably, […]

How evangelical religion contributed to peace in Northern Ireland

How evangelical religion contributed to peace in Northern Ireland

ECONI – an evangelical Protestant organisation – played a key role in establishing peace in Northern Ireland. Gladys Ganiel explains how its effectiveness rests in part on its credibility: ECONI’s evangelical identity provided it with a legitimacy that some ecumenical peace-building organisations lacked. Similar PostsThe DUP’s extremist links make it unfit to join a Conservative […]

Audit 2017: How democratic is the overall set-up of devolved government within the UK?

Audit 2017: How democratic is the overall set-up of devolved government within the UK?

Devolution in the UK encompasses a range of quite different solutions in three countries (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), plus lesser delegations of powers to London and some English cities. Designed to meet specific demands for national or regional control and to bring government closer to citizens, there are important issues around the stability and […]

The DUP’s extremist links make it unfit to join a Conservative alliance

The DUP’s extremist links make it unfit to join a Conservative alliance

Theresa May’s plans to broker a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party not only endanger the 1998 Belfast Agreement, writes James Hughes. They are likely to sour relations with the Republic of Ireland – just as sensitive negotiations over the border begin – and conveniently overlook the DUP’s links to violent extremism. Similar PostsAfter the 2 March […]