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The Long Road to Peace in Northern IrelandPeace Lectures from the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University$
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Marianne Elliott

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781846310652

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846314155

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Mountain-climbing Irish-style: The Hidden Challenges of the Peace Process

Mountain-climbing Irish-style: The Hidden Challenges of the Peace Process

(p.109) Mountain-climbing Irish-style: The Hidden Challenges of the Peace Process
The Long Road to Peace in Northern Ireland

Martin Mansergh


This chapter traces the changing attitudes of Irish governments to the IRA over the past century, showing how the early months of the Troubles and the arms trials of 1970 knocked off course the developing Lemass/Lynch/Whittaker pragmatic approach to North–South relations and effectively removed the South's ability to exercise a restraining influence on the developing violence. It also made it wary of covert communications with republicans and initiated its policy of bolstering constitutional nationalism in the North. It criticizes Britain's handling of channels of communication with republicans, particularly denouncing the use of unaccountable ‘intelligence’ rather than political channels. It was not until Britain abandoned this approach in 1992 that the negotiations which would lead to the 1993 Declaration and ultimately the Good Friday Agreement could begin.

Keywords:   Irish government, IRA, republicans, constitutional nationalism, communication, Good Friday Agreement

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