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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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Religion and Identity in Northern Ireland1

Religion and Identity in Northern Ireland1

(p.175) Religion and Identity in Northern Ireland1
The Long Road to Peace in Northern Ireland

Marianne Elliott


The Opsahl Commission was an independent enquiry into ways forward in Northern Ireland, which produced its report in June 1993. The Commission sought to involve the people of Northern Ireland in the debate about its future. The exercise highlighted a continuing gulf of understanding between Protestant and Catholic. There is still a sense that the other community is a different people and ignorance is preventing any overall sense of a shared culture. Northern Ireland is not a zone of conflicting polarities, as many believe. There are too many shades of grey, too many people who ‘pick and mix’ from a range of identities, for that. But there are certain fundamentals to the mainstream religions which their adherents rarely lose even when they cease to be practising members. This chapter analyzes these core differences.

Keywords:   Opsahl Commission, Northern Ireland, mainstream religions, identities, Protestants, Catholics, shared culture

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