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Northern IrelandThe Reluctant Peace$
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Feargal Cochrane

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300178708

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300178708.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Northern Ireland

Feargal Cochrane

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on different ways in which political attitudes in Northern Ireland are formed by the past and have been shaped through conflicting readings of a shared history. It attempts to dispel the confusion about why political violence exploded in Northern Ireland in 1969, why it continued for so long, and why it remains a feature of the political landscape today. The belief that the political system was incapable of delivering reform and that community grievances could best be addressed outside the formal political process has plagued the region since the creation of Northern Ireland in 1921. It is argued that unless the current political generation understands and learns from this history, it may be doomed to repeat its troubled past in the years ahead. The chapter emphasizes how generations of sectarian division have complicated the relationship between the formal political system and the wider community in Northern Ireland.

Keywords:   Northern Ireland, political violence, reform, political process, sectarian division

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