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- PublicationThe international system and the Northern Ireland peace process(University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2002)The paper examines the impact of two major events in the international system on the peace process: the end of the Cold War and the attack on America on 11 September 2001. The thesis first advanced by Michael Cox that change in the international context of the conflict in Northern Ireland was a major influence in pressurising the republican movement to adopt its peace strategy in the early 1990s is analysed. Also examined are reasons why the thesis has proved so contentious and why more generally there remains considerable scepticism as to the capacity of external events to shape events in Ireland in any fundamental way. The question of the impact of September 11 is then addressed.
- PublicationThe flexibility of Northern Ireland Unionists and Afrikaner Nationalists in comparative perspective(University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2010)A common feature of comparisons of Northern Ireland and South Africa prior to South Africa's transition and the Northern Ireland peace process was the siege mentality of the dominant communities in the two societies. The paper examines two attempts to analyse this in greater depth that were published before the major changes of the 1990s: Michael McDonald's Children of Wrath and Donald Akenson's God's Peoples. It reviews their arguments in the light of the current situation in both Northern Ireland and South Africa. Consideration is then given to how the discourse on the character of both communities changed in the course of the 1990s and to the comparisons that changing circumstances gave rise to, while a striking instance of the recent use of the older comparison of the Unionists and Afrikaner nationalists is noted and discussed. The paper concludes by asking whether the notion of a siege mentality still has any current applicability in these two cases