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- PublicationRedefining Northern nationalism : a political perspective ; an academic perspectiveA political perspective: The idea of “northern” nationalism is a questionable one, since the nationalist tradition within Northern Ireland sees itself in an island-wide context. From its origins in the civil rights movement, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) has grown to become the predominant voice of nationalism within Northern Ireland. In many respects, the Good Friday agreement represented the culmination of the SDLP’s efforts, representing a fair and imaginative attempt to redefine relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between the two islands. It also reflects a strong European dimension, with the European Community serving both as ally and model. There are several indications that the future for the agreement is bright, with deepening European integration, economic development and vigorous efforts to combat sectarianism playing a major role; but none of these factors can be taken for granted, and the prospect of a difficult path ahead must not be discounted.