Redefining Unionism : a political perspective ; an academic perspective

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Title: Redefining Unionism : a political perspective ; an academic perspective
Authors: Nesbitt, Dermot
English, Richard
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/2187
Date: 2001
Abstract: REDEFINING UNIONISM : A POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE The main unionist political demand in the years immediately after 1972 was for the return of the Northern Ireland parliament based on the principle of majority rule. Government-sponsored efforts to provide alternative solutions collapsed. More re-cently, attempts to resolve the problem on the basis of human rights and equality have been made, and the new unionist case is grounded largely on the belief that non-unionists should be persuaded that there is a place for them in Northern Ireland. The Belfast Agreement offers hope of a real and honourable accommodation, even if there continue to be difficulties in its implementation.
REDEFINING UNIONISM : AN ACADEMIC PERSPECTIVE The contrasting attitudes of unionists towards the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 and the Belfast Agreement of 1998 illustrate a significant change in unionist politics. The perspective of paramilitary groups has changed, and a section of unionism prepared to negotiate a deal with nationalists has emerged. This was a response inter alia to changes in the character of republicanism, to social and political change in the Republic and to devolution in Great Britain. The new unionism is, by comparison with unionism in the past, more fluid, more complex internally and more articulately defended by intellectuals. Although it can also be accommodated to a developing rapprochement between Ireland and Great Britain, there is little evidence of the emergence of a stable sense of communal self-confidence.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies
Copyright (published version): The authors, 2001
Keywords: Unionism;Ireland
Subject LCSH: Unionism (Irish politics)
Northern Ireland--Politics and government
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: This contains the revised text of two lectures presented as part of the seminar se-ries “Redefining the union and the nation: new perspectives on political progress in Ireland”, organised jointly by the Conference of University Rectors in Ireland and the Institute for British-Irish Studies. The lectures were presented in UCD on 4 May 2000.
Appears in Collections:Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) Working Papers and Policy Papers

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