Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    "Humespeak" : the SDLP, political discourse, and the Northern Ireland peace process
    (Peace and Conflict Studies, 2008)
    This paper explores the vital role played by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) in the formulation of a new political discourse and conceptual approach to the Northern Ireland problem. In particular, it shows how John Hume, party leader through the 1980s and 1990s, helped to propagate this discourse, and in doing so influenced policy-making in London and Dublin, and thinking within the republican movement. Although the paper emphasises the importance of this influence, it concludes by considering the reasons why the Ulster unionist community have remained so unreceptive to the political discourse of Hume and the SDLP.
  • Publication
    "Dublin is Just a Sunningdale Away?" : The SDLP, the Irish Government and the Sunningdale Agreement
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2007)
    This paper examines the roles played by the Irish government and more particularly Northern Ireland's Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) in both the making and the breakdown of the 1973 Sunningdale agreement. It asks whether the combined efforts of the SDLP and the Irish government pushed unionist negotiators too far at Sunningdale, producing a settlement which was predetermined towards Irish reunification, and so justified loyalist claims that 'Dublin is just a Sunningdale Away'. The paper draws on recently released archival material to show how the SDLP was, to a significant degree, able to dictate Dublin's policy on Northern Ireland in the early 1970s, suggesting that this led to a uniform and highly ambitious agenda on the part of nationalist participants at the Sunningdale conference. However, it also demonstrates that this agenda was not realised, and that the deal made at Sunningdale was not, as many scholars have suggested, an unqualified success for the SDLP. Nonetheless, the paper maintains that the dynamic rhetoric and perceived momentum of Irish nationalism-orchestrated largely by the SDLP-served to distort that which was actually agreed, and in this undermined the prospects of broad unionist support for Sunningdale.
  • Publication
    Horowitz's theory of ethnic party competition and the case of the Northern Ireland Social Democratic and Labour Party, 1970-1979
    (Routledge, 2008-10)
    This article uses Donald Horowitz’s theory of ethnic party competition in order to understand the development of the Northern Ireland Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) during the first decade of its existence. The main contention of the article is that Horowitz’s thesis, although based primarily on observation of party competition in divided societies in Africa and Asia, is remarkably applicable to the SDLP in terms of the party’s evolution against the backdrop of the Northern Ireland conflict in the 1970s. Horowitz’s theory helps explain why the SDLP failed in its original objective of mobilizing a cross-community constituency behind a radical, reformist agenda, and instead became what Horowitz terms an “ethnically based party”, representing the interests of only one side of the political divide in Northern Ireland.
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