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The politics of Troubles memories in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, 1998 to 2018

Leahy, Thomas 2019. The politics of Troubles memories in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, 1998 to 2018. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research 32 (3) , pp. 293-314. 10.1080/13511610.2018.1517299

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This article explores the reasons for persistent memory wars surrounding the Northern Ireland conflict in Irish and Northern Irish politics between the leading political groups including Sinn Féin, political unionism, the Irish and British governments. I expand on existing literature on commemoration and memory in Northern Ireland to explain how constitutional, political, communal, personal, moral and generational factors together encourage conflicting memories surrounding the past to continue in Northern Irish and Irish politics. Politically, what is remembered about the conflict is used to challenge contemporary political opponents. Selective conflict memories also seek to support ongoing constitutional objectives regarding Irish unification in the present. In addition, individual leaders’ and communal experiences of the conflict are recalled to assist the pursuit of justice and commemorate communal suffering. Each political group seeks to morally justify their past actions based on their conflict experience too. The emergence of a post-conflict generation of voters also means that political leaders draw comparisons between the past and present to encourage the youth to support their ongoing constitutional objectives, political strategies and leadership. The conclusion suggests that contested memories and commemorations in Irish and Northern Irish politics are particularly persistent because the constitutional question has not been resolved.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Additional Information: Special Issue: Memory Wars
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1351-1610
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 October 2018
Date of Acceptance: 26 August 2018
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2021 14:46

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