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The European dimension of the ‘talks process’ in Northern Ireland

Lagana, Giada 2023. The European dimension of the ‘talks process’ in Northern Ireland. Twentieth Century British History 34 (4) , pp. 611-633. 10.1093/tcbh/hwad032
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Analysis of efforts to develop peace in Northern Ireland often attributes the foundation of the peace process to the dialogue between the then Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, and the Social Democratic and Labour Party’s (SDLP) former leader, John Hume, in the late 1980s. However, it has been recognized that attempts to forge peace have a longer timeline, involving the interplay of several national and international historical contexts in which the European Community (EC) / European Union (EU) dimension and the role of the EU institutions in restoring peace and reconciliation has been generally neglected. The objective of this article is therefore to examine the European dimension of the Northern Ireland talks process, addressing the whole range of relationships affecting the political stalemate in the years preceding the signing of Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (GFA). Drawing on never-before-seen United Kingdom (UK) government and EC/EU archival documents and semi-structured elite interviews, this article highlights how the original dialogue on power-sharing and devolution in Northern Ireland included a much stronger EU dimension that it is publicly acknowledged. This article constitutes an emblematic case-study on the ‘Europeanisation’ of British politics in Northern Ireland, with findings uncovering a new and subtle dimension of the EC/EU role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Law & Politics
Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0955-2359
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 May 2023
Date of Acceptance: 2 May 2023
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2023 18:43

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