No War, No Peace: Northern Ireland after the Agreement
In 1998 a historic agreement, commonly known as the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement, formed the basis of a negotiated settlement for the future of Northern Ireland. Since that time the level of violence in Northern Ireland has reduced but many problematic issues related to governance, sectarianism, and community relations remain on the political agenda and have destabilized the post-peace accord environment. Many of these issues can be viewed as either causes or consequences of the protracted conflict in Northern Ireland. This special issue examines some of these issues from a political psychology perspective. Economic, political, social, and psychological factors that have supported and hindered progress towards peace and stability are considered. While the paramilitary ceasefires have remained intact and certain aspects of life in Northern Ireland have been transformed, the road to peace has been hindered by both political and psychological intransigence. This paper offers an opportunity to reevaluate conceptualisations of conflict and its management in chronic situations, where divisions are deeply embedded within societal structures and relationships, and consider factors that may act as barriers to the development of a lasting peace.
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