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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents Northern Ireland as a relatively successful example of how even the most intractable conflicts can be made more malleable. It examines the life cycle of the conflict through the three phases of analysis, negotiation, and implementation and through the political crises of the 1974 power-sharing experiment, the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, and the 1998 Belfast Agreement. That last Agreement was based on the complete cessation of political violence and heralded a new beginning in British-Irish relations with the disbandment of the IRA, a new constitutional dispensation in Northern Ireland, and a much more constructive relationship between the British and Irish governments. It demonstrated too how exogenous pressure in the shape of the United States and the EU can be brought to bear on endogenous combatants to fashion a solution. It concludes with a short historiographical overview that raises issues about the challenges facing the contemporary historian.

Keywords: intraethnic conflict, political violence, constitutional innovation, exogenous pressure, historiography

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