The Long Good Friday: Consociationalism and the Northern Ireland Peace Process 1973-1998

  • Hynek Melichar
Keywords: Northern Ireland, peace process, Good Friday Agreement, consociationalism, ethnic conflict, conflict resolution

Abstract

This article deals with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement-currently the key and primary document for the internationalised peace process in Northern Ireland-signed by representatives of the British and Irish governments, and representatives of the Northern Irish communities. It tries to prove the significance of this document for the peace process, as well as its consociational character. Based on an analysis of the Agreement, it concludes that it is almost entirely compatible with the principles of consociational democracy set out by US political scientist Arend Lijphart. The article further argues that the consociational model is suitable and advisable for Northern Ireland, indicating the significance of internationalisation for the resolution of the conflict. To better understand the peace process, the article outlines the general character of the conflict: the causes of its emergence and their influence on its development. It then summarises the peace initiatives before 1998, the confluence of which later became a significant basis for the Good Friday Agreement. Finally, the article outlines the actual (post-agreement) situation in Northern Ireland, up to the important IRA statement on the halting of the armed campaign from July 2005, followed by complete decommissioning. Finally, the article reviews to what extent the principles of the Good Friday Agreement are being fulfilled.

Author Biography

Hynek Melichar

 

 

Section
Research Articles