A dearth of evidence: tackling division and building relationships in Northern Ireland

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Addressing the estrangement of distinct identity groups as a result of violentconflict is a challenging and persistent socio-psychological peacebuildingimperative. In the immediacy of a peace agreement, priority is given topressing security and institutional arrangements, particularly within thecontext of substantial external intervention. Northern Ireland represents aninteresting case study, as early and targeted attention was paid to thedivisions between the two main communities in the region. And yet, despitesubstantial economic investment, the detail of how interventions aimed ataddressing poor relations have been informed, designed and achieved hasnot been readily accessible. Focusing on grassroots-based relational andreconciliation processes, this article contends that the failure to document,analyse and adequately disseminate these approaches has resulted incommunity-level peacebuilding which is unnecessarily extemporary, and thefocus on delivery has militated against cultures of learning, reflexivity andgenerosity in the sharing of good practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-467
JournalInternational Peacekeeping
Issue number3
Early online date11 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 26 May 2016


  • conflict
  • peace
  • liberal peace
  • sectarianism
  • division


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