Reconciliation and ‘Whataboutery’ in Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter argues that discussions about dealing with the past in Northern Ireland are proxies for talking about the past. Instead of a potential tendentious linking of terminology and historicising with ideology, it focuses on policy proposals. The chapter explores the development of ideas about dealing with the past across the period from 1997 to the present and discuss how that development (such as it is) is revelatory of political positionings and understandings. It also explores the intersections of reconciliation and the limitations posed by whataboutery before going on to provide an overview of governmental and non-governmental proposals. The chapter concludes with an appreciation of the most recent British government proposals, which represent a significant break in terms of both policy direction and understanding of the role of the past in everyday life in Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of the Northern Ireland Conflict and Peace
EditorsLaura McAtackney
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
ISBN (Electronic)9781003224372
ISBN (Print)9781032124001
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 6 Sept 2023


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