Beyond Violence: Conflict Resolution Process in Northern Ireland

Sample Chapter
  • Mari Fitzduff

    ISBN-10: 92-808-1078-2,
    ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1078-3
    United Nations University Press
    January 2002

    After almost thirty years of bloody conflict, the opposing parties in Northern Ireland eventually signed an agreement about how to share power, thus bringing to an end the conflict that had claimed so many lives and caused such human suffering. But what brought the conflict to an end? And what were the processes of conflict resolution that enabled Northern Ireland to move beyond violence and agree to such a settlement?

    Author Mari Fitzduff was involved in many of these processes and was a close observer of the others. Drawing on her extensive experience, she outlines the many strategic developments, arrived at slowly and with difficulty over the years, that enabled agreement to be reached. These include programs which successfully addressed the issue of inequalities between the Protestant and Catholic communities; work which enabled cultural and political diversity to be more positively addressed, thus significantly decreasing tension; work with the security forces to ensure that their contribution was positive and not counter-productive in the mitigation of violence; work by local communities to alleviate paramilitary violence; and the development of many hundreds of dialogue and mediation processes, at all levels of society, which were essential to the building of eventual political agreement. The author also examines the training and preparation necessary to increase people’s capacity to undertake conflict resolution work, as well as addressing some of the lessons that have been learned about this kind of work, and how to successfully develop it.

    Beyond Violence contains valuable, practical insights for those who are struggling to manage and resolve ethnic, religious, political or cultural conflicts in many regions of the world.

    Mari Fitzduff is the Director of UNU/INCORE, an international conflict research centre and a joint initiative of the University of Ulster and the United Nations University. She is also a Professor of Conflict Studies at the University of Ulster. A former Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, Mari Fitzduff has undertaken consultancies on conflict resolution work in the Basque Country, Sri Lanka, Middle East, Indonesia, Baltics, and the CIS States, and is utilized as an international expert by many international organizations working in the fields of conflict.

    A Divided Island • Equity Work • Community Dialogue and Cooperation • The Next Generation • Cultural Traditions • Policing the Conflict • Challenging the Armed Struggle • Political Initiatives – Tracks One and Two • Training for Change • Peace by Piece? • Lessons Learned

    “Crammed with good sense and benefits from a mass of experience on the author’s part. Anyone who wants to know the ground rules for conflict resolution would do well to start here. This world needs clear no-nonsense analysis of the complexities of securing a peaceful world. Mari Fitzduff has provided it.”