Ending the Troubles

Religion, Nationalism, and the Search for Peace and Democracy in Northern Ireland, 1997-1998

By John M. Burney, Andrew J. Auge

Ending the Troubles

Approx. 136 pp., 8 x 10, 4 maps, notes, bibl

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-8336-2
    Published: October 2024

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In June 1996, the British government convened multiparty talks trying to establish peace within Northern Ireland, after thirty years of bloody civil war based on religious, cultural, political, and economic tensions, known as “The Troubles.” The talks included political parties from the two factions central to the conflict: Unionists, largely Protestants committed to retaining Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom, and Nationalists, largely Catholics committed to the reunification of Northern Ireland with the independent Republic of Ireland. Fundamental questions on national identity and democracy quickly turned these proceedings into faction bickering, thus failing to produce any substantive progress. The emergence of new leaders in 1997—Tony Blair, prime minister of Great Britian, and Bertie Ahern, taoiseach in the Republic of Ireland—created an opportunity for reenergizing the talks chaired by the former US senator George Mitchell, with all parties making a concerted effort to reach a viable resolution among Nationalists and Unionists.

In the game, students will represent the major parties in Northern Ireland as they reconvene at the multiparty talks in 1997 to find ways to reconcile two competing visions of Northern Irish nationalism, or at least find a way for each community to tolerate one another’s participation in a common constitutional arrangement. Much is at stake, for another failure could lead to a full resumption of the civil war.

About the Authors

John M. Burney is retired professor of history at Doane University.

For more information about John M. Burney, visit the Author Page.

Andrew J. Auge is retired professor of English and Irish studies at Loras College.

For more information about Andrew J. Auge, visit the Author Page.