Knowledge Democracy: the potential of participatory and deliberative democratic research in applied academy, community and policy contexts

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Posted on behalf of Dr Clodagh Harris (UCC) and Dr Gemma Carney (QUB)

On Monday April 7th the PSAI specialist group on participatory and deliberative democracy in partnership with Campus Engage will be hosting a seminar on ‘Knowledge Democracy: the potential of participatory and deliberative democratic research in applied academy, community and policy contexts’.

Professor Gerry Stoker (University of Southampton), the key note speaker will present on ‘Using research to see like a citizen’. Other papers will look at the relevance of political science, civic engagement in higher education, and citizen participation and empowerment in local government. The seminar will run from 10-1pm and will take place in the NUI offices in Merrion Square. All are welcome. Please contact Dr Gemma Carney at g.carney@qub.ac.uk to register. Full programme below. Continue reading

Sovereignty Regained: Has the bailout changed the Irish State?

On April 4th, the Department of Government at UCC will host a one day conference Sovereignty Regained: Has the bailout changed the Irish State? The conference brings together a group of Irish politics academics, columnists and political editors who will consider the post bailout political environment for voters, parties and public office holders. Paper givers will assess the reform agenda, its implementation and the evolution of public institutions since the crisis. All are welcome and a full programme for the day is available below. To register please contact Margaret O’Leary by email at Margaret.oleary@ucc.ie Continue reading

British Irish Institutional Structures: Towards a New Relationship

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Posted on behalf of John Coakley

This blog presents the arguments from a paper in the special issue of IPS ‘Breaking Patterns of Conflict in Northern Ireland’ . Available here  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07907184.2013.874999

The last years of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first were marked by a steady but little noticed redefinition of the British-Irish institutional landscape. This is all the more striking since it emerges from a significant reformulation of the nationalist narrative, which in the early years of the state, and, indeed, up to 1949, had been marked by a dismantling of links with the United Kingdom.

The most important institution in principle emerged out of the negotiations between Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government and Garret FitzGerald’s Fine Gael-Labour coalition: the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference established by the Anglo-Irish agreement of 1985. Overtly designed to give the Irish government a voice in the British government’s administration in Northern Ireland, it also placed pressure on unionists to negotiate a power-sharing deal, since the Conference would not have jurisdiction over areas managed by a devolved administration in Belfast. Continue reading

The Complexity of British-Irish Interdependence

Posted on behalf of Paul Gillespie

This blog presents the arguments from a paper in the special issue of IPS ‘Breaking Patterns of Conflict in Northern Ireland’, available here http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07907184.2013.875001 The transformation of British-Irish relations from dependence to interdependence from the 1960s to the 2000s occurred in an international setting dominated by both states’ membership of the EEC/EC/EU and their various relations with the USA’s global hegemony, politically and economically. The paper interprets these changes by reference to complex interdependence and other theories in international relations. Northern Ireland was a central factor in this transformation, but was not its primary cause, since both Ireland and the UK have an abiding interest in normal, stable inter-state relations aside from that conflict. Continue reading

Can Pragmatism and Profitmaking help build Peace?

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Posted on behalf of Katy Hayward and Eoin Magennis

Blog from the Special Issue of Irish Political Studies: Breaking patterns of conflict in Northern Ireland: the British and Irish states

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07907184.2013.875896#.UxCl3IXn_o4

When asked to conjure up an image of a typical ‘peacemaker’, people in Ireland, north and south, may think of a wildly diverse range of people: from ‘American President’ to ‘working class woman from the Shankill Road’… but it is very unlikely that ‘wealthy Dundalk business man’ would feature among this imaginary group. Indeed, although discourses connecting economic growth with peaceful ‘normalisation’ are well-established in Ireland, the contribution of the private sector to bridging these goals is rarely suggested. Our starting point for this paper was the realisation (coming, in part, through the witness seminars of the Institute for British-Irish Studies)* that a crucial section of the population has been left out of most accounts of how patterns of conflict in Ireland have been broken: the private sector. Continue reading

History, structure and action in the settlement of complex conflicts: the Northern Ireland case

Posted on behalf of Joseph Ruane and Jennifer Todd

Blog from the Special Issue of Irish Political Studies: Breaking patterns of conflict in Northern Ireland: the British and Irish states

What was the Good Friday Agreement? A final settlement, to be sold abroad as a success story and model for other peace processes? Or a wrong turn, as the flags protest is finally showing? And if it was a major step forward in the road to peace – as we think – how was it possible? In our article, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07907184.2013.874997#.UxCkEIXn_o4 we argue that the political agreement, brought in 1998 in Belfast and secured further in 2006 at St Andrews with so much political effort, mediation, planning, was dependent for its success on longer-running changes in the  power balance and in the stance of the British (and Irish) states. Good Friday was not Sunningdale for slow learners – its institutional similarities to the Sunningdale settlement were situated in a radically different structural and geo-political context and that is why Sunningdale was brought down in months, and Good Friday remains after 15 years. But the longer-run changes are far from complete, and the lack of clarity and momentum here underlies the recent flags protest and the crises that have followed. Continue reading

Breaking patterns of conflict in Northern Ireland.

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Posted on behalf of John Coakley and Jennifer Todd

Blog from the Special Issue of Irish Political Studies: Breaking patterns of conflict in Northern Ireland: the British and Irish states

The British and Irish governments were central to the move to peace in Northern Ireland. Their negotiations and mutual agreements, their cooperation and coordinated stances and pressures, led finally to the Agreement reached in 1998. Their continued  cooperation and intervention remains central to the stability of the settlement. The motives of state actors, however, have been unclear, and the role of the state in the political process has been the subject of scholarly controversy. Did the British do their best, keep their patience, and try to get the parties to reach agreement? And how ‘perfidious’ were they, and in what ways? Were the Irish helpful or difficult? This article from the Special Issue of Irish Political Studies ‘Breaking Patterns of Conflict in Northern Ireland’ http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07907184.2013.874998#.UxChnIXn_o4 looks at the types of evidence that can help to resolve such questions. It argues that – for all of the problems of elite evidence, elite self-justifications and elite dissimulation, the best way to understand state strategies is to ask the people involved. Of course one must critically compare their answers one with another, with the written record, and with other documentation: but if we want to see the meaning of state actions, the possibilities that politicians and officials were holding open in their own minds, we have to ask them. Continue reading

RIA discussion forum ‘Models of Bicameralism’

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Posted on behalf of the RIA

Venue: Academy House
Date: Tuesday 4 February 2014, 11.00-18.00

Following the recent referendum in which the Irish people rejected the proposal to abolish Seanad Éireann, the question of possible directions for reform has emerged as a significant theme in discussion of political change. The aim of this discussion seminar is to place the current reform discourse in its historical context, provide an overview on the reform of second chambers internationally, and finally act as a forum in which potential proposals for the reform of Seanad Éireann can be discussed. This discussion will consider the following key elements:

The role of the Seanad
The composition of membership
The powers of the Seanad

Continue reading