ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Negotiated deradicalisation in the Irish peace process

Niall O Dochartaigh
National University of Ireland, Galway
Niall O Dochartaigh
National University of Ireland, Galway
Open Panel

Abstract

A negotiation process that engages radical organisations and addresses radical grievances is one of the principal means by which deradicalization takes place. Negotiated deradicalization is involves distinctive dynamics and outcomes that can be more fully understood through an engagement with the literature on negotiation and mediation. This paper argues that the process of negotiation itself is a key component in the process of deradicalization, a key mechanism for changing attitudes and building new relationships that generate a reassessment of radical positions before a formal agreement is reached. Negotiation is a cooperative process by definition. In negotiations between states and radical opponents it can become a joint project in which transformations in state positions and attitudes proceed in tandem with deradicalization of opponents. Using newly available evidence on the Irish peace process this paper analyzes the gradual development of a negotiating relationship between the leadership of the Provisional Republican movement (the IRA and Sinn Féin) and the British government and traces the relationship between the negotiation process and the process of deradicalization. The paper argues that this distinctive form of deradicalization (through negotiation) produces distinctive outcomes. It can facilitate a transformation of relationships to the extent that radical organisations can move into a position of active cooperation and partnership with the state. Rather than being marginalised and eliminated through deradicalization, radical organizations can be strengthened and moved to the centre of the political arena as they deradicalize, increasing the degree of political consensus and strengthening the state.