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Pan-Nationalism, Peace and the Political Mainstream, 1985–90

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Abstract

In the aftermath of the 1985 local government elections in Northern Ireland, the Adams-McGuinness leadership attempted to portray Sinn Féin’s performance as a ‘successful intervention’ that had ‘achieved its set goal … of building a middle leadership’.2 The reality, however, was more prosaic; for the results had demonstrated, beyond question, both the stabilization of Sinn Féin’s vote and the fact that there was little prospect of republicans challenging the SDLP for the leadership of northern nationalism in the immediate future.3 For this reason, the spectre of an ‘internal deal’ in Northern Ireland continued to haunt the republican movement in the mid-1980s. With republicans unable to exert meaningful pressure on the SDLP, the possibility remained that constitutional nationalism might conclude some form of agreement with ‘moderate’ Unionism. The fear of the republican leadership was that such an arrangement would not only serve to ‘copper-fasten’ partition, but also would leave republicans themselves politically marginalized and on the verge of defeat.

Keywords

British Government Internal Deal Peace Process Armed Struggle Republican Movement 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    McLaughlin, cited in P. Shirlow and M. McGovern, ‘Language, discourse and dialogue: Sinn Féin and the Irish peace process’, Political Geography, 17(2) (February 1998), p. 180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  32. 155.
    The ongoing evolution of policy in this area led, in 1992, to the production of a comprehensive policy document on the subject: Sinn Féin, Women in Ireland (Dublin, 1992) (LLPC).Google Scholar
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    McGuinness, cited in L. Clarke and K. Johnston, Martin McGuinness: From Guns to Government (Edinburgh, 2001), p. 175.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martyn Frampton 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PeterhouseUniversity of CambridgeUK

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