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Striking a balance: The Northern Ireland peace process (updated 2003)

The signing of the 1998 Belfast Agreement in Northern Ireland was the result of long and arduous negotiations to end 30 years of sectarian violence and political stalemate.

Accord Issue 8 explores the factors that led to the negotiations and outlines the impact of history on current aspirations. Describing the development of an environment for peace, it analyses the complex underlying forces and aspects of the agreement that have helped the process or caused problems with implementation.
The publication was updated in 2003, including a new article by original Accord 8 Issue Editor, Clem McCartney. He highlights weaknesses in the Belfast Agreement, not least the challenge posed by decommissioning; analyses the negative effects of an elite bargaining process on outstanding issues; and argues that a new culture of cooperative politics is required to embed the peace process.
The publication also contains full texts of the main peace agreements plus a chronology of the conflict and peace process. A Spanish translation: Haciendo balance: El proceso de paz de Irlanda del Norte is also available for download (pdf 760kb) along with a Russian version (pdf 2.2mb).

I have found the series an excellent resource for teaching about the peace processes in the world trouble spots and doing a comparative review of the situation here.

Geoffrey Corry, Glencree Centre for Reconciliation, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Issue editor