By Peter Shirlow

This e-book presents the 1st certain exam of the position performed by way of former loyalist and republican prisoners in grass roots clash transformation paintings within the Northern eire peace approach. It demanding situations the assumed passivity of former prisoners and ex-combatants. as a substitute, it means that such members and the teams which they shaped were key brokers of clash transformation. they've got supplied management in difficult cultures of violence, built functional equipment of resolving inter-communal clash and located methods for groups to discover their afflicted prior. In analysing this, the authors problem the sterile demonisation of former prisoners and the techniques that continue their exclusion from basic civic and social existence. The ebook is a optimistic reminder of the necessity for complete participation of either former fighters and sufferers in post-conflict transformation. It additionally lays out a brand new time table for reconciliation which implies that clash transformation can and will commence ‘from the extremes’. The booklet may be of curiosity to scholars of criminology, peace and clash stories, legislation and politics, geography and sociology in addition to people with a specific curiosity within the Northern eire clash.

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Extra info for Beyond the Wire: Former Prisoners and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

Example text

In total, 2,060 suspected Republicans were detained, compared to 109 suspected Loyalists (Hogan and Walker, 1989: 94). The Gardiner Committee Report, which was established by the government, concluded that internment had ‘brought the law into contempt’, ‘fanned a widespread sense of grievance and injustice’ (Gardiner, 1975: 38–43) and recommended its phasing-out. Shirlow 01 intro 27 12/11/07 14:44:13 28 Beyond the Wire The application of this model to Northern Ireland also saw significant changes to the ways in which paramilitary suspects were arrested and tried.

Second, as also discussed in Chapter 1, definitional issues will inevitably emerge as to who is or is not a political prisoner and therefore might benefit from such a release process. A third and related matter is the practical mechanism adopted by which such releases may be brought about. Finally, as with the release of ordinary prisoners, questions relating to prisoner ‘reintegration’ should certainly feature in the minds of policymakers taking such decisions. Together with the issue of prisoner reintegration, each of these themes featured prominently in the Northern Ireland debate.

Since the government had always strongly resisted acknowledging the political character of the Northern Ireland conflict at any level, there was little likelihood of recognising politically motivated prisoners as ‘prisoners of war’. The use of armed violence excluded Republican and Loyalist prisoners from categorisation as conscientious objectors or (with the possible exception of some internees) as prisoners of conscience. The mechanism chosen to effect early releases ultimately proved capable of determining the bona fides of those few cases of ‘radicalised ordinaries’ who claimed political status.

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Beyond the Wire: Former Prisoners and Conflict by Peter Shirlow
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