Chapter

Political Settlements in Northern Ireland and South Africa

John McGarry and Brendan O'Leary

in The Northern Ireland Conflict

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199266579
Published online August 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601446 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199266573.003.0008
Political Settlements in Northern Ireland and South Africa

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The chapter offers a comparative evaluation of Northern Ireland's Agreement and the one reached in South Africa, and underlines the differences between them. It argues that the analogy between Northern Ireland and South Africa should be read in different ways than it is by nationalist and unionist integrationists, and by social transformationists. It explains that the Northern Ireland conflict has important exogenous dimensions that are missing in South Africa, This is illustrated by two central points: (i) while South Africans reached agreement because of endogenous factors, cooperation by the British and Irish governments was essential to the attainment of agreement in Northern Ireland; (ii) while South Africa's settlement required new political institutions internal to the country, a vital part of Northern Ireland's agreement involved the construction of trans-border political institutions linking Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland.

Keywords: political analogy; social transformation; South Africa's Accord; Northern Ireland's Agreement

Chapter.  11027 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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