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Finding an Enemy

Conor Gearty: Sixty Years of Anti-Terrorist Legislation

15 April 1999
Legislation against Terrorism: A Consultation Paper. CM 4178. 
by Home Office and Northern IrelandOffice.
70 pp., £9.95, December 1998, 0 10 141782 9
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... for up to seven days without charge. The clock was ticking towards the holiday break, and the Home Secretary Sir Samuel Hoare, referring to recent acts of violence, claimed to have ‘been told that if we had had these powers two days ago it is very likely that we might have forestalled one or other ... of those outrages’. In the first two months after ...
5 August 1982
... Towards the end of the debate on the Northern Ireland Constitution Bill in the House of Commons Enoch Powell produced a document which purported to prove the existence of clandestine agreements between the Northern IrelandOffice and the Irish Government ...


Paul Foot

19 April 1990
War without Honour 
by Fred Holroyd and Nick Bainbridge.
Medium, 184 pp., £6.95, November 1989, 1 872398 00 6
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... So excited was Captain Fred Holroyd by his new posting to the city of Armagh in Northern Ireland as a fully-trained officer in military intelligence that he took great care to maintain his ‘cover’. He grew a rough beard before travelling across the Irish Sea, and dressed up in suitably scruffy clothes for the journey ...

Tired Titan

A.B. Cooke

8 November 1979
The Factory of Grievances: Devolved Government in Northern Ireland, 1921-1939 
by Patrick Buckland.
Gill and Macmillan, 365 pp., £13
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... and misleading interpretations were placed on their behaviour in 1921-22, when withdrawal from Ireland at last became a practicable policy in Britain. Lloyd George’s Cabinet was accused of deliberately creating a puppet regime in Belfast, charged with the duty of seeking to influence events throughout Ireland as a ...


Ronan Bennett: The IRA Ceasefire

22 September 1994
... and the ceasefire will not be prolonged. ‘None of this bodes any good at all for peace in Northern Ireland. Except, of course, in the Orwellian sense: Peace Means War.’ There’s a great deal of talk about inflexibility in Irish politics; this is inflexibility personified. I had watched Dr O’Brien on Newsnight on BBC 2 the night ...

Notes on a Notebook

Andrew O’Hagan

30 September 1999
... story another narrative may awaken and begin to stand up. And that will be the story you take home: the unending story of the story itself. You’d do well to snap your pencil and walk away at that point. Exhaustion can be a wise counsellor. But sometimes the second story not only stands up but takes to running: it comes after you, and even in your sleep ...

When Ireland Became Divided

Garret FitzGerald: The Free State’s Fight for Recognition

21 January 1999
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy. Vol. I: 1919-22 
edited by Ronan Fanning.
Royal Irish Academy and Department of Foreign Affairs, 548 pp., £30, October 1998, 1 874045 63 1
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... At the outbreak of World War One, the British Government decided to postpone Home Rule for Ireland, which had just been enacted. Despite this, many Nationalists as well as Unionists enlisted in the British Army. Some radical Nationalists came to believe that action was needed to revive national sentiment ...
5 April 1990
Ulster Politics: The Formative Years, 1868-86 
by B.M. Walker.
Ulster Historical Foundation/Institute of Irish Studies, 327 pp., £15, February 1990, 0 901905 40 2
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Ireland 1912-1985: Politics and Society 
by J.J. Lee.
Cambridge, 754 pp., £55, January 1990, 0 521 26648 3
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... he doesn’t say which history. The history that accounts for the sporadic but endless killings in Northern Ireland begins no later than 24 December 1601, when Lord Mountjoy’s forces defeated Hugh O’Neill’s at the battle of Kinsale. After the ‘flight of the earls’ to the Continent in 1607 the way was clear for the confiscation of land throughout ...

An Escalation of Reasonableness

Conor Gearty: Northern Ireland

6 September 2001
To Raise up a New Northern IrelandArticles and Speeches 1998-2000 
by David Trimble.
Belfast Press, 166 pp., £5.99, July 2001, 0 9539287 1 3
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... starved themselves to death in the months that followed. During that summer of 1981, the Northern Ireland crisis came closer than ever before or since to carnage. Levels of mob as well as of subversive violence were high. In Dublin two thousand people attacked the British Embassy. An IRA bomb exploded during the official opening by the Queen of ...
24 October 1991
... a puzzle.* Conceived by the Policy Studies Institute in 1987, it was surprisingly funded by the Home Office: ‘surprisingly’ because Home Office support would lead one to conclude that the Government was seriously considering the need to ...
9 March 1995
... authoritarian, hypocritical and morally bankrupt administration almost since the day it took office in 1979. Its ministers have been resigning (or not resigning) in disgrace ever since its inception. The nepotism shown towards its ‘family’ of opportunistic supporters has been evident from the start but has now ...


Paul Foot: Two Views of John Stalker

3 March 1988
... In the autumn of 1982 three policemen in Northern Ireland were killed by a landmine planted by the IRA. At once, the Royal Ulster Constabulary plotted their revenge. Acting on information provided by one of their informers in the IRA – who has been paid many, many thousands of pounds – they identified five Republicans who were said to have been responsible for the landmine, and a hay shed which was, according to the informer, used by the IRA to hoard weapons ...


John Horgan: The Current Mood in Dublin

19 December 1985
... exchanges heard inside and outside Parliament last week brought to mind the language used by the Northern Ireland Unionists and their friends at Westminster at the time of the Home Rule controversy in 1912-1914. A compilation of the more inflammatory remarks of Sir Edward Carson and his allies, published in Dublin in ...
22 January 1981
IrelandLand of Troubles 
by Paul Johnson.
Eyre Methuen, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 413 47650 2
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Acts of Union 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 221 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 571 11648 5
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by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Faber, 96 pp., £2.95, November 1980, 0 571 11645 0
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IrelandA History 
by Robert Kee.
Weidenfeld, 256 pp., £9.95, December 1980, 0 297 77855 2
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... politics ought always to bear in mind John Stuart Mill’s provocative remark, that it was not Ireland but England that was the exception: ‘Ireland is in the mainstream of human existence and human feeling and experience; it is England that is one of the lateral channels.’ Of the authors under discussion, the first ...
21 March 1996
... your enemy: it is a basic principle). Nor is there any use in pretending that the North of Ireland is the same as Yorkshire or the Midlands or East Anglia; it is not even Wales or Scotland. It is no good demanding that everyone behave as though the gun and the bomb had played no part in recent history. Sinn Fein may not be a normal political party with ...

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