Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Hierarchies of Pain and Responsibility: Victims and War by Other Means in Northern Ireland

Marie Breen-Smyth


This article develops an earlier analysis of definitions and disqualifications of victimhood during armed conflict, claims of responsibility and apologies for harm, based on the Northern Ireland case. The significance of political structures is considered by considering the consociational nature of the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, which established two parallel political dynasties, allowing the parties to the Northern Ireland conflict to ‘agree to disagree’. The nature of this agreement makes a ‘reconciliation’ between the parties optional and therefore unlikely without some intervention to address the grievances of the past, proposals for which were the responsibility of the Committee on Managing the Past whose report caused controversy.

Key words: victims, perpetrators, consociational, reconciliation, Northern Ireland.

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ISSN paper: 1138-3305. ISSN electrònic: 2340-5007

Facultat de Comunicació Blanquerna. Universitat Ramon Llull.