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Demoralised Prods

The immediate cause of the suspension of Northern Ireland's assembly is republicanism's incomplete conversion to democratic politics. But the deeper cause is Protestant demoralisation. Politically, culturally and educationally Catholics have been sweeping ahead. Can unionists stop sulking?

By Richard Kelly   November 2002

The 1998 accord, known to its admirers as the Good Friday Agreement, was an enlightened effort to see if Northern Ireland’s politicians might agree to differ on the national question, and yet find sufficient common ground on which to govern for all of the people. After 30 years of dirty war, no one expected the immediate burial of enmity and, in that respect, no one has since been disappointed.

Nevertheless, the Agreement represented an historic compromise between the traditions. The political representatives of nationalism and republicanism conceded the principle of unionist consent to any constitutional change in the six counties;…

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