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Good traitors

Republican "revisionists" have played a vital role in preparing the intellectual ground for the Northern Ireland peace process. These traitors to the nationalist cause include a new generation of Irish writers and former IRA volunteers who have reached out to David Trimble's new unionism

By John Lloyd   January 2000

Traitors have played a crucial part in achieving the fragile agreement which has put republicans, nationalists, unionists and protestant fundamentalists in the same Northern Ireland cabinet. Traitors, that is, to the cause of Irish republicanism: an immensely powerful ideology, perhaps the most powerful of such geists in the western world. For much of the past century, its common principle was an assumption of Irish victimhood and British guilt, sewn into a seamless web of historical oppression.

But the traitors have cracked that fa?ade. From within the republic and from within republicanism has come a critique which, while not (usually) taking…

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