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Ireland’s British question

Despite tensions over Drumcree, Anglo-Irish relations have been transformed over the past 25 years. Inside the EU, Ireland has become a more open, self-confident country, pursuing with Britain the goal of peace in Northern Ireland. But Garret FitzGerald and Paul Gillespie fear that differences over Europe and the rise of English nationalism threaten the entente

By Garret Fitzgerald   October 1996

Pessimism about the condition of Northern Ireland since the end of the IRA ceasefire and July’s Orange march confrontation at Drumcree is widespread, and justifiably so. The retreat of the security forces at Drumcree in the face of a unionist mob infiltrated by paramilitaries was seen in Britain as a sensible move to avoid bloodshed. But it was greeted with dismay, even despair, in the Republic. Irish governments have attempted over several decades to persuade Northern nationalists-especially those in isolated areas and city ghettos-to rely on the security forces for their protection and to abandon a view of the IRA…

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