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Belfast Book Launch - Politics and Peace in Northern Ireland by David Mitchell

The new book by Dr. David Mitchell, Politics and Peace in Northern Ireland: Political Parties and the Implementation of the 1998 Agreement (Manchester University Press), was launched in the famous No Alibis bookshop in Belfast on Thursday 5th November.

Dr. Mitchell is Assistant Professor in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin at Belfast. He is Co-ordinator of the MPhil in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation.

After a wine and jazz reception, the audience of academics, students, friends and family of the author and others, were welcomed by Dr. Christopher Gibson OBE, trustee of the ISE. Dr. Gibson explained this history and work of the ISE, and introduced the main speaker, Prof. Paul Arthur, Professor Emeritus in Politics, Ulster University.

In his remarks, Prof. Arthur praised the book as being ‘full of verve and insight...a significant contribution to the literature of the Troubles and to the general field of peace and conflict studies’. He noted that the book was ‘imbued with a guarded optimism’ that was reminiscent of Dietrich Bonheoffer, whom he quoted: ‘The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy’.

Dr Mitchell then spoke, thanking family and colleagues who had supported him in the research. He also briefly mentioned the current political difficulties, remarking that he did not feel they contradicted the book’s positive conclusion.

Politics and Peace in Northern Ireland provides an up-to-date political history of Northern Ireland since 1998. Using an innovative theoretical approach, it analyses the strategies and fortunes of the five main political parties, showing how unionists’ and nationalists’ mutual insecurities repeatedly derailed peace implementation. Despite remaining difficulties, it argues that politics in Northern Ireland will remain on its path away from violence and exclusion

Photos by Esther Meeks. View more photos here.


Dr Chris Gibson, Dr David Mitchell and Prof Paul Arthur