‘The Troubles: a Secret History’ on the Brendan Duddy Papers and the 1975 IRA ceasefire

Episode 2 of BBC Spotlight NI documentary ‘The Troubles: a Secret History’ on Tuesday 17 September examines the archive of intermediary Brendan Duddy at the National University of Ireland Galway and reveals new information about the 1975 IRA ceasefire. You can read more about the secret 1975 negotiations and Duddy’s role in back-channel contact during the Troubles in a series of articles I published, freely available online:  

‘Everyone Trying’, the IRA Ceasefire, 1975: A Missed Opportunity for Peace?

Together in the Middle: Back-Channel Negotiation in the Irish Peace Process

The Longest Negotiation: British Policy, IRA Strategy and the Making of the Northern Ireland Peace Settlement


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Essays by an Irish Rebel: available now in bookshops in Dublin, Limerick, Galway

‘Essays by an Irish Rebel: Revolution, Politics and Culture’ is a fascinating book of essays by a veteran of the 1916 Rising and Prof of Romance Languages at NUI Galway, Liam Ó Briain. Written in Irish between the 1930s and 1960s and published in a range of Irish-language periodicals they are gathered together and translated here into English for the first time. Focused mainly on the War of Independence, the book is now available in bookshops in Dublin, Galway, Limerick and a few other towns or by post. Details below. The essays were gathered together and carefully and faithfully translated by my father Eoin with notes by my mother Niamh. Very proud of them. It includes lots of seldom-seen photos from Galway during the war of Independence. 

In Dublin: Alan Hanna’s Rathmines Road;  Books Upstairs D’Olier St;.

In Galway: at  www.kennys.ie;  Charlie Byrnes in Galway. info@charliebyrne.ie;  Dubray Books;  NUIG Siopa Leabhair;  Moycullen Bookshop; Clifden Bookshop;  Siopa Standún, Spiddal.  

In Limerick: O’Mahonys Booksellers. And Tralee Castle Street.

Liam Ó Briain (1888 – 1974) was a well-known figure in Irish public life. Spending his early life in the Dublin Docks area , he fought in the Easter Rising of 1916 as an Irish volunteer and endured imprisonment in the aftermath. After his detention he was appointed Professor of Romance Languages at University College Galway where he lectured for forty years. He had also travelled in Europe between 1911 and 1914 on a scholarship . He was a target of the Black & Tans in Galway during the War of Independence and was again imprisoned. He is a striking presence in Peter Lennon’s 1968 documentary Rocky Road to Dublin.

This book includes profiles of friends who were to become notable figures in modern Irish history. Friends like Eoin Mac Néill, Pádraic Ó Conaire, Arthur Griffith, Seán T O’ Kelly, Pádraig de Brún, Piaras Béaslaí and WT Cosgrave. The 25 essays also include a fascinating piece on his neighbour in the Dublin Docklands , the playwright Sean O’Casey and a chance meeting with an Englishman who had participated in the execution of an Irish patriot .


Ardcrú Books have published two other books that give new insights into the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence and other aspects of twentieth century Irish history and culture.

Insurrection Memories 1916 (2016), also by Liam Ó Briain

Memoir of an Irish Economist, Working Class Manchester to Irish Academia(2015) at €15.00 each. More details here: https://ardcrubooksniamh.com


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Prof Jennifer Todd seminar on Identity Change, Identity Politics and Identity Traps, Thurs 7 February NUI Galway

Professor Jennifer Todd, one of the foremost scholars of the Northern Ireland conflict and of identity change in Ireland is giving a research seminar on Thursday 7 February in the School of Political Science and Sociology in NUI Galway.

Date: Thurs 7 February, 2pm
Venue: Room 333, Aras Moyola
Identity change, identity politics and identity traps: why everyday compromise after conflict is so often reversed. Research from the two Irelands.

Abstract: This paper sketches a dynamic empirical analysis of micro-identity change and its (potential) macro-impact in politics and social life. It outlines some of the concepts, measures and conclusions from my recently published qualitative research on both parts of Ireland (with a control study in France). Its focus on individual identity innovation – set against analysis of social boundaries and cultural grammars – allows comparative empirical analysis of incipient processes of identity change in very different social settings. Its typology of identity change, oriented to project, content and argumentation, shows the obstacles specific to each type of change and the existence of social traps, where individuals’ resources and opportunities lead them to types of change almost certain to fail. This allows more nuanced comparative research than do the dominant political science approaches to identity. Its conclusions go against contemporary wisdom. Identity change is pervasive, even more so in conflict-ridden situations than in consensual ones. It takes a limited number of forms, working from given national and religious bases rather than rejecting them. And it meets predictable social traps. The paper shows how this leads to a distinctive approach to explaining political reversals in Northern Ireland from flags to Brexit and a distinctive policy orientation. Neither pluralist nor cosmopolitan ideologies grasp the process:  rather than ‘new narratives’ there is need for new constitutional signposts beyond identity politics.

Jennifer Todd, Identity Change After Conflict: Ethnicity, Boundaries and Belonging in the Two Irelands. Springer/Palgrave Macmillan 2018 https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-98503-9


Jennifer Todd is a full professor at University College Dublin (until 2018 in School of Politics and International Relations), Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Fellow of the Geary Institute, UCD, current Fellow of the Political Science Association of Ireland, and (2016) Fernand Braudel Fellow at SPS, European University Institute, research director (previously director) Institute for British-Irish Studies, UCD. She writes on the structural and institutional conditions of (ethnic) conflict and the processes of institutional change that can lead to settlement, with particular expertise on Northern Ireland, and on issues of identity, ethnicity and identity change. On conflict and settlement, she is co-author with J. Ruane of Dynamics of Conflict in Northern Ireland (Cambridge, 1996), co-author with J. Coakley of ‘From Sunningdale to St Andrews‘ (Oxford, forthcoming 2019), and numerous articles in West European Politics, Political Studies, Parliamentary AffairsIrish Political Studies. and numerous edited books and book chapters.  On identity and ethnicity, she has recently published Identity Change after Conflict (Springer-Palgrave 2018), a co-edited journal issue with B. Rumelili on Paradoxes of Identity Change  (2018) and numerous articles and edited volumes, in Politics, Theory and Society, Archives Européennes de Sociologie, Nations and Nationalism, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Participation and Conflict, etc. With J. Coakley she produced an archive of interviews on Breaking Patterns of Conflict in Northern Ireland, recently opened to researchers in the John Whyte Archive, Archives, UCD. She is presently writing (with J. Ruane) a sequel to Dynamics of Conflict, and undertaking new qualitative research in ‘Brexiting’ Northern Ireland.

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Guest speakers at Violence Space and the Archives, Galway 23-24 May

Very happy to announce that speakers at the Violence, Space and the Archives conference at NUI Galway on 23-24 May 2019 will include Patricia Sleeman (UNHCR Digital Archivist) Breandán MacSuibhne (author of ‘The End of Outrage’) Deborah Kaple (author of ‘Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir’) and Brendan O’Leary (speaking in a symposium on his new three volume work ‘A Treatise on Northern Ireland’). Deadline for proposals is Thurs 31 Jan. More details on the website https://ghussey3.wixsite.com/violencespacearchive


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CFP: Violence, Space and the Archives. Conference at NUI Galway 23-24 May 2019

Call for papers for a conference we’re organising at NUI Galway, 23-24 May 2019. Delighted to be involved and looking forward to welcoming guest speakers including Patricia Sleeman, UNHCR Digital Archivist

vsa cfp 17th jan 1 page

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Section on Political Violence: final details of panels at the 2018 ECPR General Conference

Full and final details below of all twelve panels in our section on Political Violence at this year’s ECPR General Conference in Hamburg. The papers and panels are particularly strong this year.

S56 P512 Violence and the City I: Global Encounters, Capitalism, and Spatio-Temporal Practices of Violence
Thursday 09:00 – 10:40 (23/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 3 Room: 30
S56 P176 Functional logics of political violence
Thursday 11:00 – 12:40 (23/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 29
S56 P513 Violence and the city II
Thursday 11:00 – 12:40 (23/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 3 Room: 30
S56 P198 How Political is Sexual Violence? Consequences and Responses
Thursday 15:50 – 17:30 (23/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 29
S56 P401 Right-wing violence and modus operandi
Friday 09:00 – 10:40 (24/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 29
S56 P402 Right-wing violence II
Friday 11:00 – 12:40 (24/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 29
S56 P199 How Political is Sexual Violence? Debates on Causes
Friday 14:00 – 15:40 (24/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 29
S56 P270 Mobilization, repression, and violent escalation
Friday 17:40 – 19:20 (24/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 29
S56 P289 New Perspectives on Civil War and Political Violence
Saturday 09:00 – 10:40 (25/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 29
S56 P091 Contentious locations and spaces of violence
Saturday 11:00 – 12:40 (25/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 29
S56 P442 The escalation of violence in the context of street demonstrations
Saturday 14:00 – 15:40 (25/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 29
S56 P511 Violence and non-violence
Saturday 16:00 – 17:40 (25/08/2018)
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 29


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The European Union and the Northern Ireland Peace Process. A symposium at NUI Galway 27 April 2018

Venue: O’Donoghue Theatre, National University of Ireland Galway

Time:  27 April 9.45am-5.30pm

Architects of the European Union peace programmes in Northern Ireland will come together for the first time in twenty years to reflect on the role the EU played in the Northern Ireland peace process at a unique symposium in the O’Donoghue Theatre in the National University of Ireland Galway on Friday 27 April. They are joined by academic experts on the European Union and key figures active in cross-border cooperation to explore the significance of the EU role in the peace process and discuss the future of the Good Friday Agreement and the Irish border. The symposium will discuss the challenges posed by Brexit twenty years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, at a time when EU involvement in the Peace Process and cross-border relations in Ireland are at the centre of public debate.

This is a free event but advance registration is essential: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-european-union-and-the-northern-ireland-peace-process-tickets-4275400538

Speakers include:

Mr Carlo Trojan, former Secretary General of the European Commission and Head of the 1994 Northern Ireland Task Force

Mr Hugh Logue, former EU Commission official from 1984. In 1994 he, along with two colleagues, was asked by President Jacques Delors to consult all parties in Northern Ireland. Their recommendations became the blueprint for the first EU PEACE Programme.

Ms Jane Morrice, former head of the EU Commission Office Northern Ireland. She was involved in the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and was a member of the Standing Orders Committee which set the initial rules governing Assembly procedures post-devolution

Mr Colm Larkin senior official of the EU Commission from 1974-2004 and special advisor in the Office of First and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998-2001

Andy Pollak, founding Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh

Tom Arnold, Current chair of the All Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit and former chairman of the Irish Times and member of the Royal Irish Academy

Dr Katy Hayward, School of Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast,

Dr Mary C. Murphy, Department of Government, University College Cork,

Dr Giada Lagana, Dr Brendan Flynn and Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh, School of Political Science and Sociology, National University of Ireland Galway

The event will be opened by Noel Dorr, former Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and former Irish Ambassador to the United Nations and the United Kingdom. Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute, will make closing remarks. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute and Dr Michelle Millar, Head of the School of Political Science and Sociology will act as Chairs.

The symposium originates with the PhD thesis of Dr Giada Lagana on the Europeanization of the Northern Ireland peace process and brings together several of the people she interviewed for the thesis.

This unique and innovative event is organised by the Conflict, Humanitarianism and Security Research Cluster of the Whitaker Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, in partnership with the Moore Institute and supported by the Irish Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Academic Association for contemporary European Studies (UACES).

This is a free event but advance registration is essential. Register at


Conference programme available at: https://eupeacenuig.weebly.com/

 Contact: Giada Lagana G.LAGANa1@nuigalway.ie or Niall O Dochartaigh niall.odochartaigh@nuigalway.ie

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