A Tragedy of Errors: The Government and Misgovernment of Northern Ireland

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Liverpool University Press, 2007 - History - 275 pages
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The decommissioning of the Provisional IRA in 2005 suggests that Northern Ireland may finally be ready to turn from the deadly paramilitary clashes of the twentieth century to the thorny problems of a normalized political process. As both former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and Victim’s Commissioner, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield is in a unique position to evaluate the wisdom and long-term effects of the past fifty years of Northern Irish politics and policy.
Bloomfield probes a number of crucial questions about the United Kingdom’s management of Irish affairs. Three decades of fighting have had grave consequences for Northern Ireland—what were the costs? Was violence inevitable? Bloomfield delineates the unwise decisions and abrogated responsibilities that led to the civil crisis of the Troubles while emphasizing the United Kingdom’s overriding duty to ensure peace. Peppered with incisive—and critical—portraits of the major political players, including Tony Blair and John Hume, A Tragedy of Errors gives us an unflinching insider’s view of Northern Irish politics and helps us understand the divisions that still dominate the region.
 

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Contents

A personal perspective
1
The British dimension union devolution and direct rule
5
The British dimension direct rule to the UWC strike
30
The British dimension from the collapse of powersharing to the AngloIrish Agreement of 1985
50
The British dimension the AngloIrish Agreement of 1985 to the Good Friday Agreement
68
The Irish Dimension
112
The politics of Northern Ireland
150
Endgame or limbo?
216
Select bibliography
260
Index
264
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About the author (2007)


Sir Kenneth Bloomfield was formerly the head of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland, principal advisor to three Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland, Victim s Commissioner, first head of the Northern Ireland Higher Education Council, first head of the Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission and a Governor of the BBC. His work as Victim s Commissioner gave him a unique insight into the true cost of "the troubles," leading him to the conclusion that true peace has to mean more than the absence of warfare.

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