Irish Ambassador speaks at launch of book co-edited by Leicester academic

The Ambassador of Ireland in the United Kingdom, His Excellency Ambassador Dan Mulhall (pictured on the left), spoke at the launch of a new book co-edited by University of Leicester lecturer Dr Stephen Hopkins.

The book, titled The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain: Impacts, Engagements, Legacies and Memories, was launched at the University of Notre Dame (London campus) on 26 January.

At the launch, the book’s editors (from right to left) Professor Graham Dawson from the University of Brighton, Dr Hopkins from the University’s School of History, Politics and International Relations, and Jo Dover who worked for fourteen years at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace in Warrington, spoke about how the major themes are addressed in the book.

This ground-breaking book provides the first comprehensive investigation of the history and memory of the Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain. It examines the impacts of the conflict upon individual lives, political and social relationships, communities and culture in Britain, and explores how the people of Britain (including its Irish communities) have responded to, and engaged with the conflict, in the context of contested political narratives produced by the State and its opponents.

The book is organised in four thematic sections: perspectives of the British State; anti-state activisms; culture and representation of the Troubles; and memory, peace-building and ‘dealing with the past’.

Its 24 chapters include essays, memoirs and testimonies of personal experience. Contributors include activists, victims/survivors, and scholars from diverse personal, political, and academic backgrounds, to create a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary conversation about the conflict.

The book aims to demonstrate that 'unfinished business' from the conflict persists unaddressed in Britain. It advocates the importance of acknowledging legacies, understanding histories and engaging with memories in the context of peace-building and reconciliation.

By challenging the lack of serious public engagement in Britain with the peace process, and the widespread sense among people in Britain that ‘the Troubles are nothing to do with us and are better left alone’, it hopes to encourage further research and public debate.

The editors also spoke about predominant attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish amongst the political class in Britain during the Troubles, and the anxiety, criticism, and resistance that the conflict created here.

Describing Great Britain as a post-conflict society that does not recognize itself as such, they suggested that denial of conflict in Britain silences those affected.

These include the families of personnel who were killed in Northern Ireland, injured soldiers, Britain’s Irish communities, victims of the Republican bombing campaign in England, and pro-Republican or human-rights activists challenging the State. 90 people attended the launch, including 15 of the contributors.

Graham Dawson, Jo Dover and Stephen Hopkins (eds), The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain: Impacts, Engagements, Legacies and Memories, Manchester University Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-7190-9632-7.

More information about the book, The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain: Impacts, Engagements, Legacies and Memories, is available here