Conflicts' End

Mari Fitzduff

Professor and Director of the MA Conflict and Coexistence Programme at Brandeis University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Then all the dominoes began to fall and it was fairly clear that peace was coming, albeit fairly slowly, to Northern Ireland. But it always does come like this, and I always say conflicts end not with a bang but a whimper after whimper after whimper. And now we eventually got the agreement ceasefire. Ceasefires in '74 broke down, that's not uncommon. We eventually got a labor party that was quite brave. We got the agreement in '98 and now we're five years on and just about dribbling into the ends of the problems. So by and large most people will be on board with policing probably by the end of this year. The leftover troubles at the cold face, which are really partly loyalists who did not have places in the new scheme of things, they're easing up a little. I suspect that they will disappear fairly quickly within this year, and we think even Parades is probably going to be finished by this year or next year.

There's a good lesson there, is that it does take time. I remember having a celebration party after the ceasefires were called, and that was actually '94, '95. I said, "Look, I know we're going to have a difficult time, but let's just celebrate this moment." You've got to realize that the work certainly does continue on after that.