Critical Engagement

BookCritical Engagement

Critical Engagement

Irish republicanism, memory politics and policing


September 19th, 2017


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An Open Access edition of this book is available on the Liverpool University Press website and through Knowledge Unlatched. This book represents the first interdisciplinary study of how memory has driven and challenged the political transition of Irish republicanism from armed conflict to constitutional politics through endorsing policing and the rule of law in the North of Ireland. Locating itself within memory studies, critical criminology and transitional justice, this book uses original interviews with political activists, community workers and former combatants from across the spectrum of modern Irish republicanism to draw out how the past frames internal tensions within the Irish republican constituency as those traditionally opposed to state policing structures opt to buy into them as part of a wider transitional process in post-conflict Northern Ireland. The book critiques the challenges of making peace with the enemy against a backdrop of communal narratives and memories of historic injustice, counterinsurgency policing and human rights abuse that do not simply disappear when war turns to peace. Through a rich empirical basis the book offers an insight into these challenges from the perspective of those who were, and remain, in the thick of the Irish republican debate on policing. In doing so it provides an acute insight into the role that individual and collective memory plays in reshaping ideological outlooks, understanding processes of political transition, contextualising ‘moving on’ processes with former enemies and conditioning views of post-conflict police reform.


'Stimulating and thoughtful, this is an original and timely contribution to the literature on the politics of memory and the conflict in Northern Ireland.'
Dr Stephen Hopkins, University of Leicester

'An intellectually stimulating book based on substantial and original research.'
Professor Henry Patterson, University of Ulster

Author Information

Kevin Hearty is a Lecturer of History, Queens University Belfast.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Figures and Tables10
List of Abbreviations11
1. Understanding a Fraught Historical Relationship37
2. Irish Republican Memory as Counter-Memory67
3. Ideology and Policing99
4. The Patriot Dead133
5. Transition, ‘Never Again’ and ‘Moving On’161
6. The PSNI and ‘Community Policing’195
7. The PSNI and ‘Political Policing’229