This article explains the factors that have made Northern Ireland an arena of conflict, and evaluates the obstacles that for so long hindered a negotiated settlement, before exploring the factors that contributed to creating a sustainable peace process. It concludes with some general observations on what lessons might be taken from the Irish peace process and considers how these might be of relevance to other conflicts, such as that which is ongoing in Ukraine

Dr. Donnacha O Beachain is Associate Professor at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University where he lectures on post-Soviet politics, Irish studies, foreign policy and unrecognised states. He is currently lead researcher in the €3.6 million FP7/Marie Curie Initial Training Network in Post-Soviet Tensions ( and the €3.8 million Horizon2020 project on the Caspian region ( During 2011-12, he was awarded a major grant by Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs Conflict Resolution Unit to lead a research team to examine the role of the OSCE and EU in the post-Soviet protracted conflicts. Recent books include ‘The Colour Revolutions in the Former Soviet Republics: Successes and Failures’ (with Abel Polese, Routledge), Destiny of the Soldiers: Fianna F?il, Irish Republicanism and the IRA 1926-1973, (Gill and Macmillan), Life in Post-Communist Eastern Europe After EU Membership (with Vera Sheridan and Sabina Stan, Routledge) and Political Communication in Ireland (with Mark O’Brien, Liverpool University Press)

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