Public support for political violence and paramilitarism in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

Bernadette C. Hayes*, Ian McAllister

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    47 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Most of the research on paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland has concentrated on either the historical origins of paramilitary organizations or the background characteristics of individuals who engage in this activity. Less attention has been given to analyzing public attitudes in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland toward the use of paramilitary violence as a political tool within this society. In this paper we argue that one of the reasons for the intractability of the conflict and the current impasse over the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons is the widespread latent support for paramilitary activity among the civilian population in both these societies. Overall, the results suggest that only a lengthy period without political violence in Northern Ireland will undermine support for paramilitarism and result in the decommissioning of weapons.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)599-617
    Number of pages19
    JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
    Volume17
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005

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