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A New History of Ireland Volume VIIIreland 1921-84$
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J. R. Hill

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198217527

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198217527.001.0001

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Northern Ireland, 1972–84

Northern Ireland, 1972–84

(p.395) Chapter XV Northern Ireland, 1972–84
A New History of Ireland Volume VII

Paul Arthur

Oxford University Press

The period is best characterised as a time of drift and of helplessness, the collapse of old certainties and the beginnings of a new siege. It was the unionist community that felt the greatest sense of loss. It seemed to them that, overnight, untrammeled one-party rule had been replaced by a form of bureaucratic dictatorship from afar. Unionists felt betrayed by their ‘guarantor’, the government and parliament of the United Kingdom. For much of the period they were to engage in a form of intra-ethnic debate between those who called themselves unionists and those who were more comfortable with the term ‘loyalism’. In time, that discussion centred on what method of government best suited Northern Ireland: whether it should be fully integrated into the United Kingdom or ruled through a revised version of devolution.

Keywords:   unionists, dictatorship, government, parliament, United Kingdom, loyalism, Northern Ireland, devolution

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