Sport in a Divided Northern Ireland

Past and present

Authored by: David Hassan

Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138792548
eBook ISBN: 9781315761930
Adobe ISBN: 9781317646679

10.4324/9781315761930.ch16

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Abstract

It is a universal truism that when politicians fail to agree and division becomes manifest that the effects of such discord are witnessed across civic society and impact upon the everyday lives of its citizens. Nowhere is this truer than in Northern Ireland, a country synonymous with internal conflict, violence and mistrust between its two major ethnic groupings, Irish nationalists and Ulster unionists (McEvoy 2008). The country is one part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but its positioning, adjacent to the Republic of Ireland, offers a clue as to the social, political and cultural issues at the heart of a long-standing dispute, underwritten in many cases by thinly veiled sectarianism (at other times this is tragically manifest), that led to a violent guerrilla-style conflict between Irish republican paramilitaries, loyalist factions (Unionist paramilitaries) and functionaries of the British state, specifically the locally based police force, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), which began in the late 1960s (Bew 2007).

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