Political Science Irish Studies and Parliamentary Affairs

Political Science Irish Studies and Parliamentary Affairs All strict instructions are found in the following file

Political Science Irish Studies and Parliamentary Affairs
Political Science Irish Studies and Parliamentary Affairs

POLI 313/IRST 398

Politics of Northern Ireland

Paper Proposal Assignment

Length: 2-3 pages MAXIMUM

Value: 5% of Final Course Grade

Submission: Moodle portal

Political Science Irish Studies and Parliamentary Affairs Objectives

The objectives/parameters of this assignment are:

  1. Indicate the topic chosen for the term paper. The topic must be chosen from one of the topics posted on Moodle, or approved by Professor Kelly via email.
  1. Provide a brief (250 words maximum) discussion of the paper topic.
  2. Provide a working bibliography of at least 10 academic sources. Please see the discussion below regarding acceptable and unacceptable academic sources.
  1. The 10 academic sources must be found by you – they cannot include assigned course readings. While you are permitted to use assigned course readings, you must provide at least 10 academic sources that you have independently found for your assignment.
  1. Assignments that only include assigned course readings or rely heavily on assigned course readings will be assigned a failing grade.
  1. Assignments that rely too heavily on non-academic sources will be heavily penalized.
  1. Students must use proper bibliographical entries for academic sources used in the paper. Please consult the reference documents for proper bibliographical entries and footnotes on the course Moodle site.


Structure of the Paper Proposal

Ensure that your paper proposal contains the following elements:

  1. A title page that includes your name, student number, the course number, and the topic of your term paper.
  1. A brief 250 word discussion of your essay topic. Do not exceed the word count. Proposals that excee


materials are properly entered, and whether citations (endnotes, footnotes, or parenthetical references) are properly done.

Political Science Irish Studies and Parliamentary Affairs Academic Sources

You are required to use academic sources and to gather materials outside of the

assigned course readings. Appropriate academic sources are peer-reviewed journal articles, books published by University Presses or equivalent presses, and chapters in edited volumes produced by University Presses or equivalent presses.

Examples of peer-reviewed journals relevant for this paper include:

  • Irish Political Studies;
  • Parliamentary Affairs;
  • Government and Opposition;
  • British Journal of Politics and International Relations;
  • British Journal of Political Science
  • Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly;
  • Canadian Journal of Irish Studies

Your bibliography must contain a minimum of 10 academic sources and your paper must cite the materials entered in your bibliography. While you may use assigned course readings, they must be used in a secondary role, and your paper CANNOT rely too much on assigned course readings. Finally, the 10 minimum academic sources do not include any assigned course readings included in your bibliography.


NOTE – the suggested topics are simply illustrations of the kind of research questions that you can formulate on the various subjects under consideration.

As such, you are free to reformulate the research question to suit your research interests.

If there is a topic you would like to write on that does not appear in the list, please email Professor Kelly for prior approval.

  1. Should Northern Ireland establish a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ modeled after South Africa to address the legacies of The ‘Troubles’?


  1. Has the Northern Ireland Peace Process been a success? Is it a model for reconciliation in other deeply divided societies or is it simply applicable to the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland?
  1. How democratic is the system of devolved government established as part of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998? Has consociationalism reinforced sectarianism and prevented the emergence of ‘normal’ politics in a democratic society? For instance, is ‘post-sectarian’ politics possible under ‘coercive consocilationalism’ that presently exists in Northern Ireland?
  1. Assess whether the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and its campaign for social justice was successful.
  1. Explain the rise of the Democratic Unionist Party as the preeminent party within Unionism. What accounts for the rise of this anti-agreement party as currently the largest political party in the Northern Ireland Assembly, and its leader as First Minister after the 2007 Assembly election?
  1. Provide an assessment of the government of Prime Minister Terrance O’Neil (1963-1969). Was the O’Neil era a missed opportunity for Northern Ireland?
  1. Does BREXIT pose a threat, or represent an opportunity, for the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the power-sharing institutions?
  1. Why did conflict erupt in Northern Ireland in 1969 and why did it take so long for a settlement to be reached?
  1. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) began as the most important Nationalist party during the Northern Ireland Peace Process and during the first years of devolved government after 1998. What explains its reversal in fortune, and the rise of Sinn Féin as the largest Nationalist party in the Northern Ireland Assembly after the 2006 Assembly election?

10.Would the Northern Ireland Peace Process have succeeded without the role played by the United States government and the Clinton administration?


  1. Sinn Féin describes itself as an ‘Irish Republican’ political party committed to a United Ireland through the pursuit of Republican Nationalism. Assess whether Sinn Féin’s participation in the all-party talks that produced the Good Friday Agreement, and its participation in the Northern Ireland Executive, have altered the type of political party it is and the form of nationalism it pursues. Consider the structure of Sinn Féin as the only ‘All Ireland’ political party in your analysis.
  1. Was the introduction of the policy of Internment in 1971 the single largest mistake of the Unionist government lead by Brian Faulkner, and the reason

why the ‘Troubles’ proved unresolvable until 1998 with the passage of the Good Friday Agreement?

13.How important was the reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and its replacement as the Police Services of Northern Ireland (PSNI), as recommended by the Patten Report, to the Northern Ireland Peace Process?

  1. Assess the significance of sectarian murals that emerged in Northern Ireland after the 1981 Hunger Strikes. Compare and contrast Loyalist and Republican murals and their contribution to political discourse, both before and after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
  1. What explains Northern Ireland’s exceptionalism within the United Kingdom on the issue of access to abortion and marriage equality? Why are abortion and same-sex marriage legal in the rest of the United Kingdom but unavailable to residents of Northern Ireland?
  1. The Good Friday Agreement provides that the constitutional status of Northern Ireland – whether to remain as part of the United Kingdom or a part of a United Ireland – is the sovereign decision of the people of Northern Ireland. How likely is the constitutional status of Northern Ireland to change, or is the present status of Northern Ireland as a British province the realistic and long-term certainty?
  1. Belfast is described as a ‘Divided City’ most apparent with the presence of ‘Peace Walls’ and ‘Interfaces’ that separate the Unionist and Nationalist communities. Provide an assessment of the factors that lead to the erection of these physical barriers and consider whether Belfast is likely to remain a divided city, despite the Northern Ireland Peace Process entering its 20th year.

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