IICRR Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Dawn Walsh’s latest book was launched at the Politcial Studies Association Annual Conference at DCU’s All Hallow’s Campus on 13th October. The book Independent Commissions and Contentious Issues in Post-Good Friday Agreement Northern Ireland was officially launched by Sinn Féin Deputy Leader and TD Mary Lou McDonald. The event was also attended Muiris MacCarthaigh Dr Eoin O’Malley of the School of Law and Government and Prof Gary Murphy, Head of the School of Law & Government, DCU.
This book is based on Dr Walsh’s PhD research which she pursued at the School of Law and Government, DCU which was funded by the Irish Research Council through a Postgraduate Scholarship. This book asks how independent commissions helped to overcome difficulties during the implementation phase of the Good Friday Agreement. These independent groups worked to resolve issues which threatened to derail the peace process, including the reform of policing, the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons, the monitoring of ceasefires, dealing with the past conflict, and the issue of human rights. Each chapter provides an in-depth analysis of the work of a different group finding that the commissions engaged in a broad range of activities. Drawing on the lessons of Northern Ireland the book demonstrates the importance of balancing local and international involvement, the inclusion of expertise, and giving sufficient powers to such bodies.
This book is a key work for academics and researchers in a range of disciplines such as politics, peace and conflict studies, international relations, and human rights law. It is essential reading for those interested in the Northern Ireland peace process and those seeking to understand how third parties can assist in the implementation of peace agreements. It has been well received by critics and has been described as “the best book to date on the role of international commissions in the Northern Ireland peace process” (Timothy J. White, Professor of Political Science, Xavier University, USA) and as helping to set “to set a new agenda for research on this important but neglected aspect of peace processes.” (Niall O’Dochartaigh, National University of Ireland Galway, Republic of Ireland).