IICRR Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Dawn Walsh has published a new book Independent Commissions and Contentious Issues in Post-Good Friday Agreement Northern Ireland (Palgrave, 2017). It is based on her PhD research at the School of Law and Government, DCU. It 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 reform of policing, decommissioning paramilitary weapons, monitoring 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.
The 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 will be helpful for those interested in the Northern Ireland peace process and 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 a new agenda for research on this important but neglected aspect of peace processes.” (Niall O’Dochartaigh, National University of Ireland Galway).