External economic assistance from the International Fund for Ireland and the European Union Special Support Program for Peace and Reconciliation assisted in setting the context of the Northern Ireland peace agenda, and holds out the promise of a new civic culture. This article explores people’s perceptions of economic assistance of conflict amelioration in Northern Ireland. Some of the findings, in respect of inter-community differences in perceptions of the utility of external economic assistance in building the peace dividend, are discussed in the paper.

Author Bio(s)

Sean Byrne is professor and director of the doctoral program in peace and conflict studies, and director of the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba. With Cynthia Irvin, he co-edited Reconcilable Differences: Turning Points in Ethnopolitical Conflicts (2000). He can be contacted at byrnejj@ms.umanitoba.ca.

Chris Cunningham is an M.A. student in Irish Politics in the Department of Politics, Queen’s University of Belfast.

Eyob Fissuh recently completed his PhD comprehensive exam in the Department of Economics, University of Manitoba.

Cynthia Irvin is a senior social science scholar with the Research Triangle Institute International where she works on projects in the areas if human rights, post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding. She is currently serving as a member of an international mediation group engaged in multiparty talks in the Basque country. She is author of Militant Nationalism: Between Movement and Party in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country (1999).


civic culture, conflict resolution, economic assistance, inter-community differences, Northern Ireland

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