Most international donors believe that promoting economic development deescalates ethnic conflict, thus enhancing the prospects for peace as ethnic communities negotiate settlements and bridge their political divisions. However, little empirical research has addressed the potential effects of external economic assistance in the rebuilding of those societies. This study explores the perceptions of a representative sample of Northern Irish citizens on their awareness of the activities of International Fund for Ireland and the European Peace I fund toward economic development, the perceived equity of its distribution, and its contribution to building peace in Northern Ireland.

Author Bio(s)

Sean Byrne is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, and Head of the Ph.D. and Joint M.A. Programs in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manitoba, and Director of the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba. He is author of Economic Assistance and the Northern Ireland Conflict: Building the Peace Dividend (2009) and Growing Up in a Divided Society: The Influence of Conflict on Belfast Schoolchildren (1997). He is a co-editor Reconciliable Differences: Turning Points in Ethnopolitical Conflicts (2000) and the Handbook of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (2009). His research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada. He is a native of Ireland. Email: Sean_Byrne@umanitoba.ca

Cynthia Irvin is a senior social science scholar with the Research Triangle Institute International where she works on projects in the areas of human rights, post-conflict reconstruction, and peacebuilding. She served 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) and a co-author of Reconcilable Differences: Turning Points in Ethnopolitical Conflicts (2000).

Eyob Fissuh is a researcher with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and a recent Ph.D. graduate from the Department of Economics at the University of Manitoba. He earned a B.A. in Economics at the University of Asmara in Eritrea, and a M.Comm in Economics from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He has co-authored articles in Peace and Conflict Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, Global Business, Peace Research, Civil Wars, and Economics Anthropology. He has also presented papers at a number of international economics conferences.

Peter Karari is a doctoral student in Peace and Conflict Studies at the Mauro Centre, University of Manitoba. His doctorate research focuses on ethno-political violence and peace-building in Kenya. He has worked as a Programme Coordinator with Compassion International–Kenya and as the Chief Executive Officer with Oxfam GB–Kenya. He holds a B.A. in Social Work from the University of Nairobi in Kenya and an M.A. in Peace and Conflict Research from Otto-von Guericke University in Germany. Email: karari_mp@yahoo.com


1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA), conflict resolution, economic assistance, European Union (EU) Special Support Program for Peace and Reconciliation, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), Northern Ireland Peace Process

Publication Date






To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.