Expert offers insight into current Northern Irish power sharing problem

A University of Wolverhampton academic has suggested a body to monitor paramilitary activity could offer a way forward in the current Northern Irelands power crisis.

Dr Eamonn O’Kane, a Reader on Conflict Studies at the University with an expertise in Northern Ireland, says that the latest problems run far deeper than the actions of paramilitary groups.

He said: “The problems of setting a budget, and particularly welfare reform, were so pronounced that there was widespread speculation of imminent collapse of devolved government, even before the allegations of IRA activity surfaced. 

“The growing calls for the creation of a revamped body to monitor potential paramilitary activity (along the lines of the Independent Monitoring Commission, which was wound up in 2011) may offer some hope of progress, as might the fact that none of the parties in Northern Ireland want to be the one that gets the blame for destroying the hard-won spoils of the peace process. 

“But given the lack of trust between the parties and the inter, and intra-communal electoral considerations that are in-play, it will be difficult to resolve the current impasse. 

“The British government is currently refusing to suspend the institutions and call fresh elections and will hope that a compromise can be reached, but if the talks fail and the institutions collapse, it is far from clear when and how they will be able to be rebuilt. “

For Dr O’Kane’s full insight into the current Northern Ireland power crisis visit the University of Wolverhampton’s Academic Blog at https://www.wlv.ac.uk/about-us/news-and-events/academic-blog/

ENDS

For more information or to interview Dr O’Kane please contact James Allen in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322003.

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