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Political Studies Association of Ireland




ECPR Standing Group on Political Violence
Online Seminar Series in Political Violence
Next seminar
Wednesday 28 April, 14:00 – 16:00 GMT (link above)
Deniable Contact: Back-Channel Negotiation in Northern Ireland 
Speaker – Niall Ó Dochartaigh, National University of Ireland Galway
Commentator – Thomas Leahy, Cardiff University

Deniable Contact by Niall Ó Dochartaigh provides the first full-length study of the secret negotiations and back-channels that were used in repeated efforts to end the Northern Ireland conflict. The analysis is founded on a rich store of historical evidence, including the private papers of key Irish Republican leaders, recently released papers from national archives in Dublin and London, and the papers of Brendan Duddy, the intermediary who acted as the primary contact between the IRA and the British government on several occasions over a span of two decades, including papers that have not yet been made publicly available. This documentary evidence, combined with original interviews with politicians, mediators, civil servants, and Republicans, allows a vivid picture to emerge of the complex manoeuvring at this intersection. Deniable Contact offers a textured account that extends our understanding of the distinctive dynamics of negotiations conducted in secret and the conditions conducive to the negotiated settlement of conflict. It disrupts and challenges some conventional notions about the conflict in Northern Ireland, offering a fresh analysis of the political dynamics and the intra-party struggles that sustained violent conflict and delayed settlement for so long.

During the session, Niall Ó Dochartaigh will provide an introduction to the key themes of the book. This will be followed by Thomas Leahy’s comments and Q&A session. After this, there will be time for a more informal chat between all participants.


UCC-Defence Forces Lecture Series:

  • Is there a future for UN peacekeeping?

  • Dr. Renata Dwan, Deputy Director of Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs

  • Thurs 29th April, 6.30-8.00pm (Irish/UK time)

  • On-line via this link (- no registration or log-in is required, but we kindly request that you go to link shortly before the start time of 18.30).

  • The lecture will also be recorded so that people may view it later if they wish.

The Blue Helmets are one of the most visible faces of the United Nations around the world. Over seven decades, and despite many challenges, peacekeeping has proven to be one of the UN’s most durable and adaptable peace and security tools. Yet UN peacekeeping has declined rapidly in terms of number of operations, troop deployments and budgets over the past 10 years.  Against a backdrop of increased geopolitical competition, changing conflict dynamics, and a global pandemic with severe economic impact, what are the prospects for UN peacekeeping and to what extent can it evolve to meet contemporary conflict challenges?

Dr Renata Dwan was appointed Deputy Director of Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, in November 2020. In her 15-year UN career she worked on peace and security issues, including as director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva and chief of policy and best practices at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Renata served in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Mali and Syria and led major UN-wide policy initiatives on peacekeeping, security sector reform, and crisis management capacities. Prior to the UN, Renata led the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s programme on armed conflict and conflict management and was Deputy Director the EastWest Institute security programme in Budapest. She served as a Special Adviser to the European Union Council Secretariat on crisis management issues.  She received her MPhil and DPhil in International Relations from Oxford University.

The UCC-Defence Forces Lecture Series aims to contribute to informed public debate on contemporary global security challenges, how such problems may impact on Ireland and how Ireland can contribute to addressing regional and global security threats. The lecture series is jointly organised by the Defence Forces and UCC’s Colleges of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences and Business and Law. Previous lectures in the series can be viewed at:

Maynooth University-“NI at 100”

The Maynooth Centre for European and Eurasian Studies, the Department of Sociology and the Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute (MUSSI), host a roundtable discussion on Wednesday 28 April, 530pm-7pm on ‘Northern Ireland at 100: Pro-Union Voices’. 

The event will be hosted by Professor Colin Coulter (Department of Sociology, Maynooth University) with guest speakers:

  • Julie-Ann Corr-Johnson (former Belfast city councillor), 

  • Brian Dougherty (Londonderry Bands Forum), 

  • Alison Grundle (former Special Advisor, Northern Ireland Assembly) 

  • Professor Pete Shirlow (University of Liverpool)

    All welcome. To register for this event, please see the link


The next PSAI political theory seminar is on Friday 30th April with Marie Moran
 ‘Inequality in the 21st Century’. 
It will take place next Friday the 30th at 3pm (zoom link below), convened by Andrew Shorten.

Join Zoom Meeting