A Shifting Legal Durability, 1990–1999

  • Kathryn Marie Fisher
Part of the New Security Challenges book series (NSECH)


One year following the Good Friday Agreement and 27 years after the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973 was formed, Secretary of State for the Home Department Jack Straw (Lab) addressed the House of Commons, proposing permanent counterterrorism legislation. Straw stated that “a lasting peace in Northern Ireland … would not of itself remove the need for counter-terrorist legislation” because “[t]errorism, and the threat of terrorism from a range of fronts, is likely to continue to exist for the foreseeable future” [emphasis added].1 At the beginning of the 1990s, Labour had argued that counterterrorism law was not working,2 but less than ten years later, it was arguing for permanency. By December of that same year, opposition to making these laws permanent continued to be voiced given issues of counter-productive consequence and uncertain effectiveness. As stated by John Wadham in reply to Straw, “anti-terrorism laws have led to some of the worst human rights abuses in this country over the past 25 years, contributed to miscarriages of justice and have led to the unnecessary detention of thousands of innocent people, most of them Irish”, highlighting how “only a tiny percentage of those detained have ever been charged and almost without exception they could have been detained under ordinary criminal laws”.3


World Trade Center Labour Party Peace Process International Terrorism Official Discourse 
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  1. 14.
    Bill McSweeney, Security, Identity and Interests: A Sociology of International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 9. See also McSweeney, “Security, Identity and the Peace Process.”CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 19.
    Conor Gearty, “Terrorism and Morality,” European Human Rights Law Review 4 (2003): 379.Google Scholar
  3. 62.
    Sherrill Stroschein, “Territory and the Hungarian Status Law: Time for New Assumptions?” in Beyond Sovereignty: From Status Law to Transnational Citizenship? ed. Osamu Ieda (Budapest: Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Legal Studies, and the Slavic Research Centre, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, 2006) [cited 12 September 2012], 55.Google Scholar
  4. 104.
    Alan B. Krueger, What makes a terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), 71.Google Scholar
  5. 134.
    Edward Said, Orientalism, 25th Ed. (New York: Vintage Books Random House, 1979); Croft, Securitizing Islam, 213.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kathryn Marie Fisher 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn Marie Fisher
    • 1
  1. 1.National Defense UniversityUSA

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