Constitutional Opposition (August 1970–July 1971)
In most Western democracies, oppositions which seek to alter the fundamental framework of the political system have flourished only in the initial stages of nation-building. The disaffected minority represented by this type of opposition gradually comes to use and identify with the institutions of the political system and there is a corresponding decline in the proffering of ‘sweeping alternatives to the basic framework of the political system, for … it would endanger rules and institutions now familiar to oppositions, without promising successful change.’1 Where a society is fundamentally divided and, in effect, in a perpetual condition of nation-building with the form and existence of the state continually in question, the options that a permanent minority can exercise are limited.
KeywordsCommunal Violence Committee System Unionist Government Street Violence Alternative Assembly
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- 1.Giuseppe di Palma, Apathy and Participation, (New York: Free Press, 1970) p. 90.Google Scholar
- 2.Robert A. Dahl, Political Oppositions in Western Democracies, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966) p. 345.Google Scholar
- 4.Quoted in Richard Deutsch and Vivien Magowan, Northern Ireland: a Chronology of Events, 1968–74, Vol. 1 (1968–71) (Belfast: Blackstaff, 1973) p. 152.Google Scholar
- 5.Kevin Boyle et al., Law and State, (London: Martin Robertson, 1975) p. 24–5.Google Scholar
- 9.Maurice Hayes, ‘The Role of the Community Relations Commission in Northern Ireland’, Administration, 20:4 (1972) p. 90.Google Scholar
- 12.Cf. Sean MacStiofain, Memoirs of a Revolutionary, (London: Gordon Cremonesi, 1975) pp. 133–8.Google Scholar
- 13.Conor Cruise O’Brien, States of Ireland, (London: Hutchinson, 1972) p. 205.Google Scholar
- 14.See Provisional IRA, Freedom Struggle, (Dublin: Provisional IRA, 1973).Google Scholar
- 27.For a succinct summary of these events, see Henry Kelly, How Stormont Fell, (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1972).Google Scholar