PhD Student (BA, MA Queens University, Belfast)
Research Focus: Northern Irish Politics 1945-1965
The central theme of my research design is aimed at debunking the myth that the outbreak of violence in the 1960s was an event that was somehow ‘inevitable’; that the under-lying divisions and tensions within Northern Irish society were always destined to explode in such a violent and vitriolic manner. With this destination in mind, proponents of the inevitability school of thought have subsequently packaged the history of Northern Ireland into two turbulent periods, the troubled birth of the Northern Ireland State in the 1920s, and the eventual collapse of the State from the late 1960s onwards. They give little thought then, in my opinion, to the highly dynamic period that that is sandwiched in between.
In ‘skating-over’ some significant episodes in Irish political history during the period, several previous authors have failed to highlight various fundamental junctures in which a wide range of factors were shaping the eventual demise of the State apparatus. One such example is the ‘Chapel-Gate Election’ of 1949. Described by many as the most violent election in Northern Irish history, I feel that the existing body of scholarly work on the period pays little in-depth attention to this watershed in Northern Irish society and political culture. With this one event, many of the complex and very fluid political dynamics of the period were laid bare for all to see, and my research will hopefully bring to life many of these developments.
Research Interest Areas:
General Interest Areas:
Prof. Graham Walker
Prof. Richard English