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Dr Gareth Mulvenna

Visiting Research Fellow

BA, MA, Ph.D. (QUB)

I am currently undertaking research into devolution, the ‘West Lothian’ question and the history of Northern Ireland’s representation at Westminster.

In 2009 I completed my Ph.D. at QUB School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy. My thesis was entitled  ‘The Protestant Working Class in Northern Ireland – Political Allegiance and Social and Cultural Challenges Since the 1960s’ and sought to raise awareness of the Protestant working class experience in Northern Ireland from pre-Troubles to post-conflict.

From April 2009 until March 2012 I worked as a parliamentary researcher with the Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. This post comprised of fulfilling research requests from Members of the Local Assembly and party support staff as well as other members of the secretariat. The research that I undertook informed plenary business and executive committee decision making.



My main research interests lie in the politics and culture of the Protestant and loyalist community of Northern Ireland, notably

  • The Protestant working class and educational underachievement
  • The erosion of civic structures during the Troubles (labour and trade union movements, church congregations, associated social aspects of traditional industries, fragmentation of sense of community)
  • Social biographies of the Protestant working class in the context of the Northern Ireland conflict and de-industrialisation.

I also have a keen interest in the following areas:

  • The effect of population movements on Belfast’s urban landscape in the 1970s
  • Northern Irish literature
  • Redundant masculinities – white working class males in post-industrial United Kingdom
  • The issues facing the white working class in the United Kingdom since the Second World War
  • The politics of popular culture and youth movements in the United Kingdom (specifically in the late 1970s and early 1980s)
  • Football and the social and political discourses relating to the sport and its supporters (specifically in Northern Ireland, England and Scotland)

I am also currently researching Irish League football and the effect of the Troubles in the early 1970s on the game. Having accessed previously closed Irish Football Association files at PRONI the finished work will provide an in-depth study of how population change and the security situation in Belfast and Derry in particular affected the fortunes of the game.



'The Protestant working class in Belfast: Education and Civic Erosion - An Alternative Analysis', Irish Studies Review - forthcoming (2012)

Written Submission to the McKay Commission on the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons (July 2012):

‘The Social Roots of Belfast’s Riots’, The Observer, 26th June 2011



The Protestant Working Class - Politics and Community: 1971-1974 (forthcoming), Political Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference, 21st October 2012, University of Ulster Magee Campus Londonderry/Derry

Population movement and resistance identity: the Northern Ireland troubles in the 1970s and the emergence of Cliftonville FC’s ‘Red Army’, Sport, Conflict and Reconciliation Conference, 28th April 2012, Archbishop Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies – Liverpool Hope University

North Belfast in the 1970s – Population Movement and the Emergence of Cliftonville Football Club’s ‘Red Army’, Between the Strikes: Northern Ireland 1974-1981, 6th November 2009, Queen’s University Belfast Institute of Irish Studies

Class versus Identity? The Contest for Political Authenticity between the DUP and Progressive Loyalism, Political Studies Association of Ireland, Postgraduate Conference, 20th May 2006, Queen’s University Belfast School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy