Civil society organizations in Northern Ireland played an important role in the peace process during the 1990s under the Peace I program sponsored by the European Union. Their impact on government decision making declined after 1999 under the influence of Peace II, even though civil society organizations remained dynamic and active. This challenges a central claim in theories that assert strong social capital, related to a dynamic civil society sector, is necessary for effective democratic governance. Whether a strong civil society sector is implicated in processes of government decision making is an empirical question. Theory must treat the relationship as problematic.
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2008|