PLATFORMS FOR A RESTORATIVE SOCIETY IN NORTHERN IRELANDReconciliation has been an important concept in building relationships and structures in Northern Ireland that lessen the harm done to people in the midst of conflict. It is also an important concept in the language of Track One, Two and Three conflict transformation strategies.Central to reconciliation is the promotion of right relationships and the securing of agreements and structural arrangements that build a new acknowledgement and respect between those seen as ‘different others’. Such work seeks to right previous imbalances and wrongs. Important elements of that agenda in Northern Ireland include the drive for legal remedies and new laws on equality, good relations, human rights, harassment and hate crime, and the exploration of how the past is acknowledged and how victims are respected and remembered. As a transcending idea, reconciliation continually challenges current ways of living with different and previously estranged others. However, it is a concept that many men and women have difficulty applying to their own actions. There is a tendency to see it as an activity for others in important positions, rather than as something all citizens must contribute to as part of their daily endeavours.This text argues that promoting restorative practices – through actions that remedy wrongs, actions that bring people who have been estranged into relationships, new ways of working and new structural arrangements – is a practical way of building platforms of reconciliation practice and a restorative culture in daily life in Northern Ireland.Restorative practice is applicable across the spectrum of voluntary involvements, faith and trade union organisations, political, civic and public life as well as with those working within the legally compliant worlds of the criminal justice system. It has relational, structural, policy and legally driven dimensions; each of which needs to be promoted to ensure this theme becomes a central societal task.A restorative society could integrate many previously distinct and important activities across ages and sectors. Common cause can be made between actions that enable children and young people to resolve their difficulties and those that see responsible adults promoting and securing cultures that stand against bullying and scapegoating in family and care settings, learning institutions, voluntary organisations and workplaces.The relevance of existing and developing practice that restores relationships and gives different people their equal and valued place also has importance for public and civic life in Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and elsewhere.This text invites people to locate their own practice as one contributory element in a wider landscape of restorative practices, in the hope that a new restorative culture develops to underpin the task of reconciliation. This requires a society that is committed to learning from its long history of enmity and its most recent history of violence to develop better uses for the talents and energies of all its people.
|Publisher||Restorative Justice Organisation|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2009|
Bibliographical noteReference text: Montville, J.V. & Davidson, W.D. (1981), ‘Foreign Policy According to Freud’, Foreign Policy, Winter 1981–82, pp. 145–57.
Rothfield, P., Komesaroff, P. & Fleming, C. (2008), Pathways to Reconciliation – Between Theory and Practice, Aldershot: Ashgate, p. 1.
Consultative Group on the Past (2009), Report of the Consultative Group on the Past, co-chairs: R. Eames & D. Bradley, available online at www.cgpni.org.
Wilson, D.A. (1994), ‘Learning Together for a Change’, D.Phil, Coleraine: School of Education, University of Ulster.
Shriver Jr, D.W. (2005), Honest Patriots, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 13.
Eyben, K., Morrow, D. & Wilson, D.A. (1997), A Worthwhile Venture – Practically Investing in Equity, Diversity and Interdependence in Northern Ireland, Coleraine: University of Ulster.
A Shared Future – Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland (2005), Belfast: Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFMNI).
Graef, R. (2001), Why Restorative Justice? London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Wright, F. (1987), Northern Ireland – A Comparative Analysis, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
The diverse models promoted by Mediation Northern Ireland are examples of such practice.
Shriver, D.W. (1995), An Ethic for Enemies, New York: Oxford University Press; Consultative Group on the Past (2009), op. cit.; Healing Through Remembering (2006), Making Peace with the Past: Options for Truth Recovery Regarding the Conflict in and about Northern Ireland, Belfast: Healing Through Remembering; Wilson, D.A. (2008), ‘Stepping Forward’, in Rothfield, Komesaroff & Fleming, op. cit., p. 18.
Northern Ireland Act (1998), ‘Equality and Good Relations’, Section 75(1) & (2). Section 75(2) contains a duty to promote good relations between people from different religious beliefs, political views and racial groups.
Connell, W.F. (1980), A History of Education in the Twentieth Century World, Canberra: Curriculum Development Centre, p. 6.
Shriver (2005), op. cit., p. 1.
Oughourlian, J-M. (1991), The Puppet of Desire, Stanford: Stanford University Press, p. 243.
Ibid., p. 244.
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McElrea, F.W.M. (1995), Re-Thinking Criminal Justice: Volume 1: Justice in the Community, Wellington, NZ: University of Wellington; Maxwell, G. (2007), Restorative Justice and Practices in New Zealand: Towards a Restorative Society, Wellington, NZ: Institute of Policy Studies; Bowen, H. & Boyack, J. (2002), Adult Restorative Justice in New Zealand/Aotearoa, Auckland, New Zealand:Restorative Justice Trust,.
In discussion with R. McCrie, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, March 2009.
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Vogel, H.J. (2007), ‘Healing the Trauma of America’s Past: Restorative Justice, Honest Patriotism, and the Legacy of Ethnic Cleansing’, Buffalo Law Review 55, pp. 981ff.
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Three ‘Shared Future’ modules on an M.Ed. programme at the University of Ulster work with the Learning Society – Learning Region concept.
Eyben, K., Wilson, D.A. & Morrow, D.J. with Law, J. & Nolan, S. (2003), Investing in Trust Building and Good Relations in a Public Sector Organisation, Coleraine: University of Ulster; Eyben, K., Morrow, D.J. & Wilson, D.A. (2002), The Equity, Diversity and Interdependence Framework: A Framework for Organisational Learning and Change, Coleraine: University of Ulster; Jarman, N., Keys, L., Pearce, J. & Wilson, D.A. (2005), Community Cohesion: Applying Learning from Groundwork in Northern Ireland, Birmingham: Groundwork UK, Home Office & OFMDFMNI.
In discussion with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Shriver (1995) op. cit.
Wilson, D. & Tyrrell, J. (1995), ‘Institutions for Conciliation and Mediation’, in Dunn, S. (ed.), Facets of the Conflict in Northern Ireland, London: Macmillan.
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McDonagh, E. (1985), ‘Reconciliation in Jewish-Christian Relations’, The Furrow, Dublin, p. 565.
See Patten Commission on Policing; Police Ombudsman Surveys, NI Prison Service; Court Service.
Wright (1987), op. cit.
See Martin, I. (2003), ‘Inflections of “Community” in Educational Work and Research’, paper to the conference entitled Experiential, Community and Work-based: Researching Learning outside the Academy, in the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning, Glasgow Caledonian University, on 27–29 June.
Wright (1987), op. cit.
Consultative Group on the Past (2009), op. cit.
Paton, A. (1998), Cry, The Beloved Country, London: Vintage.
Shriver (2005), op. cit.
See Shriver (1995), op. cit., on Schlesinger, The Disuniting of America.
Eyben, Morrow & Wilson (1997), op. cit.
Shriver (2005), op. cit.
- Restorative justice
- restorative practices
- Good relations
- organisational learning
- hate crime