2019 BRENDAN MAC LUA COMMEMORATIVE LECTURE
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: THE POLITICS OF “DISSIDENT” IRISH REPUBLICANISM
by Dr Marisa McGlinchey
When it was published to great acclaim earlier this year Marisa McGlinchey’s book “Unfinished Business” created substantial political controversy. It was the first ever account of the history and philosophy of modern “dissident” Irish republicanism and as such it was banned by the Northern Ireland Prison Service in Maghaberry Prison.
Although the Irish peace process has been exported around the world as a model of its kind dissident Irish republicans remain opposed to the whole concept and, now bitterly divided from Sinn Fein, have persisted with their military campaign. Their activities continue to dominate news headlines particularly since, earlier this year, the bomb attack outside the courthouse in Derry, the parcel bombs sent to British Army personnel in England and Scotland and the killing of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry. All of these attacks were claimed by the “New” IRA.
In her lecture Dr McGlinchey will talk about her research delving into the secretive world of “dissident” Irish republicanism. She interviewed over ninety “dissidents” throughout Ireland including spokespersons for armed groups as well as current prisoners in Maghaberry Prison; a remarkable feat in the aftermath of the controversial Boston College project. Dr McGlinchey will elaborate on her fascinating research findings; her motivations for engaging on this research and her experiences during the process in which she was stopped and searched by the PSNI as well as being summoned to PSNI barracks under threat of arrest. In addition, a DUP MP demanded that her tapes be seized by the PSNI and her book was banned in Maghaberry prison.Although the ban was recently overturned these incidents have stimulated mass media interest in what is undoubtedly the most topical book on current Northern Irish politics to be published recently.
Dr Marisa McGlinchey is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Coventry University. She gained her PhD at Queen’s University, Belfast in 2010 on the political decline of the SDLP which is the subject of her next book. In 2012 Dr McGlinchey was one of ten people selected from Ireland to partake in the Boston College programme “Women in the Workplace” In the United States. Between 2009 and 2012 she taught at the Politics Department of Queen’s University Belfast before taking up the position of Research Fellow at Coventry University. She has contributed extensively to media coverage of dissident republicanism including on BBC NI Spotlight and Al-Jazeera.
Copies of “Unfinished Business” (Manchester University Press 2019) will be available for sale and signing by the author after the lecture.
(This is the tenth anniversary of the death of Brendan Mac Lua, co-founder and long-serving editor of the Irish Post newspaper.)