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March 19, 2009
Q&A: Ask your questions on violence in Northern Ireland

Following two recent attacks by Irish Republican Army (IRA) splinter groups, Northern Ireland is on edge, fearing a return to the “Troubles” — the decades of violence that killed more than 3,300 people until the 1998 Good Friday peace accord.

In the first attack, the Real IRA gunned down two British soldiers — the first British troops killed in Northern Ireland in 12 years. The following day, the Continuity IRA killed a member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Both groups have vowed to continue their operations until Northern Ireland is no longer part of the United Kingdom.

The attacks shook the province’s coalition government of Protestants and Catholics, many of whom disagree on who should rule Northern Ireland — Ireland or the United Kingdom. In the wake of the attacks, thousands have gathered for peace rallies across the country.’s weekly radio show explored the history of violence in Northern Ireland and the current political and security situation there, examining life in the conflict-torn province and prospects for the future.

Thank you for your questions. Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosted a panel of guests:

Paul Arthur is a professor of politics and director of the graduate program in peace and conflict studies at the University of Ulster. Among his books are “Northern Ireland Since 1968” and “Special Relationships: Britain, Ireland and the Northern Ireland Problem.” He has contributed to the Times, New York Times, Observer, Sunday Independent and Guardian.

Kevin Cullen has reported for The Boston Globe since 1985. In August 1997, he opened the Globe’s Dublin bureau, which marked the first time a major American newspaper based a staff reporter in Ireland. Cullen travels to Northern Ireland frequently writing about the conflict. He has spent more time in, and written more about, Northern Ireland than any reporter for an American newspaper.

Honor Fagan is a lecturer in sociology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. She has previously worked at the University of Ulster and has carried out research and published in the subject areas of gender, development, cultural politics and identity formation. She is the author of “Culture, Politics and Irish School Dropouts: Constructing Political Identities.”

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