THE IRISH TRIANGLE: Conflict in Northern Ireland by Roger H. Hull

THE IRISH TRIANGLE: Conflict in Northern Ireland

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Observing that the murderous sectarian strife in Northern Ireland has gone from ""Pavlovian to Frankensteinian"" in the years since 1968, Hull seeks to break the impasse through the application of International Law. It is a sterile academic exercise which entails stern assessments of the compliance or non-compliance of the combatants with the laws of war, human rights, domestic jurisdiction, and humanitarian intervention as spelled out under the Geneva Convention, the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, et al. Hull concedes that there are those who consider international law ""a figment of the world community's imagination"" but proceeds bravely to a labyrinthine discussion of whether the Irish guerrillas are to be considered ""insurgents"" or ""belligerents"" or just plain bandits, since UN documents prescribe different rights and protections for each. The situation is further complicated by the muddy constitutional status of Ulster, a ""quasi-country"" which began as a ""giant gerrymander."" Sifting the findings of innumerable investigatory commissions and White Papers, Hull blames Dublin for failing to crack down on the IRA, the British for introducing internment and the Special Powers Act (which ill befits a nation ""that gave the world Magna Carta""), and the IRA for terrorist bombings that clearly violate ""minimum standards of human decency."" He proposes an international peacekeeping force (which Britain won't accept) and a plan to integrate Northern Ireland's sectarian schools (which neither Protestants nor Catholics will accept). Morally he's on high ground but in practical, political terms, given the impotence of UN mandates in other struggles--the Algerian OAS war, Biafra-Nigeria or India-Pakistan--it's hard not to agree with Hull's own suspicions that his proposed solutions ""will appear naive to some readers.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press