Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s by Diarmaid Ferriter - review by Paul Bew

Paul Bew

North and South

Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s


Profile Books 704pp £30 order from our bookshop

Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin, is a distinctive historian. Whereas old-style UCD history was dominated by a political narrative, the central theme of which was the achievement of a stable democratic Irish state, Ferriter prefers a form of social history that emphasises the oppressions and backwardness of post-independence Irish society as seen from a progressive Dublin working-class perspective.

One consequence is that this substantial and pioneering work on Ireland in the 1970s offers a curiously partitionist account. During the period covered by this book, 1,991 people lost their lives in political violence in Northern Ireland, the lion’s share being killed by the Provisional IRA, who planted at least

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