Northern Ireland

Dan O’Brien: It’s considered heresy to say this, but the Good Friday Agreement has never lived up to expectations

If the outcome of the Northern Ireland elections is considered a success for reconciliation then one has to wonder what failure would look like

A loyalist protest in Belfast in April: the recent elections showed that the North’s centre ground has collapsed. Picture: Press Eye

Irish society has long tended to be highly consensual. That has its advantages, but not if excessive consensus stifles the sort of hard questioning that all rigorous analysis requires. Few would deny that Irish society has not succumbed to such stifling consensus on a number of big issues in the past, and it is happening today on two important ones.

The first is the Good Friday Agreement, which has been elevated to a sacred text. ...