A Trojan Horse? Unionism, Trust and Truth-telling in Northern Ireland

Patricia Lundy, Mark McGovern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this article is to examine the relationship between trust, testimony and truth recovery processes as part of post-conflict transition. The paper uses the case study of unionist attitudes toward a community-based truth-telling project in Northern Ireland to demonstrate the impact an absence of trust can have upon what the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur has described as the ‘space of controversy’ that emerges between the ‘certification’ and the ‘accreditation’ of testimony. The paper suggests such distrust is a legacy, not only of conflict, but also of the particular circumstances of transition and the specific mechanisms of truth recovery adopted. Ultimately the paper argues for a holistic, community-centred approach towards truth-telling and raises issues relevant to other violently divided societies undergoing transition and grappling with ways in which to deal with the legacy of political conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-62
JournalInternational Journal of Transitional Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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