Language, discourse and dialogue: Sinn Fein and the Irish peace process

Peter Shirlow*, Mark McGovern

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


In what ways can we denote changes in Irish republican thinking? This paper is an attempt to answer this question through examining the shift in republican strategy in recent years. First, we describe the more militaristic approaches undertaken by Sinn Fein and the Provisional Irish Republican Army prior to the 1994 cease-fire. Second, we analyse the new alliances Sinn Fein forged during a period of self-identified political pragmatism. Third, we acknowledge and explain the re-definition not only of discourse but also language and imagery which has been used in recent years to form a vocabulary for peace and national reconciliation. Although, the cease-fire has been broken, as indicated by the Canary Wharf and Manchester bombings, much of what was achieved in terms of political re-direction is still popular within republican circles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-186
Number of pages16
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 1998


  • Dialogue
  • Irish peace process
  • Language
  • Sinn Fein


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