Source: (2007) Social & Legal Studies. 16(2), 259–280.

This article surveys the literature on the global experience of demobilization and reintegration of combatants after wars end. It examines the factors that contribute to successful programmes. Among these, the two most frequently emphasized are the political will of all concerned to ensure the programmes work, and the active participation of ex-combatants in their own programmes of reintegration. The article then examines the situation in Ireland. In ways reintegration has failed, and for the same reasons as elsewhere. At the same time, the Irish case shows elements of success to match the best of reintegration programmes worldwide – not least the contribution of highly politicized ex-prisoners to their own reintegration and to conflict transformation more generally. These similarities have emerged in the relative absence of any involvement of the international community in demobilization and reintegration in Ireland, and indeed without direct comparisons made to good practice elsewhere. (author's abstract).