Source: (2006) Journal of International Affairs. 60(1):81-106.

"I am not really interested in reconciliation. It is a term that has been so used and abused; it's a dirty word as far as I am concerned." The comment above emerged in fieldwork undertaken by one of the authors on the role of ex-combatants in the peace process in Northern Ireland. At first glance, it appeared somewhat paradoxical. The individual concerned, a former Irish Repbulican Army (IRA) activist, has been involved in reconciliation work for almost ten years: finding alternatives to violent punishments against anti-social offenders and reconciling these individuals with their victims and communities as well as cross community work with Loyalist activists. Despite this involvement in challenging and practical aspects of reconciliation, this man and many of his Republican and Loyalist counterparts are deeply suspicious of the term. This paper explores that disconnect. (excerpt)