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The Conflict’s Fifth Business: A brief biography of Billy Mitchell

Fearon, Kate
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Northern Ireland: LINC Resource Centre (Local Initiatives for Needy Communities). Downloaded 19 August 2004.

As explained at the beginning of this paper, the “fifth businessâ€? is a theater term. It refers to actors and roles that are not strictly heroes or villains in a story, but are necessary for moving the narrative along to climax and denouement. Kate Fearon uses the term to characterize the life and activities of Billy Mitchell and others in Northern Ireland who – on behalf of conflict resolution, reconciliation, and peace-building – live and act at the grassroots level rather than the center of national and international leadership. Thus Fearon presents a brief biography of Billy Mitchell as her contribution both to the literature on the conflict in Northern Ireland and to the resolution of that conflict. Formerly a Unionist paramilitary who served many years in prison for terrorist acts, Billy Mitchell is currently program coordinator for LINC Resource Centre in Belfast. Of particular interest is chapter 8 of this paper. In it Fearon discusses Mitchell’s efforts to promote personal and practical peace-building through restorative justice and conflict transformation.


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