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“This is a timely collection… a very useful and well-organized compilation of essays, the contents of which have in no way been overtaken by events since publication…”, Robert Brenton Betts, University of Balamand, Lebanon, Middle East Policy Council Journal, xiii (Winter), 2006: Number 4.

The Northern Ireland Conflict: Consociational Enagagements, Oxford 2004,with John McGarry

Professor Jennifer Todd of University College Dublin,  writes:  “McGarry and O’Leary are undoubtedly the best technicians of consociational institutional design and they write with verve and robustness.  They come to clear conclusions.  The do not like ambiguity – and if these are sometimes proven wrong, they revise them… It is simply the best book on institutional design in Northern Ireland going and the authors know it’. Field Day (Dublin)  Summer 2005, pp. 255-7.

“Impressive array of scholarly work generated by John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary…. above all, rigorous, strategic, and persuasive,” Aaron Edwards, ‘Review Article: Interpreting the Conflict in Northern Ireland,’ Ethnopolitics 6(1): 137-44.

Richard Bourke of  Queen Mary, University of London writes: ‘For anyone with a serious interest in Northern Irish politics, it is certainly an obligatory read. It offers a convenient overview of the thinking of two of the leading academic defenders of ‘power-sharing arrangements’ in general, and of the 1998 Belfast Agreement in particular.  Moreover, throughout these essays, the authors emphasise the extent to which Northern Ireland is a key resource for comparative political study. Cyprus, Lebanon, Kashmir, Kurdistan, Sri Lanka, Nagorno-Karabach and Kosovo are just some of the troubled political societies that are invoked by McGarry and O’Leary as potentially benefiting from comparison with the case of Northern Ireland. And since these chapters together amply justify that claim, it is fair to say that the book as a whole will repay attention not only from those concerned with Northern Irish politics per se, but from those with an interest in the wider issues of conflict, secession and ‘ethnic’ struggle generally… The Northern Ireland Conflict is nonetheless a timely, spirited and consistently argued compilation of articles which earnestly seeks to marry the virtues of comparative political science with political theory. Its particular achievement is that it presents a highly professional account of the applications of consociational theory to Northern Irish politics’ in  Political Quarterly  2005.

Richard Haesly, of California State University,  describes the authors as ‘world-renowned experts’, and the book as ‘magisterial’ and ‘indispensable’, and as demonstrating ‘extremely detailed and careful thinking about the myriad intricacies surrounding the ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland, as well as what this case can tell us about consociational democracy as a potential solution for societies wracked by seemingly intractable social divisions’, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism: Vol 5, No.1 2005: 55-7.

Right-sizing the State: The Politics of Moving Borders, Oxford, 2001. With Ian. S. Lustick and Thomas Callaghy.

“This book with its two frameworks in an attempted synthesis, one by O’Leary focused on ethno-nationalism and the other by Lustick… must be evaluated as a new creative set of propositions of much value in the quest for solutions for states with inflamed borders”, Prof. Ralph Premdas, Nations and Nationalism, (2002) 8, 4: 565, 568.

Policing Northern Ireland: Proposals for a New Start, Blackstaff, 1999. With John McGarry.

Barry White, journalist, “an imaginative blueprint [for police reform]...it would be surprising if the commissioners [the Independent Commission on Policing] did not adopt at least a few of the proposals in [this] timely book”, Belfast Telegraph, 10 April 1999.

Barry White of the Belfast Telegraph writing after the publication of the Patten Report on police reform, which was published five months after Policing Northern Ireland: “What really surprised me was the number of times Patten refers to a book by two academics, John McGarry and Brendan O'Leary, Policing Northern Ireland. Its summary makes 10 points, most of which find their way into the  report in some form’. “Patten...finding the gems in the detail”,  September 18, 1999.

Jim Cusack, “This book could be said to come at a crucial point’, Irish Times, 17 April 1999. ‘[Police reform] is one of the key questions in the North, and this looks like a reasonable and workmanlike effort at answering it to everyone’s satisfaction”, Books Ireland, May 1999

Paul Bew of Queen’s University, Belfast: “In this thoughtful work, John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary discuss reasoned proposals to help create impartial, decentralized, demilitarized and democratically accountable policing services... Some of these ideas are worthy of very serious consideration”, Times Literary Supplement, July 30, 1999, p.27.

Fintan O’Toole, journalist and writer,  “lucid and insightful”, Irish Times, May 9, 2000.

Darach MacDonald, “cogent, logical and well-documented...essential reading”, Ireland on Sunday, 4 April 1999.

Professor Adrian Guelke of Queen’s University Belfast writes in the Canadian Journal of Political Science (June, 2000), ‘This short book by two of the best-known and most respected academics in the field of Irish political studies has already fulfilled what many would consider its primary purpose: influencing the report of the commission on the reform of policing set up under the Good Friday Agreement’.

Explaining Northern Ireland, Basil Blackwell, 1995. With John McGarry.


Prof. Arend Lijphart, Univ. Of California, San Diego (and President of the American Political Science Association, 1995-96) writes: ‘The authors are experts not only on Northern Ireland but on ethnic conflict in many other countries.  The comparative perspective that they bring to their treatment of Northern Ireland gives it extraordinary depth and insight.  It is a stimulating analysis not only for Northern Ireland buffs, but for anyone interested in the roots of ethnic conflict - the world’s number-one problem in the 1990s and probably in the twenty-first century , too’.

Prof.  Seamus Deane of Notre Dame University writes: ‘Explaining Northern Ireland lives up to its title.  It is the most effective and intelligent analysis we have of the crisis itself, of its attendant discourses, of its possible resolution.  This book deals astringently with much of the propaganda, melodrama and lies that have surrounded

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