Which aspects of life in the South are hindering reconciliation in Ireland? How have religious minorities fared since partition? What is the role of the Catholic Church? How to Northern Unionists perceive their Southern neighbours? How intractable are the legal obstacles to reconcilation? These are some of the questions facing the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, formed in 1994 following the IRA and Loyalist ceasefires. Its goals are lasting peace and reconcilation by agreement among all the people of Ireland, and a vital part of its task has been to address the commitment made by the Taoiseach in the Downing Street Declaration to: "examine with his colleagues any elements in the democratic life and organization of the Irish state that can be represented to the Irish Government in the course of political dialogue as a real and substantial threat to the Unionist way of life and ethos, or that can represented as not being fully consistent with a modern democratic pluralist society." With this undertaking in mind, the Forum's Committee on Obstacles in the South to Reconciliation commissioned five studies from leading academics and commentators.
Their work is presented in this book, providing an examination of key aspects of the modern history of the South and of current Unionist perspectives.