• Anna Bryson and Muiris MacCarthaigh: ‘Accountability and Blame Acceptance in Ireland: The Role of Public Apologies’ Annual conference of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI) Maynooth University 19 October 2019.

  • The conference proceedings ‘Civil Unrest in Hong Kong Conference’ written by Anna Dziedzic, Alex Schwartz and Po Jen Yap (Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong) were published Amicus Curiae, Series 2, Vol 1, No 2, 298-300 and can be accessed here.

  • In June 2019 Prof Kieran McEvoy gave the plenary address entitled ‘Apologies, Reparations and Non-State Armed Groups’ at the Geneva Reparations Week Conference in Geneva Switzerland. The address discussed what role apologies by non-state armed groups can play in providing symbolic reparations to victims in societies recovering from violent conflict.

    In an expert meeting organized at the Geneva Academy by the School of Law at Queen’s University Belfast, more than 30 academics and practitioners from a range of backgrounds and institutions from around the world discussed reparations by non-state armed groups during and following armed conflicts.

    ‘This meeting aimed at sharing our preliminary findings on reparations and non-state armed groups from fieldwork in Uganda, Peru, Colombia, Northern Ireland, Nepal, South Sudan and Guatemala’ explains Luke Moffett, Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast.

    ‘It was our pleasure to run our workshop in the historic Villa Moynier, which provided the conducive space to work with the academics of the Geneva Academy and others on this significant but sensitive issue’ he adds.


    Participants discussed how reparations by non-state armed groups might operate in practice during and following a conflict, what role apologies by non-state armed groups can play in providing symbolic reparations to victims, as well as the issue of humanising combatants, including their social reintegration.

    ‘As most armed conflicts are, today, non-international armed conflicts involving armed groups, the questions of reparations by these actors is a major issue for transitional justice’ underlines Frank Haldemann, Co-Director of our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ).

    ‘The research project addresses a largely neglected topic of central practical relevance, challenging many current assumptions in the field, and is therefore welcomed’, adds Thomas Unger, Co-Director of our MTJ.

    Reparations And Armed Non State Actors Seminar


    The research team at Queen’s University Belfast will build on these discussions and their research to produce in early 2020 a handbook for humanitarian organizations to engage non-state armed groups on reparations.

  • Prof Kieran McEvoy (PI) was invited to give a plenary address at a conference organised by The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) in Bogota Colombia. The JEP is the judicial mechanism developed as part of the 2016 Peace Accord between the Colombian government and the FARC. It is designed to assist victims of violence, mass atrocity and human rights violations. The conference was entitled ‘Restorative Justice and Dealing With the Past After Conflict.’ Following on from that conference a delegation of Senior JEP judges will visit Northern Ireland in May 2020 to learn more about the role of restorative justice in conflict resolution in that jurisdiction.

  • In June 2019 Prof Kieran McEvoy (PI) was invited to deliver a plenary address entitled ‘The Irish Peace Process and the Uneven Transfer of Ideas: Lessons for Colombia?’ at a conference organised by the Presidential Commission for the Establishment and Consolidation of Peace in Bogota, Colombia and the government of Ireland.

  • Public Apologies, Accountability and Blame-acceptance

    We live in an ‘age of apologies’, in which governments and public sector organisations seek to atone to the public for past state wrongs. The delivery of apologies is not unique to states and state actors, however, but blame acceptance by non-state actors for past wrongs affecting the public remains comparatively understudied in the political sciences. Using the island of Ireland as a case study, this paper examines public apologies by paramilitary organisations for conflict-related harms, by religious organisations for institutional abuse, and by financial institutions for the 2008 economic crisis. The research forms part of an ESRC-funded major grant project concerning ‘Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past’, in which the use of apologies by state and non-state actors in Ireland as a means of offering accountability, legitimacy and reputational preservation are examined. The quantitative and qualitative data gathered to date include an all-island survey, focus groups, and interviews, and examines public apologies from both recipient and provider perspectives.

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  • Northern Ireland: Dealing With the Past and Discussing the Future
    Chair: Dr. Alan Greer (University of the West of England)
    Specialist Group: Irish Politics
    Room: N36B
    Professor Feargal Cochrane (University of Kent), Professor Neophytos Loizides (University of Kent), Dr. Laura Sudulich (University of Kent), Dr. Edward Morgan-Jones (University of Kent) What are
    Northern Ireland Citizens’ Preferences for Border Arrangements
    after Brexit? Evidence from a Conjoint Survey Experiment
    Amanda Hall (University of St Andrews) The More They Stay the
    Same? Understanding Cycles of Violence in Northern Ireland
    Dr. Muiris MacCarthaigh (Queen’s University Belfast) The Role of Apologies in Dealing with the Past in Ireland

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  • Socio-Legal Studies Association

    SLSA Annual Conference

    Prof Kieran McEvoy, Prof Anne-Marie McAlinden and Dr Anna Bryson convened two panels on Apologies and the Past at SLSA’s annual conference at Bristol University.

    Project team members presented four papers: ‘Apology, Acknowledgement and the ‘Disappeared’ of Northern Ireland’ (Lauren Dempster); ‘Apologies and Institutional Child Abuse in Ireland’ (Anne-Marie McAlinden); ‘Apologies, Acknowledgement and the National Imagination’ (Kieran McEvoy) and ‘Hearing, Seeing, Believing: Public Perceptions of Apologies for Past Harms in Ireland’ (Anna Bryson).

    The team were joined on the panels by Dr Kevin Hearty, presenting on moral emotions and dealing with the past, and Dr Sarah Sargent, whose paper, ‘Sorry Not Sorry,’ addressed the Indian Child Welfare Act and the plight of indigenous children in the US.

    Please contact us for further information on any of the team’s contributions.