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Keywords:

  • Northern Ireland;
  • identity;
  • cross-categorization;
  • ethnic conflict;
  • institutions;
  • Good Friday Agreement

Nationalist and ethnic conflicts are a continuing source of tension in the post–Cold War period. The underlying factors affecting such conflicts are threat perception, ethnic security dilemmas, and lack of trust between nationalist/ethnic groups. The challenge is to find solutions to these conflicts. International institutions can establish trust and reduce the ethnic security dilemma by providing multiple forums of representation, promoting overlapping identities, and pooling sovereignty. Pooling sovereignty across a number of international representative bodies leads to increased access to governmental policymaking, with each party having a stake in government, and leads to a reduction in political tension and conflict. Thus, international parliamentary institutions may provide a solution to these conflicts. The British-Irish Peace Agreement (Good Friday Agreement) of 1998 is examined as an illustration of this argument.