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Beyond violence: Vincent Buckley and Australian responses to the struggle for civil rights in Nothern Ireland, 1868-1981

McLaren, John (2007) Beyond violence: Vincent Buckley and Australian responses to the struggle for civil rights in Nothern Ireland, 1868-1981. In: 15th Irish Australian conference, September 2007, Melbourne, Australia.

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Abstract

The violence in Northern Ireland that started with the British army shootings in Derry in 1969 and culminated in The Long Kesh hunger strikes of 1981 provoked strong protests in Australia, but while Irish support groups were Virtually unanimous in their condemnation of British actions, attempts to establish a!united front of protest were frustrated by political divisions among these groups. The Melbourne poet Vincent Buckley was involved in the Committee for Civil Rights in Northern Ireland, which he helped to found in 1969, but he was himself divided between his strong commitment to the Irish nationalist cause and to his abhorrence of violence and war. He expresses his inner conflicts in his memoir Memory Ireland, and attempts to reconcile it in his sequence of poems, ‘Hunger Strike’, which works towards new definition of warrior. This paper places Buckley’s writings in the context of the politics of Northern Ireland and achieves reconciliation by recovering an older Celtic tradition at the cost of depriving the strikes of their political dimension. My paper draws on research for a critical biography of the poet Vincent Buckley.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Depositing User: VUIR
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2011 07:03
Last Modified: 24 May 2013 04:11
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/6754
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