This site has been constructed as an on line resource for the books 'The People's Peace Process in Northern Ireland' published in 2002, The People's Peace published in 2012 and 'The People's Peace Second Edition' that includes proposals for a World Peace Poll, published in 2020. It is available to provide up to date information on the latest peace polls from around the world, copies of questionnaires and statistical reports as downloads and a forum for discussion of contemporary issues through the Peace Polls Blog. Other sections now include the application of public diplomacy to support negotiations and detailed standards of best practice for using peace polls to resolve deadly conflicts.
Review from Senator George J. Mitchell:
I recommend this book to all those involved with peace making and peace building, political negotiations and public opinion polls, as well as those with a particular interest in Northern Ireland. Dr Irwin worked closely with the Northern Ireland political parties during the final critical years of the Stormont Talks and my Review and I am persuaded that the unique approach he developed of running public opinion polls in co-operation with party negotiators contributed significantly to the successful outcome of our efforts. It is of vital importance that all the lessons of the Northern Ireland peace process are placed at the disposal of the international community and this enterprise should certainly include the new methodologies developed by Dr Irwin. They are reviewed in detail in his book so that they can be replicated, along with copies of all the published reports and a commentary on their political context. These examples, together with their analysis, should provide any would-be practitioner with all the materials that they may need to undertake their own series of peace polls in support of political processes aimed at the resolution of conflicts elsewhere.
All conflicts are different, different peoples, places, cultures, languages, religions, histories etc. etc. So the solutions needed to resolve these conflicts are also necessarily very different. However, the road to peace, the steps that have to be taken to get to peace, the peace process itself is quite another matter and in this regard there is a very great deal that the world can learn from Northern Ireland. Of course the Northern Ireland experience is also littered with failure. Some things worked and some things didn't. But the purpose of this book is to review, with all the benefits of hindsight, the things that did work in the hope that others can learn from that experience. Regrettably these lessons have not been learnt in Israel and Palestine, or if they have been learnt then they have been ignored. It may be possible to simply manage the conflict in the Middle East for some years to come but the world requires that this conflict is resolved. Best practice in Northern Ireland peace making can bring all the parties much closer to that objective.
Public Opinion, Public Diplomacy and World Peace
The people made peace in Northern Ireland. After 30 years of failure the peace process there has been a great success. Dr. Irwin's contribution to that achievement was to work with the parties on a program of independent public opinion research and public diplomacy that allowed the people to be consulted and brought into the process at each critical stage of the negotiations. Dr Irwin has spent the past twenty years applying those lessons in the Balkans, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, Israel and Palestine, the West and Muslim World, Sudan and Syria. In all the cases where peace polling has been used it has made a positive contribution to peace building and peace making but the ultimate goal of peace, all too frequently, has not been achieved. This book explains why and how such failures might now be turned into success with the introduction of a World Peace Poll that allows the citizens of our fragile planet to 'speak truth to power', and those in power have a moral responsibility to listen.