An Outcome of Many Wars: Irish Democracy in the Follow-Up to the Period of Independence and Further Possibilities


  • Irene Portela



An explanation for the success of Irish democracy is the presence of competing views about Ireland, where “wars” did not correspond to a “neat” victorious side. It can be linked to the Easter Rising of 1916, the Anglo-Irish Treaty dispute, and the ensuing Civil War. “High politics” also presents similar divisions and a sort of acceptance of the limits of a single narrative. The Irish political system, to a large extent a remnant of what existed before independence, plays a significant role in the process. It is worth highlighting PR-STV, canvassing, and political representatives’ clinics. As a whole, I emphasise the relevance of value orientated readings of democracy. The concept of “little voices” is useful to sum up the overall context, translating what is present in the explicit scenario into the more “daily” operation of Irish politics. It reflects the interplay between “people”, their “little voices”, shifting, and their relation to the broader political scenarios. Several dimensions of violence remained, explicit in the treatment of travellers, women and children, asylum seekers, homeless. The expansion of room for little voices may constitute a foregoing contribution of Ireland to the creation of (un)worlds, and therefore to world democracy.

Author Biography

Irene Portela

Irene Portela has a Master’s in Social Anthropology (Museu Nacional / UFRJ) and a Doctorate in Political Science (PPGCP / UFF). The doctoral dissertation is entitled ‘On the excuse of Ireland - (un)worlds, wars, subjects, little voices, democracies.’ Irene was for many years a researcher and a university teacher. She also worked in the Coordination of Science Education of MAST -Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins. She is currently an associa- te researcher of CEIS20 - Centro de Estudos Interdisciplinares da Universidade de Coimbra and is living in the Southwest of Ireland.


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How to Cite

Portela, I. (2023). An Outcome of Many Wars: Irish Democracy in the Follow-Up to the Period of Independence and Further Possibilities. ABEI Journal: The Brazilian Journal of Irish Studies, 24(1), 49-67.