A man walks past an IRA wall mural in Ardoyne, north Belfast, 2015. (Cathal McNaughton/Courtesy Reuters)

The current cycle of conflict in Northern Ireland began over 11 years ago. As a practicing politician in Northern Ireland throughout that period, I have taken a particular interest while traveling abroad in following the world media coverage of the problem. For the most part, this has been a chronicle of atrocities reported spasmodically from London or by "firemen" visiting from London. It has struck me that, for the outside observer, it must have been difficult during these years to avoid the impression that Northern Ireland was hopelessly sunk in incoherence and its people the victims of a particularly opaque political

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