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|Appears in Collections:||eTheses from Faculty of Arts and Humanities legacy departments|
|Title: ||Selling the Good Friday Agreement : developments in party political public relations and the media in Northern Ireland|
|Author(s): ||Kirby, Shane Christian|
|Issue Date: ||2005|
|Publisher: ||University of Stirling|
|Abstract: ||This study documents the rise of party political public relations in Northern Ireland and explores its impact on the media and the peace/political process more generally.
While this research primarily charts and describes the chronological development of
public relations pertaining to Northern Ireland's four main political parties (the
SDLP, Sinn Fein, the DUP and the UUP), it also explores the media-source relations or interactions between journalists and public relations personnel.
Significantly, political public relations has expanded considerably in Northern
Ireland since the mid-90s, and political parties are increasingly utilising PR to
enhance their media relations capabilities and improve their image (or `brand') with
the public. What was once mainly the remit of the British government and its agencies in Northern Ireland (that is, political public relations) has now become an area in which the four main political parties (to varying degrees of success) have become increasingly more professional and well-resourced. The result of this expansion of party political public relations has seen the regional media in Northern Ireland become increasingly more vulnerable to the promotional efforts of `spin doctors' or media relations personnel from all four parties.
This research, while acknowledging that there are undoubtedly multiple factors
involved in how people decide to vote, argues that the 71.12% Yes vote in favour of
the Good Friday Agreement can be partly explained by the significant impact of
public relations strategies and techniques employed by a number of key behind-the-scenes
players and conducted publicly by influential, high-profile figures.
Essentially, it challenges the argument prevalent in the vast majority of literature on elections that public relations campaigns have very little `effect' on voting
behaviour or that those changes of voting behaviour are due either to other factors
or to long-term media campaigns and influences.
This research also argues, on the one hand, that the electoral success of both Sinn
Fein and the DUP in recent years (the two parties `hungry' for political power, who
became the leading political parties in nationalism and unionism respectively) can
be partly explained by their `courting' of the media and their development of strong
and efficient communications structures. On the other hand, the recent electoral
failure of both the SDLP and the UUP can be partly explained by their laissez-faire
or complacent approach to both public relations and the media, and their weak and
inefficient communications structures in comparison to both Sinn Fein and the
|Type: ||Thesis or Dissertation|
|Affiliation: ||Department of Film and Media Studies|
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