Reterritorializing Ireland and Mental Health


  • Sean O Nuallain stanford


Suicide, Reterritorialization, Deterritorialization


It has escaped many people's attention that, just as the 1998 GFA rescinded the claim of the Irish state on the 6 counties, it also gave up any territorial claim by that state on the rest of the island. It is fair to say that the fake  exhilaration of the Celtic tiger years and the genuine relief of many in the North of Ireland finally having a life pushed consideration of this down the list of priorities.

Yet it is perhaps no coincidence that this deterritorialization emerged simultaneously with an Irish deep state, with banks, universities and indeed private music rights agencies made exempt from the rule of law.  Moreover, deterritorialization was a hallmark of the Clinton presidency and the risks of alienation, predicted by Deleuze as he authored the concept, were seen as perhaps balanced by "peace, prosperity, and progress".

As of 2015, more Irish citizens had committed suicide in the republic since the 2008 crash than the total number of deaths in the troubles. While this can indeed be attributed to anomie/alienation, it is worth noting that in his classic paper on the subject Durkheim pointed out the vanishingly low rate of suicide in his contemporary Ireland. The status quo seems untenable, and international human rights lawyer Hassan Ahmed demonstrated in our 2016 conference that the 1998 GFA coupled with the 2004 referendum means Ireland is in breach of international law in not granting nationality to all born on the island.

Yet deterritorialization has had the paradoxical result of making Gaelic culture more portable than ever, and to increase its following by orders of magnitude. What this paper proposes is reterritorializing Ireland by providing a Mecca for the tens of millions who value this culture. Here  we look at ways of reterritorializing Ireland from reinstating the claim on the whole island to explicitly repudiating it for a 26 or 30 county state with East of the Bann left in the non-EU UK.




How to Cite

O Nuallain, S. (2018). Reterritorializing Ireland and Mental Health. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 14(1), 333–350. Retrieved from