Democratic Unionist Party Project
The History Team's Professor Tom Hennessey has been intimately involved in ‘A Membership Survey of the Democratic Unionist Party’, a Leverhulme-funded project completed in 2014.
The project was designed to help rectify several major information deficits:
- Who belongs to Northern Ireland’s largest political party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)?
- Why did they join?
- What are their beliefs?
- What was the role of those members in helping shape the Northern Ireland peace process?
- What are their views on power-sharing with Sinn Féin?
- How do they see the future of Northern Ireland and of their party?
These questions are all cogent in assessing political, religious and social change in a region dogged for years by conflict, yet until now there has been virtually no information on the composition or roles of members of Northern Ireland’s most sizeable political force, one that has moved from hardline bystander to major governing force.
Via the first-ever membership survey of the DUP, for which written permission was granted by the party leadership, the project provided such information and analyse the demographic and attitudinal bases of the party.
The results were recently published in a book The Democratic Unionist Party: from Protest to Power (Oxford University Press 2014).
‘DUP book launch Belfast 2014. From left to right: Professor Thomas Hennessey (co-author); Dr Sophie Whiting (co-author); Rt Hon Peter Robinson (First Minister of Northern Ireland, Leader of the DUP); Professor Jm McAuley (co-author); Dr Marie Braniff (co-author); and Professor Jon Tonge (co-author).’