This second of two volumes on the Irish Government’s role in forging the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and implementing the political power-sharing mechanisms and institutions that followed provides the most expansive account yet of the peace process from the Irish perspective. Drawing from extended interviews with key officials and political leaders, this volume details the challenges faced in managing the peace process to reach agreement, before working to oversee the establishment and implementation of the institutions that resulted from agreement. The interviews in this volume address key areas such a building relationships, trust, confidence, strategic management, pragmatism, engaging militant protagonists and meeting the challenges of leadership, to create a definitive picture of the issues faced by the Irish Government in the attempt to end conflict in Northern Ireland.
The introduction charts the efforts made to reach peace in Northern Ireland from Sunningdale to the Good Friday Agreement via the Anglo-Irish Agreement. It provides an overview of the interview chapters and the dynamics that influenced attempts to end the conflict in Northern Ireland. The introduction also explains the interview approach and highlights some of the dilemmas that come into play when interviewing.
The introduction gives an overview of the areas covered, the people interviewed and the political context that allowed the peace process to develop. It also highlights the importance of inclusivity, compromise, relationships and the dynamics that gave shape and trajectory to the process. Significantly, the introduction identifies the value of relationships and how those relationships came to solidify the aim of achieving peace and ending conflict in Northern Ireland.
This chapter examines the challenges of removing Articles Two and Three from the Irish Constitution and how legal perspectives functioned in relation to political objectives. This chapter addresses the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement that was overwhelmingly supported by the Irish population and concludes by looking at Brexit.
This chapter outlines how dialogue was conducted leading up to the Good Friday Agreement. It highlights the intensity of dialogue, the role of American influence and how pressures were managed as to create expectations about power-sharing and agreement.
This chapter highlights the value of pragmatism in a peace process and how the contentious areas of parading and policing and justice were managed. The chapter also looks at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and the role of pragmatism in dealing with these complex and conflicting areas.
This chapter provides a comprehensive picture of how dialogue and negotiations between the Irish and the British led to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Here Michael Lillis describes his relationship with British official David Goodall and the process of engagement that led to agreement
This chapter details the experiences and efforts of a key political player in the peace process. Importantly, it also explores the role of women in an ostensibly male environment, how decision-making was influenced, how relations were developed, and questions what qualities and differences women brought to the peace process.
This chapter explains how the decommissioning debate was conducted and how the Irish influenced republican thinking on the issue by working with leaders on statements. It also focuses on how leverage was brought to bear on this problem through intense engagement and the building of trust.
This chapter highlights the importance of strategic direction in negotiations and how convergent political positions were created and informed by an ethos of inclusivity. It also looks at the importance of deadlines in a peace process.