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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 Irish Government and Peace in Northern Ireland, from Sunningdale to the Good Friday Agreement
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This study is the most comprehensive account yet of how the Irish Government worked to bring the Northern Ireland conflict to an end. Based on single long-form interviews with key officials it throws new light on how tensions and problems that emerged in the search for peace were confronted and overcome to bring about the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This first of two volumes looks at previous attempts to develop peace as with Sunningdale and the Anglo-Irish Agreement before focusing on the foundations of the peace process that followed. The interviews reveal the iterative nature of the peace process and through the voices of those on the inside provide the most dramatic and authoritative picture yet of how that process came to change the course of history. Taking the reader into the heart of the negotiating room, this study provides an invaluable series of testimonies about Irish Government efforts to end conflict in Northern Ireland.

An interview with David Donoghue
Graham Spencer

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.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
An interview with Ray Bassett
Graham Spencer

This chapter explores the role of relationship-building and how the informality of contacts that were developed in republican and loyalist communities through conversation and regular contacts helped to influence political responses and positions.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
An interview with David Byrne
Graham Spencer

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.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
An interview with Tim Dalton
Graham Spencer

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.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
An interview with Eamonn McKee
Graham Spencer

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.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
An interview with Liz O’Donnell
Graham Spencer

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.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
An interview with Bertie Ahern
Graham Spencer

This chapter is concerned with how leadership operates in a peace process and examines how decisions were used to reinforce leadership goals and objectives in order to increase the possibilities of agreement

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
Abstract only
Graham Spencer

The conclusion draws together the main strands of the interview findings and reiterates the key shifts that occurred from the Good Friday Agreement on. It highlights the problems involved in implementing the structures of peace and notes how a shift from ambiguity to clarity as a peace process goes on can create problems of rigidity and intransigence which make the promise of peace harder to achieve and can sour political relations as a result.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II