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.
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 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 focuses on the value of text, language and how the Good Friday Agreement was constructed. It explores the role of text in creating momentum and interrogates its function as an instrument of persuasion.
This chapter examines how the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation informed approaches to negotiation and looks at how the tensions of North-South relations were played out through Strand Two of the negotiations.
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.
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.
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 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 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.