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Robin Wilson

Northern Ireland Secretary took the brief. In his memoirs, Whitelaw ( 1989 : 78) observed: ‘Of course, with his clear and logical brain, Reggie Maudling found the Irish mentality almost impossible to understand.’ And after the power-sharing initiative had failed, the CPRS report mentioned in Chapter 2 argued that ‘the hatred between the communities’ was such that there was ‘no

in The Northern Ireland experience of conflict and agreement
Robin Wilson

Introduction In 1974 power-sharing governance had a consociationalist inflection, though the coalition was not ‘grand’ and the mutual vetoes were implicit. Yet its failure was paradoxically to lead to the ultimate adoption in 1998 of a more robustly consociationalist scheme, with the Executive Committee ‘inclusive’ and communal designation undergirding the

in The Northern Ireland experience of conflict and agreement
S.C. Aveyard

2 The collapse of power-sharing The electorate’s endorsement of the anti-Sunningdale UUUC at the February general election and the high level of bombings and shootings by the PIRA undermined the moderate political parties in Northern Ireland. During the first three months of the Labour government Merlyn Rees tried to bolster the Northern Ireland Executive while conducting a reappraisal of security policy in line with Labour’s criticisms in opposition. After the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC) strike in May 1974 led to the collapse of power-sharing, both Rees

in No solution
The conundrum for the SDLP in Northern Ireland
Sarah Campbell

9 Power sharing and the Irish dimension: the conundrum for the SDLP in Northern Ireland Sarah Campbell Seamus Mallon, then deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) famously remarked in 1998 that the Good Friday Agreement was ‘Sunningdale for slow learners’. With this comment, Mallon was reinforcing a teleological narrative of the SDLP’s history and contribution to nationalism in Northern Ireland: that the central tenets of the SDLP’s founding philosophy – power sharing with the provision of an Irish dimension – had been vindicated. Writing

in Sunningdale, the Ulster Workers’ Council strike and the struggle for democracy in Northern Ireland
Shaun McDaid

1 From direct rule to power-sharing, 1972–74 The formation of the power-sharing executive was the result of protracted political discussion and constitutional planning. The careful negotiation of the executive was the culmination of a series of political initiatives, designed by the British government, following the prorogation of the Stormont parliament. These initiatives were intended to foster an accommodation between nationalist and unionist parties. The ultimate aim was to restore to Northern Ireland a radically different form of devolved government, which

in Template for peace
An interview with Sean Donlon
Graham Spencer

by people who would never have contemplated joining the IRA, the use of torture and what was euphemistically called ‘interrogation in depth’. All of that led to the emergence of very significant hostility on the part of the nationalist community towards Britain. When you first met British people and when you first met the unionists what was their attitude towards you? Where they hostile or did they recognise there had to be negotiations to try and achieve power-sharing? First of all, I did not meet any

in Inside Accounts, Volume I
Abstract only
Northern Ireland 1972–75

This book analyses the British government’s Northern Ireland policy between 1972 and 1975, the complex interactions between Northern Ireland political parties in the creation of a power-sharing agreement, and the importance of the British-Irish diplomatic relationship to the attempts at managing the Northern Ireland conflict during this period.

Focusing on the rise and fall of the power-sharing Executive and the Sunningdale Agreement, the book challenges a number of persistent myths, including those concerning the role of the Irish government in the Northern Ireland conflict and the British government’s secret contingency plans authored in response to the Ulster Workers’ Council strike of May 1974.

It contests the notion that years 1972 to1975 represent a ‘lost peace process’, but demonstrates that the policies established during this period provided the template for Northern Ireland’s current, on-going peace settlement.

Drawing on a range of recently released archival and contemporary sources, the book will be essential reading for scholars and students interested in contemporary Irish history and politics and the Northern Ireland conflict.


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.

Lessons Learned for Engagement in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States
Logan Cochrane

restrictions on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and levying of unreasonable fees for NGO personnel visas. After multiple attempts of peace negotiations, forms of power-sharing agreements have been attempted, yet these remain fragile and contested. One of the challenges for donors and organisations seeking to work in such a complex operational environment is the lack of available evidence to support decision making alongside the lack of experiential lessons for learning from practice. On the former, basic data is absent in nearly all sectors; 45 indicators in UNDP

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A model for export?

Northern Ireland is no longer the relentless headline-maker in the global media it once was, when multiple killings and bombings provided a daily diet of depressing news and images. This book commences with a review of the literature on essentialism and then in the three domains: what has come to be known as 'identity politics'; the nature of nationalism; and power-sharing models for divided societies. It draws out implications for key aspects of the Northern Ireland problem. The book is based on secondary sources on Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (B-H). A key resource is the independent journalistic network in the Balkans responsible for the production of Balkan Insight, successor to the Balkan Crisis Report, a regular e-mail newsletter. The book explores how policy-makers in London and Dublin, unenlightened by the benefit of hindsight, grappled with the unfamiliar crisis that exploded in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s. It shows that a taken-for-granted communalism has had very negative effects on societies recently driven by ethnic conflict. The book argues that conflicts such as that in Northern Ireland can only be adequately understood within a broader and more complex philosophical frame, freed of the appealing simplifications of essentialism. More than a decade on from the Belfast agreement, the sectarian 'force field' of antagonism in Northern Ireland remained as strong as ever. Unionism and nationalism may be antagonistic but as individual affiliations 'Britishness' and 'Irishness', still less Protestantism and Catholicism, need not be antagonistic.