The period of the ‘Troubles’ covering the years 1972–76 witnessed what Paul Dixon has termed the ‘First Northern Ireland Peace Process’1. For this study the term serves as a useful but not literal framework to assess the nature of two aspects of an attempt to create conditions that might have moderated the intensity of the conflict: the power-sharing/North-South arrangements agreed in multiparty talks; and the contacts between the Provisional IRA and the British Government. This book does not deal with specific events, such as the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC) strike, that brought down the power-sharing and North-South arrangements of 1973–74; rather it deals with the formulation of policy that took place between principal protagonists that were engaged in negotiations and talks — primarily the British and Irish Governments, the constitutional parties in Northern Ireland (excluding the Democratic Unionist Party and Vanguard) and the Provisional IRA. Thus this study is not concerned with the bringing down of the settlement but with the concepts and strategies behind that agreement, and with engaging in the academic debate as it currently stands as to who was most successful in achieving their strategic aims in the negotiations. This is also the intention of this study with regard to the British-Republican contacts from 1972–76 which led to IRA ceasefires during this period. In this respect it is not a comprehensive study of why the power-sharing/North-South arrangements failed — which is provided in Michael Kerr’s seminal work.2


Security Force Irish Recognition British State Peace Settlement Unionist Majority 
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Copyright information

© Thomas Hennessey 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Hennessey
    • 1
  1. 1.Canterbury Christ Church UniversityUK

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