Building government institutions in Northern Ireland - Strand one negotiations - Implementing strand one

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Title: Building government institutions in Northern Ireland - Strand one negotiations - Implementing strand one
Authors: De Bréadún, Deaglán
King, Steven
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Date: 2001
Abstract: Strand one negotiations: The Good Friday Agreement was the culmination of almost two years of multi-party negotiations designed to resolve difficult relationships between the two main communities within Northern Ireland, between North and South and between Ireland and Great Britain. The three-stranded approach had already been in use for some time as a format for discussion. The multi-party negotiations in 1997-98 secured Sinn Féin’s reluctant acceptance of a Northern Ireland Assembly, which the party had earlier rejected, as a quid pro quo for significant North-South bodies. Despite the traditional nationalist and republican slogan of “No return to Stormont”, in the negotiations the nationalists needed as much devolution of power as possible if their ministers were to meet counterparts from the Republic on more or less equal terms on the proposed North-South Ministerial Council. Notwithstanding historic tensions between constitutional nationalists and republicans, the SDLP’s success in negotiating a cabinet-style executive, rather than the loose committee structure favoured by unionists, helped ensure there would be a substantial North-South Ministerial Council, Implementing strand one: Though bearing some similarity to the new devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales, those in Northern Ireland are in important respects unique. The existence of the institutions depends on the will of Westminister, but politicians in Belfast were given large discretion in working out the details of the scheme. The number of departments was of great political significance, since on it depended the degree of representation of the four main parties. In return for an arrangement relatively favorable to nationalism, nationalists agreed to a less ambitious array of cross-border bodies. The new departments were created on the basis of careful compromise, with political criteria overriding administrative ones. The balance sheet to date would suggest that, notwithstanding tensions on specific issues, the Executive, the Assembly, and the Assembly’s committees have been working effectively and to the satisfaction of a large portion of the population.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies
Copyright (published version): The authors, 2001
Keywords: Good FridayLegislative AssemblyImplementationNegotiation
Subject LCSH: Great Britain. Treaties, etc. Ireland, 1998 Apr. 10
Northern Ireland--Politics and government--1994-
Northern Ireland. Assembly
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: This contains the revised text of two lectures presented as part of the seminar se-ries “Institution building and the peace process: the challenge of implementation”, organised jointly by the Conference of University Rectors in Ireland and the Institute for British-Irish Studies. The lectures were presented in UCD on 30 April 2001.
Appears in Collections:Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) Working Papers and Policy Papers

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