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Sunningdale Background and problems. DIRECT RULE : Introduced after bloody Sunday. Britain had hoped it would be temporary. All through 72 – the British government talked to each political party to try to get agreement about power sharing.

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sunningdale background and problems
Sunningdale Background and problems
  • DIRECT RULE : Introduced after bloody Sunday. Britain had hoped it would be temporary.
  • All through 72 – the British government talked to each political party to try to get agreement about power sharing.
  • The British government recognised that their had to be an Irish dimension. Irish nationalists wanted some links with the Republic.
sunningdale background
  • This would be very difficult for Unionists to accept – many would see it as the first step in a process leading to a united Ireland. “The thin edge of the wedge.”
  • The British government decided to hold a border poll on whether Northern Ireland should remain part of the UK or join the rest of Ireland.

They hoped that a vote on this issue would calm the Unionists down and make them feel safe. Only Unionists voted in the poll and 98% voted for Northern Ireland to stay part of the UK.

proposals white paper march 73
  • 1) Northern Ireland to stay part of the UK as long as a majority vote for it – consent.
  • 2) a new government for Northern Ireland should be elected called an Assembly by PR.
  • 3) There must be a power sharing arrangement in the government to give both communities a say in how their country is run.
  • 4) Power would be handed over from London to the Northern Ireland government when it was up and running.
  • The SDLP – welcomed the proposals – Power sharing had been its idea.
  • Republican rejected the ideas – they wanted a United Ireland and were prepared to fight and kill for it.
  • Faulkner and most Unionists decided it might be worth a go but they were worried about things like any links with the Republic. Some of his party were against it and did not like the idea of power sharing.
  • Craigs Vanguard party, Paisleys DUP and the Orange Order were completey against the ideas.
elections june 73
  • Elections for the Assembly were held.
  • The results on the Unionist side were
  • Pro Agreement Unionists 24
  • Anti Agreement Unionists 26
talks about executive
  • Talks about how to share out ministers among the parties. Who would get powerful positions and what positions.
  • They also discussed the COUNCIL OF IRELAND – how much power it would get, what it would do and who would be on it.
  • Faulkner wanted the council to only deal with small issues like Tourism, Hume wanted it to have a say on important issues like Policing.
final talks sunningdale dec
  • Whitelaw (NI secretary) agreed with Hume and put pressure on Faulkner.
  • It was agreed the Council would have 7 ministers from NI and 7 from the Republic.
  • It would have consultative status.
  • It was agreed that the British and Irish governments would accept the will of the majority of people in Northern Ireland.
faulkner worries
Faulkner worries
  • He thought the Council of Ireland would be a problem for Unionists.
  • He tried to get the Irish government to ...
  • Remove articles 2 and 3 from the constitution.
  • This was not possible – the Irish government did promise though to accept the will of the people in Northern Ireland.
opposition grows
  • The assembly had its first meeting on 1st January 1974.
  • The DUP, VANGUARD PARTY and THE ORANGE ORDER clubbed together and formed the United Ulster Unionist Council to fight the agreement.
  • The ruling body of Faulkner’s party voted against the agreement forcing him to resign.
opposition grows1
  • He set up his own party called the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.
  • In the General Election of Feb. 1974 (Britain and Northern Ireland – for Westminster)Unionists voted 3 to 1 for anti- agreement parties. 11 of 12 seats were won by the UUUC.
  • Faulkner in a panic said there could be no council of Ireland without articles 2 and 3 been repealed.
opposition grows2
  • Heath and the Conservatives were replaced by Wilson and the Labour party as the government in Britain.
  • The British prime Minister came to Northern Ireland in April. He (Wilson) said there could be no change from the agreement.