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Political initiatives during the conflict, 1968-1996



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Text: Martin Melaugh ... Research: Martin Melaugh and Fionnuala McKenna
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change

Political initiatives during the conflict, 1968-1996
The following is a list of the various political initiatives that have taken place in an effort to find a solution in Northern Ireland. This page covers the period 1968 to 1996. For information on more recent political developments see the list of source material in the section on the Peace Process.

  • Representatives of the British and Northern Ireland governments held a meeting in London lasting two days. A Communique and Declaration was issued on 19 August 1969. [This declaration later became known as the 'Downing Street Declaration'; this name was used again on 15 December 1993.]

  • Following a visit to Northern Ireland by James Callaghan, then British Home Secretary, a Communiqué on behalf of the British and Northern Ireland governments was released on 29 August 1969.

  • Following a second visit to Northern Ireland by James Callaghan, then British Home Secretary, a Communiqué on behalf of the British and Northern Ireland governments was released on 9 October 1969.

  • Brian Faulkner announced on 22 June 1971 a parliamentary committee system at Stromont involving all parties. The proposal was initially welcomed by the SDLP but was later undermined when SDLP withdrew from Stormont on 16 July 1971.

  • The SDLP proposed (in July 1971) the setting up of an Assembly of the Northern Irish People. This Nationalist Assembly met on 26 October 1971 in Dungiven Castle. [The Assembly only ever met on two occasions.]

  • The Provisional IRA Army Council suggested the setting up of a Dail Uladh (nine-county Ulster Assembly).

  • Unionist Party (1972) Towards the Future: A Unionist Blueprint. Belfast: Unionist Publicity and Research Department.

  • The last sitting of the Northern Ireland parliament took place at Stormont on 28 March 1972.

  • The Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act became law on 30 March 1972 introducing direct rule from Westminster.

  • William Whitelaw, together with several other British ministers, meet members of the IRA in London on 7 July 1972.

  • The SDLP published Towards a New Ireland on 20 September 1972.

  • The Darlington Conference discussed the political options for Northern Ireland between 25 September 1972 and 28 September 1972.

  • Northern Ireland Office. (1972) The future of Northern Ireland: a paper for discussion.

  • Northern Ireland Office. (1973) Northern Ireland Constitutional Proposals, (20 March 1973), (Cmnd. 5259).

  • In the local government elections on 30 May 1973, Proportional Representation (PR) using the single transferable vote (STV) system was used for the first time in Northern Ireland since 1929.

  • Northern Ireland Assembly elections were held on 28 June 1973.

  • The Sunningdale conference ran from 6 December 1973 to 9 December 1973.

  • The Assembly is prorogued on 30 May 1974 following the UWC stike.

  • Northern Ireland Office. (1974) The Northern Ireland Constitution, (4 July 1974), (Cmnd. 5675)
    [A government white paper which outlined a scheme for a Constitutional Convention.]

  • Northern Ireland Office. (1974) Constitutional Convention, Procedure.

  • Northern Ireland Office. (1975) The Government of Northern Ireland: A Society Divided, (5 February 1975).

  • Elections for the Constitutional Convention were held on 1 May 1975.

  • The last sitting of the Constitutional Convention took place on 3 March 1976.

  • Northern Ireland Office. (1979) The Government of Northern Ireland: A Working Paper for a Conference, (20 November 1979), (Cmnd. 7763).

  • The 'Atkins Talks' started on 7 January 1980. The talks ended on 24 March 1980.

  • Northern Ireland Office. (1980) The Government of Northern Ireland: Proposals for Further Discussion, (2 July 1980), (Cmnd. 7950).

  • On 6 November 1981 Thatcher and FitzGerald decided to set up an Anglo-Irish Inter-Governmental Council.

  • Northern Ireland Office. (1982) Northern Ireland: A Framework for Devolution, (5 April 1982), (Cmnd. 8541).

  • On 23 July 1982 the Northern Ireland Act 1982 became law establishing the rules for the new Northern Ireland Assembly.

  • Elections for the new Northern Ireland Assembly were held on 20 October 1982.

  • On 11 March 1983 the Irish government announced the setting up of an all-Ireland Forum. First meeting took place on 30 May 1983. The New Ireland Forum Report was published on 2 May 1984.

  • The unofficial Kilbrandon Report published on 1 November 1984 was a response to the New Ireland Forum Report.

  • Great Britain. Parliament. (1985) Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Ireland, (The Anglo-Irish Agreement of 15 November 1985), (Cmnd. 9690)
    [On the 15 November 1985 the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed by Thatcher and FitzGerald. The International Fund for Ireland was part of the proposal.]

  • On 9 January 1990 Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, began a process leading to all-party talks.

  • The first meeting of the British-Irish Inter-parliamentary Body was held on 26 February 1990 in London.

  • On 14 June 1991 Sir Ninian Stephen was named as the chairman for Stage Two of the talks process.

  • Lancaster House talks, Strand Two of the process, were held during three days beginning on 6 July 1992.

  • The Brooke / Mayhew Talks ended on 10 November 1992.

  • Sir Patrick Mayhew makes his 'Coleraine speech' at the University of Ulster, Coleraine Campus, on 16 December 1992.

  • On 10 April 1993 John Hume held a meeting with Gerry Adams for the first time in two years. They issued a joint statement on 24 April 1993.

  • On Wednesday 15 December 1993 Mr Reynolds and Mr Major issued a joint declaration which became known as the Downing Street Declaration.

  • On Wednesday 30 March 1994 the IRA announced a three-day ceasefire to begin midnight on 5 April 1994.

  • On Sunday 24 July 1994 Sinn Fein held a conference in Letterkenny. The conference did not reject the Downing Street Declaration.

  • On Wednesday 31 August 1994 the IRA announced a complete cessation of military operations.

  • On Tuesday 6 September 1994 Mr Reynolds meet Mr Adams and Mr Hume at Government Buildings in Dublin.

  • On Thursday 13 October 1994 the Combined Loyalist Military Command announced a ceasefire as of midnight. They offered "abject and true remorse" to "innocent" victims.

  • Northern Ireland Office. (1996) Northern Ireland: ground rules for substantive all-party negotiations, (Cm. 3232).

     

    Note: For information on more recent political developments see the list of source material in the section on the Peace Process.


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