Developing Dialogue in Northern Ireland: The Mayhew Talks, by D. Bloomfield

By D. Bloomfield

This is often the 1st released learn of the political negotiations in eire in 1992. in accordance with interviews with a few of the individuals and on exceptional entry to the personal talks records, it files in vigorous and readable style the real occasions during this early yet an important degree of the Irish peace procedure, highlighting the importance of those early talks as a necessary precursor to the great Friday contract of 1998. it is going to entice analysts, teachers, politicians, scholars, and extra commonly to all these curiosity in Irish political views.

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Extra info for Developing Dialogue in Northern Ireland: The Mayhew Talks, 1992

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For Unionists, Strand 1 could only debate an internal structure for the government of Northern Ireland – and thus the SDLP proposal of involving the Irish government was far beyond this remit. For the SDLP, the internal frameworks on offer from the other parties could not be agreed to unless they were strongly balanced by Irish involvement. On Wednesday, the parties discussed the DUP proposal, the last of the four. But again the same argument resurfaced. Instead of putting detailed questions to Paisley after his presentation, Mallon immediately asked what the DUP thought existed in their proposals that might possibly weld a divided community together.

To the shock of many in the room, he announced that they should aim for a complete internal package of institutions for Northern Ireland. The SDLP delegation looked stunned. They had been seeking more cautiously for the maximum common agreement they could manage out of this Sub-Committee process. The mandate from the plenary had modestly instructed the Sub-Committee to ‘work towards the greatest possible degree of common ground on new political institutions’. Suddenly the opposition were demanding that all the crunch issues be faced here and now and resolved.

For them, one possibility which was opening up was that of finding enough common ground – perhaps an unfinished model of government, or one presenting alternatives for various ingredients – to permit moving ahead to further Strand 1 work (and, logically, to an opening of Strand 2). At one point, Robinson repeated the accusation that the SDLP proposal was outside the remit of Strand 1, as defined in Peter Brooke’s March 1991 statement and in ‘other documents’. This latter reference was to something that Unionists occasionally claimed to have received from Brooke: a letter or series of letters which responded to requests Molyneaux and Paisley had made for clarification of the statement.

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