Theme: Government & Parliament | Content Type: Journal article

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The Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Prospects for Power Sharing in Northern Ireland (1988)

John McGarry



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In the Anglo-Irish agreement signed at Hillsborough Castle on 15 November 1985, the British government declared that it was its policy to promote a return to devolved government in Northern Ireland. Devolution would take place, the agreement stated, only if a settlement could secure ‘widespread acceptance throughout the community’, a formula which, in practical terms, entailed a degree of ‘power-sharing’ between parties representing the Protestant majority and the Catholic Power-sharing has much to commend it.

It would be a more just arrangement than its main alternative, the Westminster model of government under which the party or parties winning a majority of seats govern and those with a minority of seats oppose...

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