12 Oct

The Sunningdale Agreement

I think it is quite historic that these people have come together and come to an agreement which I think frankly sounds a new dawn not only for Northern Ireland, but also for the whole of Ireland. In January 1974, the Ulster Unionist Party narrowly voted against his continued participation in the Assembly and Faulkner resigned as president to be replaced by the anti-Sunningdale Harry West. Parliamentary elections were held the following month. The Ulster Unionists created the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) as a coalition of anti-agreement unionists with the Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party, in order to field a single anti-Sunningdale candidate in each constituency. The pro-Sunningdale parties, the SDLP, the Alliance, the Northern Ireland Labour Party and the Pro Assembly Unionists, made up of Faulkner`s supporters, were divided and put candidates against one another. When the results were announced, the UUUC had won eleven of the twelve electoral districts, several of which had been won by split votes. Only West Belfast has made a pro-Sunningdale MP (Gerry Fitt). The UUUC said this is a democratic rejection of the Sunningdale Assembly and the executive and tried to overthrow it by any means possible. It also opposed the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973, which proposed the creation of a cross-border Council of Ireland to oversee a limited range of economic and cultural affairs in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In 1974, the agreement led to a criling general strike of Protestant trade unionists, that of the DUP. After heated debates, the Unionist representatives finally recognised the formation of an Irish Council.

The negotiating parties signed the final agreement on 9 December. These questions were resolved, at least in theory, by the Sunningdale Agreement. This agreement, signed in December 1973, created three political forums: a proportionally elected Northern Ireland Assembly, an executive government with power shared by nationalists and unionists, and a Council of Ireland composed of delegates from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Sunningdale Agreement was an attempt to establish a power-sharing Northern Irish executive and a cross-border council of Ireland. The agreement was signed on 9 December 1973 at Sunningdale Park in Sunningdale, Berkshire. [1] Unionist opposition, violence and a loyalist general strike led to the failure of the agreement in May 1974. The Sunningdale Agreement, named after the English town where it was negotiated in 1973, offered a glimmer of hope. This agreement led to the creation of a new Northern Ireland Assembly. On December 9, a statement was issued announcing the deal, which later became known as the “Sunningdale Agreement.” In the February 1974 general election, 11 out of 12 constituencies in Northern Ireland were won by the United Ulster Unionist Council, a coalition of anti-Sunningdale unionists. .

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