Sunningdale, the Ulster Workers' Council strike and the struggle for democracy in Northern Ireland

Edited by David McCann and Cillian McGrattan

Sunningdale, the Ulster Workers' Council strike and the struggle for democracy in Northern Ireland


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9951-9
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: February 2017
  • BIC Category: European history, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Peace, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, Political structures: democracy, Peace studies & conflict resolution, Ireland, Politics & government, Reference, information & interdisciplinary subjects / Peace studies & conflict resolution, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Humanities / British & Irish history


The 'Sunningdale experiment' of 1973-4 witnessed the first attempt to establish peace in Northern Ireland through power-sharing. However, its provisions, particularly the cross-border 'Council of Ireland', proved to be a step too far. The experiment floundered amid ongoing paramilitary-led violence, finally collapsing in May 1974 as a result of the Ulster Workers' Council strike.

Drawing on new scholarship from some of the top political historians working on the period, this book presents a series of reflections on how key protagonists struggled with notions of power-sharing and the 'Irish dimension', and how those struggles inhibited a deepening of democracy and the ending of violence for so long.


Part I: Introduction and overview of the Sunningdale Agreement
1 Introduction
David McCann and Cillian McGrattan
2 The Ulster Workers' Council strike: the perfect storm
Gordon Gillespie
3 Understanding aspiration, anxiety, assumption and ambiguity: the anatomy of Sunningdale
Arthur Aughey
Part II: The lessons of Sunningdale: the key protagonists
4 Sunningdale and the Irish dimension: a step too far?
John Coakley
5 British government policy post 1974: learning slowly between Sunningdales?
Eamonn O'Kane
6 British security policy and the Sunningdale Agreement: the consequences of using force to combat terrorism in a liberal democracy
Aaron Edwards
7 Sunningdale and the limits of 'rejectionist' Unionism
Stuart Aveyard and Shaun McDaid
8 Stan Orme and the road to 'Industrial Democracy': British attempts at the politicisation of working-class Protestants in Northern Ireland, 1973-75
Tony Craig
9 Power sharing and the Irish dimension: the conundrum for the SDLP in Northern Ireland
Sarah Campbell
10 '1974 - Year of Liberty'? The Provisional IRA and Sunningdale
Henry Patterson
Part III: The legacies of Sunningdale
11 Cultural responses to and the legacies of Sunningdale
Connal Parr
12 'Slow learners'? Comparing the Sunningdale Agreement and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement
Thomas Hennessey
Appendix: The Sunningdale Agreement (December 1973)


David McCann is Lecturer in Politics at Ulster University
Cillian McGrattan is Lecturer in Politics at Ulster University

Sunningdale, the Ulster Workers' Council strike and the struggle for democracy in Northern Ireland

Edited by David McCann, Cillian McGrattan

Hardcover £90.00 / $140.00

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