Inside Accounts, Volume I

The Irish Government and Peace in Northern Ireland, from Sunningdale to the Good Friday Agreement

By Graham Spencer

Inside Accounts, Volume I


  • eBook
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9418-1
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2019
  • BIC Category: Northern Ireland, Reference, information & interdisciplinary subjects / Peace studies & conflict resolution, Politics & government, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / 20th Century, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Peace, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Ireland
  • Series: Manchester University Press


Volume one of the most authoritative and revealing account yet of how the Irish Government managed the Northern Ireland peace process and helped broker a political settlement to end the conflict there. Based on eight extended interviews with key officials and political leaders, this book provides a compelling picture of how the peace process was created and how it came to be successful. Covering areas such as informal negotiation, text and context, strategy, working with British and American Governments, and offering perceptions of other players involved in the dialogue and negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and the power-sharing arrangements that followed, this dramatic account will become a major source for academics and interested readers alike for years to come.

Volume one deals with the Irish Government and Sunningdale (1973) and the Anglo-Irish Agreement (1985) and Volume two on the Good Friday Agreement (1998) and beyond.


'A remarkably intimate record of a high stakes project to end the violence that had plagued this island for 30 years. . The accounts are often riveting and there is a welcome frankness from retired civil servants and diplomats now free to roam widely in their assessments. . There is also an abundance of intelligence, modesty and decency on display here.'
Diarmaid Ferriter, Irish Times

'An outstanding contribution to the contemporary history of Britain and Ireland. While historical analysis and judgments are always subject to revision, these first-hand accounts by key participants in the story of the Troubles and the peace process are irreplaceable.'
Sir John Chilcot GCB

'Graham Spencer has a remarkable ability to get those most directly involved in the Northern Ireland peace process to reveal the deepest secrets. Unmissable.'
Jonathan Powell, former British Government chief negotiator on Northern Ireland and author of Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts

'Masterful and magisterial in their sweep and depth, no account of the Northern Ireland peace process is complete without reference to these two volumes. The interviews are meticulously framed, capturing the shifting nuances in seemingly intractable positions and how they were exploited. A magnificent achievement.'
Padraig O'Malley, John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation, University of Massachusetts, Boston


Notes on interviewees
Brief chronology of the Troubles and origins of the Peace Process
Parties, offices and organisations
Key documents

1 Sunningdale and the problem of power-sharing: An interview with Sean Donlon

2 Fermenting the Irish Dimension - Sunningdale to the Anglo-Irish Agreement: An interview with Noel Dorr

3 Political imagination and the Anglo-Irish Agreement: An interview with Michael Lillis

4 Tightening Anglo-Irish relations: An interview with Daithi O'Ceallaigh

5 Foundations and principles of a peace process: An interview with Sean O hUiginn

6 Back-channels and the possibilities of movement: An interview with Martin Mansergh

7 Critical minimums and the expectations of change: An interview with Tim O'Connor

8 The management of dialogue: An interview with Dermot Gallagher



Graham Spencer is Distinguished Senior Research Fellow at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention at Maynooth University, Visiting Fellow at Northumbria University, and Reader in Social and Political Conflict at Portsmouth University

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