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Northern IrelandThe Reluctant Peace$
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Feargal Cochrane

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300178708

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300178708.001.0001

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Direct Rule and the Growth of Informal Politics, 1974–90

Direct Rule and the Growth of Informal Politics, 1974–90

(p.89) Chapter Four Direct Rule and the Growth of Informal Politics, 1974–90
Northern Ireland

Feargal Cochrane

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the growth of informal politics in Northern Ireland in the period of 1974–1990. It reveals that within days of Faulkner's official installation as head of the power-sharing government in January 1974, a meeting of his party's ruling body (the Ulster Unionist Council) voted to reject the Council of Ireland and forced his resignation as party leader. By the summer of 1974, the lack of any credible political process helped the various paramilitary groups to argue that political power flowed out of the barrel of the gun. From 1972 until 1999, Northern Ireland legislation was imposed from London, regardless of local opposition or wishes. This contributed further to the political malaise in the region, reduced the practical relevance of the main parties, and increased the gap between the formal political process in Northern Ireland and the experiences of the people who lived there.

Keywords:   information politics, Ulster Unionist Council, political process, Northern Ireland legislation, London

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