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Northern Ireland: 1968-98 - Attempts At Agreement 1973-1995

The 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland between 1968-1998 is one of the areas studied in GCSE History. One aspect in particular which is looked at is the various attempts that were made to bring about a peace agreement between all the parties concerned. This is the first of two quizzes looking at this subject.

In the absence of any peace agreement between the different parties, the UK government took over responsibility for Northern Ireland in the form of "Direct Rule" in 1972. They were, however, anxious to hand power back to a local executive as soon as possible. They also hoped that such an executive would be able to deal with Northern Ireland's deeper problems and bring peace.

Find out more about some of the attempts that have been made to find agreement between the different parties in Northern Ireland by playing this quiz.

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  1. The so-called "Power-Sharing Executive" was set up in November 1973 containing members of three of Northern Ireland's political parties. Which of the following four parties was not involved?
    Northern Ireland politics ran on sectarian lines: Protestants voted Unionist and Catholics Republican. If the new government did not enjoy the support of a wide range of opinion, its prospects for success - and even survival - did not look great
  2. The UK government proceeded to hold a conference at Sunningdale to discuss ways of bringing the Republic of Ireland (Southern Ireland) directly into some aspects of the Province's life, like tourism and fisheries. The proposal was that a cross-border body would ensure this. What was this body going to be called?
    Unionists were predictably suspicious of such plans which they regarded as stepping-stones to a United Ireland
  3. In May 1974 the Power-Sharing Executive collapsed under the pressure of a general strike, called by the Ulster Workers' Council in opposition to the Sunningdale Agreement. Which Unionist Prime Minister resigned at this time?
    So it was now back to direct rule, until the Province's squabbling politicians could agree on something else
  4. The Anglo-Irish Agreement, signed in November 1985, represented an advance. Which British Prime Minister signed it?
    This agreement was accepted both by the Dail (the parliament of the Irish Republic) and the House of Commons. It was even registered at the UN as an international treaty
  5. In 1993 John Major and John Reynolds signed a further agreement that led the way ultimately to the 1998 settlement. By what name was this initial deal known?
    There is no doubt that this deal was a further stepping-stone to the major accomplishment of the1998 treaty
  6. A pre-condition of any lasting peace was a ceasefire declaration, both by the IRA and by the "Loyalist" paramilitaries. In which year did both of these antagonistic groups announce a ceasefire?
    There was a temporary return to violence by the IRA, but both sides had resumed their "totally unarmed strategy" before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998
  7. Which US president played a crucial role in creating the 1998 deal by visiting the Province twice (in 1995 and 1998), and by promising substantial US aid in the event of a definitive peace agreement?
    The US dimension is crucial. Clinton promised financial assistance to Northern Ireland, and had influence with the large Irish-American community
  8. Another American, the experienced and respected peace broker Senator George Mitchell, was entrusted with recommending a process to deal with one of Northern Ireland's persistent issues. Which of the following topics was he asked to investigate in 1995?
    All of these vital questions needed to be addressed if an agreement was to be reached, and to be honoured
  9. Which of Tony Blair's Northern Ireland Secretaries visited the Maze Prison near Belfast to assure inmates from each community that any peace deal would include substantial releases of convicted prisoners?
    Such a visit took courage: these were very violent men with a record of appalling crimes
  10. Both the UK and the Republic of Ireland had joined this international organisation, and the latter especially was clearly deriving benefit from membership. In the event of a final peace settlement this body was prepared to invest substantially in the Province. Which body?
    The investment promised to follow a definitive peace settlement was a strong incentive to work for one, and to ensure that it was voted for in any future referendum

Author: Edward Towne

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