• Anglo-Irish relations and the Northern Ireland problem 1980-1993

      O'Kane, Eamonn (University of Wolverhampton, 2002)
      The objective of this thesis is to analyse the development of Anglo-Irish interaction on the Northern Ireland issue 1980-1993. The thesis examines how and why the policies of the two states changed towards Northern Ireland and towards intergovernmental co-operation. The work seeks to contextualise the intergovernmental approach by identifying and evaluating the numerous factors that influenced both states in the formation of their policy. These factors include both domestic and international considerations as well each state's relationship with the two communities within Northern Ireland. The work focuses on the 1980-1993 period. 1980 saw the start of a movement towards the institutionalisation of an intergovernmental approach and in 1993 the Downing Street Declaration was signed, one of the apparent high points of intergovernmental co-operation. The development of the Anglo-Irish relationship between these two dates is extensively analysed. The thesis argues that although co-operation between the two states did improve between 1980 and 1993 the development of the relationship was far from coherent or organic. The intergovernmental relationship can only be understood by examining the interaction of the decisions of policy-making agents and the structural constraints within which they were made. The work draws heavily on interviews with many of the key policy makers on both sides but sets their accounts and analyses in the context of the constraints they operated within. Although the two states were united in their desire to end the violence and increase stability within Northern Ireland they remained divided in their prescription of how this could be achieved. This division remained an underlying tension in the relationship. The development of Anglo-Irish co-operation was a result of rational choices by each state based on their perceived self-interest rather than as a result of a convergence of analysis by the two states.