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British Government Policy in Northern Ireland

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Michael

J.

Cunningham

BRITISH

GOVERNMENT POLICY IN

NORTHERN IRELAND 1969-89

NATURE AND EXECUTION ITS

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government policy Northern Ireland 1969-89

British in

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government policy Northern Ireland

British in

1969-89 Its

nature and execution

MichaelJ. Cunningham

Manchester University Press Manchester and

New York

Distributed exclusively in the

USA and Canada by St. Martin

's

Press

Copyright

© Michael

Cunningham 1991

J.

Published by Manchester University Press

Oxford Road, Manchester

and Room 400, 175

New York, NY

Fifth

10010,

M13

9PL,

UK

Avenue,

USA USA and Canada

Distributed exclusively in the

by St. Martin's Press, Inc.,

175 Fifth Avenue,

New York, NY

10010,

USA

British Library cataloguing in publication data

Cunningham, Michael British

1969-1989: I.

J.

government policy Its

in

Northern Ireland

nature and execution.

Title

320.941

Library of Congress cataloging in publication data

Cunningham, Michael J., 1959British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland

1

969-89

:

its

nature

and execution / Michael J. Cunningham. p.

cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-7190-2568-0 1

.

Northern Ireland

DA990.U4BC86



Politics

— 1969-

and government

Title.

90-25518

320.9416—dc20

ISBN

I.

1991

7190 2568 Q hardback

Phototypeset in Great Britain

by Northern Phototypesetting

Co

Printed in Great Britain

by Billings Limited, Worcester

Ltd, Bolton

1

Contents

Preface

vi

Acknowledgements

vii

page 1

Introduction:

The

division of responsibility

between

the British

government and Stormont

1

2

The Labour

3

The

4

The Labour administrations 1974-79

5

The

Conservative administration 1979-83

6

The

Conservative administration: 1983 to the Anglo-Irish

administration 1969-70

23

Conservative administration 1970-74

40 90 141

Agreement 7

8

The

172

Conservative administration:

The

Anglo-Irish Agreement to

1989

193

Conclusion

239

Appendix A: Principal

legislation

1969-89

Appendix B: Principal constitutional Appendix C: Principal security

initiatives

legislation

255

and party positions

and party positions

Appendix D: Northern Ireland Office Ministers Appendix E:

Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental meetings 1985-89

260 26

265

267

Bibliography

270

Index

287

Preface

In view of the proliferation of academic and journalistic texts concerning the Northern Ireland 'problem' which Harvey Cox has termed the 'Factory of Books' 1 The aim of this book is to it perhaps beholdens an author to justify another. provide a comprehensive and relatively dispassionate account of the legislative and institutional initiatives of the British government over the last twenty years.

This is not to make false claims of objectivity. The process of selection of facts and events in itself precludes this and any reader would be rightly suspicious of a writer claiming objectivity in so politically contentious an issue. However it is hoped that the substantive chapters will act as a source of reference for students and others wishing to find details of the major initiatives produced by successive British governments.

Each chapter deals with four policy areas; constitutional, security, economic and social. This is not an arbitrary selection but done for two principal reasons. Successive governments have argued that a policy focusing on only one strand is 2 inadequate and that a multi-dimensional approach is required. Therefore it is both necessary and instructive to examine these areas. Also, much of the existing literature focuses on one particular facet and it is thus a useful exercise to provide an overview of the different areas of policy. Policy implementation is presented chronologically by administration and the conclusion considers the questions of the degree of continuity in government policy and the significance of the party in power and bipartisanship. As a disclaimer it should be emphasised that the focus is on British government policy. The influence of the permanent administration, internal developments in Northern Ireland and the role of the Irish Republic are,

of course, important but these are not treated in

detail.

Notes 1

Cox

2

See the

1989. third section of the conclusion for a consideration of this aspect of policy.

Acknowledgements

My

principal thanks are due to Peter Mair of Manchester University and to David Coates of Leeds University. Thanks also to those who offered advice, provided information or read drafts including Martin Burch, Michael Connolly,

Mick Moran,

Bill Rolston, Stephen Young, the Northern Ireland Office and the For illuminating discussions on Irish issues I owe much to Paul Dixon, Richard Kelly, Christopher Norton and Sheina Orbell.

interviewees.

Introduction:

The

division of

between the British government and Stormont

responsibility

The initial settlement

To assess the impact of and reasons for renewed British involvement in Northern Ireland affairs in 1969 it is necessary to sketch the pre-existing responsibilities of Westminster in the principal policy areas with which this book will be concerned: constitutional, security, economic and social. Neither a detailed examination of policy implementation

under Stormont nor an assessment of the

devolution as a constitutional settlement will be attempted.

1

The

suitability

of

focus will be on

those elements which tended to insulate Westminster from Northern Ireland affairs as indicative

The

of the possible problems of later reinvolvement.

between Northern Ireland and Britain which was enshrined in the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which was the conclusion of years of legislative initiatives which had attempted to forge a new relationship between Ireland (i.e. all thirty-two counties) and Britain. The three Home Rule Bills of 1885, 1893 and 1912 were intended to establish legislative and administrative devolution for all Ireland within the Union. The third Bill had been passed in 1 9 1 4 but was suspended with the outbreak of the First World War. An attempt at a post-war settlement followed a complex of events which will not be traced here but the political imperatives of an increasingly militant Irish nationalism, evidenced by Sinn Fein's capture of seventy-three seats in the general election of 1918, and the parallel militancy of Unionist opposition to Home Rule symbolised by the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant in 1912 had made an all-Ireland settlement

was

constitutional relationship

to prevail for fifty years

increasingly untenable.

The outcome that

it

for the

Westminster government

in

1920 was advantageous

in

allowed, at least in the short term, a disengagement from Ireland without

jeopardising the imperial link or affecting the security of Britain which might

have resulted tion, that 'Irish

if control

of the Atlantic seaboard had been

lost.

of maintaining Cabinet and parliamentary unity at

Question'

(a

A third considera-

home

in face of the

recurring theme in later years) was also satisfied by the 1920

2

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 96 9—89

Act and the 1921 Treaty. Although acting within the parameters of self-interest, most commentators see Britain making 'the best of a bad job' as partition was a solution reflecting internal political divisions in Ireland.

The 1920 Act established bicameral parliamentary institutions for Northern and Southern Ireland with provision for their eventual unification. As a possible inducement towards this end a Council of Ireland was to be established with residual powers which could be supplemented following agreement between the two projected parliaments. The council was stillborn, being formally wound up in 1925, as southern representatives refused to recognise the settlement and relations between north and south deteriorated. In December 1921 the Anglo-Irish Treaty established the Free State as a dominion within the Empire with formal authority over all Ireland. The Northern Ireland government was given the right to opt out of the agreement and retain Northern Ireland's status under the 1920 Act, which it promptly exercised. The Irish Free State (Consequential Provisions) Act 1922 codified the relationship between the Free State and Britain and a Boundary Commission was established following the Treaty to consider possible amendments to the border. Northern Ireland refused to appoint a representative and that of the Free State later resigned following speculation that the Commission would cede parts of the Free State to the north as well as vice versa. The Commission's report was never published, and the 1920 settlement of a six-county Northern Ireland was left unaltered. A principal purpose of the 1920 Act was to establish the division of responsibility between the imperial government and that of Northern Ireland. In constitutional theory, if not political practice, Section 75 was the most significant. It reserved the sovereign right of Westminster to legislate on any matter and thus the concept of a federal relationship was ruled out although some commentators have seen the de facto relationship which developed as approximating to a federal one.

3

The

Section states:

Notwithstanding the establishment of the Parliaments of Southern and Northern Ireland ... the

supreme authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall remain all persons, matters and things in Ireland and every part

unaffected and undiminished over thereof.

The

significance of Section 75

indivisibility

theory,

it

is

that although

it

clearly

demonstrated the

of parliamentary sovereignty as a factor in British constitutional

did not allow for adequate checks on Stormont, short of abolition.

There was no machinery Northern Ireland

for detailed parliamentary or executive scrutiny

affairs; unlike

State for Northern Ireland answerable to Westminster and

Committee was

established.

As

far as there

was any

no Northern Ireland Westminster

link with

administration Northern Ireland was the responsibility of the

was relegated

to the general

representative of the

of

Scotland and Wales there was no Secretary of

department.

Home

The Governor of Northern

Office but

Ireland, the

Crown whose duties included the power to veto legislation if

Introduction: the British government

it

was considered

ultra

vires,

and Stormont

was

a

possible

3

safeguard against Stormont

encroaching upon Westminster's areas of responsibility or passing legislation

which contravened Section 5 which prohibited laws interfering with religious liberty or equality. It was in relation to the possible discriminatory effect of the

government elections in 1922 was abolished in 1929) that the only major constitutional conflict arose and the royal assent was delayed. Political considerations were to win out over concern for the minority: Westminster appreciated that if Craig, the Northern Ireland Prime Minister, resigned over the issue of Stormont's competence in this field, the Unionist Party would be returned in a subsequent election and continued British resolve could result in direct rule which Lloyd George had deliberately tried to avoid in 4 the 1920 settlement. The principal judicial as opposed to constitutional check was contained in Section 51 which allowed any Northern Ireland Bill or Act to be referred by the British Home Secretary or the Governor of Northern Ireland to the Judicial Committee of the Northern Ireland Privy Council for a decision on its validity. In practice this was of little significance. Stormont was careful not to risk interference from Westminster by legislating in areas reserved for the latter; Westminster in turn did not encourage the courts to adjudicate on the constituabolition of proportional representation for local

(proportional representation for general elections

tional relationship.

The

was of three categories. Areas 'excepted' were it was considered should be retained by the sovereign parliament. These included the control of and disposal of the armed forces, the issuing of coinage, the regulation and control of external trade and control of all major sources of revenue including income tax, surtax and custom and excise duties. The second and intermediate category was that of 'reserved' responsibilities; these were powers not within the competence of the northern parliament but which, under the provisions of the 1920 Act, could be granted to an all-Ireland Assembly if the southern and northern parliaments so agreed. These included the Supreme Court of Northern Ireland, postal services, the registration of deeds and control of the banking system. As the all-Ireland Assembly never materialised these areas were retained by Westminster and under Section 23 of the 1920 Act the imperial government deducted from division of responsibility

those outside Stormont's remit which

reserved taxation the cost of maintaining reserved services.

The

was that of 'transferred' matters for which the Northern had legislative and administrative competence; perhaps the most significant of these given the divisions in Northern Ireland were the transfer of electoral arrangements, surviving the challenge of 1922, and the responsibility for law, order and internal security. These were to be under the control of the Minister of Home Affairs, which was one of six ministries, apart from that of Prime Minister, created to administer devolved or transferred matters. The others were Finance, Labour, Commerce, Education and third category

Ireland parliament

4

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

Agriculture. Therefore, in theory, the Stormont government was to have considerable

autonomy

in the

development of social and economic

policy.

detailing the evolution of policy in the period of devolved government,

Without

should be noted that the majority of commentators argue that Stormont did not introduce radically different social and economic policies from the rest of the United it

Birrell and Murie (1980) claim that the degree of divergence from British practice and the importance of local innovation was greater than has 5 frequently been argued. Buckland (1979) argues that both the parochialism of local authorities in Northern Ireland, acting as an internal constraint, and the position of financial dependence on the United Kingdom as a whole prevented Stormont from pursuing policies which were adequate to tackle social and economic problems which Northern Ireland suffered to a greater extent than Britain: for example relatively higher levels of unemployment and poor standards of housing. A third factor was the ideology of the Ulster Unionist Party which was generally opposed to adopting interventionist policies in the social and economic

Kingdom, although

spheres.

With respect to relations with Westminster, the principal constraint on social and economic policy developments tailored to Northern Ireland requirements was the financial arrangements concerning public expenditure. Under the 1920 Act, an Exchequer Board, composed of the Northern Ireland Minister of Finance, a Treasury official and a chairman, had been established to determine how much reserved and transferred revenue should be allocated to Northern Ireland as its share on a pro rata basis and how much Northern Ireland should pay as the 'imperial contribution' to help fund excepted services from which it benefited.

The original financial agreement soon ran into difficulty as it became

apparent

Northern Ireland could not maintain the imperial contribution which had been set and provide transferred social provisions, especially unemployment that

benefits, at a level

the

same

Great

it

comparable with those

became

Britain.) In

mittee) reported

in

Great Britain. (As taxation levels were

established that cash social services should

match those

1925 a Special Arbitration Committee (the Colwyn

its

in

Com-

considerations on the financial relationship and recom-

mended that domestic expenditure, rather than the imperial contribution, should have prior claim on the Stormont budget. Gradually as pressure on public expenditure increased, largely as a result of a rise in unemployment, the imperial contribution dropped to a residual

of the Exchequer issued a

amount

in the 1930s. In

1938 the Chancellor

new financial guideline which provided

that any deficit

incurred in Northern Ireland expenditure in the adherence to parity in the provision of services would be financed by the Treasury thereby avoiding an

unbalanced Northern Ireland budget. The concept of parity was further refined in 1955 when the Joint Exchequer Board laid down four principles governing the concept: parity of cash social services; a general parity of standards between

Northern Ireland and other depressed regions of the United Kingdom; allocation

Introduction: the British government

and Stormont

5

of additional expenditure to offset Northern Ireland's economic disadvantages;

make up

the gap in housing and educational standards. was both more complex and less well-defined than outlined above. As well as the formal rules there were also ad hoc arrangements between the Northern Ireland Ministry of Finance and the Treasury as it became clear that the 1920 formulation was being undermined by Northern Ireland's economic difficulties. The relationship also caused friction within Northern Ireland between those who had not only different ideological perspectives on public expenditure but also diverged on the degree of Northern Ireland's responsibility to imperial interests as opposed to the interests of Northern Ireland 6 itself when the two were in competition for resources. This conflict was perhaps exacerbated because the 1920 Act had circumscribed Northern Ireland's financial autonomy; transferred revenue only accounted for between 10% and 20% of public expenditure in Northern Ireland. Therefore, unless Northern Ireland introduced new taxes or increased existing ones, which would have been politically unpopular and a breach of the parity principle, its fiscal flexibility was

and special payments

The

to

financial relationship

limited.

However,

as Birrell

and Murie (1980) and

Birrell (1972) point out, there are

two factors which did allow the development of regional variations in social of the Treasury, Westminster did not on the distributive side. Therefore, priorities in expenditure between sectors (and between regions and social groups which gave rise to accusations of discrimination) were decided by Stormont: 'it is doubtful whether the Treasury's overall financial power was a significant restriction on Stormont's freedom to 7 distribute its financial resources'. Thus, although developments in social policy often followed Westminster legislation in step-by-step fashion, areas such as education, health services and housing did develop distinctive structures, with most divergence being in the first category. Secondly, expenditure was decided at 8 official level rather than at parliamentary level and Birrell and Murie (1980) imply that the Treasury was fairly susceptible to pressure over special payments and adopted a laissez-faire attitude. In the post-war period Northern Ireland developed a more vigorous regional policy than the rest of the United Kingdom, managing to attract substantial overseas investment and achieving a higher rate of 9 growth than Great Britain in the 1960s. A devolved administration was of some benefit but the lack of fiscal autonomy and inability to control all the machinery of economic policy, for example exchange rates, limited the scope of Stormont's

policy. Firstly, despite the financial control

interfere

policy innovation.

The fundamental

question here

is

not whether Stormont did or did not take

advantage of such opportunities as were offered;

it is

that of the relationship with

Westminster. Although the Treasury-Northern Ireland relationship would not

be

static

given the change in economic conditions of both Northern Ireland and

Britain over the fifty-year period

and the evolving ideas concerning the para-

meters of state intervention, a general position would be that Westminster was

6

British

not to allow Northern Ireland

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

much independent revenue-raising power but did

not closely scrutinise the distribution of Northern Ireland's share of reserved taxation.

This permitted both policy divergence and unfair allocation of public

expenditure, although this took place level.

more

at local

than central government

10

In their review of the relationship between Stormont and Westminster and the

former's capacity to diverge from Great Britain's social policy legislation Birrell

and Murie (1980) concluded that none of the channels of control open to Westminster - legislative, financial, judicial, political, economic and administrative - prevented Stormont from developing specific policy responses in the arena of social provision: in spite

of very real constraints, Northern Ireland and

its

government could and did

diverge substantially from the standards and legislation operating in Great Britain and at

Westminster. Independent action, different policies and substantially different legislation did emerge.

11

In the fourth policy area, that of security, the 1920 Act devolved to the Northern Ireland parliament the responsibility for internal law and order matters including the administration of prisons and recruitment of police. Neither the armed forces, an excepted matter, nor the RIC, which as a reserved matter would have been organised on an all-Ireland basis if a Council of Ireland had been established, were under the control of Stormont so it was left to introduce its own legislation and make its own arrangements to deal with the violence which

accompanied the establishment of the state. The 'exceptional' nature of security legislation and the form of the police service should not be seen as especially abberant as emergency powers had a long tradition in Ireland in the absence of a consensual model of policing. From their conception, therefore, the security forces in Northern Ireland had a military as well as a 'conventional' policing role. It is a criticism of Westminster that it did not more closely supervise the structure and recruitment of the police service and attempt to prevent the development of a police force which, despite reserving one-third of its places for Catholics,

be seen by supporters and opponents

The

alike as

came to

an upholder of a Protestant

state.

reason for the imperial government's lack of involvement, as with

its

and judicial 'supervision', was a desire to extricate itself from the day-to-day problems of Ireland. Buckland (1981) argues that the British government: 'was unwilling to take decisive action in the North to consolidate the new

constitutional

government's position' 12 given that it was still involved in negotiations with Southern representatives over the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and a truce had been effected between the

IRA and the British Army in the south. made the provisions to secure the existence of the in the period 1920-1922. The RUC was established by the

Therefore, Stormont still-threatened state

Constabulary Act (NI) in June 1922 as the successor to the RIC. It was augmented by the politically controversial Ulster Special Constabulary (USC)

Introduction: the British government

and Stormont

7

recruited under the general provision of the Special Constables Act 1914; with an

Order

Council of 1920 allowing for the formation of the

in

USC. The USC's

were frequently former members of the illegal Ulster Volunteer Force which had been mobilised in 1912 to resist Home Rule and the almost exclusively Protestant complexion of the force and its paramilitary organisation

initial recruits

made

most controversial element of the embryonic security forces. Origihad three sections: Class A who were full-time members recruited for six months; Class B which was a part-time force; and Class C which comprised a reserve register of volunteers to be called upon in periods of emergency. (By 1927 Class A and Class C were disbanded). Class B was to be maintained until the Hunt Report's recommendation of abolition in 1970, and under the control of the Minister of Home Affairs, came to symbolise either the sectarianism of the Northern Ireland state or the bulwark against Republican the

it

USC

nally, the

insurgency.

There were some misgivings

at

Westminster about the development of the

Northern Ireland security forces but the same constraints held as in other areas of policy; namely that too close a scrutiny would result in Britain becoming embroiled in an arena from which it was trying to disengage, and risk undermining the settlement of 1920. Similar difficulties concerning the division of

and the degree of Westminster supervision in the field of security 1960s and early 1970s. Constitutionally, and it would seem in practice, as it was to finance the formation of the RUC and USC though to have no operational control, Westminster could have exercised greater responsibility

were

to arise in the late

authority over the scrutiny of the development of the 'Protestant' security forces.

Contrary to

this

argument

is

the fact that the imperial parliament

hesitated to use special or repressive legislation in Ireland

grounds of scruple, to deny to Unionists the same latitude consolidation of Northern Ireland.

was the

Civil Authorities (Special

The

and was

had never on

unlikely,

in trying to secure the

legislative basis for this consolidation

Powers) Act (NI) passed in April 1922 which

replaced the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act 1919, relating to the whole of Ireland.

More

significant, perhaps, than the severe penalties for civil disorder

offences was the investing of the powers in the executive or,

Minister for

powers officer.

power

13

Home

Affairs

and the authority

The pre-eminence

who was bestowed

to delegate these to his junior minister or

of the executive over the judiciary, the

to review the operation of the Act,

Ireland

more specifically,

the

with wide-ranging discretionary

and the

any police

latter's lack

political divisions

of

of Northern

combined to make such powers a source of controversy - giving Northern

Ireland a quasi-fascist appearance in the eyes of its nationalist opponents.

The

initial

doubts of the Cabinet and Colonial Offices concerning the legality

of Northern Ireland developing 'what was in effect a military organisation' with British

money 14 did not materially affect the operation of the RUC

then until

or the

USC or

Powers Act which was renewed annually until 1928 and 1933 when it was made permanent. The Stormont-Westminster

the use of the Special

8

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

relationship in the field of security parallels that of the wider constitutional

arrangement: de jure

total

Westminster control

in the last resort

Section 75 of the 1920 Act was offset by a de facto reluctance to involved.

The

enshrined in

become

directly

measures in precipitating a change in the

later attempts to take direct responsibility for security

the early 1970s was one of the principal factors in

constitutional relationship with the introduction of direct rule.

Conclusion Westminster's granting of a considerable degree of autonomy to Stormont in policy

making stems from

its

lack of incentives to

three-fold advantage in that

it

maintained a

do otherwise. Partition had the foothold in Ireland to

territorial

safeguard strategic interests, while also extracating Westminster from everyday

concern with

both North and South, and allowing a

Irish administration,

Westminster which had bedevilled successive system could be maintained without an excessive drain on

reduction in Irish representation administrations. If this

the British Exchequer there was

at

little

incentive to develop a closer scrutiny of the

operation of devolved powers as granted by the 1920 Act.

The Relationship between Britain and Northern Ireland 1922-69 It is

now

necessary to examine which events and factors, between the partial

resolution of the Irish Question in the early 1920s and late 1960s,

its

re-emergence

in the

impinged upon the Westminster-Stormont relationship and could

potentially affect the durability of partition. It will

be provisionally maintained that governments of whatever complexion

Westminster were unwilling British political

life,

but

this is

at

mainstream of claim that there was unanimity between and

to reintroduce Ireland into the

not to

within the parties concerning either the question of partition or the status of the

The significant point is that dissidents in either of the parties which formed administrations or composed coalitions had too little influence to effect a change of status for Northern Ireland. Two principal groupings can be identified: 15 that which Canning (1985) terms the 'diehards', the pro-imperial Tories who opposed the Treaty of 1921 and were to oppose the weakening of the link between the Irish Free State and the Commonwealth, and the section of the British Labour Party which did not accept the legitimacy of partition. The latter group has been a constant presence in the British Labour Party from the 1920s to the present. It is broadly composed of two elements: those MPs who have Irish Free State.

Catholic links either of a family nature or because of a large constituency lobby

and those on the left who see a united Ireland as a progressive policy based either on an anti-imperialist perspective and/or providing a better prospect for labour politics in Ireland. In the early years the

members who were

former Independent Labour Party

influenced by Connolly's work would be representative of

Introduction: the British government

this position; in

and Stormont

9

contemporary politics the Labour Committee on Ireland adopts

a

similar perspective.

From political

the period of the 1921 Treaty to the outbreak of

involvement

in,

or supervision

of,

war

in

1939 direct

the Northern Ireland government by

Westminster was minimal apart from the abortive attempt to intervene in the abolition of proportional representation in elections in 1922 (see p. 3). The links

which did exist were largely at official level: principally negotiations between the Treasury and the Northern Ireland Ministry of Finance over the issue of financial support and the principle of parity. The Home Office was content to relegate Northern Ireland to the general department and no civil servant was assigned full-time to Northern Ireland affairs. At a parliamentary level scope for supervision was restricted by the convention, established as early as 1922, that areas which were the responsibility of Stormont could not be raised at Westminster. As these areas included the sensitive ones of electoral practices, location of industrial investment and control of the police the ability of Westminster to concern itself with accusations of discrimination in Northern Ireland was severely circumscribed. The Irish Free State (Confirmation of Agreement) Act 1925 resulted from discussions between the three Governments following the suspension of the Boundary Commission and ratified the border which exists today. From that date onwards the border was unlikely to be amended as opposed to being abolished or retained as the twenty-six- six county division.

The diplomatic focus switched to dominion and the UK; partition

the relationship between the Irish Free State as a existed as an issue tions with the

inasmuch

as

it

was raised by the

Irish

Free State in negotia-

UK over the question of the former's position of neutrality in the

The impetus for a reconsideration of Northern Ireland government was largely a function of Irish Free State pressure rather than that emanating from Great Britain. As stated above, the members of both Labour and Conservative parties who were concerned about Ireland were too small in number to exert much influence, and by 1925 the initial seeds of bipartisanship had been sown since the first Labour government of 1924 had not attempted to renegotiate the 1921 Treaty. It was considered politically impossible to coerce Ulster and MacDonald, 16 the Labour Prime Minister, was in any case unsympathetic to Irish nationalism. Also, the Labour government was keen to extricate itself from Ireland and appealed for Conservative support in its negotiations with the Irish Free State and the north over the Boundary Commission. 17 The relationship between the Irish Free State and the UK is beyond the scope 18 of this work but it tended to be only in connection with this relationship that partition or the position of the minority in Northern Ireland arose on the British political agenda. The relationship in the 1930s hinged on the Irish Free State's 19 desire, especially under de Valera, who became Prime Minister in 1932, to distance the Irish Free State from the and to exercise greater autonomy than war and

its

later declaration

of a Republic.

either partition or the activities of the

UK

British

1

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

the British government had envisaged under the terms of the Treaty. that the Irish Free State

was quite

It

seems

entitled to press for alterations to the

provisions of the Treaty given that the Imperial Conference of 1930 and the Statute of Westminster of the following year extended the

Dominions (including

power of the and

the Irish Free State) to legislate for themselves

UK parliament to legislate for them only with their consent. With the accession of de Valera there arose two principal issues and a subsidiary one with respect to the 1921 Treaty. He wanted the return of the Treaty ports, an end to the Oath of Allegiance and the suspension of land annuity payments to the British. Three ports - Berehaven, Queenstown and Lough Swilly - had been retained by Britain for strategic reasons as well as the right of access to other harbour facilities in time of war. The Irish Free State had conceded this because it thought it unlikely that Britain would compromise on 20 De Valera's the issue and had at the time more immediate preoccupations. government considered that the Oath of Allegiance was not binding by the terms of the Treaty and was an internal affair; it did however have symbolic significance as a move towards independence and caused consternation among the imperial lobby who saw it as the first step towards the Irish Free State's total severance from the Commonwealth. The failure to reach an angreement with de Valera led to a trade war, and caused divisions within the Cabinet on how hawkish policy towards Ireland should be. For example, Chamberlain, the Chancellor, favoured a more conciliatory approach than did Hailsham, the War Secretary and later Lord Chancellor. As far as Northern Ireland is concerned, the poor relations between the Irish Free State and Britain were likely only to make partition more permanent. Despite de Valera's life-long rhetorical commitment to unification the shortterm and politically more realistic aims (i.e. those which Britain could deliver

permitted the

irrespective of Northern Ireland opinion) tended to alienate rather than reconcile Northern Unionists to the idea of unification. The demand for the return of the Treaty ports, however justifiable in terms of national sovereignty, illustrated to Northern Ireland that the Irish Free State could not be relied upon to support

imperial interests in wartime and the rejection of the

Oath of Allegiance served to

highlight the ioyal' nature of the North.

A third factor in this period was the adoption of a new Constitution by the Irish Free State (now to be called Eire)

in 1937. Article 2

of the Constitution laid claim

to the thirty-two counties as the national territory of Ireland

also accorded a special position to the Catholic

and the Constitution Church, though this was repealed

in 1973.

Despite the predictable effect that de Valera's policies since 1932 would have on the Unionists, he wished to discuss partition with Chamberlain at the Imperial Conference of early 1938 as part of the continued negotiations over the Treaty ports and the ending of the trade war. It seems that de Valera, as did many Republicans, overestimated both the desire and especially the

ability

of the

1

Introduction: the British government

British to 'deliver' the Unionists.

and Stormont

1

He might, however, have felt moral or financial

pressure would pay dividends given that the government emphasised at the start

of the conference that coercion could not be employed. In Northern Ireland Craig, the Prime Minister, called an election as a response and

was rewarded

with an increased majority after a campaign of no accommodation with Eire.

As Canning records

21

these events renewed the focus on Northern Ireland for

time since 1922 with some of the liberal press being

critical of both the Northern Ireland administration and partition itself. Of the main parties, Labour was generally more conciliatory towards Ireland over the Oath of Allegiance and the annuities question than the Conservatives, although Chamberlain, supported by Simon the Chancellor and MacDonald, the Dominions Secretary, held the

the

first

ascendancy over those elements in the party who opposed relinquishing the ports which was effected by an agreement in 1938. However, as far as the north was concerned there was little disagreement over what could be achieved. Stubbs (1974) summarises Labour policy in the 1930s. Despite a formal commitment to Irish unity: 'fewer and fewer MPs raised this subject and fewer still were to raise it

once the war had broken out'

22

and

was

it

a residual topic for

both conference

and the trades union movement.

The

attempt to reach agreement with de Valera in 1938 did necessitate some

Northern Ireland

British investigation into conditions in

in order to

complaints over the treatment of the Catholic minority. carried out an investigation into conditions in the north, but

head off his

The Home it

was

Office

largely a token

gesture and tended to accept uncritically Unionist reassurances of the even-

handedness of the administration. Elements

in the

Dominions Office were more

sympathetic to Catholic grievances but a combination of factors ensured that a

thorough review of the actions of Stormont and local authorities and the question of gerrymandering and job discrimination would not take place. These include the perennial one of not wishing to get Westminster too closely involved, the

hope

of getting Northern Ireland involved in the discussions with de Valera which

precluded antagonising the Unionists, and the pro-Unionist sentiments of Harrington, Under-Secretary in the Dominions Office,

who

cautioned against

interference in Northern Ireland.

The

last

pre-war event of significance was a

visit

by Cripps,

member

a leading

of the Labour Party, to Northern Ireland in 1937 to canvass for a united Ireland

and little

to attempt to mobilise the

working

class against the Unionist Party.

success and at this time the Northern Ireland Labour Party, though

He had

it

had no

formal position on partition, rejected a resolution from one of its branches which

advocated co-operation with Eire workers towards unification and which con-

demned

sectarianism.

The

and

first

Canning

last serious

states:

attempt by a prominent

member

of the British Labour Party to

mobilise support against the Unionist Party in Northern Ireland had failed. Henceforth British

Labour would

rail

against partition from afar, primarily in the

Labour

press.

3

2

British

1

government policy

in

Northern Ireland

Britain's lack of commitment in supervising the actions of the

1

969-89

Northern Ireland

IRA among

parliament was strengthened by the outbreak of war and the revival of an

campaign

in 1939.

The former tended to increase sympathy for the

north

the British political elite given the position of neutrality adopted by Eire and the latter

meant

that liberal concerns over the Special

further marginalised.

was bound

24

Despite

its

Powers Act tended

to

be

'benevolent' nature, the policy of neutrality

to strain relations with Britain. In

September 1939 the War Cabinet

agreed that an approach to de Valera on the basis of a deal over partition was out of the question and, as this appeared to be the only terms on which Eire would enter the war, stalemate resulted. As in earlier periods, such as that of the trade war of the 1930s, there were elements of a hawks and doves split in the Cabinet. Churchill tended to favour coercing Ireland either through economic sanctions or by seizure of the ports returned in the 1938 agreement, while Eden and Chamberlain thought it a better policy to adopt a more conciliatory approach on the grounds that a neutral Ireland which was largely pro-British, and co-operated through providing information about German movements on the Atlantic seaboard, was a better option than the potential problems coercion would cause. In fact, it is doubtful that seizure of the ports was ever seriously entertained. The international ramifications would have been great as seizure would have breached the principle that the Dominions had the right to decide whether or not to join the war. Also, relations with the USA which the UK hoped would enter the war would have been strained, especially given the influence of both the pro-Irish and the neutralist lobbies in American politics. A second consideration, apart from the diplomatic one, is whether the Atlantic ports were of sufficient strategic significance to warrant a belligerent policy against the south given that Britain obviously had the north from which to operate. Canning argues that from June 1941 considerations either of trying to win Ireland over to the Allies or coerce it declined, partly because of the improvement of the British position in the Atlantic. 25 As it became clear that de Valera was unlikely to move on neutrality the other policy option was to exert pressure on Northern Ireland over partition as an incentive to de Valera. In June 1940 this was advocated by the Joint Planning Subcommittee of the Chiefs of Staff. A Report commissioned by Bevin, Minister of Labour and National Service, recommended a Joint Defence Council for the two governments in Ireland. In return for the south's co-operation, a constitution for a united Ireland

would be drawn up

at the cessation

of hostilities. Churchill's

response was that he would not be a party to coercion of the north which

would almost

this

For Churchill there were both practical and moral objections to such a strategy; the shadow of 1912 remained and there was a strong likelihood that Unionists would resist, by force of arms if necessary, an attempt

at

difficulties

certainly involve.

post-war absorption into a united Ireland. Leaving aside practical Churchill was instinctively sympathetic to Unionism and this senti-

ment was becoming more widespread among

the

Labour Party leadership

as

3

Introduction: the British government

and Stormont

loyal' Ulster's support for Britain neutrality.

Canning

and the Empire was contrasted with Eire's

Thus an emotional attachment

states that

reinforced the politics of pragmatism.

by 1914 Churchill's resentment of Eire's neutrality was

shared by Bevin, Attlee and Morrison were now

1

26

whose sympathies:

entirely with the Ulster Protestants, with

impressed. In this way, for the truly bipartisan; hence,

first

whose

loyalty they

were deeply

time since 1921, British policy towards Ireland became

when Labour

finally 27

achieved a majority in 1945,

it

made no

difference as far as Ireland was concerned.

The

details

detailed.

of British and Irish relations in the war years need not be further

The

significant point

is

that the chances of a

rapprochment between

north and south, possibly leading to unity (which had already been reduced by the south's weakening of the imperial link and

more remote and reduced as the

Britain's

loyalty

its

1937 constitution) became even

concern to press for such a development was also

The impact many from the south

of Ulster was contrasted with Eire's neutrality.

of this was not seriously undermined by the fact that

volunteered to fight for the Allies and that the rate of recruitment from Unionists in the north (there

had been

was no conscription

anticipated.

in

Northern Ireland) was not as great as

28

After 1941 the question of the constitutional relationship between Britain and the two parts of Ireland declined in significance as

it

became apparent

that de

Valera would not deliver on neutrality while partition remained. There remains

some controversy over a telegram which Churchill sent to de Valera on the occasion of the bombing of Pearl Harbour; the ambiguity of which led some to believe that Churchill was offering a deal on partition if the south were to enter the war.

29

De Valera interpreted it thus but it seems unlikely that Churchill, given

his previous consistent policy. In

pro-Unionism, would or could have executed such

a

response to an appeal for clarification by Cranborne, the Dominions

Secretary, Churchill stated that he: 'certainly contemplated no deal on partition. That could only come about by consent arising out of comradeship between North and South'. 30 As a coalition government had existed for the duration of the war and prior to that a national government since 1931 it would be difficult to discern a division between parties at senior levels on the Irish Question, though this is not to argue that there was unanimity on attitudes to Ireland over the trade war of 1932-8 or neutrality; rather, differences were of emphasis and did not always follow party lines. Also, Labour's relatively weak position in the coalition governments and its desire to prove its responsibility meant that the influence of the pro-nationalist lobby in the Labour Party remained marginal. As argued above, Ulster's role in the war when contrasted with that of the south tended to blunt the nationalist orientation of the Labour leadership. With the Labour landslide in 1945 various hopes and fears were raised. The

4

British

1

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

Unionists were suspicious of both the welfare policies and the supposed pro-

Labour Party and were fearful of the implications of Labour having a majority administration for the first time.. Conversely, the Anti-Partition League in Ireland, which formed fraternal links with the Friends 31 a backbench pressure group in the Parliamentary Labour Party of Ireland, which agitated for a more rigorous supervision of Stormont's activities and generally favoured unification, had hopes that the ending of partition would appear as a priority on the British political agenda. These hopes were to prove overly optimistic, just as Unionist fears were to nationalist sentiments of the

prove largely groundless.

The

reasons for this include the familiar desire of

British administrators not to

become more deeply involved

necessary. This was

by the

facilitated

failure of the

wartime

in Ireland than

IRA campaign and

Labour government had and industrial arenas from which Ireland would have been a time-consuming distraction. Thirdly, and possibly most crucially, there was not a sufficiently strong lobby in the Labour Party to have much influence on the parliamentary leadership. Trades union and grassroots interest was residual as reflected by the lack of motions at Conference, and the Friends of Ireland, while at least keeping Ireland on the agenda, seemed too small in numbers and divided to exert influence. In 1948 it was reported to 32 have 120 members out of 393 MPs, but many of these were nominal. Its membership was heterogeneous though the majority were either left-wingers, some with an ILP background, or had Irish links. These categories could, of course, overlap; Delargy, a leading figure in the Friends of Ireland, had a Belfast nationalist background and was on the left of the party. Stability in Northern Ireland, an unwillingness to coerce the Unionists and the 33 lack of a strong nationalist lobby in Britain helps to explain government policy on Ireland when the question was once more raised by the decision of Costello, the Fine Gael Taoiseach, to take Ireland out of the Commonwealth and declare a Republic. This was announced at the Commonwealth Conference in Ottawa in September 1948. This presented two basic issues for the British government; a codification of relations with the Republic and the status of Northern Ireland. In a Commons statement of November 1948 Attlee, the Prime Minister, announced that the Republic was to have the anomalous position of not being considered a foreign country in that the right of unrestricted emigration from the Republic to the UK would continue and also that there would be no constitutional change in the position of Northern Ireland. By 1949 the Ireland Bill had been introduced and it received its second reading in May. Most of it related to the relationship with the Republic but it also included a guarantee to the north. This guarantee, which was to become Section 1(2) of the Act stated: the relative stability in Northern Ireland. Secondly, the

an ambitious

it is

the

legislative

programme

in the social

hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of His Majesty's dominions and of it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof

UK and

5

Introduction: the British government

and Stormont

1

cease to be part of His Majesty's dominions and of the

UK without the

consent of the

Parliament of Northern Ireland.

This was necessary, argued Attlee, it is

the action of the Eire

made

it

as:

Government

in deciding to leave the

Commonwealth

quite inevitable that a declaration as to the position of that part of Ireland

that has

which

is

Commonwealth should be made. 34

continuing in the

He had made this clear in two earlier responses to Costello's declaration. Members of the Friends of Ireland and their supporters raised various Delargy, chairman of the British section of the Anti- Partition

objections.

League, attacked the inclusion of the clause dealing with Northern Ireland on the

grounds that

it

was

irrelevant in a Bill concerning the relationship with the

Republic of Ireland, and argued that by leaving the decision on partition to the its permanence would be ensured. This was an abandonment of the Labour Party's position of opposition to the 1920 Act, and at the same time moved the Labour Party into the Conservative and Unionist camp. Other backbenchers attacked the specific wording of the clause; two sections being of particular significance. One was that Northern Ireland 'or any part thereof could not be separated from the UK without the consent of the Northern Ireland parliament. This meant that counties with a nationalist majority, or the possibility of one developing, would not have the option of joining the Republic if they so desired and that the six-county Northern Ireland, the temporary expedient of 1920, was being reinforced. Wells, a Labour backbencher, raised this in relation to Fermanagh and Tyrone. The second objection raised was the decision

parliament of Northern Ireland

to allow the parliament

of Northern Ireland, rather than the people, to determine

any possible change in

status.

Some MPs

considered

a majority for unification developed in the north

it

this

unfortunate because

might not be reflected

if

in the

composition of Stormont; revealing the fears of gerrymandered constituency boundaries. Morrison, the Lord President, rejected the

grounds that

it

was contrary

call for a plebiscite

to British political practice

and was

less

on the

democratic

than parliamentary representation.

Morrison

also rejected

demands

for closer supervision of

Stormont by

Westminster, motivated by concern for treatment of the minority, and reaffirmed the constitutional convention:

under in

statute passed

Northern Ireland

by

this

Parliament

at

Westminster the maintenance of law and order

Government and Parliament of Northern would be unconstitutional and improper, if not impossible, for this Govern35 take on responsibilities in this respect.

Ireland and

is

the responsibility of the

it

ment

to

The

desire to keep Ireland at 'arm's length'

appeal, directed at the Conservatives

and

his

was

also apparent in Morrison's

own party:

6

British

1

I

earnestly trust that

shall not

Britain.

all

of us

will

government policy

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

in

be sufficiently courageous and restrained, and that we

permit this to be a disturbing and bargaining factor in the political scene in Great

36

Considerable opposition was presented by Labour

MPs

in

Committee

in

attempts to get amendments concerning a plebiscite and the omission of the 'or

any part thereof clause and in total 66 Labour MPs voted against the government of the Bill and were disciplined for so doing. However, only 9

at various stages

Labour members opposed the second reading, which was passed 317-12, and becoming law in June.

the third reading was unopposed; the Bill

The 1949 Act made little practical difference to the

question of partition but

it

symbolised Labour's movement away from aspirations towards unity and had the

hopes of Labour adopting a from that of the Conservatives, at least until the early 1980s. The Act had the effect of undermining relations between the Friends of Ireland and the Anti-Partition League; the former broke up in effect of further reducing Irish nationalists' significantly different position

disarray

and the

latter

contested four British seats in the 1950 election as a

protest against the Ireland Act without success. Although in practice the question

of the continuation of partition depended more on the determination of Unionists to resist unification, the recognition of this right in statute was to be of significance in

when

a later

Northern Ireland

With the

Labour administration was

to

become

directly involved

in the late 1960s.

collapse of the Friends of Ireland

and the Conservative victory of

195 1 there were even fewer groups in British politics which had either the desire or the capacity to raise either the issue of partition or the lack of Westminster supervision of the Northern Ireland government.

among northern had become residual

The

failure

of the

paign of 1956-62 to gain support

nationalists

that the former question

in Ireland itself.

IRA cam-

seemed

to

imply

The

long

dominance of the Conservative Party in Britain saw no changes in the relationship between Northern Ireland and Britain as the party was both politically sympathetic and formally aligned to the Unionist Party and as such had no wish to encroach upon the latter's governance. The 1964 election victory of Labour potentially saw more scope for a closer examination of Unionist rule. Wilson, who had become leader in 1963, was considered to be sympathetic to nationalism 37 and there were certain parallels with 1945 in that there existed a pressure group, the Campaign for Democracy in

which campaigned for a more serious consideration of Northern Ireland Notable in the parliamentary Labour Party were Rose and, after the 1966 election, McNamara. The Campaign for Democracy in Ulster was supported by up to a hundred Labour MPs in its monitoring of civil rights in Northern Ireland and support for groups such as the Campaign for Social Justice, which was mobilising around the issue of discrimination. The Campaign Ulster,

politics.

for

Democracy

in Ulster

had certain

parallels with the Friends of Ireland;

it

was

7

Introduction: the British government

neither a

homogenous body

and Stormont

1

terms of political persuasion nor did

in

it

primarily

although Irish unity would have been a long-term aspiration of

focus on most of its members. Despite this renewed pressure, the formal position between Stormont and partition,

Westminster did not change. The convention regarding the exclusion of subjects under Stormont's jurisdiction from discussion at Westminster was upheld until

1969 and the

Home

Office

still

included Northern Ireland in

who became Home

ment. Callaghan,

O'Neill, the Northern Ireland Premier,

its

general depart-

Secretary in late 1967, recounts that

was not keen

to involve

Westminster

in

programme with which he was proceeding. 38 O'Neill felt that any pressure from the Labour government to quicken the pace of reform in response to demands from the Campaign for Democracy in Ulster and other groups would the reform

jeopardise his position by increasing support for militant loyalism. In August

1966 O'Neill had met with Wilson and Jenkins, the then

Home

they had accepted his argument for the need for caution.

39

Secretary, and

Although O'Neill's

40

it seems likely that more ambiwould have caused even greater problems with militant loyalism, and the Labour government had no wish to involve itself except as a policy of last

reforms have been attacked for their timidity tious attempts

resort.

Thus the basic strategy of 1966-8 was to bolster O'Neill's tentative reformism; autonomy in August 1969 at the eruption of serious violence, neither he nor Jenkins had visited Northern Ireland and the first Home Secretary under Wilson, Soskice, had spent 41 only one afternoon there. In the two years between the August 1966 meeting, it

was mutually beneficial

this policy.

This

when Wilson

is

for the

two governments

to give O'Neill

reflected in the fact that, prior to Callaghan's visit in

appreciated that violent opposition to O'Neill's policies might

necessitate the use of troops at a later date,

Craig, Northern Ireland

and November 1968 when O'Neill,

Home Secretary, and Faulkner, Minister of Commerce,

met Wilson and Callaghan with a five point plan for reform, 42 neither at official nor at ministerial level had Westminster increased its monitoring of Northern Ireland. At the latter meeting Wilson reaffirmed, as he had to the Commons, his commitment to the 1949 Act and his faith in the Northern Ireland government to enact the reform proposals.

Background to the 1969 Intervention: Developments

in

Northern Ireland

The pressure for reform from the nationalist population and its sympathisers had Campaign for Social Justice in 1964 and the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association in 1967 43 and had mobilised chiefly around the issues of reforming the restricted local government franchise, gerincreased since the formation of the

rymandered

local

government

electoral boundaries, the inequitable allocation of

public-sector housing and discrimination in the provision of public-sector

employment. Reinforcing the accusations of specific cases of discrimination was

8

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

British

1

the suspicion that decisions such as the location of the majority of industrial and infrastructural

was based

as

development

much on

in the

predominantly Protestant east of the province

political as

on

rational or technocratic grounds.

44

The

other principal source of Catholic grievance was the constitution of the security forces, particularly the role of the 'B' Specials

and the operation of the Special

45

Powers Act. The paradox of the O'Neill programme is that critics saw it as more related to the modernisation of the political and economic structure of Northern Ireland than to the reduction of Catholic grievance or disadvantage per se. However, one of the consequences of reform was the reduction of the autonomy and power of local government which was an important power-base for elements of Unionism. This alienation of a section of the Unionist community is partly explained by the internal tensions within the Unionist bloc which had existed since Northern Ireland's foundation. O'Neill, as a representative of the

more cosmopolitan,

Anglo-Irish, Anglican wing of Unionism, had always been an object of suspicion for

two other important

strata; the

anti-ecumenical,

more

parochial, largely

Presbyterian Unionism increasingly personified by Paisley and the working-class

whose historic distrust of the aristocratic and landed elements of Unionism had periodically manifested itself in independent and labourist MPs representing areas like the Shankill and Woodvale in Belfast. For these groups, whose membership sometimes overlapped in parties like the Democratic loyalists

Unionist Party rights lobby

(DUP) founded

were seen

in 1971, virtually

any concessions to the

as a recognition of the legitimacy of Catholicism

civil

and the

resurgence of nationalist irredentism. Proposals for the reform of local government had been introduced as early as

1965-6 parliamentary session although a White Paper did not appear until this was shelved; another being introduced in July 1969. Two principal points need to be established about these proposals. Firstly, sectarianism or the abuse of power by local authorities which, as opposed to central government administration, was a major concern for the civil rights movement, was not cited as a reason for reform. Reform in the 1967 White Paper was based on three criteria; efficiency, economy and the effective representation 46 of local aspiration, and as such resembled the process of rationalisation the

December 1967 and

occurring in British local government.

The

government system had been established in the late ninemany of the smaller authorities (Northern Ireland had fifty-five lower-tier urban and rural district councils) had neither the population nor the resources to justify the separate organisation of services. Thus the White Paper recommended the creation of between twelve and eighteen area councils existing local

teenth century and

to replace the existing local authorities. Secondly,

because of the administrative and the opposition of some of the Unionist-controlled councils the process of reform was slow. Not until autumn 1971 were elections scheduled for the reformed system with an extended franchise and by this time details of reorganisation

9

Introduction: the British government

and Stormont

1

events had overtaken the concerns of local government, or at least these particular proposals.

Prior to the 1969 proposals, the franchise

was limited

to resident occupiers

(owner or tenant of a dwelling house) and general occupiers (owner or tenant of land or premises - other than a dwelling house - of an annual rate valuation of not than £10) and allowed a multiple vote for limited companies. The disenfranchisement of categories such as adults living in relatives' homes

less

reduced the electorate

There was

also

to

about

movement

75%

in the

of that of Westminster elections.

reform of the central government electoral

Law Act (NI) 1968 abolished University seats, removed on the occupation of business premises and established a Boundary Commission to consider boundary revisions and an increase in the number of Stormont constituencies. This was not a principal part of the civil rights programme but an increased number of seats and franchise reforms would probably increase nationalist representation and might help to reinforce the nationalist integration into Northern Ireland politics following the Nationalist system.

The

Electoral

plural voting based

Party acceptance of the role of official opposition in 1965.

However as with

local

government reform this proved to be too little too late to appease the civil rights campaign and it was only in response to the disorder at the civil rights rally in October 1968 at Deny that O'Neill, after a meeting with Wilson and Callaghan in November, announced a revised reform programme. This five-point plan comprised a points system for public housing allocation though this was not to be mandatory, the creation of a Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (PCA), reform of local government including the

company vote by 1971, revision of the Special Powers Act to conform to international obligations, and the abolition of the Londonderry Borough Council and its replacement by a non-elected Development Commission. (Londonderry had been a particularly blatant example of gerrymandering). By June 1969 Faulkner, as Minister of Development, had issued guidelines for the introduction of a points system for public-housing allocation which would substitute objective criteria for possible sectarian practices. This was accepted by abolition of the

the majority of local authorities despite

These reforms did not have the

its

voluntary nature.

effect of securing

O'Neill's political position. According to

Bew and

peace or of securing

Patterson (1985) the violence

of 1968 had brought the Protestant masses onto the political stage in protest at the

civil

rights

movement

territorial divisions' in their

failing to

marches.

'recognise the legitimacy of sectarian

The violence

the focus of protest from electoral practices activities

of the security forces.

47

The

also had the effect of shifting and discrimination towards the

modernisation programme of O'Neill

could not incorporate the reform of the security forces since these were of crucial

importance in the relationship between the state and the Protestant masses. Just prior to O'Neill's resignation in April

1969 the Unionist Parliamentary Party

endorsed, following previous opposition, universal suffrage in local elections and

20

British

government policy

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

in

seems that the role and accountability of the security forces was about to assume centre stage as the civil rights debate was being relegated on the streets 48 into something approaching the 'traditional' orange versus green confrontation. 49 The establishment of the Cameron inquiry in January 1969 by O'Neill to investigate 'the course of events leading to, and the immediate causes and nature of, civil disturbances in Northern Ireland on and since 5 October 1968' may be it

seen as a last-ditch attempt to defuse the complaints of the increasingly radicalised civil rights movement. It was also an attempt to delegate essentially political decisions to

an independent body and thus to disarm the militant

within both the Unionist party and

However

among the

Protestant

neither this nor the publication of the

community

White Paper

in July

critics

as a whole.

1969

(see p.

18) were sufficient to prevent increasing conflict which culminated in the

violence of August 1969.

This violence was crucial in that it resulted in the deployment of troops which the British government would not approve without a much closer supervision of the reform

programme of Stormont.

Secretary, told the to those

Two months

later Callaghan, the

Home

Commons:

who suggested at one time that Westminster might confine itself to the problem of

law and order and allow others, the elected Government

(i.e.

Stormont) to carry on with

the social, economic and political policies that they thought appropriate,

not possible in a democratic state to do together.

this.

The whole

I

say that

it

was

context must be considered

50

This does not necessarily mean that it was the British intention to involve itself more directly through either formal political or administrative integration, possibly via direct rule. It

can be interpreted to mean that the firm supervision of

Stormont's implementation of a (formally) jointly determined reform programme

was the best option

to avert direct British involvement.

military intervention could be essentially short-term.

Thus both

political

and

51

Notes For considerations on this see e.g. Wilson 1955, Brett 1970, Wallace 1971, 1 and Murie 1980 and Buckland 1979 and 1981. 2

Some

of the

left

argue that Britain played a

much more

Birrell

instrumental role in the

creation of partition; thereby preventing the development of a united working class to

challenge British control of Ireland and allowing Britain to retain control of part of a strategically significant territory.

3

4

and Murie op. Buckland 1981 p. 19. Birrell

See Reed 1984 and IFM 1983. 28 and Palley 1972 p. 398.

cit. p.

See Buckland 1981 and Birrell and Murie op. cit. for an evaluation of policy and the 5 wider questions of whether devolution was a success. 6 7

SeeBewetal. 1979 ch. 3. Birrell and Murie op. cit. p.

22.

1

.

Introduction: the British government

8

Crossman 1977

relationship

9

See

p.

1

.

and Stormont

2

187 reveals the lack of knowledge concerning the financial

between Westminster and Stormont.

later sections for details.

Cameron 1969 contains an examination of local government see Whyte 1983 for a reconsideration. 10

1

12 13

and Murie op. cit. p. 266. Buckland 1981 pp. 36-7. Section 1 of the Special Powers Act reads 'The

discrimination and

Birrell

Civil Authority

.

.

.

shall

have

power, in respect of persons, matters and things within the jurisdiction of the Government of Northern Ireland to take

all

such steps and issue

all

such orders as may be necessary for

preserving the peace and maintaining order.'

14

Buckland 1981

15

See Canning 1985 pp. 17-25.

16

ibid. p. 87.

17

SeeStubbs 1974 pp. 110 and 112. Canning op. cit. for a good account 1921-41 and Harkness 1969

18

p. 43.

for the

Commonwealth dimension 1921-31. 20

See Bowman 1982 for de Valera's position on Ulster. Canning op. cit. p. 176.

21

ibid, ch. 10.

19

22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Stubbsop.

cit p.

162.

Canning op. cit. p. 232. For a detailed account of Anglo-Irish Canning op. cit. p. 3 10. This question made Morrison change Canning op. cit. p. 3 1 1 See Fisk op. cit. ch. 14. e.g. see

Benn

relations in the

his

war years see Fisk 1983.

mind over Ireland. Stubbs op.

cit.

p. 171.

in Collins (ed.) 1985.

Minute quoted by Canning op. cit. p. 3 14. See Purdie 1983 for the policies of, and divisions

in,

the Friends of Ireland in this

period.

32

ibid. p. 83.

33

It

should be noted that the Friends of Ireland, or elements of it, often focused on

had the same standards of democracy and social on partition. This was one factor which caused friction with the largely conservative Anti-Partition League. 34 HC Vol. 464 Col. 1856 11/5/49. 35 HC Vol. 464 Col. 1956 1 1/5/49. 36 HC Vol. 464 Col. 1961 1 1/5/49. 37 e.g. Faulkner 1978 p. 130 and Bew and Patterson 1985 p. 11. Bew, Gibbon and Patterson 1979 also emphasise the significance of Wilson. 38 Callaghanl973p.2. 39 Wilson 1971 p. 270. 40 Bew and Patterson op. cit. p. 1 1 41 Sunday Times 1972 p. 81. 42 See p. 19 for details. 43 The reasons why it was in this period that civil rights mobilisation occurred is still

the question of whether Northern Ireland service provision as Britain rather than

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 96 9-89

22 the subject of debate, as

is

the degree of influence of nationalist ideas and groups within

it.

See e.g. Bew, Gibbon and Patterson 1979 pp. 163-74. 44 See Hoare 1981. 45 The extent of, and reasons for, anti-Catholic discrimination are less relevant here than the British government's response to it. For the debate on discrimination see Hewitt 1981, 1983, 1985,

46 47 48 49 50 51

O'Hearn 1983, 1985 and Whyte 1983.

Connolly 1983

Bew and

p. 50.

Patterson 1985 p. 16.

ibid. p. 19.

Cameron

Report. 'Disturbances in Northern Ireland'

Cmd 532 Belfast 1969.

HC Vol. 788 Col. 48 13/10/69. See Bew et al. op.

cit. p.

181 and

Bew and

Patterson 1985.

The Labour administration 1969-70

Introduction

The

following six chapters will chart the main developments in the areas of

economic and social policy, in that order, for each of the The 1969-70 administration is exceptional in that it did not introduce specific constitutional initiatives from the British government. Therefore the first section of this chapter will outline the relationship of the two governments which developed in 1969-70 and then detail initiatives in the constitutional, security,

administrations up to 1989.

other policy areas.

The 1969 Intervention The meeting of ministers of both governments in August 1969, in Belfast and London, when troops were deployed, and the occasion of Callaghan's second visit to Belfast in October resulted in the publication of three communiques. The 1

of these followed the meeting of Chichester-Clark, the Northern Ireland Prime Minister and successor to O'Neill, and his senior colleagues with Wilson and his colleagues at Downing Street on the 19 August 1969. It detailed the agreement between the two governments concerning the first

division

of responsibility over control

of security

matters.

In

effect,

it

subordinated the Ulster security forces to the control of the General Officer

Commanding

who was

(NI)

responsible to the Minister of Defence.

The

Ulster

come under the General Officer Commanding's when they were deployed in riot control as opposed to

Special Constabulary was to control, as

were the

'normal' policing.

RUC

The

GOC

was committed

to

working

'in

the closest co-

operation with the Northern Ireland government and the Inspector-General of

RUC'. 2 This

division of responsibility was essentially a compromise. Westminster was not prepared to deploy troops without having operational control of security but was unwilling to remove all say by Stormont in security for fear of undermining the already beleaguered Stormont administration.

the

24

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

This arrangement was designed as a holding operation until the reformed could resume full control. As troop involvement was to be of greater duration than anticipated this ad hoc arrangement was to be severely tested. In the subsequent years until direct rule the operation of the division of responsibility as

RUC

became a conmore autonomy in security policy. At an operational level, professional rivalry between the army and the RUC was to persist until the late 1970s. 3 The communique also emphasised that institutionalised in the Joint Security

Committee

(see p. 27)

tentious issue at Westminster as Stormont developed

government intervention was not limited to security policy. Two senior civil servants were to be sent from London to Belfast 'to represent the increased concern which the UK Government had necessarily acquired in Northern 4 Ireland affairs,' and to engage in the joint working parties of officials which were to be established to review the progress of the reform programme. The accompanying declaration reaffirmed the adherence to the 1949 Ireland British

UK

Act which ensured that Northern Ireland would not cease to be part of the without the consent of the parliament of Northern Ireland. In fact, it went further than the 1949 commitment in that

it

included the wishes of the people of

Northern Ireland as well as the parliament, as guarantors of the Union. Having attempted to reassure the unionists by

this

restatement and nationalists by a

commitment to equality of treatment for all citizens, para. 5 welcomed the reform programme in operation; the establishment of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, the pledge to

reform local government and the allocation of

housing, and the Northern Ireland government undertook: fullest

account

at all

times the views of Her Majesty's

The second communique 5 was

issued after Callaghan's

Ireland towards the end of August 1969 and

was

'to

take into the

Government in visit to

UK'. Northern

the

similarly a record of the

development of the reform programme: the setting up of the Scarman and Hunt Reports (see pp. 26-30), the Northern Ireland government's decision to establish

Community

Commission (CRC) and the role of the joint working commitments on fair housing and employment allocation would be honoured. Further possible reforms were to include machinery to promote good community relations, including legislation to prohibit incitement to religious hatred and a Ministry of Community Relations to give the aims of the CRC some weight at Cabinet level. the

Relations

parties in ensuring that

The

third in the series of communiques 6

October 1969 and highlighted the

was issued

in addition to the social policy

Hunt proposals

had

after Callaghan's visit in

reforms already mentioned,

been published, increased government grants for industrial investment and compensation for damage resulting from civil disorder. The other major reform was the plan to establish a that

just

centralised housing authority responsible for

all public-sector housing provision. was conceded that allegations of sectarianism was one reason, it was also justified on the grounds of the poor quality and quantity of the housing stock in Northern Ireland.

Although

it

The Labour administration 1969-70

25

The reforms announced in the three communiques indicate the thinking of the They formed the bulk of proposals to emerge and it was felt

British government. that, as

they dealt, or were perceived to deal with, the claims of the

civil rights

movement they would be sufficient to restore order to Northern Ireland or, perhaps more precisely, any continuing disorder would lack any legitimate justification and could be met with repression rather than further reform. In fact, there is some evidence that by early 1970 British emphasis had changed from further reform (as opposed to carrying out the pledges of August-October 1969)

condemning the actions of 'sinister elements' or resurgent Republicanism which could not be satisfied by reform. The tenor of the communiques reflects a good deal of accord between the two governments. While making it clear that it was to take a heightened interest in Northern Ireland affairs it suited Westminster to treat Stormont after the fashion of an equal partner since the support of liberal unionism was central to a strategy of preventing the introduction of direct rule. If the Northern Ireland government could point to its lack of room for manoeuvre in face of British pressure it might have the effect of deflecting militant loyalist opposition to the reform programme. British thinking appeared to be based on the idea that support for moderate unionism, allied to changes in central government that Faulkner was to present in 7 197 1, would create circumstances in which enough of the minority population would accept the equity of Northern Ireland administration for stability to be restored. This would allow military disengagement (by February 1970 three of 8 the eight additional army units had returned to Britain) and avoid the necessity to

of greater political integration.

Security policy Security responsibility, prior to August 1969, had rested with the Stormont

government; the principal legislation being the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act 1922 which had Northern Ireland state. Under

its its

genesis in the period of consolidation of the provisions the

Home Affairs Minister, without

reference to parliament, was permitted to take any measures he judged

fit

to

maintain public order; arrest without charge and internment being two of the

more

useful

methods

The executive control and had long been a source of Catholic repeal had been part of the Civil Rights Association

to suppress political opposition.

lack of judicial scrutiny of these powers

discontent and calls for platform.

Not only

its

the security provisions themselves but the agencies of

enforcement were closely linked

to the executive

sectarian nature of law enforcement.

the

RUC, was

The

and emphasised the politico-

Inspector-General, the chief officer of

Home Affairs, and despite formal was seen by many Catholics, as Hunt

responsible to the Minister of

operational independence, the

RUC

9

recognised, to be a political force closely identified with unionist supremacy. well as

its

identification with

one

political

As

grouping, the paramilitary nature of the

26

British

RUC

was another

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

which distinguished

'exceptional' feature

it

from British

policing policy. This, as with the Special Powers Act and the Ulster Special

Constabulary (USC), reflected

its

origins in the violence of the early 1920s (see

Chapter 1). In 1969 it had a strength of approximately 8,400. Its function was that of a part-time militia under the command of the RUC to be mobilised at times of civil disorder.

More

than the

RUC,

the Specials symbolised to the minority

com-

munity the partisan and ill-disciplined nature of the security forces. The Hunt Committee, which was established in the summer of 1969 by Stormont in response to the violence and published its report in October, noted that for 10 no Catholic was a member of the USC but did not go into 'various reasons' details.

Before a consideration of Hunt's recommendations that

was never

it

officially

conceded

openly sectarian fashion.

concluded

that:

that the

The Scarman

Report,

'undoubtedly mistakes were

it

should be recognised

RUC or USC had been used in an 11

in reference to the

RUC,

made and certain individual officers

acted wrongly on occasions. But the general case of a partisan force co-operating

with Protestant reject

it

utterly'.

mobs 12

to attack Catholic

people

However, the report did

is

houses -

all

in

we

of police malpractice, by

USC

deployment, the use of

act or omission, including decisions concerning

machine guns

devoid of substance and

cite six cases

west Belfast, and the failure to prevent

mobs burning

Catholic

occurring in August 1969.

The precise

degree of security-force abuses

the significant point

is

that both the

is

difficult to establish.

However,

RUC and the Specials, particularly the latter,

had shown themselves incapable of re-establishing order and confidence both because of sectarian bias and, more charitably, because they were inadequately trained to deal with the

initial

non-violent protests of the Civil Rights Association

and the later inter-communal conflict and house burning. Moreover, in terms of government policy, the degree of abuse by the RUC and the Specials was less significant than the minority's perception of the extent of the abuses and the lack of confidence in their impartiality. It seemed evident that some reform of the security forces was necessary if the Catholic population was to be reconciled with the Northern Ireland state. Stormont itself had been wary of the use of the USC in support of the RUC in the riots of July and August 1969, but had forces had to be utilised before the

little

alternative, given that all civilian

army could be

called in and the latter's deployment would have far-reaching constitutional implications. In July 1969, according to Scarman, Porter, the Minister of Home Affairs, had authorised the

use of the

USC

in riot control, for

without their being armed. not be used in

on the

The

riot control

On

which

it

was not

specifically trained, but

13 August Chichester-Clark stated that

it

would

but by the 15th the decision was reversed as pressure

RUC mounted. 13 implications of asking Westminster for assistance was clearly foreseen by

The Labour administration 1969-70 the Inspector-General of the

27

RUC when he turned

down

the request

made by

Commissioner of Police on 2-3 August to deploy troops. From early August, however, contingency plans were being made for the use of troops, and consultation was taking place between Stormont and Westminster at official and ministerial level. The Northern Ireland Minister of Home Affairs stated in his submission to the Scarman Report in relation to military intervention that: the Belfast

it

was made

clear that the

General Officer

London and

Commanding should

only consider this

was understood that there would be consultation at governmental level. I think at the time ... it was also indicated that in that eventuality the government in Westminster would have to consider the implication of such question after consultation with

intervention.

again

it

14

August reported a meeting of the Secretary to and the Permanent Secretary to the Home Office

Similarly the Financial Times of 6

the Northern Ireland Cabinet thus:

The

British

Government's view is that it would be the height of folly to allow its troops

(or

of another Government which, rightly or

police) to

be under the

wrongly,

seen as essentially Protestant in oudook and would use the troops to deal with

is

political direction

disorders which were religious in origin. Ministers believe that

unacceptable for troops to be used

were

to

- no matter whose

direction they

it

would be equally

came under - if they

maintain law and order for the existing Northern Ireland Government.

Thus when

it

seemed

inevitable to

15

Westminster that troops would have

deployed, as the escalation of the use of the

to

be

USC had not prevented disorder,

it

was only to be done on the basis of the creation of a joint security committee. This comprise the Northern Ireland Prime Minister and his senior colleagues,

was

to

the

UK's

representative in Northern Ireland

-

a senior Civil Servant or other

Commanding Army and the Chief Constable of the RUC. This arrangement was

appointments as the situation of the British

required - and

the General Officer

Stormont a formal input into the formulation of security policy but, in it would not be able to resist any recommendations which Hunt might make if they were endorsed by Westminster. At the operational level the RUC and the USC were to be subordinate to the GOC in the field of civil dis-

to give

practice,

turbances.

16

The Hunt Report was published in October 1969, two months after the deployment of mainland troops. Its recommendations were based on a concept of 'consensus' policing which was, in theory at least, the British model.

(The other

two members of the Advisory Committee were senior British police

The

RUC was to be

acceptance in

all

relieved of

its

sections of the community.

or guerilla activity should 'by responsibility of the

its

officers).

paramilitary role in an attempt to secure

The

its

task of combating paramilitary

nature and under the constitution ... be the

Government at Westminster'

17

rather than the responsibility

RUC, which ranged from responsibility for non-political crime to border incursions, was to be

of locally controlled forces.

The broad role

of the pre-Hunt

8

British government policy in

2

and

restricted to the former, ing,

protection

its

Northern Ireland 1 96 9-89

state-security role limited to intelligence gather-

of important persons

and law enforcement. As part of would be phased out; those retained

'normalisation' the general issue of firearms

would only be issued

as

and when needed. A more detailed consideration of the was to be undertaken by senior officers

principles governing the use of firearms 18

and the new Police Authority. Apart from its paramilitary nature, Hunt considered that the other major stumbling-block to acceptance of the RUC was its close identification with the Unionist government. Despite the fact

that, in

theory at

least,

the Inspector-

General had operational autonomy, the absence of any monitoring body or structure for public accountability served to emphasise the close relationship

between the Inspector-General and the Minister for Home Affairs. Consequently a Police Authority was to be established which would supervise reorganisation and to which the RUC would be accountable. The committee favoured, in principle, elected members of the authority but felt that this would not adequately represent the minority parties and therefore opted for nominees of various representative bodies, including the universities, the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, the Irish Congress of Trades Unions, the Law Society, the Association of County Councils and four nominees of the Governor of Northern Ireland. The Minister of Home Affairs was empowered to require the Chief Officer (the Chief Constable after ranks had been reorganised along British lines) to submit an annual report to him and to the Police Authority. Additionally, provision was made for annual, or more frequent, inspection by H.M. Inspectorate of Constabulary and an Advisory Board was to be created comprising representatives of all ranks of the RUC, the Police Authority and the Chief Constable under the chairmanship of the Minister of Home Affairs with the function of ensuring good communication and liaison between the authority and the RUC.

The

third element of reform,

was the

supplementing disarmament and accountability,

revision of the complaints procedure

which had no provision

for the

proper recording of complaints or any machinery to avert their suppression by

RUC was free from effective and at worst an organised political police force. Two recommendations were made; the procedure introduced in England and Wales by the Police Act 1964 by which a complaint should be dealt with by a senior officer from another district was to be introduced and the Chief Constable was to be senior officials which reinforced the fears that the legal restraint

committed by his officers. RUC had a relatively 'clean bill of health'. Hunt accepted that genuine efforts had been made to recruit more Catholics into the force. This is presumably why the Committee decided that reform would be sufficient to win the support of the minority and to rename or totally to

vicariously liable for acts

In contrast with the

reconstitute the

extremely

USC, the

RUC would no doubt have been politically and administratively

difficult.

The Labour administration 1969-70

29

Various miscellaneous recommendations endorsed the underlying conceptual

framework of the report; that of 'normalisation' along British lines. Principal among these were the advocation of the abolition of the Special Powers Act (para. 143) and, to emphasise political impartiality, responsibility for prosecutions should be removed from the police and all offences would be handled by the Director of Public Prosecutions. This was premised on the minority community accepting the arbiter role of the British government in being above the conflict. Symbolic of the desire to introduce British standards was the appointment of Sir Arthur Young, a senior officer and City of London Police Commissioner, as Chief Constable for a year to oversee the reorganisation.

The most contentious recommendation in the eyes of the unionist community was that to disband the USC - a reflection of its paramilitary nature and its almost total rejection by the Catholic community. It was to be replaced by a locally recruited part-time force, the Ulster Defence Regiment, under the command of the

GOC (NI) and responsible for 'back-up' security functions in support of the

army, such as guarding key installations and manning road -blocks.

It would not which the USC had already been relieved by 19 the army. The form, strength (Hunt recommended 4,000) and equipment of the force was to be decided by Westminster in consultation with the Northern

be deployed in

riot duties, a role in

Ireland government, the latter represented through the Joint Security

Com-

The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was created by the UDR Act 1969 and instituted on 1 April 1970 as part of the British Army. The Hunt recom-

mittee.

mendations relating to

RUC reorganisation, the establishing of a reserve section

based on the British special constabulary and the Police Authority were intro-

duced under the Police Act (NI) 1970.

These reforms in the security field paralleled those in social policy to the extent were based on the introduction of British standards and required a liberal-democratic consensus to be effective. Events were soon to undermine elements of Hunt. For example, one reason for reconstituting the local security forces was to prevent the necessity of a long-term commitment of troops. However, given the resurgence of violence in spring 1970 an unarmed RUC and UDR not operational in riot control would not prove capable of maintaining order and the former were soon rearmed. In fact 'normal' policing could only be maintained if the army was present to act as the primary security force. Secondly, Rose argues, the report did not fully consider the historical basis of the security forces' evolution in Northern Ireland and thus over-estimated the likely degree of acceptance accorded to the report by the 'reasonable men and women' at whom it was aimed. 20 The disbanding of the USC provoked serious rioting in the Shankill and the reform of the RUC did not quell the fears of the minority. The new complaints system did not solve the problem of identifying individual RUC officers suspected of committing offences, and the fact that inquiries were to remain in the hands of RUC, itself with no independent control, gave grounds for scepticism about its effectiveness. Another problem was that that they

British

3

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 96 9-89

B Specials were being recruited into the UDR which was undermine Catholic trust in it and claims were made that the UDR was 21 being infiltrated by loyalist paramilitaries. This, allied to IRA intimidation and later security-policy measures which were to alienate the minority, meant that the UDR was soon to be bedevilled with the same image of a Protestant force as the USC had had. The proportion of Catholic membership declined from 18-20% former members of the

likely to

at its inception, to

The

8%

shortly after the introduction of internment in 197 1.

failure to define the constitutional

and

legislative basis

22

of the army's role

another indication of the intention of deployment being

Northern Ireland is short-term pending the reform of the indigenous security forces. Not until 1972, following a test case, was the legislative basis of the army's powers to detain and stop and search clarified. Despite Hunt's recommendation of abolition, the Special Powers Act was to remain in force until 1972 and it was under a in

combination of

However, a

later

and Ministry of Defence directive that the army operated. Northern Ireland High Court judgment ruled that Section 4(1)

it

of the Government of Ireland Act 1920 did not cover the actions of the troops but

was limited

to the security forces

in theory, the actions of the in

common

covered by 'transferred' matters.

army could only

It

seems

that,

legitimately extend to those allowed

law: the duty of the citizen to aid the civil authorities in suppressing

government had operated on the assumption that, under the terms of the Special Powers Act, the army was legitimately acting in 23 support of the civil power. This point will be dealt with more fully later as it becomes clear that the resurgence of the IRA and an upsurge in violence meant that army involvement was to be of greater scope and duration than Westminster had envisaged, and was to play a larger role than the indigenous security forces. The implications of this was that the legislative position of army operations had to be clarified and that Hunt's hopes for a 'normal' type of consensual policing were to be marginalised. This trend dates roughly from the worsening relations between the nationalist community and the army towards the end of the Labour disorder, although the British

administration.

Economic policy Economic policy was a 'transferred' matter under the provisions of the 1920 Act and despite the problems of declining agricultural employment and the shedding of labour from the narrow industrial base of the traditional industries of engineering, shipbuilding and textiles, the efforts of the Northern Ireland Ministry of

Commerce had been

relatively successful in the 1960s. While average unemNorthern Ireland exceeded the British average the former's position had improved relatively in this period. The strategy of Stormont for

ployment

rates in

industrial regeneration

ment

was

basically two-fold: the attraction of industrial invest-

into the province to offset the decline in local industry,

development

to facilitate the attraction

of investment.

The

and infrastructural was made easier

first

The Labour administration 1969-70

31

by the large volume, in comparison with the 1970s, of internationally mobile capital in circulation.

Although devolution allowed some scope for flexibility, the strategy of financial support for incoming capital was in

many

respects similar to that of British

was administered under the Development Act (NI) 1966; paralleling British legislation of the same year. The main difference was that a higher rate of capital grant was available in Northern Ireland. Standard capital grants (i.e. assistance not related to the location of the plant or to the amount of employment generated) were provided under the Industrial Investment (General Assistance) Act (NI) 1966. As well as this separate legislation, Northern Ireland also benefited from the provisions of Selective

regional policy.

financial

assistance

Industries

regional policy designed to help disadvantaged areas in Britain as part of the

Labour government's emphasis on equalisation of industrial development between regions. These included the Regional Employment Premium (REP) introduced in 1967 as a direct subsidy to labour employed in assisted areas and the use of Industrial in

more favoured

Development

Certificates to restrict industrial

areas and thus encourage

its

development

location in peripheral areas.

The

Board (NEB), established to promote state-sector investment in industrial projects, also extended to Northern Ireland and would be controlled by the Minister of Development who liaised with the agency responsible in Britain, the Department of Trade and Industry. The other element in the attraction of investment to Northern Ireland, to complement that of direct financial support, was the development of the infrastructure and the encouragement of geographical and occupational mobility in the working population. These were the themes of a series of reports commis24 sioned by Stormont: Matthew (1963) endorsed the restriction on development in Belfast and the encouragement of population movement from rural areas in an attempt to develop medium-sized towns as centres of industrial development. 25 This was the 'growth-centre' concept broadly endorsed by Wilson (1965) and 26 by the Regional Development Programme for 1 975-95. The logic of the

provisions of the National Enterprise

growth-centre strategy, according to Hoare, was that: 'the spatial concentration of limited capital resources in potentially fruitful locations likely to attract a

more even

is

considered more

required volume of manufacturing industrial investment than 27

its

Northern Ireland.' This was to be augmented by an increase in provision of further and higher education and improved communication networks, as with the motorway development programme and modernisation of port facilities in an effort to offset the disadvantages of Northern Ireland's peripheral position in relation to the European market. This brief overview of Northern Ireland industrial policy prior to 1969 shows that a fairly coherent and successful attempt had been made to attract new investment despite the fact that, by most indicators, including rates of unemployment, rates of migration, average wage levels and GDP per capita, Northern Ireland was one of the most disadvantaged regions of the UK and was to be badly dispersal throughout

British

32

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 96 9-89

affected by the decline in mobile investment in the 1970s.

The intervention of the

government in 1969 was not marked by major industrial reform unlike in the areas of social and security policy. The reasons seem to include, as argued above, that although Northern Ireland had separate legislation and responsibility for industrial policy, in essence the policy of support for capital and regional British

incentives reflected that of the

Labour government

in Britain

and some of the

same policy tools were common to both areas. Secondly, Westminster at this time had no desire to take over the administration of Northern Ireland and the relative success of industrial development would have been a strong argument for Stormont to retain control of industrial policy. It was also sometimes argued that having a separate government and civil service to lobby for potential investment gave Northern Ireland an advantage over comparable regions of economic disadvantage in the

UK.

Incremental changes aimed

communique Cmnd 4178. to

at

support for industry were outlined in the

Assistance under the industrial development Acts was

be supplemented by compensation for damage arising from civil disorder.

The

Regional Employment Premium was to be maintained in Northern Ireland for a year after

its

abolition in Britain scheduled for April 1970; the level of the

40% to 45% from 1 October were to create additional employment grants of up to 50% of expenditure would be publicly funded. There was also provision for up to

standard capital grant was to be increased from

1969 and capital

£2

if projects

unemployment,

million to tackle seasonal

largely in the unskilled sector.

In 1970 a government-commissioned development

period 1970-75

programme covering

the

28

was published designed to update the earlier proposals of Matthew (1963) and Wilson (1965). This drew a direct link between improving employment prospects and housing, and reducing violence. In light of the Cameron Report it stated that such developments: 'will be of the greatest relevance to the problem of eradicating the root cause of unrest in Northern 29 Ireland'. The ability to attract new manufacturing industry would depend partly on political stability and this, in turn, would be facilitated by a reduction in unemployment which justified differential levels of grants favouring projects sited in the areas of high unemployment. A third policy advocated by the development programme, was the rapid expansion of industrial training, both through increased apprenticeships and government-sponsored schemes given that new investment would require different skills from those used in heavy industry and agriculture which were, and had been, shedding labour. The subsequent years were to witness an expansion of government-sponsored training centres and by 1975 Northern Ireland had proportionally ten times as

many

places as Britain

private-sector places did not materialise.

30

although the expansion in

The Labour administration 1969-70

33

Social policy

The reforms enacted in response to civil rights agitation and the grievances described by Cameron as a contributory factor in the disorder of 1969 can be broadly categorised into two kinds: those which were the direct adoption of British standards

The

Ireland.

and

latter

practices;

reflected

a

and those which were recognition

that

the

specific to

Northern

adoption of British

standards was insufficient in itself to bring stability to Northern Ireland and that

it

was an

UK. Of

'exceptional' part of the

the former category the

extension of the local government franchise and the adoption of a points

system for housing allocation have already been considered. The third reform was that of the creation of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (PCA). The Parliamentary Commissioner Act (NI) 1969 established, as had the

corresponding British legislation of 1967, a Commissioner

who was charged

by central which had its genesis at Stormont and preceded the interventions of August-October 1969, was undoubtedly

with

the

investigation

of

allegations

government departments. This beneficial to the extent that

central

it

of

maladministration

legislation,

allowed redress for the citizen in the event of

government malpractice which included discrimination on

political or

religious grounds.

However, the impact of the adoption of British

legislation in a situation

of

worsening communal violence and tension would prove to be limited.

The

PCA

such

had no remit

to investigate general patterns of disadvantage in areas

employment; only individual claims could be examined which had to be submitted via a constituent's MP. Judicial decisions and matters relating to

as

beyond the scope of the PCA's consideration and it was assume growing significance in the early 1970s. In addition to the investigation of maladministration comparable to his British counterpart, the PCA was given the responsibility of monitoring those companies which tendered for government contracts. Each company tendering had to undertake not to practice any form of religious discrimination and was obliged to furnish the PCA with any information or documents required in the investigation of an allegation of discrimination. The PCA was required to submit an annual report to Stormont (Westminster after direct rule). These reports show that the work of the PCA reflected closely that of its British

security

were

also

these areas which were to

counterpart in investigating maladministration generally rather than specific claims

of discrimination.

However

this

could

reflect

the

difficulty

in

establishing a prima facie case of discrimination or lack of faith in the possibility

of official redress rather than the absence of discrimination. 31

The creation of the PCA was paralleled by that of the Commissioner for Complaints (CFC) by an Act of 1969; an office which preceded its adoption in Britain. Essentially, the role

of the Commissioner was that of

ombudsman

for

34

British

local

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

government and other public bodies not within the remit of the PC A. The and remit of the two bodies was demonstrated by the fact that the

similar function

same person was In light of the at the

hold both positions.

to

civil rights

grievances detailed in

Cameron, which was published

Com-

time of the third communique, recording that a Commissioner for

plaints

CFC was of much greater potential significance

was being introduced, the

because the majority of allegations of discrimination had been levelled against local authorities rather than central government The major exception was the

Northern Ireland proportionate

Civil Service

which by the

the lower levels; in 1970 the Parliamentary

extend

its

late

1960s had an approximately

32 number of Catholic personnel but

these were concentrated Commissioner Act was amended

remit to include personnel matters in the Civil Service.

The major limitation on the work of the Commissioner, was

at

to

PC A,

as in his role as

he had no power to consider the patterns of employment or provisions of government services; only to investigate individual complaints of religious

that

local

or political discrimination. This

is

of significance given that Catholic disadvan-

tage (as opposed to direct discrimination) in terms of

unemployment and con-

centration in unskilled sectors has persisted while findings of deliberate discrimi-

nation have been very few in relation to the

number of complaints. For example,

by 1972 the Commissioner had investigated approximately 1,570 complaints of maladministration, of which about 10% had alleged discrimination, and only one of these cases had been upheld

both the

(in

housing) and none in employment.

33

While

PC A and CFC were undoubtedly advances in that they provided redress

for the citizen in cases of maladministration, sufficiently forceful

it is

doubtful that they were seen as

by the minority community, and thus their contribution to

reducing grievances and disorder was limited.

As well as the CFC, four other principal reforms which were specific to Northern Ireland rather than being direct importations of British legislation, originated in the 1969-70 period. These were: the establishment of the Community Relations Commission (CRC) and its Ministry; legislation prohibiting incitement to religious hatred; the removal of housing responsibilities from local authorities to a centralised authority;

authority functions.

The

latter

and the centralisation of other

two were long processes and not completed

local until

1972.

The Ministry of Community Relations Act (NI) 1969 established the Ministry and was shortly followed by the Community Relations Act (NI) 1969 which established an independent Commission. This was composed of an equal number of prominent Protestants and Catholics, ten in total, and the PCA and the

CFC

as ex-officio member(s).

ment had decided

up Callaghan's idea promoted 1969.

to set

The purpose

objectives of the

a

According

to Faulkner, the

Commission but not

at the

Stormont govern-

a Ministry,, the latter being

inter-governmental meeting in

late

August

of a Ministry was probably to try to ensure that the

Commission would have more influence on government and

5

The Labour administration access to resources

if

1 969-70

represented

3

at

Cabinet

level.

A

potential disadvantage,

undermine the work of the CRC, was the unclear division of responsibility between the Minister and the Commission which was to lead to friction when the two bodies had a different conception of what precisely the function of the CRC was; or, more fundamentally, what exacdy did 'community relations' mean. The communique of October 1969, para. 14 stated that:

which was

to

Commission will include encouraging the establishment of harmonious community relations and advising Northern Ireland ministers on questions relating to community relations. The Commission will be authorised to assist local bodies concerned with community relations, to provide training courses, to promote conferences and to the duties of the

undertake research.

The

Minister would have the function of promoting awareness of community

relations

among

his colleagues, of administering legislation to provide

for amenities in socially deprived areas

funding

and of overseeing the functions of the

CRC. The concept of 'community relations' though vaguely defined, had two basic elements. One was to advise, and provide funds for, those groups 'on the ground'

independent

which were attempting

to

improve

social

and recreational amenities

in their

communities. This policy was largely based on the identification of a link between

and violence by the government and the hope that attempts to communal self-help might prove more successful than government paternalism. The second element of the CRC's work was an educative one: allied to material improvement was its role in combating sectarian attitudes and promoting cross-community activities. However, by the time it came into operation in December 1969 this second function was proving difficult to fulfil and most of the CRC's work was in the area of improving conditions within increasingly polarised working-class communities; a worthy aim but less ambitious than the promotional and anti-sectarian function also envisaged. The first chairman of the Commission, Hayes, and one of his deputies,

social deprivation

counter the former via

have both detailed the lack of a coherent strategy for a community programme, the problem of underfunding and the division of responsi35 bility. It is questionable whether either government had a clear strategy for the CRC; as much as it had a precedent upon which to draw it was the experience of racial problems in the USA and to a lesser extent in the UK, and it is arguable if Northern Ireland was comparable, especially once the national question became resurgent. Even if a coherent strategy could be developed based on the implicit belief in a relationship between social deprivation, popular grievance and disorder, the CRC felt that the constraints placed upon it by the Ministry prevented a sufficiendy dynamic approach being adopted. For example, the CRC could only allocate up to £20 to a project without prior ministerial approval and the Griffiths,

relations

Ministry never developed sufficient Cabinet support to ensure wholehearted

Stormont backing

for the community-relations policy.

Hayes

states:

British

36

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 96 9-89

a great difficulty in pursuing a coherent research

programme was

the need to secure

separate ministerial and Treasury approval for individual proposals and even then lack of direct access to argue the case. This caused a great deal of delay a reluctance to involve

academic and other researchers

proposals only to have them rejected at a later date.

The

Social

and confusion and,

in the trouble

finally,

of working up

6

Needs (Grants) Act 1970, administered by

the Ministry of

Com-

munity Relations, provided the statutory basis of the Commission's activities. It provided up to £0.5 million per annum over five years to be spent in areas of high social need.

This money was to be channelled through Community Development

Officers engaged in fieldwork and in liaison with local

community groups. The

which would build on local initiatives and increase confidence in communal self-help and put forward proposals in 1971 for an expansion in operations which would employ up to one hundred community workers in thirty project areas. This was never sanctioned by the Ministry and relations between it and the CRC declined further. Hayes and Griffiths resigned in 1972 and the CRC, which was regarded with some suspicion by local politicians, was wound up and the Ministry abolished by the power-sharing executive in 1974 (see chapter 4). The other specific piece of legislation intended to improve community relations and provide protection for the minority (although it could be used in the case of anti-Protestant agitation) was the Prevention of Incitement to Hatred (NI) Act 1970. It was modelled on British race-relations legislation, which did not apply in Northern Ireland, and, similarly, it was intended to indicate the govern-

Commission argued

for a policy

ment's liberal commitment to equality for

all

sections of society as stressed in the

1969 communique (Cmnd 4154) rather than proving effective in preventing inflammatory speeches or improving cross-communal relations. The Act made it an offence, with a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment, to publish or distribute written or other matter likely to stir

attacks

up hatred or arouse

on the

religion).

It

which was threatening, abusive or insulting or

fear in any part of the population. (This included

basis of race, colour

proved

difficult to

and ethnic or national origin

as well as

secure prosecutions for two reasons: intent had to

be demonstrated against the accused and the offence had to be committed against a specific person or persons, i.e. a general attack on an institution, society or church was not an offence. Such was the difficulty caused by this framing of the Act that only one prosecution was brought and this was unsuccessful. 37

The third reform of this period specific to Northern Ireland, rather than an adoption of British practices, was the centralisation of public-sector house building and allocation. As

Cameron had noted, allegations of discrimination in housing allocation had been a major part of the civil rights movement's protest; a blatant example of this in the Dungannon area had fuelled the protests of autumn 1968.

As mentioned above, Stormont had undertaken

to introduce a points

scheme

The Labour administration 1969-70

37

before British intervention in 1969. Centralisation and the corresponding loss of local authority powers

was only

likely to

was not popular with the majority of the Unionist Party and

be effected under pressure from Westminster.

The

decision to

was contained in the October communique (Cmnd 4178) and it should be noted that the question of discrimination was only one, and not the principal, stated reason for such a policy. The Stormont-commissioned Development 38 Programme for 1970-75 had advocated a housing expansion programme of 73,500 new starts over the five-year period to remedy the poor housing stock in Northern Ireland and to boost construction employment. The British government supported these proposals and para. 21 of the communique listed five advantages to be accrued from administration by a central agency; a common public -authority rent structure, the facilitation of geographical mobility which 39 would further regional development and employment, the attraction of betterqualified professional staff, various economies of scale, and the ending of allegacentralise

tions of sectarian discrimination.

The centralised

authority,

which was

to take over all the responsibilities

to

be named the Housing Executive, was

of local authorities, the three Development

Commissions and the Housing Trust,

a

body funded by central government

supplement the house-building programme of the

local

authorities.

to

The

meant that was not completed until mid 1972 and the organisational structure of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) will be dealt with below (see administrative details of such a large-scale transfer of responsibilities the process

chapter

3).

removed from the and centralised. The reasons were similar: it was predominandy part of the modernising and rationalising policy which O'Neill had embarked upon and which was also transforming local government in Britain, and partly a response to claims of discrimination. Following the White Paper of July 1969 a 40 review body was established in December 1969 to consider the reorganisation of local government. Its conclusions were published in 1970 in which it recommended the abolition of the existing structure of both the rural and urban district councils and the county councils and their replacement with twenty-six singletier authorities which were to retain only the functions carried out by 'lower-tier' authorities in the rest of the UK. Four area boards were to be created to administer Health and Social Services and five area boards to administer Education and Library Services. The committees of the boards would be appointees of central government and the new district councils were to be responsible to central government departments. Other functions removed from local administration were responsibility for planning, roads, water, sewerage and car parks which were to be directly controlled by the Ministry of Development. This process of reorganisation was to take until 1973. It should be noted that the undemocratic and bureaucratic tendencies in the Macrory proposals might, to an extent, have been offset by the continued In addition to housing, other major functions were to be

local authorities

38

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

existence of a devolved administration and one which was possibly going to be

enlarged; indeed Macrory presented these proposals on the assumption that

Stormont was

to

continue.

The

tend to exalt technical and

report did

professional administration over democratic control but as local democracy had, in

some

cases, taken sectarian

forms such centralisation could be seen as

progressive although sectarian abuse was only part of the reason for reform

among a

general trend of reorganisation to facilitate economic efficiency.

Conclusion

The main

feature of this period of initial intervention

is

the broad scope of

reforms either instituted or proposed, especially in the areas of social policy and security policy; particularly since there

communiques of 1969 and Labour's

was only ten months between the

defeat in 1970. This reflects the fact that

the opportunities for government action were considerable, given the articu-

movement and associated government had the important advantage over its successors in that it entered the arena with what appeared to be clearly defined tasks, before the resurgence of the national question and lated

and unexceptional demands of the

The

bodies for equality of treatment.

without their inheritance of failed

The second one

to

work

Civil Rights

British

initiatives.

important feature of this administration

solely

specific reforms, with constitutional blueprints

would be Unionist

is

that

it

was the only

through Stormont. This was determined by the belief that being of marginal significance,

community into the system of would preclude the need for prolonged

sufficient to re -integrate the minority political control. This, in turn,

British security

and administrative intervention. marked by a high level of bipartisanship between the

Thirdly, this period was

two main British parties. The Conservatives challenged neither the strategy of working through Stormont nor the attempts to improve the position of the minority through institutional and legislative reform.

Notes 1

'Text of a

Downing

St.

Communique and

on 19/8/69'

Cmnd 4154

2

ibid. p. 2.

3

SeeHamiH1985chs7and8.

4

Cmnd 4154 op. cit. p.

5

Text of a Communique

3.

issued on 29th August 1969 at the conclusion of the

of the Secretary of State for the 1969. 6

'Text of a

Communique

Home

Department

to

Northern Ireland'

Cmnd

visit

4158

issued following discussions between the Secretary of Department and the Northern Ireland Government in Belfast on 9th 10th October 1969' Cmnd 4178 1969.

State for the

&

Declaration issued after a meeting held at 10 1969.

Home

.

The Labour administration 1969-70

39

'The Future Development of the Parliament and Government of Northern Ireland'

7

Cmd 560 Belfast

1971.

8

Bew and

9

Hunt 'Report of the Advisory Committee on

Belfast

Patterson 1985 p. 22.

10

ibid. p. 163.

11

Scarman Report 'Violence and

Cmd 566 Belfast

Civil

ibid. p. 15.

13

ibid. p. 17.

14

ibid. p. 130.

15

ibid. p. 130.

16

See

17

Hunt op. cit. para. 80. From February 1971 all unarmed

18

Cmd 535

Disturbances in Northern Ireland in 1969'

1972.

12

1978

Police in Northern Ireland'

1969 paras 84-94.

Cmnd 4154

1969.

patrols

were withdrawn

in Belfast (Faulkner

p. 74).

HC Vol. 788 Col.

19

Healey

20

Rose 1971

154 13/10/69.

p. 146.

21

Farrell cited in

22

ibid. p. 185.

O'Dowd, Rolston and Tomlinson 1980 p.

23

HC Vol. 83

24

Matthew Report

25

Wilson Report 'Economic Development

1

cols

186.

285-7 23/2/72.

1

'Belfast Regional

Survey and Plan' in

Cmd 45 1

Belfast

Northern Ireland'

Cmd

1 963 479 Belfast

1965.

26

'Northern Ireland Regional Physical Development Strategy 1975-95' Belfast

1977.

27

Hoarel976p.

28

'Northern Ireland Development Programme 1970-1975'

29

ibid. para. 2.

10.

McGurnaghan and Sams 1977 p.

30

Davies,

31

This problem was

to

Cmd

547 Belfast 1970.

303.

be encountered by the Fair Employment Agency created in

1976.

32 See Birrell 1978b and 'Report of an Investigation by the Fair Employment Agency Northern Ireland into the non-industrial Northern Ireland Civil Service' FEA Belfast,

for

1983.

33

Palleyl972p.423.

34 35 36 37

Faulkner 1978

p. 68.

Griffiths 1974,

Hayes 1972.

Hayes

p. 93.

Twelfth Report of SACHR(HC 151) 1987 Appendix A,

consolidated in the Public Order (NI) Order 1981 and

p. 33. The 1970 Actwas amended by the Public Order (NI)

Order 1987. 38 'Northern Ireland Development Programme 1970-1975' Cmd 547 Belfast 1970. 39 The development plans of the 1960s (see p. 31) had endorsed a growth-centre strategy which would necessitate population movements. 40 Macrory Report 'Report of the Review Body on Local Government in Northern Ireland'

Cmd 546 Belfast 1970.

The

Conservative administration

1970-74

Introduction

The

Conservative Party came to power in June 1970 under the leadership of

Heath, winning 330 seats to Labour's 287 and having an overall majority of 30. radically

servative

new government's

policy would depart As Callaghan has recorded his Con'shadow' Quintin Hogg had been supportive of Labour policy in the

There was

little

to suggest that the

from that of

its

1

predecessor.

preceding two years and there was

little

indication that a Conservative lobby

one that had influence on the leadership, which advocated a reappraisal of Irish policy. Despite this, elements in the Unionist Party had hoped existed, or at least

2

owing to the links between the two parties, a Conservative administration would prove more sympathetic to them. This would fundamentally mean less supervision of the Stormont administration and rather more emphasis on 'law and order' and less on Catholic grievances. It seemed unlikely that there would be a significant change of policy direction. Firstly, Northern Ireland did not seem to be high on the political agenda of the Conservative leadership. Heath himself had never been associated with the Unionist lobby within the party and he was personally concerned with economic modernisation based on a revival of laissez-faire principles and entry into the European Community. Secondly, any shift which was perceived to be proUnionist or a retreat from the reforms instituted by the Labour government could have a potentially adverse effect on relations with the opposition and neither party wanted Ireland to become a contentious issue in British politics. Thirdly, as that,

indicated above, there was no significant lobby, either within his party or in Britain as a whole, which

was pressing Heath for a markedly different policy. However, there were developments in Northern Ireland itself which were to undermine the general policy of building on the strategy which had been inherited. In

1970 there had been a continuing fragmentation and evolution of

the party system and a resurgence of nationalism with a worsening of relations

between the army and the Catholic population.

Among

the

more

significant of

The Conservative administration

1 970-74

41

these events was the increasing prominence of Unionists opposed to further

concessions to the Catholic community and to O'Neill's perceived liberalism. In

March

five

Unionist

MPs had been expelled

the government in a vote of confidence,

from the party

for failing to support

among them Craig who came to be one of

the leading figures in 'hardline' loyalism, and an advocate of stronger security

measures against the resurgent IRA and an opponent of political accommodation 3 Paisley, another who came to symbolise loyalist intransigence, was elected to Stormont in a by-election in

with the representatives of the minority community.

was elected to Westminster. The importance of these developments was that the British policy of working through Stormont was likely to be that much more difficult if the Unionist Party (no other was likely to be able to form an administration) could no longer count on the support of the majority community. In an attempt to stem factionalism within the Unionist Party and April and in June

head off support for those outside the party, like Paisley, O'Neill resigned in March and was replaced as leader by Chichester-Clark who was considered to be more capable of placating the hawkish element within the party. A similar process of political recasting was taking place outside the unionist community. In April the Alliance Party was formed and specifically aimed to provide a moderate bi-confessional alternative in Northern Ireland.

Of greater

was the creation of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 4 in August from nationalist, labourist and civil rights elements in the province. As this party was soon to establish itself as the dominant one in the Catholic community it was to be an integral part of the later 'power-sharing' initiatives especially as the Northern Ireland Labour Party continued to decline and the British Labour Party gravitated to the SDLP as the most effective and repre5 sentative political counterweight to unionism in Northern Ireland. significance

If the fluid state

of party politics

made British policy more difficult to effect so IRA in 1970 following the split in the

too did the rise of the Provisional

Republican movement

end of 1969 with the advocates of a physical force 6 dominance. The implications of resurgent Republicanism for the policy of reform was immense: if the question of the legitimacy of the Northern Ireland state's existence rather than the question of equality of treatment within it became the dominant ideological force in Catholic politics the reform strategy would have obvious limitations. The prospects for Republicanism asserting itself were helped by: the worsening Catholic-army relations which date from approximately the accession of the Conservative government; the riots in Ballymurphy, West Belfast in April and the strategy

Falls

establishing

at the

their

Road curfew ofJuly are

often cited as the turning-point in the deterioration

between (elements of) the Catholic population and the army. Bew and Patterson (1985) have argued that the 'drift' towards an emphasis on security from 1970 and away from social and economic reform, which Labour criticised, 7 was, however, already detectable towards the end of Labour's tenure. This reflected a feeling of frustration that the reform package of the 1969 comin relations

42

British

government policy in Northern Ireland

1 969-89

muniques (see chapter 2) had not prevented an increase in the level of violence, and a realisation that a quick resolution of the 'problem' was diminishing. The above is only a brief overview of the complex of political developments of 1970. not to be exhaustive but to highlight how the'se developments might undermine the British policy of support for the Unionist administration. If

The main point is it

could not effect Catholic acquiescence without alienating the Protestant

population and cause a further fragmentation of the unionist bloc, backing

Chichester- Clark would be a policy producing fewer returns.

Constitutional policy

June 1970 to Direct Rule

The

initial

period of the Conservative administration did not contain any major

rethinking by the British government in the direction of constitutional reform. In

was because the only realistic alternative to support for the Unionist government appeared to be direct rule which most commentators did not see as being advantageous for the government; partly because it was not clear exactly why its introduction would improve the situation. In the House of Commons in April 1971 Wilson said of Direct Rule: 'the Government of which I was the head would have said that it was the last thing we would have considered, and I believe 8 that this is the position of the present Government\ Wilson went on to say that he opposed the introduction of direct rule because he did not consider that it would materially affect the problems of security and violence. The army had operational control of security although the constitutional control was shared between Stormont and Westminster through the Ministry of Defence. At this time Labour did not want the British government to take direct control but rather be less susceptible, as they saw it, to the hawkish elements in the Unionist Party 9 and allow Faulkner less latitude in the formulation of security policy. The introduction of internment in August 1971 (see pp. 56-60) brought into sharp relief two fundamental problems. Firstly, it had the effect of unifying Catholic opposition to the Faulkner government and thus made the strategy of attempting reform through Stormont increasingly problematic; and secondly it heightened doubts, especially among the Labour opposition, that the Joint Security Committee established in 1969 was an adequate vehicle for Westminster's supervision of Stormont security policy. Most of the speculation about possible constitutional developments came from part, this

the opposition in this period. In

September 1971 Wilson proposed the estab-

lishment of a Commission as a means to increase Westminster's control of

Stormont.

would

The Commission would be composed of MPs of both parliaments and

members of an enlarged Northern Ireland Senate to ensure a wider cross-section of the Northern Ireland community than that provided by also include

elected

MPs. It would have recommend the

tion or to

the

power

to scrutinise

introduction of

new

and delay Stormont legislaWestminster in

legislation to

The Conservative administration 1 970-74 default of Stormont so doing.

For example,

to introduce further reforms at a

43 it

would intervene

if

Stormont

failed

pace considered desirable by Westminster.

Its

powers could also extend to a study of the Special Powers Act and make it subject to annual renewal by Westminster and to the monitoring of public expenditure to ensure that

it

was equitably distributed both geographically and between the two

communities. This proposal should be seen as an attempt to stave off direct rule rather than as a drift towards

it.

It

was, however, somewhat unrealistic in that

such a degree of scrutiny might undermine what credibility Stormont had

was

also the constitutional difficulty that the

and There

left

precipitate direct rule rather than reduce the chances of its introduction.

Government of Ireland Act 1920 did little room for

not furnish mechanisms for closer scrutiny in this form; there was

manoeuvre between the In

existing relationship

November 1971 Wilson

and prorogation or

abolition.

further refined his constitutional proposals

advocating long-term reunification based upon a constitution agreed by representatives

Dail, Stormont and Westminster and to come into agreement was reached. It was unlikely that any of the would take this proposal seriously, advocating as it did that

drawn from the

effect fifteen years after the

parties to the conflict

the Republic of Ireland rejoin the

Commonwealth

and, as an incentive to

be forthcoming to and range of social security provisions in the Republic. These proposals by Wilson, and Callaghan's tentative suggestions for an all-Ireland council to consider joint economic and security initiatives, had little influence on the Conservative government. They seemed largely designed to allow Wilson to unionists, the suggestion that British financial support should

improve the

level

contrast his

own

activity to the inertia

constitutional policy

The Northern

when faced with

among

a rapidly

the Conservatives in the field of

worsening

Ireland government produced two

situation.

Command

Papers in

late

community and also to the British government the degree to which the demands of the civil rights movement had been satisfied. The first, entitled 'A Record of Constructive 10 Change', was published in August and detailed the advances made in the reform programme agreed with the British government in 1969. These included 1971, both of which were intended to demonstrate to the minority

the reform of local government, the centralisation of many of its functions to area

boards and the extension of the franchise, the creation of the Housing Executive, the establishment of the Ministry of Community Relations

Commissioner, who

in his

and the Parliamentary

second Annual Report recorded that he had found no

evidence of discriminatory or culpable action by organs of central government.

The paper argued that the Northern Ireland government was not content with the minimum reforms of the 1969 agreements but was seeking to further safeguards against discrimination. In June 1971 Faulkner had announced that those companies tendering for government contracts would be required to give

an undertaking not to practise religious discrimination and the government was

now considering

similar measures to cover the private sector, although progress was dependent on the active co-operation of the trade unions and employers'

44

British

representatives.

One

reform of security

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

made was

that of

in the five-point

reform

area in which progress had not been

legislation.

This had been included

November 1968 but changes to the Special Powers Act were unlikely to be made while violence continued at the present level. The Green Paper was to have little impact as the introduction of internment in August and the killing of two Catholics by the army in disputed circumstances in

plan discussed with Wilson in

July had effectively undermined the legitimacy of Stormont in the eyes of the

Catholic community.

The

refusal of the British

government

to hold a public

inquiry into the two deaths precipitated the boycott of Stormont by the

and the establishment of an

SDLP

alternative, albeit short-lived, assembly. Against this

background, the detailing of the implementation of the reform programme as an indication of government good faith had become of marginal significance.

The same criticism may be levelled against the Green Paper of October 1971, 'The Future Development of the Parliament and Government of Northern 11 which was also insufficient to deal with the Ireland: A Consultative Document; of the situation given the SDLP boycott, although in June 1971 the had welcomed the committee proposals. The paper oudined three reasons for the review of central government: the major reorganisation of local government would increase the burden on the central administration, the lack of acceptance of the present system of Stormont by the minority and the government's desire for unity within the province. The proposals were thus aimed at improving the functioning of Stormont and increasing the role of non-unionist parties represented in it. Three new functional committees in the lower house to cover Social Services, Environmental Services and Industrial Services were proposed; their functions being to consider policy, to review the performance of the executive and consider legislation at the committee stage. The committees were to be broadly representative of the relative party strengths within the House and two of the four (the three new ones plus the existing Accounts Committee) would be chaired by opposition members. The other major proposals were the possibility of introducing alternatives to the first-past-the-post system with STV being the favoured option, and to increase the number of seats in the Commons by between twenty and thirty from realities

SDLP

the existing figure of fifty-two. Both these measures would be likely to increase the representation of members of the minority

community and those outside the two principal confessional groups, i.e. the Alliance and the NILP. The Senate was also to be enlarged to include representatives of local government and individuals outside the

main party groupings. Faulkner was

also prepared to

consider persons outside the Unionist Party and persons who were not members of the Commons for Cabinet positions. This move had predated the publication

of the Green Paper, since in April 1971 Bleakley, a member of the NILP and at that time not a Stormont MP, had been appointed Minister of Community Relations.

Under

was limited

to six

1920 Government of Ireland Act his tenure was not a member of the House of Commons.

a provision in the

months

as he

The Conservative administration

More

significant, in

1 970-74

45

view of the increasing polarisation in Northern Ireland, were

the limitations on reform of central government.

was

specifically ruled out.

The concept of power sharing who did not uphold the

Faulkner argued that people

Union and renounce violence could not

exercise collective responsibility with

Unionists. Para. 38 stated:

Government

the

believes that suggestions for a form of 'Proportional Representation

Government' where the

would be represented

parties in Parliament

in the executive in

proportion to their strength, are fundamentally unrealistic.

The need

to bolster Faulkner's position

made

to press for further reforms or question the

the 'Constructive Change' paper.

February 1971,

the British government unwilling

pace of implementation as outlined in

A speech by Maudling, the Home Secretary, in

illustrated that the

government thought

caused by

that disorder

grievances had been superseded by that of insurrection:

movement forward of the reform programme, we now been cast back in the last few weeks into this turbulence and violence once again, particularly in the streets of Belfast. Surely it may be that there is a linkage between these it is

deeply disturbing that despite the

have

two things. Because the reform programme was going ahead, because there was more peace and quiet in Belfast, so the people whose tool of trade

compelled

to start a

long cherished.

new campaign of violence

is

violence

felt

that they

to achieve the objectives that they

were

have so

12

From the introduction of direct rule to the

1973 White Paper

March 1972 as the division of responsibility for was becoming increasingly untenable to Westminster in view of the worsening violence (1972 was to be the worst year for deaths in Northern Ireland) and there was no indication that Faulkner's tentative proposals for constitutional reform were sufficient to appease the Catholic community whose attitudes had been further hardened by the incident of 'Bloody Sunday' in January 1972. Control of security was the touchstone of the meeting between Faulkner and Heath and their respective senior colleagues on 22 March. Faulkner was prepared to compromise on the other demands of the British government - the gradual phasing out of internment, and a referendum designed to remove the question of the border from the day-to-day political scene - but relinquishing control of security would remove the last vestiges of dignity from Stormont and Direct rule was introduced on 24 security

Faulkner resigned.

The

suspension of Stormont was designed to be short-term.

of the Ireland Act 1949, Stormont was to be prorogued

Under

initially for

the terms

one year and

Westminster would assume 'full and direct responsibility for the administration of Northern Ireland until a new political solution to the problems of the Province can be worked out in consultation with

all

concerned'.

13

This was

to include

representatives of paramilitary groups as well as constitutional politicians,

and

46

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

the remainder of 1972 saw a succession of talks aimed at trying to establish sufficient

common ground between

sentative institution in

the groupings to reconstitute a repre-

Northern Ireland.

The suspension of Stormont, later to be followed by its abolition in the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973, was constitutionally uncontroversial in that both the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and the Ireland Act 1949 subordinated the Northern Ireland parliament to that of Westminster.

The

administrative and legislative arrangements necessitated by prorogation were dealt with by the

Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972. Legislation

be made by Orders in Council rather than by integrating it into the British system. This was because the government intended some form of devolutionary

was

to

structure to be established (though not necessarily with the

same

responsibilities

Stormont had previously enjoyed) and it would thus be easier to devolve power if legislative machinery was kept separate. The disadvantage was that, pending devolution, Orders in Council were not subject to the same scrutiny and amendment as conventional legislation in the Commons. Orders placed before the House had to be accepted or rejected in the form presented. This, allied to the small amount of time allocated to Northern Ireland matters in the Commons and the decision not to establish a Northern Ireland Committee, became a source of complaint for Northern Ireland representatives, Executive administration was vested in the newly created Secretary of State and his ministerial team which, through the Northern Ireland Office, would be responsible for the ministerial duties formerly held by the Stormont Cabinet. William Whitelaw was appointed Secretary of State, replacing the Governor as Chief Executive and assuming responsibility for security. His deputies were David Howell (responsible for Finance, Commerce and Agriculture), Paul Channon (Health and Social Security and Education) and Lord Windlesham 14 (Development, Community Relations and Home Affairs). The centralisation of many local government powers in Stormont and then the removal of Stormont itself had reduced the role of elected representatives in Northern Ireland, and in order to offset what has been compared to a quasicolonial form of administration an advisory commission was established to facilitate some local input into the policies of the Secretary of State and the Northern Ireland Office. Unionists were to boycott it in protest at the introduction of direct rule; however eleven members were appointed by Whitelaw on 25 May, drawn from various agencies in the Province, including the trade unions, the Police Authority, along with a

member

of

LEDU

and an academic repre-

sentative.

Although the details had not then been appraised, the policy of the government centred upon securing conditions for the revival of a devolved institution. It was thought this process might be facilitated by the continuing fragmentation of unionist politics which occurred as positions on direct rule were struck. Constitutional nationalists,

now

largely represented

by the

SDLP, were

unlikely to

The Conservative administration

1 970-74

47

settle for less than a guaranteed position within a new executive and attempts would be made to create or encourage a unionist grouping which would also countenance such a development. As indicated above, the way in which direct rule was introduced and its being subject to annual renewal indicated that it was seen primarily as a short-term measure; a necessary- response to the crisis

in security.

Devolution as an end had advantages in the lack of alternatives. Withdrawal

and/or a united Ireland were not seen as

realistic

and of

little

influence on

either front bench given the undertaking of the 1949 Act in respecting the

legitimacy of northern majority consent. Wilson and Callaghan's tentative

proposals concerning institutional arrangements with the Republic possibly leading to unity in the long term would have to be based on consent in

Northern Ireland. This would

entail

a

tripartite

arrangement of which a

devolved structure to provide Northern Ireland representatives would be necessary.

The

option of

full

Union of 1801 and

was also not favoured by either of the would risk recreating the problems of the 15 blunder of the first magnitude\

integration

British parties. Callaghan thought

be: 'an historic

it

Integration also had

little support in Ireland. Relations with the Republic and with the nationalist parties in the north would be worsened by such a policy and it was advocated by only an insignificant number of unionists, for

example

Paisley. Direct rule

provoked

little

parliamentary opposition, apart

from that of the Unionists, and there were only eighteen votes cast against the second reading and thirteen against the third reading on the 29 March. Direct rule

stepped up

itself

its

did nothing to reduce violence in the short term as the

campaign and the death

period immediately following direct rule

rate increased. it

16

IRA

However, during the

has been suggested that elements in

the Provisionals were considering the possibility of political negotiations rather solely on British a bombing campaign to precipitate There was also pressure among the Catholic community and from constitutional nationalists for a reduction in violence, and this led to the ceasefire of late June 1972. This was followed by talks between the Provisional leadership and Whitelaw in London. The main reason why Whitelaw was prepared to include paramilitaries in 18 political discussions was to ascertain the political position of the IRA. The Provisionals were a significant force in the situation which could not be ignored and a ceasefire would allow a breathing space while longer-term political and security policy could be formulated. If it were possible to bolster the 'political' element within the movement, this might both reduce violence and prepare the ground for its involvement in some form of internal settlement. It has been suggested that rather than push the Provisionals towards 'politics' the government wanted to demonstrate their basic 19 inflexibility and commitment to violence; thus the exclusion of the Provisionals from further political negotiations would be seen to stem from

than

reliance

withdrawal.

17

48

British

their irredentism rather than

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

from the government refusal to listen to all parties to

the conflict. 20

are beyondthe scope of this the commitment to use of arms remained and book but, for whatever reasons, the further political negotiation. Despite the them from thus tended to preclude truce collapsed after a fortnight on the 9 the granting of 'special category status' low profile, having adopted a moved into the no-go Army, July and the British campaign. From then on the emphasis bombing areas following a renewed

The

internal political shifts of the Provisionals

switched to the constitutional parties.

sanguine about moving

It is

doubtful

if

the government were too

the Provisionals towards involvement in a political

settlement, but the negotiations

had allowed them

to

demonstrate the other's

unreasonableness.

A discussion paper on Northern Ireland policy, the Northern Ireland Office's 'The Future of Northern Ireland' was published in October 1972. This followed on constitutional initiatives held at Darlington in September to which the political parties were invited. The prospects for any advance looked slender; the fragmentation of political groupings had not produced a realignment towards the centre, i.e. those wishing for accommodation with representatives of the other community. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), formed by Paisley and Boal in September 1971, boycotted the talks over the lack of a judicial inquiry into the deaths of two men in a confrontation between the army and Protestants on the Shankill Road. The three main nationalist parties, the SDLP, the Nationalist Party and the Republican Labour Party, boycotted the conference owing to the continuation of internment. (Attempts were in progress to find alternative measures but until concluded the government would not commit itself to unilaterally phasing out internment). This left in attendance the NILP, the Unionist Party and the Alliance. The government's thinking centred on a devolved assembly with broad crosscommunity support, but the submissions by those present, and papers submitted to Whitelaw by those boycotting, offered little encouragement for this policy. For a conference

example, of the principal unionist groups the Ulster Unionists advocated a

unicameral

representative

majoritarian principle, and

institution its

with

the

members drawn from

executive

formed on the

the largest party. Control of

policing was to be returned to the assembly (or whatever

name

it

was given) and

the role of Dublin restricted to co-operation in the suppression of terrorism and

an affirmation of Northern Ireland's right to self-determination, such as a statement by the Taoiseach recognising Northern Ireland. The DUP, by contrast, favoured full integration into the

UK

on the grounds

that any

new

assembly/parliament would not have the same powers as Stormont had enjoyed.

For the

nationalists, the

SDLP

favoured an assembly elected by

STV, and

executive positions proportional to the party strengths. Security would remain

under the control of Westminster and the Republic would be directly involved through the creation of joint sovereignty, which would be an interim stage to

The Conservative administration unification by consent.

paralleled those of the

The

1

970-74

49

proposals of the

NILP and

the Alliance broadly

SDLP on the composition of the assembly and the control

of security, but the former specifically rejected what was to become Irish

known as 'the

dimension' and any involvement by the Republic in discussions on 21

Northern Ireland's political future. Given the lack of consensus between the parties, the British government laid down the minimum requirements and parameters for political developments in the discussion paper. The main emphasis was on a revised form of assembly. Attlee's pledge in the

1949 Act concerning the consent principle ruled out

joint

sovereignty or the repartition of Northern Ireland, and para. 73 ruled out

independence, given that Britain could not maintain financial or military support while conceding virtual sovereign status. Integration, as argued above, enjoyed

Westminster and was not seriously entertained by the paper, it had little support in Northern Ireland, would make relations with the Republic more difficult, and increase the legislative burden on little

support

which noted

at

that

Westminster.

Having established a devolved assembly as its favoured option (since was not on the agenda owing to the lack of consent) para. 79 laid down that it would be necessary to receive cross-community support: 'real participation should be achieved by giving minority interests a share in the exercise of executive power'. To relate these proposals back to the Darlington submissions it was clear that any institutionalised Irish Dimension would conflict with the positions of the DUP, the Ulster Unionist Party and the NILP, and guaranteed executive positions for minority parties were acceptable only to the last of these parties. The government's strategy now rested on hopes for a further realignment of unionist groups producing some which would support the power-sharing unification

concept.

The

question of the Irish dimension was the second major element of the

paper. Interdependence between north and south in the areas of security and

economic policy, as well as the impending common membership of the EEC from 1 January 1973, were arguments supporting a closer relationship. Para. 78 stated that: 'whatever arrangements are

made

for the future administration of

Northern Ireland must take account of the province's relationship with the Republic of Ireland'. As with many of the official statements and communiques concerning the Irish dimension this paragraph is a model of non-specificity.

However,

if

the 1949 Act ruled out either sovereignty by the Republic or joint

acknowledge the legitimacy of the Republic's which was more explicit than any time since the abortive Council of Ireland provided for in the 1920

sovereignty, this section did

interest in the evolution of Northern Ireland policy at

Government of Ireland Act. This recognition laid the foundation for the resurframework which would come to the fore in the following

rection of the Council year.

Before the proposals were fashioned into a White Paper a referendum was

50

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

held on the constitutional position of Northern Ireland. With the introduction of

Heath had committed the government to a plebiscite on the grounds would reassure the people of the province that their consent would be 22 and that this would have the effect of bringing greater respected on its future province. The Border Poll, as it was termed, was held on 8 political stability to the provisions of the Northern Ireland (Border Poll) Act March 1973 under the questioned the value of such a poll when Heath had first 1972. Labour had was also critical of its timing. Labour felt that the poll announced it and the party Paper on constitutional the White proposals and feared that it should not precede tensions. Another community problem was that there were was likely to heighten which vote; Northern Ireland remaining for to as part of the UK, only two choices direct rule,

that

it

new administration The nationalist parties advocated a boycott and on a turn-out

or joining the Republic. Possible internal arrangements for a

were not canvassed.

of 58.5% retaining the British link had a majority of 591,820 votes to 6,463 respectively

The

57.5% and 0.6% of the

electorate.

1973 White Paper and the Sunningdale Conference

The White Paper published in

March

Paper and outlined

'Northern Ireland Constitutional Proposals' which was 1973, reiterated the points five principal

made

in the

1972 Discussion

areas which, although not enjoying all-party

agreement, were considered by the government to be the possible basis of political

advance. These were

legislative

some form of devolved

institution; a

unicameral

assembly of between eighty and one hundred members; an important

committee structure within the executive; codification of human rights and freedoms; and institutional arrangements for co-operation and consultation on an all-Ireland basis. The preamble to the White Paper recognised the need to co-operate with the Republic on social and economic issues and to facilitate

role for a

effective regional policies

through co-operation in the

main

constitutional proposals

more

likely to reflect the divisions in the unionist

EEC.

It

then dealt with the

which would form the basis of a following Bill, having reaffirmed the pledge of the 1949 Act bolstered by the Border Poll result. The assembly itself was to be granted legislative and executive powers since the government felt that the devolution of substantial authority would be an incentive for the Northern Ireland parties to make it work and it would reduce the burden on Westminster. It was to have approximately eighty members elected by STV based on the existing twelve Westminster election constituencies. STV was

community and

potentially

allow smaller party representation which would increase the chances of support for the government's plans for the constitution of the assembly.

The heads of the Northern Ireland departments would be drawn from assembly members and would collectively form the executive. To ensure a close link between executive and legislature and to ensure that assembly members were closely involved

in policy

making, each head of department was to be

1

The Conservative administration

1

970-74

5

chairperson of a functional committee which would be associated with policy

development as well as reviewing departmental

activities.

This procedure would

replace the non-elected Advisory Commission, an interim the Northern Ireland loss of power

(Temporary Provisions) Act 1972

to

body established by compensate for the

by local representatives.

government belief that the majority of people in both to succeed and that: 'it is the view of the Government that the Executive itself can no longer be solely based upon any single party'; a wider base than simple majority rule was necessary. Therefore the composition of the executive would have to be proportionate to the party Para. 52 expressed the

communities wanted the Assembly

strengths in the assembly to prevent the abuses associated with the one-party rule

of Stormont. In answer to

critics

who argued

that these proposals

were undemo-

unworkable the government maintained that majority rule only worked equably where there was alternation of parties forming the administration.

cratic or

While wishing to emphasise the powers of the assembly and its potential role in political co-operation, Westminster was to reserve any matters which could prove to be a source of controversy or which were likely to cause a stalemate in the assembly's operation. Electoral and legal arrangements, including franchise qualifications and the appointment of judges and magistrates, and security policy were to be outside the competence of the assembly though all had previously been within the remit of Stormont. The sovereignty of Westminster was underlined in that it could overrule any assembly decision concerning transferred matters, which were to be largely those of Stormont with the exception of those cited above, and therefore examples encouraging cross-community

included education, housing, social services, industrial development, environ-

ment and

agriculture.

To

compensate

for security

being a reserved matter the

executive was to have an advisory role in the formulation of policing policy and the district councils

were also accorded an advisory

role to the executive

and the

Secretary of State as partial compensation for their loss of 'upper-tier' respon-

government reorganisation. on the Council of Ireland stated:

sibilities after local

The As

section

far as the

United Kingdom

formation of such a body.

The

Ireland institutions to consult

No

is

concerned,

it

favours and

constitutional proposals

is

prepared to

facilitate

the

would permit the new Northern

and co-ordinate action through

a

Council of Ireland.

23

would be written into the Bill as discussions about a form and responsibility would have to follow the development of the assembly and negotiations between it, the Republic and the UK. Therefore nothing categorical could be stated about the form and functioning of the council until after the elections to the assembly due to be held in June 1973. The other main provisions of the White Paper were related to the details of the relationship between the Assembly and Westminster. Legislation passed by the Assembly would be nullified if considered discriminatory - a final safeguard if the specific provisions

council's viability,

5

52

British

statutory

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

and non-statutory agencies established since 1969

failed to prevent

was to have employment which had been the source of Catholic grievance under Stormont. Financial provisions were broadly similar to those that had existed in the previous period of devolved government. The assembly was to have no power to raise taxes apart from locally based forms of revenue such as rates and licence fees. Devolved services would be financed by the yield of attributed taxes (the Northern Ireland share of centrally collected taxes in proportion to its population) which would be paid back via the Consolidated Fund of the UK. The difference between locally generated revenue and that needed to maintain parity of services and benefits would be paid discrimination. This was considered necessary since the assembly

control of areas such as housing and public-sector

in

an annual subvention by the Secretary of State.

The Debate on the White Paper in the Commons demonstrated the broad support among the British parties for the government proposals, and this was reflected in a vote of

argued

329—

24

supporting the proposals. Unionists and Devlin

that the proposals provided

an attenuated and unworkable form of

democracy. Whitelaw was unmoved by these the limits ... on power-sharing laid

down

in the

objections and reiterated that:

White Paper within which the Secretary

of State could devolve powers to an Executive and the limits within which an Executive could be formed, are absolutely clear and must be kept absolutely firm.

The

25

debates on the second and third readings of the Constitution

Bill

covered

ground to that of the White Paper. Whitelaw emphasised that the committee structure of the assembly would bridge the gap between assembly members and the executive, that relations with the Republic were to be part of any settlement, and that there was nothing inherently difficult or unworkable in similar

the proposals. The Unionists were unconvinced, arguing that the executive would be both distant from and unanswerable to the assembly as the former had to work under the directive of the Secretary of State and his 'pro-consular' 26 position. The normal chain of responsibility between executive and legislature

could not function.

This problem had especial significance for the unionists because the executive was to have the power under Section 12 of the Act to 'consult on any matter with any authority of the Republic of Ireland' and 'enter into agreements or arrange-

ments with any authority of the Republic of Ireland in respect of any transferred matter'. This could be interpreted as an attempt to force in the Irish Dimension via the executive in face of the opposition of a substantial part of the legislature.

Relations were not helped if

at this stage

by Callaghan's remark

in

Committee

that:

there were an attempt by the majority in Northern Ireland to sabotage the Assembly

should regard

it

That should be

as Britain's responsibility to say that

clearly understood,

and

This was taken by some unionists

it is

said in

no

we

shall reconsider

spirit

of threat.

to imply that a future

I

our position.

27

Labour government

The Conservative administration 1970-74

53

would not be bound by clause 1 of the new Act which pledged that Northern Ireland would remain part of the UK as long as the majority desired it, and which replaced the section of the 1949 Act which had granted the decision on the union to the Northern Ireland parliament. The Northern Ireland Constitution Act was passed in July 1973, post-dating the Assembly elections, and gave statutory effect to the White Paper proposals. The establishment of the assembly and the form and powers of the executive were supported by a clarification of the area of legislative and financial competence of Westminster and a pledge to establish a Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights to advise the Secretary of State on the operation of law and its effectiveness in providing redress for grievances (see p. 84 for details).

The election took place on 28 June 1973 under the Northern Ireland Assembly Act of May. Seventy-eight seats were contested on the STV system using the existing twelve Westminster constituencies; the same system had been adopted in the local elections of the previous month. The official report on the 28 election records that the reasons for the introduction of STV were not explicitly stated by ministers but were probably a combination of hoped-for political effects, an increase in small and non-confessional party representation, and the practical constraint of lack of time to effect boundary revisions which would ensure a fair first-past- the -post form of election. The results of the election did 29 reveal further splits in the Unionist groupings and gave the British government hope as a majority of seats were won by those who fought on a pro power-sharing platform. However if the form of voting had been designed to bolster centre parties

it

did not have the desired effect.

0.25% of the

The

report estimated that less than

transferred vote crossed the sectarian divide and the non-sectarian

and the NILP, fared badly. by Faulkner who endorsed the White Paper, gained 24 seats. The anti-White Paper Unionists gained a total of 26 seats, comprising 8 anti-Faulkner Unionists, 8 members of the Democratic Unionist Loyalist Coalition (DULC) led by Paisley, 7 members of the Vanguard Unionist Loyalist Coalition led by Craig and 3 for the West Belfast Loyalist Coalition. The total anti- White Paper vote was just over 35%. The SDLP, supporting the power-sharing proposals, emerged as the second party with 19 seats and the remaining 9 went to parties in support; 8 for the Alliance and 1 for the NILP. This gave a majority of 52-26 in favour of the government's proposals although the situation was somewhat fluid owing to the power struggle in the Unionist Party and the possibility of defections from Faulkner to the unpledged 30 unionists. A notable feature of the election was the relative solidity of the Catholic vote for the SDLP; for the first time in a Northern Ireland election no Nationalist Party candidate had been elected. Both the Nationalist Party and the Republican clubs had fought on an abstentionist ticket due to the continuation of

parties, Alliance, Liberals

The

Official Unionists, led

internment.

54

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

By November agreement had been reached between

the Alliance, the

SDLP

and the Official Unionists on the formation of the executive. This was a necessary development by which the longer-term element of the White Paper could be effected: the creation of a Council of Ireland based on negotiations between the executive, Dublin and Westminster. These were to take place before the executive was due to take office on 1 January 1974. The three parties which were to form the executive (those opposed to it were invited to only one session of the negotiations and refused to attend) and the two 31 There national governments met at Sunningdale from 6-9 December 1973. were three

crucial elements to the talks: the Irish government's acceptance of

majority consent in the north as essential for any constitutional change; the 32

and discussions on policing and judicial encompass both parts of Ireland. The Republic's delegation, led by Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, issued a communique stating that: 'the Irish Government fully accepted and solemnly declared that there would be no change in the status of Northern Ireland until a majority of people in Northern Ireland desired 33 A statement of what had been implicidy recognised by a change in that status'. the south for years did little to allay unionist fears as the British government failed to get the Irish government to agree to an amendment to the Constitution which would remove the articles claiming jurisdiction over the whole of the island. Even the limited extent of the communique provoked a challenge to its constitutionality. A High Court judgment ruled that the communique was not in conflict with the constitution as it did not acknowledge that Northern Ireland was part of the UK and was no more than a statement of policy. The Republic's failure to amend the Constitution was not unexpected but did not help Faulkner in his formulation of the Council of Ireland;

changes

to

attempt to

The

'sell'

own

the Sunningdale package to his

party or other Unionists.

other parties to Sunningdale put on record their positions on the status of

Northern Ireland. Britain added nothing

to that

contained in the 1973 Act with

the corollary to the majority consent principle that

majority in the north were to vote in favour.

it

would not oppose unity

if a

34

The final form of the Council of Ireland was to depend on further discussions between northern and southern representatives but these never materialised. An initial

projection formulated at Sunningdale

member

was

for a two-tier structure: a 14

executive Council of Ministers, 7 appointed by the Dail and 7 by the

assembly and a 60 member consultative and advisory assembly composed of equal numbers of members of the Dail and the assembly elected by the respective institutions by proportional representation. Decisions taken by the Council of Ministers would have to be unanimous to be enacted and its powers were envisaged to cover areas of mutual interest where all-Ireland co-operation could

be

beneficial, and indeed had existed to some degree between Stormont and the Republic. Examples included trade, energy, agriculture, tourism, transport and

cultural developments.

The

financing and staffing necessary for the operation of

the council was to be joindy undertaken by the Republic and Britain.

5

The Conservative administration

The provision

1 970-74

for the further delegation of powers to the council,

5

on the

basis

of agreement by both legislatures was potentially important and ambiguous.

This seemed

to

permit the possibility of the council effecting changes in the

constitutional position of

'Dublin

is

just a

all

Northern Ireland and fuelled Unionist fears that

Sunningdale away'. However, the unanimity clause concerning

Ministerial decisions

event that

35

would provide

a safeguard against this exdept in the unlikely

seven of the assembly's nominees on the council executive were in

favour of unification. Secondly, the structure of the council itself was premised on the existence of a Northern Ireland assembly and thus partition was implicitly accepted in the workings of the council. Even if the Unionists placed little faith in the Republic's statement of recognition, the structure itself would act largely as a bulwark against unification or the Republic's members taking an unwarranted interest in the north's affairs. In theory, the powers of the council could develop whereby it could vote partition out of existence but only if a majority in the north wanted it so the Union was not practically more at risk than without the existence of a council. What perhaps was more important for Unionists was that the British government was engaged in a process in which it saw a united Ireland as a possible end and was appearing to be agnostic on the question. The third element of the Sunningdale talks was that of security and possible reforms for joint initiatives. Britain's main concern was for a change in conditions of extradition which was precluded if the subject claimed political motivation for an offence. The constitutional and legal complexities precluded an immediate decision on extradition reform or on other possible changes such as the creation of all-Ireland courts or the right of courts to try offences committed in the other part of Ireland. Therefore, a Joint Law Enforcement Commission was estab36 lished which reported in May 1974. Further co-operation on 'normal' policing and law enforcement was to be considered following the diminution of terrorist violence through tripartite talks between the Council of Ministers and the Police authorities of Northern Ireland and the Republic. Power has argued 37 that on the balance of concessions Sunningdale was a 'victory' for Britain and the Unionists since the British government's declaration did not demand anything new of the government whereas Cosgrave had been seen to accept that a northern veto on unification was legitimate - a step further than previous administrations had taken. However, even if this analysis is correct it did not alter the fact that the Unionists saw the council's function as the start of a process towards unification as did the SDLP who insisted on stressing the Irish dimension and not resting content with the power-sharing element in the 1973 Constitution Act. The reason for this unwillingness to compromise was that reforms on policing and an end to internment were not forthcoming and the SDLP had to be offered something concrete by the government to retain its co-operation. Bew and Patterson argue that the Norchern Ireland Office had previously thought that the SDLP would accept a largely internal settlement to 38 justify its competition as an alternative to the Provisionals. However, the more

British

56

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

'green' element in the SDLP may have thought it necessary to retain the commitment to the Council so as not to be outflanked by the Provisionals, despite

the difficulties this presented Faulkner. Essentially, the vagueness of the

Sunningdale agreement which was necessary

newly created executive and the two governments only served opponents to focus on the parts that confirmed their suspicions.

to fuse together the to allow

its

'Quintessentially, the Sunningdale

Agreement refracted and obscured debate

the point that each participant could draw conclusions favourable to his particular political stance.'

and ambiguity'.

The

39

Farrell has described

it

as: 'a

to

own

masterpiece of balance

40

position of the executive elect

was made more

difficult

when

Faulkner,

the Chief Executive, resigned as leader of the Unionist Party on 7 January

following the rejection of the Council of Ireland proposals by the Unionist

Council, the party's ruling body. This was to add strength to the claim of

Unionists opposed to the settlement that the executive did not

fulfil

the criterion

of popular support in the province. As well as external opposition with which to contend, the executive, composed of six Unionists, four

member, was

SDLP and one Alliance SDLP

riven by internal discord, especially over security with the

refusing to give whole-hearted backing to the

RUC

and emphasising an

all-

Ireland approach to policing reform. Formulation of social and economic policy

was only rudimentary and the Assembly was later criticised for debating and manoeuvring over the ratification of Sunningdale rather than establishing itself as a credible legislative body.

41

The General Election of February 1974 provided opponents of the agreement with an opportunity to test its support and those Unionists opposed to the council

and power-sharing stood title

as the

United Ulster Unionist Council, an umbrella

for the anti-agreement Unionists, Craig's

coalition

was the

won 50.8%

sole supporter of the Executive to

parties with

members

Vanguard and Paisley's DUP. The

of the votes cast and eleven of the twelve seats. Gerry Fitt in the executive

be elected, the

total vote for the three

being 38.2%.

Security policy: the introduction of internment and the

Compton and

Parker reports

The Conservative government inherited the division of responsibility for security as devised in the

communique of

1969. This arrangement, whereby Stormont

retained control of legislation and the role of the

army was considered to be became increasingly unsatisfactory and subject to much criticism from the Labour opposition. Despite amendments to public order and firearms

short-term,

Stormont had been unable to prevent an increase in violence. 42 This increase, and a change in the pattern of violence from inter-communal rioting towards direct conflict between the security forces and the paramilitaries, particularly the IRA from early 1971, was to culminate in the decision to introduce legislation

The Conservative administration

1 970-74

57

internment in August 1971. This had serious repercussions as nationalist

opposition

Stormont,

to

severely

strained

it

party

heightened

relations

at

Westminster and revealed the problems of the somewhat blurred division of responsibility

The

between the two governments.

Westminster and Stormont was and based on whether it would be effective against the IRA. Westminster was prepared to accept it if Stormont considered it necessary and would not rule it out on principle as being unacceptable in a democratic state. In a debate in April 1971 Maudling argued that internment had to be assessed on its merits and could not be ruled out if likely to be effective in reducing 43 However, at that time the army felt that internment would be violence. attitude towards internment at both

largely pragmatic

counter-productive.

Westminster's

marks a

laissez-faire

attitude

shift in security policy,

towards the question of internment

allowing Stormont

Downing

Street Declaration Stormont

much more Under

security decisions than in the previous two years.

of a role in

the terms of the

had nominally retained control of

and now it had come much more to the fore than in 1969. Bew et al. claim: 'from August 1971 to February 1972 Faulkner was given his head, and army, not to say Ministry of Defence, opinion was systematically overruled. security

This was certainly the case with respect

This would seem Westminster.

The

to

to internment'.

44

have resulted from a change in perceptions

revival of

at

Republicanism and the change in the nature of

meant that the emphasis on institutional reform was becoming secondary to the need for a more aggressive stance against the IRA. If policy was evolving towards the primacy of security it has to be explained why this meant giving a freer hand to the Faulkner government. A principal reason was that Faulkner was seen as a 'last chance' by Westminster. Without concessions to him, his position would become more difficult with the right wing of his party culminating either in a Prime Minister under whom pacification of Northern Ireland seemed more remote or in the direct

violence alluded to above

intervention of Westminster.

At the time of the internment decision, Faulkner was both Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs and thus his was the final decision. In his 45 autobiography he claimed to be a late convert to the idea, not persuaded that its success in the 1956-62 campaign was of relevance to the 1971 situation. During the Chichester- Clark Government the few times in the Cabinet.

I

generally

possibility

argued against, and

of internment was discussed a I

recall at least

on which the Prime Minister appeared in favour and I attempted 46 backed up by other members of the Security Committee

two occasions

to dissuade him,

and it was only by July with the failure of political initiatives that a consensus was developing among security advisers that internment was a necessity. However this account might be coloured by hindsight and the

government policy

58

British

near-unanimous judgment Sunday Times (1972):

that internment

internment was not, as

it

was a

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

disaster.

According

might appear, Faulkner's response to mid-summer.

to the

When

he

March the issue was not whether internment was to By then Faulkner had been an advocate of internment

took over as Prime Minister on 23rd

come but when and on what scale.

inside Chichester-Clark's Joint Security

Committee

for six

months.

47

Faulkner also claimed that he favoured a more selective use of internment and

Maudling was concerned lest it should be used exclusively against Catholics and be seen as an overdy political act directed at silencing opposition. However, the initial 'swoop' of 337 men on the 9 August was aimed exclusively at Nationalists and not limited to those thought to be leaders or members of either branch of the IRA. The exact timetable of the drift towards internment and the relative influence of the factions within the Joint Security Committee and the security forces for and against it are difficult to determine given the nature of such an operation. However both Faulkner and the Sunday Times indicate that Tuzo, GOC since February 1971, was opposed to it and up until the end of July the army was engaged in considering alternatives none of which seemed likely to be more effective. To this extent internment was a policy of last resort. The failure to recognise the political consequences, allied to the operational problems of a lack of up-to-date intelligence and a relatively open border, was as much in evidence at Westminster as at Stormont. Maudling, Carrington, the Minister of Defence and Whitelaw, the leader of the Commons, offered no opposition to either internment />^r se or the details of its use and Tuzo was not consulted, apart from on technical details, at the meeting at the Ministry of Defence on 5 August when 48 internment was agreed upon. Westminster's response to internment was muted and circumscribed by its continued refusal to countenance direct rule. Faulkner relates that at a meeting with Heath, Maudling, Carrington and Home on 18 August full support for Stormont was reaffirmed. 49 Lynch, the Taoiseach's, call for the end of internment was rebuffed and direct rule was firmly renounced. In an emergency debate called by Labour in September, against a background of increasing violence, Wilson repeated his opposition to direct rule as not being of relevance in that

reducing violence. There were two elements to Wilson's criticism of the govern50 ment. Firsdy there was insufficient urgency concerning political initiatives and

Maudling had not visited Northern Ireland to explain the thinking behind

British

policy (a comparison with Callaghan's high profile of 1969).

The second

criticism

taken place during the

It had was an indication

concerned the timing of the internment decision.

summer recess which the opposition

felt

government was eager to avoid too close an examination of it by the House. This raised the suspicion that the decision was influenced more by hard-line Unionists than was acceptable, and thus politically selective, and the

that the

The Conservative administration

1 970-74

59

army and Westminster Ministers' opinions correspondingly carried too little Labour stated: 'A proper balance has to be struck between the preservation of Stormont's self-respect and the exercise of adequate Westminster influence. During the last year the balance has clearly slipped weight. Hattersley for

towards Belfast.'

51

There was some pressure from the Labour left and non-Unionist Northern MPs for Labour to divide the House in condemning internment. However, Callaghan rejected a call for a vote of censure on the grounds that it might encourage extremism in Northern Ireland. Bipartisanship should be maintained as a show of solidarity as the three Prime Ministers were meeting the following week to discuss internment and the wider political situation. As a compromise a commission of lawyers should be established to consider the cases of those held, whether or not they had invoked the right of appeal, and those against whom there was no evidence should be released. However, evidence in the judicial sense was often lacking which was precisely why internment had been Ireland

introduced.

Heath, in concluding the debate, denied that internment had been introduced

summer

during the

recess to avoid parliamentary scrutiny or that action

had

taken place against the army's advice. Faulkner's criterion for interning was such that

he placed no orders: 'without being

that the

person concerned was and

Provisional

campaign'.

satisfied

still is

on evidence placed before him

an active

member

wing of the IRA, or has been closely implicated

of the Official or in the recent

IRA

52

A number

of internees did not fulfil this criterion and the emphasis on meant that Heath had not managed to reassure those who, accepting internment might be justifiable, felt that it was used in a discriminatory fashion. This dissatisfaction led to 74 members (68 Labour) voting against the government despite Labour's official abstention. The subsequent months put further strain on bipartisan politics at Westminster with the allegations of ill-treatment of internees and the publication Nationalists

of the

On

Compton Report in November 1971 (see pp. 60-1). 29 November 1971 a major debate took place in which

for the first time

since the revival of the troubles the opposition voted against the

government, though the differences between the front benches were more of detail than of substance, and

seemed

bipartisan politics.

as

The

much to placate the

rank and

file

as to signal

an end to

motion, presented by Callaghan, included a disin-

and also called for a transfer of commission to consider political

clination to support a continuation of internment

security control to Westminster, a constitutional

advance and an end to interrogation in depth (see

p. 61).

The

debate did not

Labour would have introduced internment had they been in office. Hattersley argued that internment and the policy of mass house-searching had killed bipartisan policy and stated: resolve the question of whether

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

60 I

do not believe

that

my

Right Honourable Friend the Leader of the Opposition would

have countenanced internment or that he would have slavishly agreed to proposals of Mr Brian Faulkner, as did our present Prime Minister.

ment in principle and

He

in practice is as strong as

mine.

believe that his criticism of intern-

I

53

maintained that there were three elements to opposition: internment was

wrong

and adversely affected the between Stormont and Westminster. It seems unlikely that

in principle, counter-productive in practice,

distribution of power

Labour would have accepted that

resisted the pressure for internment given that Hattersley

could not be unconditionally dropped and that he conceded that

it

the Special Powers Act could not be repealed while violence persisted.

Thomson, shadow Defence spokesman, accepted

that full jury trial

might be

impossible owing to intimidation (thus anticipating Diplock) and focused on the

need

to

improve the internment procedure by informing the internees of the

nature of the charges against them and allowing them lawyers to represent them at the advisory

committee hearings. All internees had an automatic right of

appeal to the committee which had been established by Faulkner in September 1971. In a further effort to limit the scope of executive power and discretion

accorded

to the Minister

of

Home

Affairs,

Callaghan advocated making the

Special Powers Act subject to annual renewal and revision by Westminster and

argued that hearings should be instituted

at

which judges could assess the

credibility of the evidence against the internee, thereby introducing a quasi54 judicial element into the process. It was hoped this would avoid the situation

whereby the information on which arrests were made was of such dubious quality that of 1,260 who had been arrested and detained 625 were subsequently released without a detention order being placed. In response,

Heath argued

that the opposition

was inconsistent and

that, despite the

wording

of the motion, the leadership did not support the ending of internment.

He

rejected the proposals to incorporate elements of a 'court' procedure on the

grounds that it would put at for internment were based.

risk those

These positions were largely repeated deaths of 13 civilians

at the

providing information on which orders in the four

hands of the army

in

months up to direct rule. The January 1972 reinforced the

arguments over the division of security responsibility adding the

Compton

security policy

Report.

55

In February

Labour

divided the

to those following

House over both

and the lack of political progress. The Compton Report had been

up to investigate allegations of brutality against internees following pressure from the Irish Republic, which was to bring a case against the UK in the

set

European Court, and adverse

publicity in sections of the British press.

report failed to placate criticism for a

number of reasons.

Its

The

terms of reference

were limited to arrests made on the first day of internment, there was no evidence given under oath and no cross-examination of witnesses. Moreover, the inquiry was to concentrate on the morality and legality of the so-called five techniques

1

The Conservative administration

1 970-74

6

(hooding of suspects, deprivation of sleep, subjection to high-pitched noise, long periods of standing and a bread and water diet) which had been used against only

more

fourteen internees while there was suspicion that

'conventional' abuse

had

been widespread.

The

five

techniques were designed to lower the resistance of internees and

thus facilitate the obtaining of information or confessions and had their genesis in the colonial campaigns of the 1950s

and 1960s. The report concluded that all the

techniques constituted ill-treatment of a physical nature. in para.

much

105 was to cause

However the

definition

controversy:

Where we have concluded

that physical ill-treatment took place, we are not making a on the part of those who handled these complainants. We consider that an inhuman or savage form of cruelty, and that cruelty implies a disposition to

finding of brutality brutality

is

inflict suffering,

think

it

coupled with indifference

to,

or pleasure

in,

the victim's pain.

We do not

happened here.

Brutality therefore

was defined with reference

to the motives of, or effects on, the

perpetrator.

Other miscellaneous individual and groups of complaints of assault were The evidence for these complaints was considered inconclusive given the lack of medical and photographic checks made on internees leaving the Holding Centres. Compton was critical of the fact that senior medical officers were involved in neither the planning stages nor the arrest operation itself, which made it impossible to draw firm conclusions about the circumstances in which 56 injuries were received. Four series of grouped complaints were made, relating considered.

to

compelling detainees to undertake physically demanding exercises, releasing

detainees late at night in the vicinity of shooting incidents, forcing detainees to

run along a rough path in bare feet and threats of throwing them from a helicopter.

The

'a measure of illwas mildly censorious of the other incidents. However, techniques, the summary of the report concluded that none of the

last

of these was considered to constitute

treatment' and the report as with the five

grouped or individual complainants suffered brutality term'.

'as

we understand

the

57

The likelihood of the report satisfying Dublin or critics in Northern Ireland was further reduced when no disciplinary charges or prosecutions followed the Although

identification of abuses.

it

may have been

individuals involved, the failure to cross-examine fuelled the suspicion that neither

punish offenders.

The

Stormont nor Westminster were concerned

report itself could not act as a court in such cases but

attempt was seen to be

members of the

difficult to identify the

RUC Special Branch witnesses

made

to follow

up

its

conclusions of criminal acts by

security forces. Also, the report

made no attempt and had no

authority to study abuses in the context of internment as a security strategy.

As

were not subject to the requirements of judicial of abuse was fairly strong. Compton did not consider

interrogation statements admissibility the risk

to

no

62

British

whether internment

as a policy

government policy

was

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

promote such abuses or the

likely to

basis of the actions of the interrogators.

in

The government

legal

did later issue a

and army interrogation, whether under the Special Powers Act or normal legislation, had to be pursued in accordance with the law. As well as assault, threats, intimidation and insults were specifically excluded from legitimate interrogation practice. Widespread dissatisfaction with the report led to Maudling announcing the 58 in mid November. It was charged with setting up of the Parker Committee directive stating that police

advising on what procedures should be authorised in the interrogation of suspects.

of the

The

debate on

legality

interrogation.

of the

RUC

Compton focused on two

five

principal issues: the question

techniques and the control of those involved in

Special Branch officers had been orally trained by British

Intelligence in early

1971 thereby by-passing ministerial or parliamentary

scrutiny.

Hattersley believed that Faulkner had ultimately sanctioned the use of the five

techniques, raising again the problem of the division of responsibility, and

considered that Compton's semantic definitions were nonsensical; their sub-

emphasis undermining the notion of an objective yardstick basic

jective

definition

to a legal

of inadmissible treatment. Lord Balniel, Minister of State for

Defence, stated that the: formal authorisation to remove certain detainees to the interrogation centre was necessarily given

by the Northern Ireland Minister for

Home

knowledge and

Affairs with the

concurrence of Her Majesty's Government. Ministers knew that the interrogation would

be conducted within the guidelines

would be the same

as

laid

down

in

1965 and 1967 and that the methods

had been used on numerous occasions

in the past.

59

This implied that British Ministers knew of the use of these techniques although their 'detailed application'

by which Balniel meant either

it

was a matter

RUC

officers.

for those with

immediate

responsibility,

The government appeared hamstrung;

knew of the use of the techniques and sanctioned ill-treatment or,

not know,

if it

did

was inadequate. Para. 12 of the Parker Report stated that: 'it cannot be assumed that any UK minister has ever had the full nature of these particular techniques brought to his attention and consequendy, that he has ever specifically authorised their use'. Even if they had it was not clear that ministerial directives would make their use legal. Pending the Parker Report which was to be published in March 1972, the government stated that the techniques were not in use but did not rule out their 60 possible reintroduction. On 2 March Heath said that they would not be employed except with approval by the Commons. 61 The request for their further use was never made reflecting the embarrassment of being the subject of the Republic's case at the European Court and the effect on the minority community in Northern Ireland.

The

its

role in supervising security policy

Parker Report post-dated

this decision

and was thus of limited relevance.

The Conservative administration

1

970-74

63

The majority report argued that there was no real risk of injury if safeguards were them on both and moral grounds: 'there is no reason to rule out these techniques on moral grounds and ... it is possible to operate them in a manner consistent with 62 Safeguards included the clarification of the highest standards of our society'. their legality; both majority and minority reports considered the techniques applied in the use of the techniques are proceeded to justify

utilitarian

illegal

under existing domestic law. Guidelines should be established by the

Minister of Defence on the advice of a specially constituted committee and the

Minister could then ensure protection from prosecution for those involved in interrogating.

At an operational

level, the

the supervision of a senior officer

and

use of the techniques should be under

a complaints

procedure should be estab-

lished for internees.

Lord Gardiner

in a minority report

dismissed both the moral and utilitarian

Compton's definition of brutality as and attacked the subjective nature of his formulation. Although

case for such procedures describing

'remarkable'

63

he considered the moral case against their use as paramount, Gardiner was

adamant about for tic

their illegality.

There was no provision

in the Special

Powers Act

such action and neither army nor ministerial directive could override domeslaw.

Gardiner also argued that the techniques were contrary to one or more international agreements to

which the

Human

UK

was

a signatory, including: the

5); the Geneva Convention European Convention on Human Rights (Article 3); and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles 7 and 10). This point was not pursued on the grounds that their illegality in domestic law made it unnecessary to decide on the position with respect to international law which would require a lengthy evaluation of what constituted torture. Gardiner there-

Universal Declaration of

1957 (Article

3);

Rights (Article

the

moral objections no consensus on the medical effects of such actions and to legalise them would adversely effect Britain's international reputation. The pragmatic case had not been proven and Gardiner doubted if the techniques were more efficacious than normal interrogation and, given the hostility aroused, their use was counter-productive. The government accepted the findings of the minority submission although it was not until 1977 that it told the European Court that it would in no circumstances use the five techniques again. 64 The case of internee abuse had highlighted the problems of a lack of Westminster control of security operations and this was reinforced by a case in 1972 when a Northern Ireland High Court judgment dismissed on appeal a case against Hume, a prominent SDLP member, and others who had been arrested by the army on the grounds that Section 4(1) of the Government of Ireland Act 1920 did not allow the Special Powers Act to cover the actions of British troops. The legal basis of army operations had never been clarified and there was considerable doubt that the curfew imposed on the Falls in July 1970 was within the law. fore rejected the legalisation of the techniques; as well as the

there was

64

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

65 Maudling stated that the army had been sent on the assumption that it would operate under the terms of the Special Powers Act in support of the civil authorities, a belief upheld by an English High Court decision in 1971 which

rejected a habeas corpus case brought by an arrestee against the army.

decision meant that the army was restricted to the citizen in aiding the authorities

The Hume

common-law powers of

which did not extend

a

to searches, arrest or the

stopping of vehicles. In practice a large degree of operational autonomy had been given to military

commanders

in their

response to

influenced by the political strategy being pursued.

The government

civil

disorder which was also

66

introduced the Northern Ireland

Bill to

confer on the army

powers which it was believed to have had, thus nullifying any cases being brought against it and overruling the section of the 1920 Act mentioned above which restricted the army's use under the Special Powers Act. The Bill was passed in one night to become the Northern Ireland Act 1972. Objections were raised by some Labour members that it was unacceptable to alter the constitutional basis of troop deployment in Northern Ireland and to increase Stormont's role. Maudling replied to such criticism by arguing that

it

was

a clarification rather than a

changing of the law by its restoration to what it was assumed to be before the High

Court

ruling.

He concluded the first reading by stating that the common law was

inadequate and: in order, for example, to search vehicles believed to contain explosives, they

(i.e.

troops)

must operate under the Special Powers Act, which must be the Act passed by the Northern Ireland parliament, which has the responsibility for peace, order and good government in Northern Ireland under our present constitution. That is the legal position that we have to face.

The

67

Bill's

passage was a formality with an

amendment

to restrict the Act's

operation to one year being defeated by 158 votes to 20.

The

increase in violence, the introduction of internment and the subsequent

abuses, and the confusion surrounding the constitutional position of troop

deployment had a cumulative

which resulted in the transfer of security Heath to Faulkner and his Cabinet on 22 March. Faulkner considered this unacceptable and resigned the next day whereupon direct rule was introduced. Opening the second reading of the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Bill on the 28 March the new Secretary of State Whitelaw stated that the government: 'took the view with a prolonged state of emergency and a very large number of British troops employed 68 effect

control being one of the proposals put by

the division of responsibility between Belfast and Westminster was unsatisfactory

Whitelaw also undertook to review personally all internment which had peaked at over 900, and to review the operation of the Special Powers Act.

in principle'.

cases,

The Conservative administration

1 970-74

65

Direct Rule Developments: the modification of Detention Procedures

The security policy at an operational level following direct rule was contradictory and related to the attempts to sound out the potential of engaging the IRA in political

dialogue (see p. 47). This included the negotiation of a ceasefire, the

granting of special category status, a low profile for the

and a reduction in the numbers interned.

70

The

army

failure

in Nationalist areas

of the ceasefire, a

renewed bombing campaign and the failure of political negotiations led to an army offensive ending the 'no go' areas of west Belfast and Derry at the end of August. However this stronger line and the move away from negotiations with paramilitaries did not indicate a renewed emphasis on internment, for such a policy had at least three major disadvantages: it provoked hostility among constitutional nationalists whom the government wanted to bring into a new political settlement; it damaged Britain's international image, this being most significant with relation to the Republic whose co-operation on border security and possible extradition was crucial; and it tended to emphasise the political nature of the conflict whereas normal legal procedures would allow the government to present the violence as criminal in origin. This was, of course, made more difficult by the granting of special category status, which was de facto political status, a decision Whitelaw was soon to regret. The first move to establish the primacy of the judicial process and demonstrate the impartiality of it was the Prosecution of Offences (NI) Order 1972 which the Attorney General announced during the passage of legislation to suspend Stormont. Adapted from a Bill already before Stormont, it established the Office and related department of a Director of Public Prosecutions which would take responsibility from the police for prosecutions in all but the most minor offences. This had been recommended by the Hunt Report and its potential effect had been reduced by the delay in implementation and it was doubtful that removal of prosecutions from the police to the Director of Public Prosecutions, answerable to a member of the British Cabinet, would convince Republicans of the impartiality of British justice.

While searching phase

it

for

an alternative to internment the government

out immediately because of the renewed

felt

unable to

IRA campaign from July

1972.

end of the month there were calls from some Unionist MP, McMaster, for the introduction of martial law

After eleven deaths in one day at the

backbenchers and a and full authority over the courts to be given to the GOC. Against such a background the government felt unable to dispense with some form of executive detention.

A

commission

71

was

set

up

in

September 1972

to 'consider legal

procedures to deal with terrorist activities in Northern Ireland' and, to bridge the gap between its report of December 1972 and recommendations for new legislation to replace the Special Powers Act, the Detention of Terrorists (NI) Order was introduced on 7 November, receiving parliamentary approval on 11 December.

66

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969—89

was a modified form of internment. On arrest, unless was served with an interim custody order (ICO) issued by the Secretary of State or his deputy. Within twenty-eight days the Chief Constable had to refer the case to a commissioner or else the suspect was released. On hearing the case, the commissioner could recommend further detention if satisfied that the suspect was concerned in the commission, direction or organisation of terrorism and detention was necessary for the protection of the Essentially detention

sent for

trial,

a suspect

The use of a commissioner, a senior legal figure, was designed to emphasise the quasi-judicial nature of the process and act as a check on executive

public.

power.

7

The

suspect was informed of the charge against him/her and allowed to

commissioner's hearing, an element absent However, this hearing, without which detention from the internment procedure. could not be continued, departed considerably from the judicial process. It was held in private, the suspect and his/her legal representative could be excluded on

prepare a defence to be put

at the

and the common-law rules of admissibility did not apply. For at commissioners' hearings was derived from informers whose identity would not be revealed. There was an automatic right of appeal against a decision to detain which was considered by a three-person committee. As an additional safeguard all detention orders were reviewed after twelve months and subsequently after six months. The review hearings were not security grounds

example,

much

of the evidence

designed to reconsider the evidence against the detainees, but rather to establish

whether detention was further

justified in the interests

of public safety. These

reviews were often related to wider political strategies such as the promotion of the primacy of the courts following Diplock and accelerated by the Gardiner

Report ofJanuary 1975

73

or as a

means

to

promote

talks

with paramilitaries.

74

There is no doubt that the machinery of the detention process was an improvement over that of internment, and by revoking Regulations 11 and 12 of the Special Powers Act it did have a symbolic value in moving away from Unionist repression to British law. If this was calculated to allay nationalist fears, elements

of the system persisted to undermine any potential growth in confidence. Despite the commissioners' role the executive nature remained paramount. In the

Commons

vote to approve the order, Elwyn-Jones and

McNamara

point out that there was no judicial or external intervention in the eight day detention period, there appeared to be

for

Labour

initial

twenty-

no reasonableness

criterion in

suspicion of involvement in terrorism the grounds on which the Secretary of State

made

the

ICO and the Secretary had authority to recall to detention, under who had previously been released thereby

the original custody order, a detainee

introducing a

'cat and mouse' element which could circumvent the commissioner Perhaps most importantly, there was no time limit set between the referral of the case within 28 days and the commissioner's hearing; the effect being that people were often detained for periods of six months or longer without any judicial consideration of their case, which critics interpreted as backdoor

system.

75

The Conservative administration

1

970-74

67

The number of people detained between July 1973 and October 76 1974 averaged approximately 470 and the limited number of commissioners examining the cases slowed the process. The government refused to provide the financial or personnel resources to speed the process which was necessary to avoid the criticisms that the judicial element was a cosmetic exercise. Another suggestion for the reform of the commissioner system was the internment.

possible use of a plurality of comissioners at each hearing to facilitate the

processing of evidence, though without an increase in numbers this would slow the cases further. Elwyn-Jones also backed the appointment of Commonwealth

representatives rather than restricting the position to in

an attempt

to cultivate minority acceptance.

UK judicial office holders

The Labour

opposition did not

oppose the order and the suggested amendments were of limited value, as orders could not be

amended but had to be accepted or rejected in the form shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, accepted

they were presented. Rees, the

the order for three principal reasons: detention

stances citing the

European Convention

was

justifiable in the

in his support; the

circum-

order was an

improvement on the internment provisions of the Special Powers Act which would remain in force if the order were defeated; and it was a temporary measure pending forthcoming legislation which could be more fully scrutinised and amended. Consequendy, the order was approved by 179 votes to 32. Opponents to it either argued that executive detention was intrinsically indefensible or that the government had failed to furnish convincing evidence that intimidation of juries or witnesses was prevalent enough to justify such a measure.

77

The Diplock Report and the Emergency Provisions The Diplock Report was published were

specifically related to the

in

December

1972.

problem of dealing with

than by detention or internment.

The

Legislation Its

recommendations

terrorist violence other

significance of the report can scarcely be

marked the advent of a policy in which the use of prosecution through the courts was gradually to replace executive detention in an attempt to bury the distinction between political violence and 'normal' crime. Secondly, the report provided the basis for the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973 which, although later amended, is the basis of legislation in force today. Thirdly, it revealed the relative ease with which long-established overestimated. Firstly,

judicial

it

procedure could be jettisoned when expedient.

After a review of the existing provisions for detention Diplock concluded that public

trial

in a court of law

available to these tribunals

none but the

guilty will

existing situation

was required

to replace detention as: 'procedures

can never appear to be as complete a safeguard that

be deprived of their

were those of securing

78 liberty'.

The problems

arrest, the gathering

with the

of evidence and

securing of convictions against suspected terrorists in the face of intimidation

68

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

against witnesses and juries, and the possibility of perverse acquittals by the latter.

Although the evidence does not seem indisputable, Diplock considered that the problems of perverse acquittals (a judge could overturn a perverse conviction)

and the intimidation of juries were

sufficient to justify the suspension of jury trial

in cases involving 'scheduled' offences.

Scheduled offences were those most

commonly associated with terrorist activity and listed as a schedule to the 1973 Act. These included robberies and assaults involving firearms and explosives, arson, murder, riot and miscellaneous offences against persons and property, and membership of associations oudawed under Special Powers regulations. An offence was scheduled/^ se; the motive for the crime was not relevant since this would reinstitute the concept of a political crime although in specific cases an 79 offence could be descheduled on the direction of the Attorney- General. Diplock considered and rejected the use of more than one judge in the hearing of scheduled offences. The report considered that it would place too great a burden on the judicial system as only fourteen judges - the seven Appeal and High Court judges and the seven County Court judges - would be qualified to chair what were to become known as Diplock courts. Additionally, it was considered that the adversarial procedure and decisions in such areas as the admissibility of evidence would prove inconvenient with more than one judge presiding. This was not seen as necessarily a retrograde step for the defendant.

The

suspension of jury

trial,

allied to the

establishment of the

rationalise the choice of charges

and reduce the

believed had previously occurred.

80

The second major recommendation

possibility

DPP, could

of bias which some

of Diplock related to the admissibility of

confessions obtained by suspects. If detention were to be phased out, the premise

on which the report was based, there was

a necessity for facilitating convictions

The lack of evidence provided by witnesses, whether a result of intimidation or communal support for paramilitaries, meant a reliance on confessions as the principal method of securing convictions. The through the

judicial process.

embarrassment over the five techniques and the directives regulating interrogation procedure seem to have been effective in preventing abuse of suspects. However, as judicial practice stood, it was the operation of the common law concerning admissibility and the Judges' Rules on interviewing procedures that were hindering convictions. The former endorsed that all statements should be made voluntarily and judges had stricdy applied this concept. In May 1972 the Lord Chief Justice had ruled as inadmissible statements made at the Palace Barracks to

RUC Special Branch detectives on the grounds that the nature of the

interrogation had

made

those involved give information which they would have

otherwise been less willing to give. 81

Diplock considered that acquittal of guilty persons.

this interpretation 82

tance for the protection of

of admissibility resulted in the

Objections that they were of fundamental impor-

civil liberties

were overruled by the argument

that

The Conservative administration

1 970-74

69

neither the European Convention on Human Rights nor the civil law in most European countries required such technical rules. Para. 81 on the operation of Judges' Rules in Northern Ireland stated: the rules deal primarily with the questioning of suspects after they are in custody and are

designed to discourage

this. If

inadmissible any statement

upon

own

his

initiative

applied strictly they would have the effect of rendering

made by the accused

after his arrest unless

This was undermining the whole basis of interrogation which:

atmosphere

in

was volunteered

it

without any persuasion or encouragement by anyone in authority.

which the

initial

desire to remain silent

is

'is

to build

up an

replaced by an urge to

confide in the questioner. This does not involve cruel or degrading treatment'.

The

solution

recommended was

that current technical rules

83

and practices

should be suspended for the duration of the emergency, which was a matter of definition for the government,

and

that 'psychological' pressure should

be an

admissible practice in the obtaining of information. Para. 89 contained a

suggested redefinition:

Any

inculpatory admission

made by

the accused

may be

given in evidence unless

it is

proved on a balance of probability that it was obtained by subjecting the accused to torture

inhuman or degrading treatment the accused shall not be liable to be convicted on made by him and given in evidence if, after it has been given in evidence, it is similarly proved that it was obtained by subjecting him to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.

or to

.

.

.

any inculpatory admission

This formulation was based upon the European Convention on

and also prohibited the threat of physical violence. Another area where Diplock felt the technical rules

to

Human

Rights

be a hindrance in the

securing of convictions was the onus of proof in cases relating to the possession of

proscribed articles:

e.g. firearms,

ammunition and explosives under Acts of 1883

and 1969. As the law stood, the owner or occupier of premises or a vehicle was not required to prove that she/he had no knowledge of the presence of such articles;

the onus resting with the prosecution. Diplock argued that

it

was

common sense that there was a primafacie case for believing the person occupying the premises to have such

they did not articles:

'shall

know

*

be deemed to be in the possession of the occupier of those premises and of any person

residing at or found

did not

A

knowledge and the onus should be on them to prove them about their property under duress. Such

or else had

on those premises

know and had no reason

at the

time of the discovery unless he proves that he

to suspect arms,

ammunition or explosives were

there'.

84

recommendation was for an increase in restrictions in the granting of which was, according to Diplock, given more freely and indiscriminately than

fourth

bail

was not generally refused on the grounds that the It was also felt that the likelihood of intimidation of witnesses between the initial hearing and the trial proper was

in

England. For example,

it

defendant might commit further offences.

70

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89 85

Bail was therewas no risk of the defendant not turning up for trial, no risk of witness intimidation and no risk of him/her committing further offences. In addition, bail could only be granted by a High Court judge who could impose any further conditions as he saw fit. Two safeguards were provided for the defendant: bail would be granted if custody had exceeded ninety days or if its refusal would result in exceptional hardship for the defendant or their

increased by the relative lack of stringency in bail regulations. fore to be refused unless there

dependants.

The above provisions were designed to remove impediments to the securing of The other main area needing amendment to complete the successful prosecution of offenders was that of confessions, witness evidence and convictions.

powers were considerable

arrest. Arrest

Special Powers Act which was

still

in the case of the

RUC,

including the

in force, except for clauses relating to

internment which had been replaced by the Detention of Terrorists (NI) Order.

The

RUC

was allowed

to

hold a person for up to forty-eight hours for the

No offence needed to be power granted largely for the purpose

preservation of peace or the maintenance of order.

suspected or prosecution intended,

it

was

a

of general questioning.

As shown above,

the position of the

army was

less clear cut.

The Northern

Ireland Act 1972 had retrospectively indemnified the actions of troops in search-

ing and arresting which were not authorised under the Special Powers Act but the legal position of the army had yet to be codified. This was important, as the

army's role since the resurgence of the

IRA had

included the gathering of

information in Catholic areas and the building up of profiles of the population; a task largely beyond the

RUC. The legality of such practices was questionable and

legal basis of army action. The report recommended army should have the power to search houses for explosives and wanted persons. The power of arrest should be limited to four hours and applied to include those suspected of involvement in terrorist activities and those suspected of having knowledge of the involvement of others. The four-hour provision was to allow for the identification of the suspect and questioning should not be

Diplock sought to define the that the

directed to any other end. Rearrest at the expiry of this period should be

suggested that the person was concerned in

undertaken by the police

if evidence

terrorist offences, as the

army would have no authority

for further detention. In

recognition of the army's unfamiliarity with legal procedures Diplock recom-

mended

that the four-hour detention period should not be ruled unlawful

grounds of failure

wrong

The

to

on

inform the arrestee of the reason for their arrest or giving the

reason.

above provisions did not allow for the general collection of data or

'intelligence

gathering' which

screening of the population.

86

was effected by mass house searching and

This was

a necessary tactic in the preparation for

and execution of internment and the decline

in these tactics roughly correlates with the gradual decline in the use of internment. 87 This indicates that the

The Conservative administration

1 970-74

11

move towards arrest by the police with the objective of prosecution more selective approach than the 'mass tactics' of the army in the

gradual

resulted in a

1971-4 although

period

it

may

also

be that the information concerning

population profiles at this time was sufficient to allow

subsequent years.

It is

implicit in the

alternatives to internment, that the

its

down

scaling

in

Diplock Report, which was to examine

army should play

a subsidiary role to the

police and, as far as possible, the questioning of suspects should be undertaken

by the

latter

The

with a view to preparing a case for

trial.

bulk of the Diplock Report's recommendations were incorporated into

the Northern Ireland

(Emergency Provisions)

Bill

which received

its

second

reading in April 1973. Provisions for detention were to be retained which would allow the 1972 Order to lapse. Whitelaw promised that the Special Powers Act would be repealed in its entirety if the Bill were passed, and that given the exceptional nature of the provisions, the Act would be subject to annual renewal. This was less of a safeguard than it might appear, since by this procedure renewal had to be supported or opposed and amendments could not be made. Labour was to abstain on all stages of the Bill as the front bench did not challenge the need for emergency powers. Elwyn-Jones stated that Labour would not oppose but hoped that the committee stage would allow for revisions to be made. Rees specified some of the improvements desired: renewal should be

six-monthly, the ninety-day period concerning the withholding of bail should be

shortened and the legislation as a whole should be considered within the context of a

Bill

of Rights.

88

Many members,

including

Fitt,

Devlin, Paisley and Labour backbenchers

focused on the lack of evidence for the arguments used for jury suspension.

Davidson (Labour) claimed that Diplock had suggested that perverse jury decisions were not significant, especially compared with the intimidation of witnesses so their suspension was not justifiable. Stallard and

were

to

would

McNamara, who

become persistent critics of emergency legislation, were concerned that it

set a

precedent for the erosion of civil

liberties in Britain,

and

Fitt attacked

the conviction-based premises of the report. In defending the proposals the

Attorney- General outlined four areas that had caused concern for

him and

the

Director of Public Prosecutions: intimidation of witnesses; intimidation of jurors; perverse acquittals; difficulties.

In view of the

passage of 155 to 18.

and cases being abandoned because of 'technical' Labour abstention, the second reading had an easy

89

As Elwyn-Jones had

indicated,

Labour did move

a

number of amendments

in

committee which highlighted its basic position. In principle, they accepted the need for emergency powers and the corresponding removal of common law and technical practices designed to protect the accused, but they

some of the

details. Silkin

wanted

accused the Attorney-General of failing to

to dilute

justify the

claims concerning the incidence of perverse acquittals and convictions and, that as

Diplock (para. 35) had spoken of potential rather than actual jury intimidation,

2

7

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 96 9-89

trial by jury should be retained for scheduled offences unless a High Court judge was convinced that violence, intimidation or bribery were likely to prejudice the

chances of a

fair trial.

was too extensive and

English (Labour) argued that the this

was exacerbated by the

list

of scheduled offences

fact that

minor offences could

not be descheduled. Therefore, rather than have a blanket provision, High

Court judges should be able

to have the discretion to treat a particular case as a

scheduled offence. However, the Attorney-General rejected this amendment as unrealistic. It was not feasible to expect that a judge could determine whether a

problem of violence or intimidation existed in each case or not, and the consideration would add to the workload of the judiciary and slow down the whole process which was already overburdened. The government defeated the new clause 93-76 so that descheduling would be the exception and non-jury courts the rule for 'terrorist' offences. Labour members were still dissatisfied with the evidence concerning jury intimidation, although the Attorney- General cited statements from area directors, the staff of the DPP office, that it was increasing, especially in loyalist areas, and there were increasingly fewer areas of 90 Belfast from which juries could be safetly drawn without fear of intimidation. An earlier vote in committee had gone in favour of a plurality of judges sitting in non-jury trials. In response Whitelaw moved an amendment to reverse the decision on the basis of the Diplock recommendations which argued that both manpower and the adversarial system made a single judge preferable. Whitelaw also stressed that there would be an absolute right of appeal, i.e. not dependent on the judge's consent, in the case of conviction for a scheduled offence in a single-judge court, and the normal intermediate stages to the hearing of an appeal would be removed. Opposing the amendment, Elwyn-Jones gave four reasons for favouring plurality: it would balance religious representation on the Bench; reduce the risk of judicial error; there was support for plurality among the Northern Ireland Bar; and British justice would not be seen to suffer by comparison with that of the Republic which had three judges in special courts. Fitt, explaining the thinking of the Committee, believed that three judges would be a worthwhile compromise between one judge and a jury trial and reduce the chances of procedural errors. The government carried the amendment 86-54 with the Attorney- General stating that, as well as the appeal safeguard, a convicted person had the benefit of having the verdict explained, which did not

happen with

The

jury courts.

suggested amendments by Diplock to the admissibility of evidence were

accepted by the torture or

Commons

inhuman

with the insertion of a prima facie clause regarding

or degrading treatment. If a prima facie case were to be raised

by the accused alleging ill-treatment his/her statement would not be admissible unless the prosecution satisfied the court that it had not been obtained in such a way.

Two attempts

to alter the

recommendations concerning admissibility were

defeated; the onus of proof in the possession of firearms or explosives was to rest

with the accused despite an opposition attempt to

make

it

rest with

the

The Conservative administration 1970-74 prosecution. Secondly, Diplock had

73

recommended making

admissible evidence

given by a person who was not available to be cross-examined and Labour wanted the recipient of this information to be a magistrate rather than a police officer, since the use of the latter

would emphasise

that the reform

was prosecution

biased.

The

other principal provision to be included in the

EPA was

the retention of

McNamara summed up the Labour Party's views. 91 One group, including McNamara himself, thought that detention was wrong in principle and detention.

should be ended, and the other main grouping

felt it should be phased out on the was no necessity for both. He maintained the government wanted it both ways: those who were acquitted could subsequently be detained and those who were detained could be tried if sufficient evidence was gained. Silkin argued that as Diplock had been specifically established to look for alternatives to detention it was, as Diplock had been acted upon, unacceptable to retain detention powers. The flaw in the Labour position was that it could not demonstrate that sole reliance on the courts could reduce or stabilise the level of violence, and consequently the government was unlikely to drop the power. Van Straubenzee, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, responded by citing Diplock's opinion that it was hoped that the 'strengthened' courts alone 92 would be able to deal with violence but that that time had not yet come. The EPA became law in July 1973 with Labour abstaining on the third reading. It repealed the Special Powers Act 1922, the Detention of Terrorists (NI) Order 1972 and the Criminal Justice (Temporary Provisions) Act (NI) 93 1970. The changes in bail, jury and admissibility of evidence have been considered and a few subsidiary observations may be made about powers of arrest and miscellaneous provisions. The police powers of arrest were contained in Section 10 which allowed arrest on suspicion with no 'reasonable' clause and detention before the preferring of charge(s) was extended to seventy-two hours from forty-eight hours permitted by a 1964 Act. Any premises could be entered and searched for the purpose of effecting an arrest by any rank, while the photographing and fingerprinting of suspects was limited to the rank of inspector or above. Section 12 allowed arrest without warrant by the armed forces and the holding of suspects for up to four hours with powers of search the same as for the police. The grounds for arrest by the army had to be given if effected under the powers of the EPA. Section 13 allowed both army and police to 'stop any person in any public place and with a view to exercising said powers search him for the purpose of ascertaining whether he has any munitions with him'. Section 16 allowed both sections of the security forces to stop and question to ascertain a person's identity and movements, or knowledge concerning explosions, shooting

passing of the

EPA

as there

incidents etc.

The powers

of arrest of both the

RUC

and armed forces were limited

to

suspicion of involvement in terrorism. Powers of questioning were extended to

include those

who might have knowledge of such

activities,

but arrest for such

74

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

strict reading of the EPA, although Diplock had power of arrest for the purpose of information relating to offences not committed by the arrestee. Secondly, the power to stop was specifically limited to the establishment of identity and information concerning terrorist incidents. None of Sections 12, 13 or 16 would allow for general information gathering divorced from knowledge of, or involvement in, terrorist activity, though it does not appear there needed to be suspicion of a specific offence. Therefore, mass house searching and screening carried out by the army 94 were not given legal endorsement by the EPA though principally before 1974 this had little practical effect in checking them. The powers of arrest were framed in the context of the continued provision for detention which was used up until mid 1975 despite the change in emphasis towards bringing cases in court. The power of the army to hold a person for up to four hours to gain information was normally a prelude to the use of detention which did not require the detailed evidence that a court proceeding would necessitate. The RUC, although empowered to arrest on suspicion without

questioning was not legal on a

recommended

the

relation to a specific incident, generally operated with a view to bringing charges in court in connection with a specific offence.

the fact that the

RUC found

it

more

This operational division reflected

difficult to gain

evidence to bring charges in

Republican than Loyalist areas, with the army being predominant former.

in the

95

The remaining

sections of the

EPA

dealt with the proscription of the

IRA,

Sinn Fein, other smaller Republican groups, including the youth and women's sections of Sinn Fein and the Ulster Volunteer Force. As well as membership it was an offence to solicit support for, or contribute to, proscribed organisations. The power to deproscribe organisations, or add to the list of those proscribed, was reserved to the Northern Ireland Secretary of State. Section 20 made it an

offence to collect, record or publish information likely to be of use to terrorists.

Terrorism was defined

in Section

28

as: 'the

use of violence for political ends and

includes any use of violence for the purpose of putting the public or any section of the public in fear'.

The EPA provided the basis of security legislation over the subsequent years. The major change was the shift away from executive detention towards the Both of the main British parties agreed that this had to be related 96 and the fall in 1973 compared with 1972 facilitated a move away from detention. Having amended the legal framework in Northern

judicial process.

to the level of violence

Ireland, further progress in defeating terrorism

depended upon the Republic's

co-operation in cross-border security and extradition.

ment Commission reported in

May

The Joint Law

Enforce-

established at Sunningdale to consider these questions

1974 and

its

deliberations will be considered in the next chapter.

The Conservative administration

1

970-74

75

Economic policy It

was argued

in the previous chapter that

economic policy in Northern Ireland

in

the period prior to the more direct involvement of Westminster in 1969 had been

based on the efforts to

attract external

manufacturing investment

to the province

by the development of infrastructure which included the designation of many of the larger towns as 'growth' or 'key' centres and a high level of government

inducements

While Northern Ireland remained

to private capital.

disadvantaged compared with the living standards, the

regional policy in the

mobile capital

UK

gap had closed. This was due

UK as a whole

relatively

average in terms of unemployment and

emphasis on amount of internationally

to the general

since 1964, the

Northern Ireland) and government support administered by the devolved

in circulation (including British capital in

the relatively higher rates of

government compared with those available to depressed regions in However, factors emerged to make further success based on difficult to maintain. It is difficult to give relative

Britain. this strategy

weight to these factors in the

continued problems of the Northern Ireland economy but some can detailed. Firstly, the prevailing

be

at least

orthodoxy of regional policy was not designed

purely to promote growth or the restructuring of industry but also to reduce the intra-regional differences in

average levels were low.

The

unemployment which had

persisted even

when

reports advocating the development of growth or

key centres had been based on an acceptance of labour mobility within the province. This was considered necessary as

unemployment had, owing

some of the

areas with high rates of

to their small populations, relatively small pools

of

unemployed were unskilled these reports considered peripheral areas unlikely to attract incoming investment. Bradley et al. (1986) argue that the hypotheses on which the advocates of growth-centre strategies based their policies were not empirically proven and, for whatever reasons, the labour force had proved relatively immobile. However it was not until 1975 that the received wisdom of industrial concentration was really reserve labour and especially

challenged.

if

the

97

Secondly the attraction of international capital to Northern Ireland irrespective of

its

location within the province,

was becoming more

at

all,

difficult to

achieve and the rate of factory closures was increasing. In the six years, 1964-9,

opened and 19 were 52 projects opened and 39 98 closures. Two main factors contributed to this pattern: the violence and civil disorder which harmed the 'image' of Northern Ireland, and the international recession of the early 1970s which, other things being equal, would be expected

there were 68 government-assisted manufacturing projects closures. In the five years, 1970-74, there

to

reduce the amount of manufacturing capital locating in Northern Ireland.

Cairncross Report

had

all

99

noted that by

but dried up. In 1968

late

45%

The

1971 inward investment to the province of jobs promoted

(i.e.

estimates of the

projected workforce in discussions between government and sponsored

company

6

7

British

government policy in North ern Ireland 1 96 9—89

came from investment new to Northern Ireland; had dropped to 16% and by 1972 to 5% although there was a 100 Whether the increase in violence and the image it recovery to 15% by 1974. gave of Northern Ireland or the general recession were of more significance as disincentives for inward investment, it was going to be increasingly difficult to rely on it to reduce unemployment or prevent its increase. It does appear that the impact of violence and civil disorder was slight on firms already operating in the rather than actual jobs created)

by 1971

this figure

province compared with

its

effect in discouraging

new mobile

investment.

101

Having sketched the main policy themes and the problems facing the governthe following section will address itself to the legislative and institutional elements of economic policy and the question of whether there was any change of emphasis in the period 1970-74 as three different agencies were successively responsible for economic policy: Stormont, the British government and the

ment

executive of early 1974.

The

principal measures taken can be broadly divided into three categories.

Support

for

commercial and industrial enterprises, measures designed

to retrain

schemes and measures direcdy related to the effects of violence. Despite the problems in attracting new capital, measures aimed at this remained an important element in the industrial strategy. The Industries Development (NI) Act of 1966, which paralleled British legislation, was amended in 1971. Under this legislation, selective capital grants, loans, and miscellaneous provisions such as employment grants, removal grants and interest relief grants were provided to private -sector projects; the bulk of the expenditure being capital grants. Selective capital grants were usually related either to the creation of employment in new industry or the maintenance of employment in an existing industry considered vital to an area's economic viability. From June 1970, for the first time, selective capital grants had a zonal element with the rate of support varying between 45% and 60% related to the level of unemployment in the particular area. This replaced the flat rate of 50% which had been available since October 1969. The Industrial Investment (General Assistance) Act (NI) 1966 covered the provision of standard capital grants (i.e. those automatically available to the manufacturing sector as opposed to selective capital grants which were normally part of a package negotiated between the Ministry of Commerce and the investor). This legislation was amended in 1970 and 1971 to permit grants of 20% towards the cost of buildings and 35% towards machinery and equipment. That these increases in incentives might have been of marginal significance to new potential investors is supported by Davies and McGurnaghan (1975) who state: the labour force or employ

it

in direct labour

investment incentives were improved on several occasions between 1970 and 1973. At present

(i.e.

1975) grants for plant, machinery and buildings are between

50%

and 100%

better than in the development areas. This probably encourages expansion of existing enterprise, though for

inducement could

not

new

enterprise (especially from outside the province) such

possibly

compensate

for

the

widespread

terrorism

then

The Conservative administration prevalent.

The

1

970-74

11

102

decline of inward investment and the reduction of jobs created

was one

reason for the establishment of the Local Enterprise Development Unit

(LEDU)

by the Ministry of Commerce in 1971. It was charged with responsibility for financial and other support for the small-business sector, defined as those employing fewer than fifty people. This sector had previously been directly under the control of the Ministry of

Commerce. The

creation of

LEDU

was not a

specific reaction to the troubles or to Catholic claims that industrial location

policy

had disadvantaged them

and the

spatial

103

but a reaction both to growing unemployment

imbalance in industrial development and the related uneven

spread in unemployment. This was reflected in the exclusion of the Belfast region from the scope of

LEDU projects. The LEDU was formed as a company

with a part-time chairman and a board of directors; four of the directors chaired

had between and ten members. The area panels liaised between LEDU and local businesses to promote the incentives offered. To further encourage a policy of dispersal, grants were in part related to distance from Belfast with higher grants

the four area panels established to cover the province, each of which six

being available in peripheral areas.

A

LEDU

was the degree of emphasis put on non-financial 30% and 40% for premises, plant and machinery, the government stressed the availability of back-up facilities which it considered small businesses likely to require whereas large-scale enterprises would have their own network established. Examples include advice and practical help with design, marketing, research and development, exporting and related services. It was hoped that this form of cost subsidisation would allow small-scale craft and artisan operations to be commercially viable, for it was these lowcapitalised sectors producing high-value goods at which LEDU was principally aimed. This craft orientation was based on the supposed occupational profile of the rural areas and the lack of industrial experience but proved unrealistic and by 1975 only 4.5% of LEDU-assisted projects were in the craft industry sector with 104 engineering and wood/furniture projects more typical of LEDU schemes. Later the focus of LEDU was again revised with a much greater emphasis on services which had been excluded from its original remit (see chapter 5). The other major institutional development of the period aimed at financial support for industry was the creation of the Northern Ireland Finance Corporation (MFC) by the Finance Corporation (NI) Order 1972. Its origins preceded direct rule and it was to have been established by Stormont legislation had not suspension taken place. The Cairncross Report of December 1971 had been set up by Stormont to review the prospects for social and economic development since the development programme 1970-75 of the previous year (see chapter 2). Because of the special problems of civil unrest one of the recommendations of the report was for a new institution with power: feature of the

support.

As

well as grants of between

78

British

to offer financial assistance

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

by way of loans and, where necessary, guarantees

to

under-

takings in Northern Ireland threatened with contraction or closure but which, in the

judgment of the Corporation, have reasonably good prospects of solvency in the longer 105 term and have a useful contribution to make in the economic life of Northern Ireland.

The scope of the NIFC was to be limited in that it could not give grants which were to remain the responsibility of the Ministry of Commerce since the latter was more directly responsible to parliament in its scrutiny of the use of public funds in industrial support projects. Caincross did not advocate the direct state running of enterprises so the NIFC was not to act as a developer of nationalised industries although it could purchase shares in companies to aid liquidity problems.

was

The NIFC was constituted by chairman, chief executive and a board which

a corporatist

sentatives.

As

mix of

civil

servants,

commercial and trade unions' repre-

the direct effects of the violence

on companies within the province

106

the NIFC was to function more and less than probably anticipated as a development bank and also in support of new investment than as a salvager of firms threatened with closure because of civil disturbance. A second major plank in economic policy was the retraining of the labour force which was later to become much expanded as general policy and the use of publicly funded labour-intensive schemes to address the problem of the unskilled and often long-term unemployed. The development programme 1970-75 had proposed an expansion of industrial training both through increased apprenticeships and government-sponsored schemes, which at this time included the community projects administered by the Community Relations Commission and the Ministry of Community Relations. Retraining was premised partly on the hope of attracting new investment; the rapid shedding of 107 labour from the 'traditional' industries and agriculture; and the high proportion of young people in the labour market meant that reskilling was an

was

slight

UK

important part of an industrial strategy. As well as providing a subsidy to capital

by the

socialisation of training costs there

were possible spin-off benefits

including introducing school leavers to the discipline of work and, although a

would be hard to establish, the possibility that reduced unemployment might have a beneficial effect on the incidence of disorder. 108 direct relationship

In response to these considerations, government-sponsored training centres were expanded, and by 1975 thirteen centres provided 3,300 places, which was 109 proportionally ten times the number available in Great Britain. The Integrated Work Force Unit, established in 1972, trained groups of up to twelve workers in complementary skills with a view to their employment in either the private sector or establishing themselves as co-operatives, though there was little success in this field. Two schemes were designed to ameliorate the problem of unemployment among the unskilled who had most often worked in industries prone to recession and job insecurity; construction being a major example in this sector. The Urban and Rural Improvement Campaign (URIC) employed 4,500

The Conservative administration

1

970-74

79

in labour-intensive schemes which could utilise unskilled labour mainly on physical environment improvement projects such as reclamation and landscaping work. The second scheme was the still-existent Enterprise Ulster (EU). It was set up in 1973, initially for a five-year period, and available only to those who had been unemployed for two years or longer. It was also labour-intensive

by 1975

and in any scheme at least 75% of the cost had to consist of the labour component. The original rationale of the scheme was to provide a bridge between the dole and private-sector employment and help to 'rehabilitate' those who had

unemployment. The expectation that something employment could be achieved seemed to underpin Enterprise Ulster when it was established but later the criterion for a place was reduced to one year's unemployment and the 'rehabilitation' concept declined as it became more of a holding operation. The third category of government support for industry and commercial enterprises were short-term measures specifically to counter the direct effects of violence on commercial viability. In 1971 the Counter Redundancy Scheme was introduced which provided a direct subsidy to labour costs. If a company felt that a downturn in business was likely to be short-term the government, via the Ministry of Health and Social Security (later to be subdivided into H&SS and Manpower Services under the 1974 executive), would pay a subsidy to forestall the laying off of employees. By late 1974 it was estimated that 9,500 had been retained by the operation of the subsidy. In 1972 a temporary Rent Rebate scheme was introduced whereby commercial premises in Belfast, Derry and Newry, the areas among the worst affected by violence, were entitled to receive experienced

approaching

long-term

full

grants equivalent to

75%

of one year's rates

if

it

could be demonstrated that

revenue and profitability were seriously affected by the security situation.

A third

measure, the Security Staff Grant Scheme, was introduced in September 1972.

The government paid 75% of the

cost of employing full-time security staff if the

company employed more than ten people. It is difficult to assess whether these measures made much difference to employment maintenance in Northern Ireland although they as a result of physical

may have

damage.

contributed to the low closure rate of companies

It

was obviously an indication

that the

government

did not expect normal commercial insurance to bear the full brunt of

from the troubles. Between June 1970 and February 1974 responsibility

damage

resulting

was Stormont Cabinet, an Under Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office during direct rule and briefly the Minister for Commerce in the 1974 executive. Despite the changes in administration and the change from devolution to direct rule it appears that there were no significant difference of emphasis in industrial policy over this period. None of the three administrations challenged the need for a pragmatic approach which included incentives to incoming capital, support for the small-business sector, subsidisation of uneconomic concerns and government sponsorship of successively held by the Minister of

Commerce

for industrial policy

in the

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

80

schemes and those aimed at the longer-term unemployed. The development of LEDU in 1971 can be seen as a pragmatic response to the decline in inward investment but it did not replace, but rather was an addition to, attempts to attract investment from outside the province. Hogwood concludes retraining

that: 'the abolition

remarkably

little

of the Northern Ireland Parliament seems to have

made

difference to the industrial policy processes in Northern

would not have been a different framework in the first place 110 When direct rule was introduced both the legislation covering financial provision to industry and the LEDU which were inherited from Stormont were left unchanged and the establishment of the NIFC by the Conservatives had its genesis under Stormont. Although the Conservative government had been elected with an ideological hostility towards state intervention and regional policy this did not have an impact in Northern Ireland. By the time of direct rule the period of 'U turns' was already in operation and the civil disorder and economic disadvantages of Northern Ireland, particularly the former, were strong pressures towards a pragmatic approach. This enabled Northern Ireland to provide higher rates of grants to industrial investors than assisted areas in Great Britain and retain Regional Employment Premiums after they had been phased out elsewhere in the UK. David Howell, the first minister with responsibility for industrial policy under direct rule, stated that he was not bound by market forces and considered himself a pragmatist. He was prepared to consider the establishment of what amounted to 'state' industry by providing grants of up to 100% of capital costs in unem111 ployment blackspots such as areas of west Belfast. Despite Bradley et al.'s 112 contention that it was not until the Regional Physical Development Strategy 1975-95 that the 'key' or 'growth' centre policy of industrial concentration was really challenged, Howell was starting to use more geographically specific discretionary grants and localised training via the Integrated Work Force Units to 'target' areas of high unemployment such as Whiterock in Belfast, Dungannon and Newry. The executive of 1974 did not function for long enough to test the hypothesis that the reintroduction of devolution would benefit the Northern Ireland economy because it would tend to be less bureav ratic than direct rule, and could formulate policies more suited to Northern Ireland's economy rather than being 113 subject to the prevailing ideas of Westminster. A separate argument also employed in devolution's favour is that political co-operation between the Northern Ireland parties would possibly have a knock-on effect in restoring Ireland, though there in the

absence of Stormont'.

confidence

among potential

investors.

There was, however, little to indicate that the executive's economic policy would differ measurably from what had gone before. Most of the putative executive's efforts

had been focused upon constitutional and security issues

rather than social or economic ones. McAllister states that: 'the Executive's

published socio-economic policy was vague, ill-defined and

little

more than

the

1

The Conservative administration lowest

1 970-74

common denominator between

8

the three parties.

114

The SDLP was

responsible for most of what was formulated, and supported a continued

emphasis viability'

115

on private -sector investment incentives based on 'commercial although a 1974 SDLP paper 'A New North, A New Ireland',

advocated more public-sponsored industrial investment than the Conservative

government would be

To

conclude,

it

likely to

consider acceptable.

should be indicated that in terms of unemployment levels

(employment creation or maintenance being

a principal

aim of governmental

economy especially in specific regional policy measures) the economic policy of 1970-74 was reasonably successful. The emphasis was largely on male employment and this stood at 9% in 1971,8.7% in 1972,6.7% in 116 Paradoxically, it has been argued that in the short 1973 and 6.4% in 1974. term at least the troubles helped to reduce unemployment rather than to increase intervention in the

117 it.

Factors include the higher rates of migration, the increase in government

support schemes and the expansion of security employment. Public-sector

employment or jobs created by public expenditure were of increasing between 1972 and 1974 Northern Ireland Civil Service employ18 ment increased by 8,000, partly as a result of the centralising of many of the functions previously the responsibility of local authorities. Public-sector house building was another important area, with the boost provided for the construction industry following the government's acceptance of the 1970 development programme recommendation of 73,500 new houses between 1970 and 1975. Public-sector house completions peaked in 1971 but still provided a major source of employment compared with the pre- 1969 levels. A principal source of concern, as indicated above, was the decline in new investment from outside Northern Ireland. However, the industrial support agencies managed to offset this in part by the expansion of employment in companies already in operation. For example, in 1972, the year of the worst violence, jobs promoted by the Department of Commerce in companies new to 119 Northern Ireland fell sharply compared with the figures for 1970 and 1971 but this was more than offset by job promotions in expanding companies so that total job promotions were higher for 1972 than the previous two years. The problem with this trend was whether sufficient indigenous expansion could be maintained, and as international capital became scarcer it was likely to become more expensive to attract it given the competition from other countries, especially the Republic. The growing reliance on public expenditure was problematic since it depended on the health of the UK economy as a whole and the ability of the Secretary of State to sell Northern Ireland's case to the Cabinet and the Treasignificance;

]

sury.

Social policy

The

period 1970-74 was in

many ways one of consolidation

following the flurry

82

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

of reforms outlined in the communiques of 1969 (see chapter

2).

Some

of these

reforms were of a one-off nature such as the establishment of the Commissioner for

Complaints and the Parliamentary Commissioner, while others, such as the and important local government functions took longer

centralisation of housing to effect

and were not completed

until after the accession

of the Conservative

government. This was not of significance as the Conservatives had supported the

reform package agreed between Stormont and the Labour government in 1969 and neither their election in 1970 nor direct rule in 1972 threatened this policy of centralisation.

The transfer of all public-housing responsibilities to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) was carried out under the Housing Executive (NI) Act of October 1971 and the process was completed by mid 1972. As well as local authority properties all those administered by the Housing Trust (a body funded by central government to supplement local housing provision) and the three Development Commissions came under the control of the NIHE. The NIHE was funded by and responsible to the Ministry of Development, which appointed the chairman and five of the other eight members of the committee. The remaining three members were nominated by the Housing Council, an advisory body formed to allow an input from local councillors from whom housing responsibilities had been removed. The executive was functionally divided into four directorates with responsibility for management, development, finance and administration and geographically divided into three regions which further subdivided into ten areas and forty districts. It was hoped that this structure would allow direct access of tenants to district managers and avoid problems of bureaucratic remoteness.

The two main

reasons

for

centralisation

were

to

counter

claims

of

discriminatory allocation and to tackle the poor quality and small quantity of

public-housing stock.

On

both counts the

previous system of locai 'dministration.

was

in

120

politics' as

constraints of the increased

communal

following the disorders of 1969.

there was

was an improvement on the it proved difficult to take

In theory, the had been Callaghan's intention. favour of integrated housing patterns but had to work within the

'housing out of

NIHE

NIHE

However

121

segregation of working-class areas

This had two implications

for

housing policy:

chance of using housing policy as a tool to integrate the two communities; and it meant in effect that two parallel housing waiting lists emerged. Therefore despite the adoption of an objective 'points' system of little

allocation segregation could have the effect of distorting to

be

to Catholic disadvantage as there

were

it.

relatively

This was more

fewer

likely

'safe' areas for

122

The importance attached to territoriality by both communities and the implications of housing developments which might challenge it meant that it was not possible to take housing out of politics. 123 Catholic setdement.

In the

progress

summer of 1971 Stormont had produced a Green Paper outlining the made in reforms since the communiques of 1969 (see chapter 2). It had

The Conservative administration

little

1 970-74

83

effect in placating representatives of the minority

community who were

boycotting Stormont, and the introduction of internment had further worsened relations.

Despite the main focus on constitutional

the introduction of direct rule, two

initiatives in the

period after

new reforms were considered which related to

safeguards against possible discrimination: the establishment of a working party to consider legislation to prevent discrimination in the private sector,

and the

establishment of a body to advise on the protection of human rights.

The working party to consider ways to prevent discrimination in private-sector August 1972 under the chairmanship of Channon, the in November. The Green Paper detailing the progress of the reform programme recorded that the Stormont administration was considering such an inquiry but that it depended on further consultation with the representatives of trades unions and employers.

employment was

set

Minister of State,

up

in

who was succeeded by van Straubenzee

Therefore, Whitelaw's decision did not mark a break with the pre direct rule policy.

The decision seems to have stemmed from discussions with local notables The minority community's political repre-

rather than from political pressure.

124

were not prime movers behind the setting up of the working party and political parties did not provide nominees to it. Members of the working party were drawn from the CBI, the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and the sentatives

Northern Ireland Committee of the basis that they

Irish Congress of Trades Unions, on the would have experience of the problems of discrimination in the

work place.

The working party limited

did not consider the nature or extent of discrimination but

proposals to ways to deal with

its

four reasons; there was

little

it.

The use of quotas was rejected for among those consulted, quotas

support for them

conflicted with the principle of equal opportunity

favoured, and there were two practical problems. the quota system

based on

would operate,

district council areas,

e.g.

which the working party

One was to decide on what unit

whether done by the whole population or The second

towns or factory catchment areas.

problem was that it was felt that quotas would perpetuate rather than lessen community divisions and this was the most serious objection to their use. 125 Having rejected quotas, the concept of 'affirmative action' was advocated. This meant that any agency set up to combat discrimination should have a wider role than the investigation of individual complaints and should formulate deliberate

programmes under which equality of opportunity could be achieved. Examples of this would be encouraging firms to ensure that recruitment practices were objective and not only likely to reach one denominational group and offering advice on how to ensure that practices which were not deliberately discriminatory, but which may have had the effect of favouring one community, could be avoided.

The report also hoped to utilise the good intentions of those committed to such principles.

Those organisations endorsing the

the signing of a 'Declaration of Principle

and

practice of equal opportunity by Intent'

would be registered and

84

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

allowed to advertise themselves thus. This seems to have been of limited use

and no 126 be undertaken by them. The prospective agency was to have three broad functions; the investigation of individual complaints of discrimination; advice and exhortation to organisations since there was no proper monitoring of signatories of the declaration

changes

in

employment

practices

to ensure that recruitment or

had

to

promotion structures were not inadvertendy

127

and research into work patterns, educational achievement and other areas relevant to the creation of full equality of opportunity. While hoping that there would be voluntary support for such action and that conciliation and persuasion would settle disputes, the report of the working party argued that legal sanctions might be necessary and advocated making discrimination a civil discriminatory;

offence.

128

Legislation was to be phased in with firms employing fewer than

two years and those with fewer than ten report was aware that attempts at reform

twenty-five people exempt for the

first

employees exempt

for three years.

The

were not

from wider influences and

isolated

that

an increase

in

employment

opportunities would be the 'biggest single influence' towards eradicating discrimination.

Fair

The bulk of the working party proposals were

Employment

incorporated into the

(NI) Act which will be considered in the next chapter.

A pledge to increase the safeguards against discrimination and to monitor the implications of legislation for the rights of the citizen was

Paper of

May

1973

(Cmnd 5259) which

assembly. Although the Protection of

Human

made

in the

White

outlined the proposals for the

new

UK was a signatory to the European Convention for the

Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights, the government argued that the reintroduction of devolution and a subordinate legislature meant that further safeguards were necessary. Sections 17-19 of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act which

followed the White Paper declared that any law or subordinate instrument passed by the assembly would be declared void if it discriminated against a person or class of persons

on

political or religious

grounds. If the Secretary of State

considered that proposed legislation was discriminatory he could refer Judicial

Committee of the Privy Council

unlawful for Northern Ireland Ministers, subject to the scrutiny of the

for consideration.

members of the

It

was

it

to the

also to

be

executive or any body

PCA or the Commissioner for Complaints under the do These measures were not without pre-

relevant legislation of 1969 to discriminate or 'aid, incite or induce' another to

so in the discharge of their functions.

cedent; the

Government of Ireland Act 1920 had prohibited

administration from passing discriminatory laws so legal safeguards

An

it

were of limited effectiveness.

innovation was the establishment of a Standing Advisory

Human

Rights

the devolved

could be argued that formal

(SACHR).

Its

functions were two-fold.

Commission on

One was

to advise the

Secretary of State: 'on the adequacy and effectiveness of the law for the time

being in force in preventing discrimination on the grounds of religious belief or political opinion and in providing redress for persons aggrieved on either

The Conservative administration

1

970-74

85

129

The o'Ker related function was to co-ordinate the activity of the other make recommendations to the Secretary of State concerning improvements in human rights protection. To facilitate the co-ordination of the activities of the various agencies the PCA, the Commisground'.

agencies involved in this area and

sioner for Complaints (usually one person held both offices) and the chairman of

Community

the

SACHR.

Relations

Commission were

Other members were

to

including representatives of the business

made

Criticisms were the

SACHR

liberties

was

at the

likely to

130

be

community and

the

the trades unions.

have as no mention was

The SACHR's own

field

made of the effect on civil and there was no mention of

dissatisfaction with

its

the annual reports presented to the Secretary of State.

1976/77 stated that public expectations appointed and

members of

ex officio

time of the White Paper of the limited impact that

of emergency legislation in the security

a Bill of Rights.

to

be appointed by the Secretary of State

role

is

revealed in

The Third Report

in its effectiveness

had been

dis-

that:

it is

probable that the essential difficulty here results from the fact that the Commission

are,

by their title, ostensibly concerned with 'Human Rights' and yet their statutory powers

are very as

much narrower.

It is

not surprising that people doubt the value of the Commission

an independent body when

our statutory remit) but consideration by you.

is

much

of the work

we do

is

not as of right

pursued on an extra-statutory basis or

is

(in

pursuance of

referred for our

131

The Commission's advocacy

of a

Bill

of Rights was consistently ignored by

successive governments despite the support of the Northern Ireland parties, as

were many of

themes

its

recommendations concerning security

be returned to administration of 1970-74. will

in later chapters as they are

legislation.

These

not specific to the

Conclusion

The

Conservative administration of 1970-74 has two distinct phases. In the

first

Labour predecessor in working through Stormont. However, the continuation of violence and resurgent nationalism demonstrated the limitations of such a policy, and a worsening of relations developed between the two main British parties as Labour became critical of what it perceived to be the passivity of Maudling and the relative influence of the Stormont administration. The introduction of direct rule, the second phase, was important for three principal reasons. Firstly, the Irish question re-entered the mainstream of British 132 politics with consequent demands on the parliamentary timetable. Secondly, it marked the beginning of a long period of specific constitutional initiatives; an explicit recognition that the reforms of 1969-72 were not considered adequate to the resolution of the 'problem'. The government also recognised a need to 'move

phase there was a continuity with that of

its

.

86

British

.

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

and social reforms were all necessary 133 Therefore, the period 1972-4 can be programme. categorised as one of activism and the policies of power sharing, the introduction of the EPA and the attempts to deal with discrimination in employment set parameters within which successive administrations were to work. It can thus be argued that the major elements of British policy had been established by the end of this administration. Thirdly, the activism of the government helped to reinforce bipartisanship which had been weakened in the period prior to direct rule.

on

all fronts':

that constitutional, security

parts of an integrated

Notes 1

Callaghan, 1973 p. 64.

2

ibid. p. 143.

3

Although

had changed by the time of the convention

his position

advocated an accommodation with the

4

See McAllister 1977a on the

in

1975 when he

SDLP.

SDLP

and McAllister and Wilson 1978 on the

Alliance Party. 5

Bew and Patterson

6

See Bishop and Mallie 1987

7

Bew and

8

Wilson

HC Vol. 8

9

For the

strains

10 11

Patterson op. 1

cit.

IRA since

for a history of the

pp.

the late 1960s.

24 and 3 1

5 col. 27 1 6/4/7 1

caused by internment see pp. 58-60.

Cmd 558 Belfast 1971. 'The Future Development of the Parliament and Government of Northern 'A Record of Constructive Change'

Ireland:

12

1985 pp. 24-5.

A Consultative Document' Cmd 560 Belfast

HC Vol. 811

1971.

Col. 132015/2/71.

Scarman 1972 Section 3:2. Lord Windlesham and Channon served as Ministers of State until June 1973 and November 1972 respectively. Van Straubenzee replaced Channon and remained until the end of the administration. Howell was appointed Under Secretary at the beginning of direct rule and became Minister of State in November 1972, serving until January 1974. Peter Mills replaced Howell as Under Secretary in November 1972 and served until January 1974. Lord Belstead was appointed as a second Under Secretary in June 1973. 13

14

Pym replaced Whitelaw as

Secretary of State in early

HC Vol. 834 Col. 251

15

Callaghan

16

There were 103 deaths between

26/6/72. Flackes 1983

p.

December

the introduction of direct rule and the ceasefire of

320.

of Bew and Patterson op.

17

See note 51

18

Interview (unattributed).

19

Flackes 1983

20

Bew and Patterson op. cit. pp. 47-52. The positions of the main parties are recorded

21

in ch. 2

p.

1973.

28/3/72.

cit.

252.

in the discussion paper.

22 Under the 1 949 Act the status of Northern Ireland depended on the consent of the Northern Ireland Parliament which was now suspended. 23 'Northern Ireland Constitutional Proposals' Cmnd 5259 1973 para. 1 10. 24 The dissenters were Molyneaux, Powell, Orr, Wellbeloved and Winterton. 25 HC Vol. 853 Col. 1564 29/3/73.

.

The Conservative administration 26 27 28 29 Paper

Kilfedder

Callaghan

1

970-74

87

HC Vol. 853 Col. 1428 29/3/73. HC Vol. 857 Col. 1750 14/6/73.

'The Northern Ireland General Elections of 1973' Cmnd 585 1 London 1975. Unionist Party had split in April 1973 over Faulkner's support for the White

The

proposals.

30 Unpledged Unionists were those who had refused an undertaking to support the White Paper proposals. Pym had replaced Whitelaw as Northern Ireland Secretary of State in early 31 December 1973 but Heath and Whitelaw were the principal British government negotiators.

32

For

a consideration of the implications of

and possible forms of a Council of

Ireland produced before Sunningdale see articles in Administration 20 (4) 1972.

33 34

Cited in Hansard

HC Vol. 866 Col. 37

ibid, for positions

of the two governments.

35

See Power 1977

36

'Report of the

p.

48

10/12/73.

for this point.

Law Enforcement Commission' Cmnd 5627

HMSO

London

1974.

37 38 39 40

Power

41

Fortnight

op.

Bew and

cit. p.

52.

Patterson op.

McAllister 1977b

Quoted

in

cit.

Buckland 1981

No. 84

p. 60.

p. 32.

May

p. 169.

1974.

42 e.g. Criminal Justice (Temporary Provisions) Act (NI) 1970 and the Public Order (Amendment) Act (NI) 1970. 43 HC Vol. 8 1 5 Cols 267-7 1 6/4/7 1 44 Bew, Gibbon and Patterson 1979 p. 183. 45 Faulkner 'Memoirs of a Statesman' London 1978. 46 ibid. p. 1 17 emphasis added. 47 Sunday Times \911 p. 260. 48 ibid. p. 267. 49 Faulkner op. cit. p. 128. 50 See the section on constitutional policy for Wilson's idea concerning a commission.

53

HC Vol. 823 Col. 141 22/9/71. Heath HC Vol. 823 Col. 322 23/9/71. HC Vol. 827 Col. 70 29/11/71 emphasis ended.

54

HCVol. 827

55

'Report of the Inquiry into allegations against the Security Forces of Physical

51

52

Brutality in

Report)

Col. 158 29/11/71.

Northern Ireland, arising out of events on 9th August 1971' (Compton

Cmnd 4823 London

1971.

56

ibid. pp.

57

ibid. p.

58

'Report of the Committee of Privy Counsellors appointed to consider authorised

69-70.

71 (both quotations).

procedures for the interrogation of persons suspected of terrorism' (Parker Report)

4901 London 1972.

59 60

HCVol. 826 HCVol. 826

Col.

496 17/1 1/71.

Col. 1009 25/11/71.

Cmnd

88

British

61

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

HC Vol. 832 Col. 744 2/3/72.

62

Parker Report para. 34.

63 64

ibid. p. 13

(Minority Report).

EHRR 25)1978 Republic ofIreland. UK upheld the case of inhuman and degrading treatment but dismissed the argument that the techniques The European Court (2

constituted torture.

65

66 67 68

HC Vol. 831 Cols 1285-97 23/2/72. e.g.,

the toleration of no-go areas.

HC Vol. 831 Col.

1421 23/2/72.

Between 1970 and the summer of 1972 the number of troops had increased from

approximately 7,000 to 21,000. Flackes 1983 pp. 309-10.

HC Vol. 834 Col. 240 28/3/72. 70 From the end of March up to 7 November no new internment orders were made and by the latter date there were 167 internees compared with a peak of over 900 just prior 69

to direct rule.

71

'Report of the Commission to consider legal procedures to deal with terrorist

activities in

72 73 rights,

Northern Ireland' (Diplock Report)

Cmnd 5185 London

1972.

This was accepted by the Report of the European Court. 'Report of a Committee to consider, in the context of

measures

to deal

civil liberties

and human

with terrorism in Northern Ireland' (Gardiner Report)

Cmnd

5847 London 1975. 74 See Boyle, Hadden and Hillyard 1975 p. 73. 75 HC Vol. 848 Cols 55-8 1 1/12/72. 76 Boyle etal. opcit. Table on p. 65. 77 HC Vol. 848 Col. 89 11/12/72. Fitt, Devlin and some Labour backbenchers opposed it. 78 i.e. that dealt with appeals against detention. 79 The Baker Report of 1984 recommended that the discretion to deschedule be extended to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

80

See

81

R.v. Flynn and Leonard May 1972 cited in Taylor 1980 p. 33.

e.g.

Boyle et

82

Diplock op.

83

ibid. para. 84.

84

ibid. para. 70.

85

ibid. para. 54.

cit.

al.

op.

cit.

para. 59.

86 Boyle, Hadden and Hillyard 1980 p. 27. 87 ibid. Table on p. 28. 88 HC Vol. 855 Cols 378 and 293-300 17/4/73. 89 Fifteen Labour members, Fitt (SDLP), Tope and C. Smith (Liberal) opposed the second reading. 90 HC Vol. 859 Cols 766-70 5/7/73. 92

HC Vol. 859 Col. 823 5/7/73. HC Vol. 859 Col. 841 5/7/73.

93

The

91

Criminal Justice Act had been passed to provide mandatory sentences on

those involved in

94 out.

civil

disorder.

After this the policy of mass searches declined as detention was gradually phased

The Conservative administration

1

970-74

89

95

Boyle etal. 1975.

96

The number of shooting incidents and

deaths in 1973 was approximately half that

of 1972.

See Bradley, Hewitt and Jefferson 1 986 Section 2. Harvey and Rea 1982 p. 98. 'Review of Economic and Social Development in Northern Ireland: Report of the Board' (Cairncross Report) Cmd 564 Belfast 1971. Review Joint Belfast 1975. 100 'Social and Economic Trends No. 1' Dept. of Finance 97

98 99

HMSO

example McClements 1981

101

See

102

Davies and

103

Interview with

104

Busteed 1976 pp. 178-9.

105

Cairncross op.

1 06

Between 1968 and 1975 only sixteen firms with a total of 1 ,000 employees closed a result of physical damage. Harrison (R. T.) 1982 pp. 279-80.

down

as

for

McGurnaghan 1975

p. 103.

p. 61.

LEDU Official Belfast 3 1/7/86. Section 3:6.

cit.

109

Rowthornl981. See later for an elaboration of this point. Davies, McGurnaghan and Sams 1977 p. 303.

110

Hogwoodl982p.57.

111

Interview in Fortnight No. 71 2/11/73.

112

See note 97 above. See Harvey and Rea op.

107 1 08

1

13

cit.

p. 1 10.

114

McAllister 1977a

115

ibid. p. 153.

116

Seasonally adjusted and excluding school-leavers.

p. 145.

NI Annual

Abstract of

Dept of Finance HMSO Belfast 1986. See Simpson in Fortnight No. 72 2/1 1/72.

Statistics 1

17

118

Davies etal. 1977

p.

119

Harrison op.

This

cit.

304. is

not to argue that

all this

decline

is

attributable to

violence.

120

Simpson 1973

121

An

p. 95.

Simpson was then the Director General of the NIHE. moved within or from Belfast between 1969 and

estimated 60,000 people

1976.0'Dowdetal.p. 133. 122

This point

123

e.g. the

124

Osborne 1981/2 p. 335. See McCrudden 1981 who argues

125

relates particularly to Belfast.

Poleglass development in

West

Belfast

and see Dawson 1984.

that the concept of quotas

was not adequately

defined.

FEA Official Belfast 3 1/7/86.

126

Interview with

127

The Dept of Manpower Services was

128

See the discussion of the FEA in Chapter 4 for the question of legal redress. Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 Section 20(1).

129 131

See Fortnight No. 62 21/5/73. HC Paper 199 1977/78 Para. 65.

132

This was

130

to

some

tendency to consider Irish 133

upon

extent mitigated by the use of Orders in Council and the

affairs at

Interview (unattributed).

in the

to publish guidelines in 1978.

concluding chapter.

somewhat unsociable hours.

The

question of policy interrelation will be expanded

The Labour administrations 1974-79

Introduction

The Labour Party under Wilson won the February 1974 election though without gaining an overall majority, winning 301 seats to the Conservatives' 297. In the election of October

Labour gained an overall majority of three with 319

Owing

the Conservatives winning 277.

seats

and

to the short-term nature of the first

administration, this chapter will deal with both administrations together.

Rees was appointed Secretary of

State, with

Orme and Moyle (from June Don Concannon (from June April 1976. Mason succeeded

1974) as Ministers of State. Lord Donaldson and 1974)

filled

the

Under

Secretary positions until

Rees in September 1976; Concannon was promoted to Minister of State in April 1976 and Lord Melchett became the other Minister of State. Carter and Dunn became Under Secretaries from April 1976, with Dunn being replaced by Pendry in November 1978 owing to ill-health.

Constitutional policy

The fall of the 1974

The Labour

executive

Party was faced with the problem of being committed to support of

the power-sharing executive and the assembly which was being the electoral success of the

UUUC

January 1974 the executive had made

(see

Chapter

little

3).

progress.

A

Since

undermined by

its

formation in

statement of aims had

been published, but by April no Bills had been produced and the Select Committees were proving ineffective. As well as the external difficulties of growing hostility and the threat of industrial action by loyalist workers, there was internal discord. The SDLP was pressing for the ratification of the Sunningdale agreement and the establishment of the Council of Ireland before concentrating on policy formulation for Northern Ireland and its failure to give unconditional 1

support to the security forces 2 strained relations with the other two parties which

composed

the executive.

1

The Labour administrations 1 974-79

On

May

14

the assembly voted

arrangements and thus Ireland.

grouping

of

44-28 against renegotiating

constitutional

proceed with the establishment of the Council of

to

This precipitated

umbrella

9

a strike

by the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC), an trades

loyalist

unionists

and

The

paramilitaries.

UWC

was of great significance as it marked the rise of development of the direct action by elements of the loyalist working class with the role of politicians

3

being marginalised and although intimidation was used in the early

period of the strike, there was considerable support for

community.

4

The

ultimate

commentators predicting

success

of

the

and

direction

amongst the Unionist resulted

considering

negotiations

in

some

Northern Ireland

a recasting of political forces in

with the possibility of politicised loyalist working-class socialist

it

UWC

movements going with

the

in a

Republican

and the possibility of a negotiated independence for Northern However, such developments were largely still-born and

paramilitaries

UWC

Ireland. activists

did not generally

On

May

the 22

make

the transition to conventional politics.

on Faulkner's

the executive,

Council of Ireland be limited

at first to

initiative,

5

proposed that the

the Council of Ministers with the

second element, the Consultative Assembly, being postponed until after the

The SDLP down of the Irish

next elections to the Northern Ireland assembly due in 1977.

members of

the assembly had at

first

dimension by eleven votes to 8 but

rejected a watering

later reversed their decision

the proposal by 13 votes to 6 following the intervention of this

concession was insufficient for the

growing support for

it

and the

strategic

UWC

and the

and supported

Orme. However, strike

continued;

importance of the power workers

UWC

hold out for the abandonment of the whole structure of power sharing. Following the assembly compromise over the implementation of the Council of Ireland, Rees, having consulted with Wilson, announced through the Northern Ireland Office that there would be no departure from helped the

UWC

and no negotiations with the as was an unelected body. The SDLP supported Rees' stand, but Faulkner advocated negotiation and the Unionists resigned from the executive on 28 May as Rees maintained his position. Without Unionist membership the executive could not operate as representative of both communities and it

the present constitutional arrangements it

collapsed.

The

failure

of the British government to support more resolutely the 6

and recrimination. Three main factors may be deduced as to why it was unprepared to mobilise all resources against 7 the strike. Firstly, the army and Mason, the Minister of Defence, advised Wilson and Rees that the army did not have the expertise to run the vital sectors affected by the strike, and were unable or perhaps unwilling to confront the loyalist paramilitaries as this might prove a more intractable problem than the IRA, which had itself proved resilient. The prospect of a war on two fronts was not a prospect about which to be sanguine. Healey had executive

is

still

a matter of debate

92

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

warned Wilson in 1969 about the problem of appearing to represent the Catholics and trying to rule with a disaffected majority, and the lesson was

now applied. 8 Secondly,

it

had become apparent that power sharing had insufficient popular at least in the form of May 1974 when neither the SDLP

support to be sustained,

nor the Republic appeared prepared

to accept the jettisoning of the Irish

dimension

Army had

in

its

entirety. If the British

taken a stronger line against

paramilitary activity and had engaged in the provision of essential services, which 9

Rees felt anyway was impossible, it would still have proved difficult to resurrect power sharing at the end of the strike given the UUUC success at the general election. If Westminster would not reimpose a form of government that lacked the support of much of the minority community it was hardly likely to use coercion to bolster one that did not have the support of much of the Unionist community. Thirdly, as Fisk argues, it was not only the vulnerability of the Executive

itself but the British fear

of 'contagion' that influenced Wilson:

was the Prime Minister's own fear of the executive's imminent disintegration - and his would contaminate the stability of his own Government if he 10 continued to support it - that made the coalition's abandonment inevitable. it

belief that this collapse

It

has been argued that the executive would have failed even without the

intervention.

11

It

only

managed

to function as

it

UWC

did because most of the impor-

tant areas of policy were reserved matters. The role of Dublin was crucial and this was outside the control of the executive. Dublin's ratification of Sunningdale was the basis of SDLP participation in the executive and its quick and effective response to the questions of security and extradition was necessary for Faulkner's Unionists to have any success in convincing the Protestant community that there was anything to be gained from Dublin involvement in the north's future. Dublin's failure to deliver on what either the SDLP or the Unionists wanted before the crisis of May (it seems most unlikely that it could have satisfied both) further weakened the executive and revealed the factionalism within it. Rees argued that Westminster would have been prepared to amend the Council of Ireland proposals earlier and blames the executive and, in particular, the SDLP 12 for sticking to them in face of the Whether this would have opposition.

UWC

allowed the salvaging of the internal power-sharing element later Protestant opposition to

In the

Commons debate 13

it

would indicate

that

it

was

is

debatable, but

unlikely.

following the executive's collapse the British parties

presented a united front in defeat. Rees announced that as no basis for the assembly existed under the terms of the Constitution Act 1973 it was to be

prorogued under Section 27(6) by Order

and he defended his would have given legitimacy to a non-elected body. In considering possible ways forward, both Pym and Rees rejected integration on the grounds that it would overburden Westminster and Rees felt it would run counter to what he perceived to be the development of a decision not to negotiate with the

UWC

as

in Council,

it

The Labour administrations 1974-79

93

nascent Ulster nationalism manifested by the

ment was

UWC strike. The Labour govern-

also considering the devolution of

powers

to

Scotland and Wales,

pending the Kilbrandon Report on the Constitution, so integration for Northern

would have been an anomaly

Ireland

in light of these

developments. Both Heath

and Wilson remained somewhat unrealistically optimistic about the possibilities of power sharing. While Rees had tended to emphasise the Irish dimension as the stumbling block to progress Wilson defended

agreement and did not accept that

SDLP

it

its

inclusion in the Sunningdale

should have been postponed given that the

had accepted the postponement of the consultative body, and

that the

Council of Ministers would not have had any additional functions granted to until after the next

Northern Ireland Assembly

it

elections.

Both Conservatives and Labour concurred on what was to be a dominant theme in the Constitutional Convention which Rees established in 1975; agreement in Northern Ireland was more likely to be forthcoming if the role of Westminster and Dublin was downplayed and there was more flexibility in potential institutional frameworks. Wilson stated that: 'the future of Northern Ireland will have to be worked out increasingly by the people of Northern Ireland 14 themselves'. Orme concluded that the: 'central theme which seems to have emerged from this debate is that we must look for a much broader-based 15 powersharing'. One commentator argues that the Convention strategy meant that: 'implicitly, there would be no more Darlington-type meetings, unless the 16 strenuous loyalists participated, and there would be no more Sunningdales'.

The convention The

strategy

establishment of a convention in which the role of Britain and the Republic

was negligible and which was

to

have no

legislative or executive

power was

paralleled by the shift in security policy (see p. 109) towards an 'internalising' of

the problem,

i.e.

reducing the influence of the external actors, the

UK and the

Republic. This was, in part, a pragmatic response to the problems the Irish

dimension had caused in the Sunningdale strategy and had the advantage for the

government that if agreement were not reached, the focus, in Britain and would be on the intransigence of the Northern Ireland parties rather than on the inadequacy of British policy. Rees stated that: British

internationally,

whatever the difficulties the Convention was the only way to proceed. If the Northern Ireland politicians failed to find a

message

to the

South of Ireland,

way through, it would at least show the world, and 17 blame did not all lie with the British.

give a

that the

A White

Paper, 'The Northern Ireland Constitution'

1974

make

18

was published on 4 July It was to be purely 19 consultative with no administrative or legislative powers with a remit to consider 'what provision for the government of Northern Ireland is likely to command the most widespread acceptance throughout the community there. 20 to

provision for a Constitutional Convention.

94

British

The

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

paper included the term 'power-sharing' although, given the overtones of

Sunningdale, 'partnership' or 'sharing' were to become more popular in

What was

vocabulary.

clear

was

that a return to rule

official

by a solely Unionist

administration would not be acceptable to Westminster. Para. 45 stated that: 'events have

shown

that a consensus

can be obtained on serving the interests of

the whole community'. Although the convention was to function as a forum in

which the Northern Ireland parries could thrash out proposals without direct Westminster intervention, para. 45 also stated that any form of devolved government proposed had to be acceptable to the UK as a whole and that an Irish dimension did exist. However, institutional links were not emphasised; only vague references to common interests and areas of possible mutual interest such as co-operation in social and economic policy were included. Para. 40, which dealt with the financial relationship between Britain and Northern Ireland, states, that:

the willingness of the Westminster parliament responsible to the to transfer additional

Northern Ireland

The veiled

money

to

will inevitably

Northern Ireland and

UK electorate as a whole

continue to invest resources in

be affected by the progress of events there.

economic penalties for the failure to agree had already been emphasised by Orme, the 21 economic policy, and some saw this as a hint

threat of direct or indirect

on a power-sharing

initiative

Minister with responsibility for that withdrawal

was being considered

resurrect devolution.

The

to

as a possible option in the event of failure to

22

convention was to be elected on the same basis as the assembly with 78

on the 12 Westminster constituencies and candidates elected by to sit for six months or until it submitted recommendations, whichever was earlier. If agreement had not been reached within this period it could be extended for three months, subject to parliamentary approval, or recalled within six months of dissolution. If the report fulfilled the requirements of 'most widespread acceptance' the Secretary of State had a seats based

STV. The convention was

statutory obligation to place the proposals before parliament for consideration.

The government might then choose to devolve both legislative and administrative powers if it considered the widespread support criterion had been met. The Secretary of State was to be empowered to introduce polls or referenda in Northern Ireland on matters concerned with the convention's recommendations

although these could not override the result of the Border Poll of 1973. In the debate of 9 July on the White Paper, Rees defended the proposals and those of 1973 on the grounds that the concept of 'partnership' was firmly

The executive had failed because of the form of implementation rather than because it was intrinsically unworkable. The removal of direct Westminster and Dublin input would provide the space in which a new

established in the province.

form could be established. In reply to criticism of the vagueness of the Irish dimension in the White Paper (i.e. stating that it existed without drawing any

The Labour administrations

1

974-79

95

Rees countered that this could be left to Belfast and Dublin 23 Englishmen played little or no part in Sunningdale.' Critics such as Fitt felt that the commitment to power sharing was largely a sham since the British government had shown itself unwilling to support it in 1974 and if the convention rejected it, as appeared likely, the government would take no measures to enforce it. The retreat from Sunningdale was an implicit recognition of the Unionist veto on political development and a reduction of the neutral role 24 Criticism also came from the Tory right who felt that the governof Britain. ment should spell out more exactly what it desired for Northern Ireland; the strength of flexibility could as well be interpreted as the weakness of an abdication from providing responsible direction. A more positive commitment to the Union and less vague talk of Irish dimensions which inflamed the Unionist 25 community would reduce the political uncertainty on which terrorism thrived. Orme defended the vagueness of the Irish Dimension on the grounds that it was principally Sunningdale and the Council of Ireland which the UUUC opposition and the election results of February 1974 had condemned; power sharing in some form might be resuscitated. This equation was to reappear later 26 SDLP co-operation might be forthcoming in talks on in British thinking; devolution even if there was no real likelihood of the Irish dimension developing, whereas if it did develop, Unionist co-operation would not be forthcoming. Therefore a Council of Ireland on a Sunningdale model should be relegated to part of a longer-term strategy and one to be devised bilaterally by Belfast and implications from to sort out:

'I

it)

was

told

Dublin.

The White Paper was closely made provision for

1974, which

followed by the Northern Ireland Act of July elections to,

and operation

of,

the convention

and rationalised the administrative details necessitated by the collapse of the executive.

The

Westminster

responsibilities

after the

devolved to the assembly would return to

former had been dissolved by Order

in Council.

The

departmental responsibilities of the executive would revert to the Secretary of

and

27

Direct Rule was reintroduced but for one year only and was annually renewable should the convention not produce a framework for State

his deputies.

devolution acceptable to the government.

duced

to bridge the

The 1974 Act was

principally intro-

gap between the assembly and the convention and to specify

procedural and financial arrangements for the

latter;

an adjunct to the 1973

Constitution Act.

The

debate on the

Bill raised similar points to that

of the White Paper.

The

Conservatives supported the proposals; the Unionists were generally sceptical,

and

Fitt,

the only non-unionist Northern Ireland

introduction of the to those forces in

White Paper and the

Bill

Northern Ireland which

member, believed

that the:

today represent an abject and total surrender

about using every endeavour to bring to an end the system of government that we had under the Sunningdale agreement. 28 set

Orme dismissed the objections over the difference of wording between the White

96

British

Paper and the

we do

29

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

saying:

not want to get involved in an argument about semantics.

acceptability

solution

He

Bill

government policy

and being representative of the community

must be acceptable

to

also rejected increased

devolution

would have

both communities.

compensatory

talk

we mean

about

that any

30

Northern Ireland representation

a

When we

as a whole,

effect

for

at

Westminster

as

under-

proportionate

representation at Westminster.

Having established the framework for the convention the government left time for discussions within and between the Northern Ireland parties to develop. In preparation for the convention election, the Northern Ireland Office produced a discussion paper in November 1974. It reiterated the terms of the convention and offered guidelines on procedure, including the possibility of establishing committees to consider various aspects of policy which would act as a trial run in the event of convention members later becoming members of an executive. Another suggestion was for the formation of a steering committee to work closely with the chairman to facilitate inter-party discussions. The discussion paper also made provision for lack of unanimity in the convention: If it proves impossible to reach full

agreement within the Convention,

it

would be open

to

the Convention to report on the various arrangements for government that had been likely to command the necessary widespread acceptance throughout the community, and on the degree of support within the Convention for each of these

considered as

arrangements.

It

would then be

Convention into account

for Parliament to take the balance

in considering the

Convention's Report.

Another discussion paper was published details of

in

of opinion within the

31

February 1975 which included

forms of minority representation used in other countries as models

which the convention could possibly employ. The convention elections were held on 1 May 1975. 32 The UUUC, which had won 10 of the 12 Westminster seats in the election of October 1974 and 57.4% of votes cast, had maintained its unity after bargaining over seat distribution and adapted to the

on

STV system to ensure the fullest possible representation.

It

stood

on the Westminster model with one party forming the executive, increased Westminster representation for Northern Ireland, the restoration of upper-tier powers to district councils and an explicit rejection of a platform of a parliament

any institutionalised

Irish

dimension.

The

UUUC

also attacked the extent of

reserved powers under the 1973 Act and advocated that security and judicial administration should be transferred to any future assembly. In other words,

was

virtually a return to the status

it

quo ante with the exception of the creation of

advisory committees for each government department

benchers, half of whom would be

composed of backmembers of the opposition (and therefore likely

be disproportionate to their representation). The SDLP advocated power sharing and a British and Irish dimension as offering the best way forward for

to

political

and economic advance. The

specific details of representation

were not

The Labour administrations 1974-79

SDLP

97

would not

settle for less

than direct repre-

sentation in the executive and the committee structure of the

UUUC proposal's

detailed though clearly the

would not be acceptable.

Of the smaller parties, the Republican Clubs decided to

power sharing as an irrelevance as it instituand disguised the real problem, that of the British presence. The Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (UPNI), formed by Faulkner, and the Alliance both endorsed power sharing but saw the refusal of the Republic to remove its claim of sovereignty over the north from its constitution as a barrier to progress in north-south co-operation and opposed an Irish dimension. The UUUC reaped the benefits of its organisational ability and won 47 seats and 54.8% of the votes cast on a relatively low turn-out of 65.8%. The coalition was composed of 19 official Unionists, 14 of Craig's Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party, 12 of Paisley's DUP and 2 independents. The parties favouring power sharing won 3 1 seats: 17 for the SDLP, 8 Alliance, 5 UPNI and one NILP with 42.6% of the vote. On 7 November the convention voted 42-31 with three contest the elections but dismissed

tionalised the sectarian divide

abstentions to approve a draft report and submit

it

to the Secretary

report argued against guaranteed ministerial positions for the majority party in the assembly the

UUUC

rejects

and para. 144

of State.

The

members of any but

stated:

any imposed institutionalised association or other constitutional

However, it acknowledges that there is an Irish Dimension in that there are security and economic problems common to Northern Ireland

relationship with the Republic of Ireland.

and the

Irish Republic.

The powers endorsed

were largely those of 1920, including and criminal law. The other parties in the convention included their recommendations as appendices to the report following the defeat of the SDLP proposal to submit a minority report. Common ground between the UUUC and the SDLP included the desire for a devolved unicameral legislature, powers of security, judicial and electoral control to be transferred, and condemnation of the British government for talking with paramilitaries and unelected groups. Para. 33 stated that: in the report

responsibility for security, prisons

the

Convention resolved without dissent

to deplore the fact that the failure of

Her

Government in dealing with the introlerable security situation had accentuated unhappy divisions in the community and thereby had greatly impeded the work of the

Majesty's the

Convention.

The preceding

months had seen little movement from the positions adopted exception was Craig who advocated a temporary agreed coalition with two or three SDLP members in the executive and a strong committee system. The rest of the UUUC was not prepared to move beyond scrutinising backbench committees with equal government and opposition membership and shared chairmanships. On 8 September Craig was defeated 37-1 in a UUUC vote on the voluntary coalition proposal and in October was expelled from the UUUC. The convention was dissolved on 10 November under six

for the election.

One

98

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

the terms of the Northern Ireland Act 1974 although there was provision for

its

was evident that its remit of recommending an arrangement recall. However, to secure the 'most widespread acceptance throughout the community' had not it

been achieved. The Convention Report was debated in the Following talks with the Northern Ireland

Commons on

12 January 1976.

Rees announced that in the view of the Government, not, command 'does report although the throughout the community to provide acceptance stable widespread sufficiently 33 convention would reconvened the be on 3 February government' and effective parties,

to consider three questions: the possibility of

whether progress could be

made on an

committee structure. The committees with

50%

last

more widespread acceptance,

evolutionary basis and the nature of the

point referred to the

UUUC

proposal that

opposition representation would have scrutinising powers

and be involved in the legislative process with delaying powers of up to two years. However the committee system was principally one that embodied the notion of the SDLP and Alliance as opposition and thus did not meet the criterion of the 1974 Act and the non-UUUC parties saw it as a cosmetic exercise. Rees again refused to be drawn into a definition of power-sharing but detailed those areas where accommodation was vital. The SDLP should openly support the RUC and accept the government position that it did not consider it necessary or appropriate to create an institutional framework such as the Council of Ireland for relations with the Republic and the UUUC should accept minority representation in decision making. Heath attacked government policy for not looking beyond the incrementalism of the convention and for its failure to define what it had meant by participation which had led to a report that was clearly unacceptable. In response, Orme stated that it was impossible for the government to impose a solution and this entailed allowing the convention as free a hand as possible to find agreement among its members. A published letter from Rees to the Convention Chairman in January 1976

(Cmnd 6387) informed him fulfil

of the government's decision that the report did not

the remit of the convention and that

February.

The

letter

it

would be reconvened from 3

revealed that even areas that had cross-community support

were unacceptable to the government which was not prepared power of judicial appointments. Policing powers would only be transferred if the level of violence diminished and if agreement were reached among the Northern Ireland parties; therefore the Police Authority would remain the limit of Northern Ireland input into monitoring of security. The prospects for progress were bleak. In January forty members of the UUUC pledged not to deviate from their position in the report and had informed Rees. Talks between the UUUC and SDLP on 12 February collapsed after an hour and the last meeting of the convention took place on the 3 March. 34 Two days later Rees announced its dissolution. There was no provision for the convention to remain in session as an advisory body although Neave, the

in the convention

to transfer the

The Labour administrations

1

974-79

99

Conservative spokesman, supported such a body to scrutinise Northern Ireland fill the political vacuum between the relatively powerless and the twelve Westminster MPs. With the failure of the convention, there were two practical options open to

legislation

and

to

district councils

government: indefinite direct rule or withdrawal given that was still not favoured by either front bench. Rees records that at this time there was much discussion over withdrawal although he did not seriously 35 There were however reasons why it seemed the government contemplate it. was considering it as an option. Moyle had hinted in April 1975 that it was under consideration if the convention failed although both Rees and Wilson had 6 remained non-committal on this point. There were also warnings to trades unions and industrialists that indigenous companies would have to form the foundation of any economic revival rather than a dependence on British 37 subventions. These warnings seemed to be aimed at the members of the convention and could be seen as an implicit threat that if political progress were not forthcoming financial support would be reconsidered and the Ministers stressed the (supposed) relationship between political stability and some form of accommodation and the prospects for economic recovery, especially if it were to be based on attracting foreign investment. The third reason for such speculation was that the IRA, who had negotiated indirectly with the government via meetings with church leaders in December 1974, claimed that the government had promised the withdrawal of the army if the convention failed. Rees denied that army withdrawal or political disengagement had been promised to the IRA in attempts to arrange a cease fire. The hostility which negotiations with the IRA, the low security profile and release of detainees caused in the period of the ceasefire among the Unionist community in 1975 raised suspicions that Rees was hoping to facilitate withdrawal by provoking the Unionists into breaking the 38 link. This is given credence by Rees' own view that a new phenomenon, Ulster nationalism, had developed in the wake of the strike. Although the threat of withdrawal may have been used to encourage political co-operation in the convention or the promise of it used to fashion a ceasefire, possibly in the hope of splitting the IRA into 'military' and 'political' factions, the balance of strategies was in favour of continued direct rule. The convention had allowed the British government to demonstrate that it had attempted a political initiative and the failure lay with the intransigence of the Northern Ireland 39 politicians. Beyond that it had little positive value, and there were now few options open. In the debate on the annual renewal of the 1974 Act in July 1976, Rees argued that there was neither scope nor need for a further political initiative. Talks were continuing between the SDLP and the OUP but no progress had been made on power sharing. In recognition of this, marginal changes were made to the operation of direct rule including the removal of the limitation on the numbers of meetings per session of the Northern Ireland Committee, which had been established in 1975, and the presentation of the

British

integration

UWC

1

00

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

prospective Orders in Council to the Northern Ireland parties for their consideration.

Mason's five-point plan and the development of Conservative integrationism

Mason

September 1976 was was now to be 40 Mason relegated and the focus put upon economic policy and security. defended direct rule as firm and purposeful and denied claims about a political 41 The government was still committed to devolution as an ideal but vacuum. with the OUP withdrawal from talks with the SDLP on 7 September and the SDLP criticising the government for not detailing its intentions, devolution was a Rees's replacement by

as Secretary of State in

widely seen as a recognition that

movement on

the political front

long-term aspiration.

Mason conducted a series of bilateral talks with the parties, meeting the SDLP in late

January 1977 and the Alliance,

February. In a

wished to

Commons

see: 'the establishment

commands widespread

sentatives of both communities'.

was

meetings in

of a system of devolved government that

for participation

also

subject to inter-party agreement. In

virtually indistinguishable

from the terms of flexible

concept

to legislative status at a later date

March Mason refused

tion as requested by the Unionists since there it

and partnership by repre-

emphasised that devolution was a

which could be administrative only or proceed

1974 Act and because

DUP in separate

42

This was an established formula It

and

acceptance throughout both parts of the community in

Northern Ireland and provides

the convention.

OUP

statement on 10 February he states the government

was the wrong form of political

convenunder the

to recall the

was no provision

for

it

initiative prior to

more

backed a new forum arguing that the lack of an arena for debate encouraged the entrenchment of attitudes, but Mason refused ostensibly on the grounds that any new initiative would interfere with the preparation by parties for the local elections of May inter-party agreement. Neave, the Conservative spokesman,

1977.

The succession of talks took place against the background of the splintering of UUUC alliance. The Official Unionists refused to back the United Unionist Action Council (UUAC) strike of 3-13 May which had the support of Paisley and Baird, who had become the leader of the successor movement to Vanguard after

the

Craig's support for a coalition with the elections the

latter effectively folded.

Mason

to

SDLP

in the convention. In the local

OUP refused to have its candidates run on an UUUC ticket and the The

splintering of the unionists

make any progress with

talks in late

May aimed

the gap between local government and Westminster.

made

it

harder for

at finding a

The

DUP

way

to

fill

refused to go

beyond the democratisation of the area boards, the OUP rejected an upper tier of local government and the SDLP opposed attempts to restore local government

The Labour administrations functions which

it

practices. In July, political

forum

saw

1 974-79

101

as integrationist

Mason

and increasing the

risk

of discriminatory

rejected Conservative calls for an advisory council or

would

as they

deflect

from the government's aim of

full

devolution.

On 24 November

1977 Mason announced

to the

Commons the proposals for a

between the Northern Ireland Office and the OUP, DUP, SDLP and the Alliance. The proposals had been delayed owing to the election in the Republic, the Queen's visit to Northern Ireland and a summit between the new Taoiseach, Lynch, and Callaghan. The statement stressed the need for flexibility as a detailed blueprint would fragment 'five-point plan' following continued bilateral talks

the Northern Ireland parties.

My intention is There

tive.

will

to devolve

back

Northern Ireland

to

real

powers, not necessarily legisla-

be an Assembly based on proportional representation.

consultative role regarding legislation, but the devolved powers,

environment, planning or whatever, will go to committees. partnership basis to them.

A letter had

I

It

will

have a

whether on transport,

hope

that there will be a

43

been sent to each of the four main parties on 22 November stating was not possible so an interim measure was to be introduced

that full devolution

based on a unicameral assembly elected by proportional representation, the

first

which would have a consultative role in legislation and real responsibility over a wide range of functions, the second point. Thirdly, although a temporary measure, it was envisaged that it could form the basis of further (i.e. legislative) devolution and therefore, the fourth point, the interim arrangements, had to be durable incorporating the safeguarding of minority interests and a desire for the parties to co-operate in making the arrangements work. Fifthly, as an adjunct to the fourth point, the arrangements had to be administratively sound. The portents for the proposals were not good. Any encouragement Mason

point,

might have gained

when

SDLP

the

annual conference voted against British

OUP and DUP withdrew from talks with Northern Ireland Office in January 1978, and by March the relations between Unionists had worsened when the OUP refused to attend a meeting on Unionist

withdrawal was undermined

when

the

the

unity organised

by Paisley and Baird. In

Mason was eager to It is

right to

Ireland as

stress the

to this system, or,

laid

and

in

which the

down in the 1973

Act.

indeed to any other system.

system of government in which basis

of the unionist boycott of talks

inform the House that the term power-sharing tends to be taken in Northern

meaning the system

committed

light

open-ended nature of his proposals:

all

sections of the

The Government are

in

no way

We are committed to a devolved

community can

rights of all citizens are fully safeguarded.

participate

on

a fairer

44

The only restraint was the necessity of any proposals to be consistent with the five November 1977. The stalemate had increased the Conservative scepticism about pursuing a

points outlined in

devolutionary path and

Neave declared

that the party

no longer supported

1

02

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89 45

Fitt accused him of supporting the and DUP to strengthen his desire for a Unionist boycott of ascendancy. Neave expanded on his ideas in the Extension Order debate to the 1974 Act at the end of June. As an impasse had been reached in the overambitious assembly proposals reform should be centred upon restoring the

attempts to resurrect power-sharing. talks

OUP

by the

discharge of regional services to locally elected representatives.

One

option was

to establish directly elected regional councils as a tier above the existing district 46 There were four potential advantages of this policy: it lessened the councils.

on Westminster;

would Northern Ireland parties; it endorsed the principle of treating Northern Ireland as an unexceptional part of the UK and the impasse of power sharing would be avoided. This is significant, since even though the impracticalities of power sharing had long been recognised, this was the first time the bipartisan commitment to it had been openly breached. Concannon rejected such an idea as Mason's plan was still before the parties and he wanted to stick to the letter of the Macrory recommendations. Rather than three or four regional councils as Neave proposed, only one regional council was necessary to administer local government

burden of

direct rule

encourage

political

responsibility

it

among

services answerable to a regional assembly.

SDLP,

filled

the 'Macrory gap' and

the

Such

a proposal

would

also alienate

as Fitt

showed, as a move away from devolution would encourage the

unionists to resist

accommodation with the minority and be evidence of creeping

the

integration.

Another important development was Callaghan's acceptance of a report by the (Cmnd 7110) which recommended an increase in 47 Northern Ireland's Westminster representation to between 16 and 18 seats. Previously both major British parties had opposed this on the grounds that devolution compensated for this under-representation. This was interpreted by backbench critics as a retreat from devolution and implicitly integrationist. Although talks were held in November between Mason and the main parties there was little sign of progress and in a debate that month on increased representation the government was criticised by Fitt for trying to buy Unionist 48 support in the House as it lacked an overall majority. There was also backbench Speaker's Conference

hostility.

McNamara said:

there has been an irreversible twist in the Government's policy in favour of Unionism and

my Right Honourable Friend the SecreNorthern Ireland may pay to the concept of devolution, he cannot deny 49 that there has been a complete and utter change of policy.

the Unionist ascendancy. Whatever lip-service tary of State for

Other backbenchers echoed these sentiments seeing increased representation as a diversion from the lack of political initiatives. Mason and Concannon denied a pact with the unionists and argued that it did not mean an abandonment of the search for a devolutionary solution.

On

11 January

1979 Mason sent a

letter to the leaders

of the four main

The Labour administrations 1974-79

103

Northern Ireland parties reiterating the proposals of November 1977 and emphasising the dual criteria of acceptability and durability and the need for long-term political aspirations to be shelved. By early March all but the SDLP had replied but there was insufficient common ground to form the basis of a White Paper. On 28 March the government lost a vote of no confidence 3 1 1-310. Eight Unionists voted with the Conservatives and crucially

Fitt,

who

normally

supported Labour, abstained along with the Independent Frank Maguire.

Fitt's

what he saw as the drift towards integration and the findings of the Bennett Report on ill-treatment of suspects (see p. 118) was thus demondissatisfaction with

strated to great effect.

Security policy

The Labour

administration was to preside over changes in security strategy

which had been prefigured

Two

in the later years

of the Conservative government.

of the principal areas to be addressed were the problem of extradition and

government to emphasise the use of criminal justice procedures against terrorism and the use of locally recruited security forces: 'criminalisation' and 'Ulsterisation', as these policies were commonly known. In a major debate early in the new administration, Rees was explicit about the emphasis to be placed on normal legal procedures and the role of the police as the

the desire of the

principal agency in the fight against terrorism I

believe the cornerstone of security policy should be a progressive increase in the role of

Northern Ireland. Sufficient members of the Northern Ireland to assist in maintaining law and order. But the Government believed that in the long term it must be the community itself and normal 50 police activities, not military operations alone, which would finally defeat the terrorist. the civilian law enforcement agencies in

Army would remain

in

The main stumbling-block

to

such a policy was to win 'community' acceptance

for the police, so as to allow the reduction

of troop

levels.

The

failure

of the

was likely to make it harder for the SDLP unreservedly to endorse the RUC and the administration of justice, especially while detention remained. Rees expressed a hope that more Catholics would join the RUC and RUC

executive

members of the assembly was mooted as a reform to increase the communal acceptability of the RUC. A second problem in the policy of increasing the profile of the police in countering terrorism was that of efficiency. In April 1974 Rees announced a decentralisation of the RUC which involved the granting of operational commands to Assistant Chief Constables in Belfast, Deny and the border areas. This was aimed at increasing the flexibility of deployment based on knowledge of

Reserve; the reconstitution of the Police Authority with participating

local conditions.

The policy was not without its contradictions. The higher profile for the police, and their responsibility for securing convictions through the courts with the

1

04

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

gradual phasing out of internment, was likely to raise anew the question of their relationship with the community. Also, the reduction of the role of the

army was

by the increase of that of the UDR. As this force was almost entirely Protestant in composition the spectre of a Protestant security force which had so 51 tarnished the B Specials was once again raised. to

be

offset

The

policy did have two obvious advantages for the government. Firstly, the

use of locally recruited security forces allowed the problem to be presented to international observers as an internal one between conflicting Irish groups, and therefore downplayed the role of Britain and the British

Army

as part of the

equation. This was reinforced by the use of the legal process rather than

detention which emphasised the 'criminal' nature of the violence rather than the political element.

52

Secondly,

it

was

felt that in

reducing the army's role would outweigh the legislation

the long term the benefits of

risks.

The amendments

to security

and how they were informed by considerations of criminalisation

will

be dealt with below.

The international element: Discussions on security

at

the question of extradition

Sunningdale had resulted in the establishment of a

Law Enforcement Commission, composed of members of the judiciary of the Republic and the UK, to consider the problem of suspected terrorists claiming immunity from extradition to the north by invoking political status. Extradition 53 agreements existed between the Republic and the UK but the legislation exempted political offences. The Commission considered four possible solutions in its report of May 1974. These were the extension of extradition powers, an all-Ireland court with jurisdiction throughout the thirty-two counties, the conferral on the courts of the Republic and Northern Ireland of jurisdiction covering the territory of the other and, a variation of the third, both jurisdictions having a court with extra-territorial jurisdiction containing three judges,

one of

whom

would be

a

member

of the

judiciary of the other state.

All-Ireland jurisdiction was rejected on the grounds that to

implement

no guarantee

as

it

would take too long and there was

necessitated a revision to the Irish Constitution

it

referendum would endorse it. Extra-territorial and fourth options, had the advantage that it would not or constitutional difficulties as it did not require any changes to the

that the necessary

jurisdiction, the third raise

any legal

judicial systems of the

Republic or of Northern Ireland.

The principal

disadvan-

tage was that of the availability of witnesses since the commission did not envisage that

would be possible

to compel witnesses to give evidence across the border, might be possible to permit a High Court judge to take evidence where the offence was committed and transmit it to the other court. The use of it

although

it

three judges was this

felt to

was balanced by the

have the advantage of increasing public confidence but political

controversy likely to be aroused by a judge from

The Labour administrations

1 974-79

105

the Republic sitting in a northern court which

sovereignty of the

UK in Northern

would run counter

to the legal

Ireland and the problem of different legal

procedures in the two countries. Para. 40 stated: 'We conclude

that, for the

purposes of extra-territorial jurisdiction, mixed courts confer no legal or procedural advantage over purely domestic courts, and for that reason

recommend

we do

not

them'. 54

The Irish members of the That left the extradition option remaining. commission (Walsh, Quigley, Doyle and Henchey) rejected it on the grounds that it would be contrary to both international and domestic law. The Republic was a signatory to the European Convention on Extradition 1957 which recognised political offences as non-extradictable and Article 29(3) of the Republic's Constitution recognised these international commitments from which derogations could only be tories.

The

the Republic's submission. it

made with

the consent of the majority of the signa-

British representatives (Scarman,

The

Lowry, Hutton and Jones) rejected

British case regarding international law

was

that

recognised the right but did not impose the duty to refuse the extradition of

politically-motivated offenders and, therefore, a sovereign state could choose to

do otherwise. Further, the enormity of a crime could override both the principle and practice of international law, an argument which had been recognised by the Resolution on International Terrorism of the Council of Europe in January 1974. With respect to the domestic law, it was argued that it had primacy over international law and the former could not be deemed unconstitutional by the latter.

Therefore, the generally recognised principles of international law did not

make

the proposed legislation repugnant to Article 29(3) of the Republic's

Constitution.

On

strictly legal

grounds,

it

seems that the

UK

had the better

case. Inter-

national law could not prohibit the extradition of political offenders should

sovereign states choose to arrange bilateral treaties or legislation. However, extradition was,

was

little

and

is,

a political as well as a constitutional issue

and while there

opposition in the Republic to using non-jury courts and legislation

IRA, returning its members to the British was more controversial. The failure to reach agreement on extradition meant a compromise was sought

against the

which resulted in the Criminal Jurisdiction Act 1975 and complementary legislation in the Republic, the

had three

Criminal

essential provisions;

Law

(Jurisdiction)

Act 1976.

The

British Act

an offence committed in the Republic could be

Northern Ireland; the Republic would be requested to provide evidence and evidence would be sought in Northern Ireland relating to 55 prosecutions in the Republic. Rees outlined in the second reading of the Bill the conditions that the Commission had recommended be incorporated. The accused must be a fugitive and suspected of a scheduled offence, prosecution decisions would be taken by the Attorney-General, witnesses would not be compelled to cross the border and therefore evidence could be taken on commission in the Republic. Additionally, offences would be tried in non-jury courts and tried in

for the trial;

1

06

British

with the Diplock restrictions on

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

bail.

The

legislation

of the Republic would be

limited to offences committed in Northern Ireland; extension to the whole of the

UK

would have been difficult as the reciprocal nature of the measure was premised on the existence of non-jury courts. Despite the fact that the British Government and the Unionists saw it as a compromise the legislation had a difficult

to the

passage in the Republic with a narrow majority in the Dail and a referral

Supreme Court to decide whether it was

in

breach of the Constitution.

Amendments to the emergency legislation on extradition, the government also reformed the legislation 1974 (see p. 103) Rees had 56 announced the setting up of the Gardiner Committee to examine the operation of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act (EPA). In the renewal debate of July 1974 Rees argued that the Diplock Report had been too narrow and restricted in that it focused only on the legal and procedural changes necessary to combat terrorism and had not considered the wider framework of civil liberties and human rights. New legislation would await the publication of the Gardiner proposals and in the interim Rees advocated renewal without amendment with the proviso that renewal would be for six months (as opposed to one year in the 1973 Act) and bridge the gap until the Gardiner Report. This was done in part to placate backbench critics who felt that as legislation existed amending the judicial process in light of terrorism, detention should not be maintained. Rees, however, was not prepared to abandon its use until violence had declined. Critics argued that the continued use of detention was a contributory factor in the persistence of violence, and that the gradual phasing out of

As well

as the efforts

relating to the north. In the debate of April

detention lacked urgency.

The Gardiner Report was

published in January 1975.

It

recognised that

progress in security had to be matched with 'parallel progress in other fields of

and economic activity, especially of community relations as a and that the continued existence of security powers should be limited in duration and scope. A long-term solution needed social reforms, especially in the 58 fields of housing and community relations and possibly a Bill of Rights. The report did not feel that the emergency legislation was inimical to improved community relations since the main provisions of the Diplock Report were social, political 57

whole'

endorsed. Suspension of juries was considered necessary given the evidence the 59

Committee had heard of the incidence of witness intimidation which it felt would apply equally to jurors. Plurality of judges was rejected as ill-suited to the oral adversarial procedure system and as impractical owing to the lack of qualified personnel. The use of lay assessors to assist judges was rejected because they were considered too inexperienced and subject to the same intimidatory pressures as a jury.

The

restrictions

on

bail

were

to

be

left as in

Section 3 of the

EPA

and the

The Labour administrations 1 974-79 granting of Justices.

it

in

107

scheduled offences restricted to High Court judges and Lord

It was recommended

obtained from a person not

to cross-examination but the

which allowed the use of evidence be dropped. This had restricted the right

that Section 5,

at the trial,

DPP had instructed the Chief Constable not to use

not clear if Gardiner recommended its repeal on was unjust or that it was unnecessary. No major changes were recommended in the section relating to the admissibility of confessions except that a clause should be included affirming the judge's discretion to rule on admissibility viz: it

without his permission.

the grounds that

It is its

It is

it

hereby declared that nothing

discretion,

in this section shall

from excluding or disregarding if in

Therefore,

was up

it

prevent the court, in the exercise of

statement to which this section relates, or

the view of the court the interests of justice so require.

any part thereof,

treatment clause.

a

The

to the judge to interpret the

60

inhuman or degrading

Section 7 provision which put the onus of proof on the

defendant in the case of possession of firearms or munitions was to be maintained.

It

was recommended

that the practice of witnesses giving evidence

the defendant or his/her counsel were absent

disallowed as

it

when

and the disguising of witnesses be

limited or precluded effective cross examination.

Other recommendations were concerned with the tightening up of the 1973 Act. For example, recruiting for paramilitaries, publishing material on their behalf and the wearing of disguises were not offences, which Gardiner felt they should be. It was intended that proscription should be extended to include supporters of proscribed organisations and those against whom there was a prima facie case of membership, since membership was hard to prove. It is doubtful that proscription was of much practical value but the government felt that it demon61 strated public distaste for such groups. Powers of arrest were left unaltered save for the closing of loopholes and powers of searching extended to include transmitting equipment.

The

Report's tenor was similar to that of the government concerning

which had developed from the Diplock recommendations and Rees' speech of April 1974. Special category status was condemned since the compound form of imprisonment facilitated paramilitary organisation and emphasised the political motivation of the offence. Its phasing out would be effected when sufficient cellular accommodation was available in early 1976. Another part of this strategy was the ending of detention, the use of which undermined the concept of the due process of the law. Of the Commis-

criminalisation

were made

explicit in

sioners' hearings para. 145 stated

delays, the admission of hearsay evidence, the inability to cross

lowered standard of proof have provided that this

is

not 'British Justice'.

much

examine witnesses and the

material for propaganda on the grounds

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

08

The committee concluded policy as

it

that detention could not

be retained as a long-term

helped to prevent reconciliation, was inimical to community

and

life

created a sense of injustice.

The committee

felt

unable to

recommend

a specific date 'for the

ending of

detention because this was considered to be a political decision and the govern-

ment would have to consider it in the light of political reforms. Proposals were made for the improvement of the detention system. All responsibility for detention orders

delegate.

was

The

to

be placed with the Secretary of State without the authority to be changed from freedom would seriously endanger the general

criterion for the holding of a detainee should

'protection of the public* to security of the public'.

'if his

To replace the commissioner system, which had the

dual

and the delays involved, a detention advisory board, independent of the executive, should be created to investigate the disadvantages of

its

quasi-judicial nature

cases of individuals considered for detention.

To avoid the delays associated with

the commissioner system, the detainee would have to be informed of the allegations against

him/her within seven days and within a further twenty-one days the

advisory board would have to submit a written report to the Secretary of State.

would then have

He

whether to sign a detention order or direct the release of the detainee. Hence, no longer than five weeks should elapse between the ICO being served and the issue of a detention order. Under the detention provisions of the 1973 Act there was no time limit between referral to the commissioners and their recommendations. A further body, the release advisory committee, was recommended to advise the Secretary of State on whether and on what conditions a detainee should be released. The Gardiner Report formed the basis of the Northern Ireland Emergency to decide within seven days

(Amendment) Act 1975. In the renewal debate of the 1973 Act in June Rees admitted that Labour had been wrong in opposing non-jury trials and that 62 the government accepted Gardiner's evidence concerning intimidation. He announced that detention was to be retained although since February no ICOs had been signed and 276 detainees had been released since the end of 1 974 when a ceasefire had been negotiated with the IRA and which continued intermittendy until mid 1975. Provisions

The recommendations unable to attend the

trial,

concerning the inadmissibility of evidence by those the extension of the effects of proscription and the

extension of search powers were

all

adopted

in the legislation.

The

only

recommendation rejected was the creation of a general offence of terrorism which the government felt would be of no advantage in securing convictions given that any activity likely to be included was already an offence. The detention procedure was amended with the abolition of the commissioner system and the appeal hearings as provided for in the 1973 Act, and the issuing of detention orders restricted to the Secretary of State. These changes made detention more like the pre- 1973 form of internment but as it was not to form part of the government security strategy this was not of great significance. significant

The Labour administrations

Under

the

new

1 974-79

1

09

provisions the Secretary of State's custody order had to be

referred to an adviser within 14 days, as

compared with 28 days previously, or else

The adviser, one per case rather than three as Gardiner recommended, then made a recommendation on the criteria of whether the detainee was involved it

lapsed.

and whether detention was necessary for the protection of the public. would take evidence from the security forces and interview the suspect informally without the court setting of a commissioner's hearing. If an adviser made a recommendation of detention, an order had to be made within seven weeks of the original custody order or else the suspect was released, although extensions of a week at a time up to a total often weeks could be made if in terrorism

The

adviser

necessary for the collection of information. After a year's detention, the detainee

could request referral of his/her case to the adviser and subsequently every six

months

after

an unsuccessful appeal. This did not affect the power of the

Secretary of State to order a detainee's release at any time without reference to the adviser. Silkin, the Attorney- General,

endorsed the use of a single adviser as

would detract from the essentially executive nature of detention and could be interpreted as a check on the Secretary of State's discretion. The 1975 Amendment Act remained in force until 1978 when a new Emergency Provisions Act was passed. The 1978 Act consolidated that of 1973 and incorporated the amendments of 1975 legislation concerning young offenders. There was no inquiry into the Act before its updating and the committee, report and third reading were passed without debate. The procedural arrangements were the same as for the 1973 legislation; it was subject to six- monthly renewal and sections of the Act could be allowed to lapse by order.

plurality

The continuation of Ulsterisation and reform of the police complaints procedure Both the changing nature of the violence and the strategy to deal with it were amendement to the EPA 1973 in November 1975 which

highlighted by an

reproscribed the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). April

1974

in

an attempt

politics following the

to

It

had been deproscribed

in

encourage the paramilitiaries to engage in 'normal'

UWC strike. However, of the 247 deaths related to violence

1975 217 had been

civilian and 144 of these related to sectarian or interwhich both the UVF and Republican groups had been 63 prominent. Despite the continued high level of deaths detention was still being phased out and the police were increasingly taking over from the army as the 64 principal arm of the security forces. The White Paper of July 1974 expressed

in

factional killings in

community co-operation with the police as the best undermine the paramilitaries which would 'enable the Army to make a planned, orderly and progressive reduction in its present commitment and subsequendy there would be no need for the Army to become involved in a the government's desire for

way

to

policing role'.

65

110

British

The

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 96 9-89

Conservative opposition did not challenge the policy of Ulsterisation or

the primacy of the police which entailed the gradual phasing out of detention.

However, there were doubts raised about the effectiveness of such a policy, especially in the border areas such as south Armagh where the RUC found it difficult to operate a policy of arrests and prosecutions. The official position was that the army played a supporting role in Republican areas where the RUC lacked support and elsewhere in the province supplied a security framework (e.g.

bomb

disposal, patrols, vehicle checks) while the

RUC carried out the policing

and collection of evidence. However, the introduction of the SAS into south Armagh in 1976 following a series of sectarian killings and the recurrence of ill-treatment during interrogation in 1977/8 indicate the limitations of police primacy in this period, especially if not supported by the illegal obtaining of confessions. Indeed there was some scepticism that this 66 division of labour between the security forces existed at an operational level and Neave, the Conservative spokesman, advocated an integrated UDR/RUC/army force for the border areas, reinforced by the introduction of identity cards, movement passes and joint British and Irish patrols of the border area. This was 67 rejected because the security forces themselves did not favour integration and the Republic was unlikely to accept army or RUC operations in its territory. Injury 1976 Rees announced the conclusions of the Ministerial Committee on Law and Order which had been established the previous month. For security reasons not all details were released but the report broadly endorsed the concept of police primacy and reforms were aimed at improving efficiency. Three regional crime squads of the RUC (north, south and Belfast) were to be established to facilitate co-ordination with the army. RUC numbers were to be increased, flexibility was to be improved by the formation of mobile divisions able to operate outside their own areas and procedures for collecting and collating criminal intelligence were to be improved by updating computing and forensic operations. The RUC Reserve was to replace the army and RUC in operations which required less specialised training and the UDR was to have an increased full-time complement and take more responsibility for routine security tasks. By the end of 1976 operational reforms had paralleled the legislative and ideological move towards Ulsterisation. Since 1972, the year of the worst violence, army personnel had been reduced by 6,000, RUC strength had increased by approximately 1,000 and the RUC Reserve had more than doubled from 1,900 to 4,670. The increased role for, and professionalism of, the RUC was symbolised in the succession of Newman, who had overseen much of this reorganisation, to the position of Chief Constable. One drawback to this policy was that it was premised on community acceptance of the police and without it the old problems of distrust of the security forces dominated by members of the unionist population would continue. Gardiner had been aware of the problems of acceptability and had advocated the establishment of an independent body to investigate complaints against the RUC. The existing role of arrests, searches

The Labour administrations

1 974-79

111

provisions in the Police Act (NI) 1970 and the

RUC (Discipline and Disciplinary

Appeals) Regulations (NI) 1973 did allow the Police Authority the power to establish an

independent element but no such agency had emerged. The Police its activity to the monitoring of the Chief Constable's handling

Authority limited

of complaints and this was circumscribed by the refusal of the Police Authority access to satisfy itself

ship

68

which undermined

files

its

RUC to allow the

statutory requirement to

about the functioning of the complaints system. Both the member-

and seeming

timidity of the Police Authority fuelled the suspicion of

some

69

which had been was largely cosmetic. The Working Party established after Sunningdale in January 1974 and reported in December 1975, thought that these suspicions were unfounded but that the existing procedure nationalists that

was at by an

it

fault in that

,

it

allowed them to

complaint alleged criminal action

arise. If a

been investigated by an

officer the case, having

inspector or above, would be referred to the

whom

lay the decision

DPP

officer of the rank of

or Attorney- General with

of whether or not to prosecute. Moreover, the Chief

Constable could, and had to

if

requested by the Secretary of State or the Police

Authority, refer to a tribunal any complaint appearing to affect the 'public interest'. In practice the

Tribunal (composed of members of the

Authority assessors and a solicitor) was never used.

The more

RUC, the Police

70

important basis for suspicion about the effectiveness of the com-

plaints system

was that if the case of alleged misconduct did not involve

a criminal

offence there was no independent element in the investigation. Black cited 2,348

complaints against the

RUC

1972-4; of these 942 alleged criminal offences and

were therefore referred to the DPP. verdicts of guilty;

The

Of these 22

resulted in prosecutions with 9

1406 complaints were not subject

RUC

incidence of fraudulent complaints and

to

independent appraisal.

cover ups

is

impossible to

gauge but given the recorded abuses of the post-internment period the low

number of prosecutions gave cause that full-time investigators

Branch

at

for concern.

were established

It

was not until November 1974 Complaints and Discipline

in the

RUC headquarters despite the volume of complaints.

The working upheld that

party endorsed the views of

its

counterparts in Britain which

hands of the police; the Chief Constable's disciplinary role should not be undermined and no appeal initial

investigations should

remain

should be available against the

DPP

This seemed unlikely to restore

faith in the

in the

decision on whether or not to prosecute.

procedure and the 'double jeopardy' whereby an officer cleared of a criminal charge could not be disciplined for the same offence, also made the prospects of a claim being upheld slimmer. The rule,

Police Authority

recommended

against the findings of the

and wanted

Committee

The

clarification

to

a statutory review body to consider appeals Chief Constable as there was no existing mechanism of whether the 1970 Act permitted the Complaints

examine the police investigation

files.

report was to reject recommendations which breached the principle that

the initial handling of complaints should

remain with the police and to preserve

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

112

and to maintain congruence with proposed reform for the rest of the UK, proposed the establishment of a Police Complaints Board. It would have no power to review decisions made by the DPP. Its main role would be to monitor the investigation of complaints and if action were not taken, the Deputy Chief this,

Constable would be required to pattern of reform in the rest of

board from the

justify the decision. In the last resort the

could order disciplinary action to be taken.

One proposed

variation

UK was that complaints could be lodged with the

police or the Police Complaints

Board owing to the reluctance of many people

to

approach the police with complaints. There were criticisms from the NCCL and others that such reforms would not reassure the Nationalist population and gain acceptance for the RUC. The

Report made no recommendation concerning the clarification of the rights of the files and the residual role of the board in the last

putative board to access of police

resort of instigating investigations

reluctance to invoke

Appendix

its

power

was not reassuring given the Police Authority's

to establish tribunals. Para.

14 of the

NCCL

stated:

there appears to be no reference in the Report of the Authority published in 1973 to the

general standards of policing and the extent to which the public were confident and satisfied with the operation

of the police force.

Nor

has there been any effort to examine

patterns of complaints, especially the deep concern expressed by

of interrogation by members of the Special Branch

many about the methods

at police stations.

The NCCL also attacked the tenor of the report and felt that it had placed too much emphasis on the views of the Police Authority and Police Federation, whose members constituted the committee and did not encourage other bodies and individuals to make representations. The report concluded that complaints were thoroughly and conscientiously investigated and that the RUC had much to gain and nothing to fear from the introduction of an independent element into the complaints procedure.

The

Board was established by the Police (NI) Order at the was empowered with the last resort clause to direct disciplinary charges to be made, or to be heard by a Tribunal at which the Police Complaints Board would be represented. The Police Act 1976 had established similar provisions for the rest of the UK and it was questionable whether it would prove sufficient given the history of uneasy police-community relations in Northern Police Complaints

end of 1976.

It

Ireland.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act The

other major change in security legislation, in addition to the

EPA amend-

ment, was the introduction of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1974 (PTA). The immediate reason for its introduction was the death of nineteen people on 22 November in two

bomb

attacks

on Birmingham

The Labour administrations

1 974-79

113

pubs, although the proposals had been drafted earlier in the event of the

The Bill was introduced by Jenkins, the 1974 and four main provisions were outlined. Proscription of the IRA was to be extended to the rest of the UK (Northern Ireland was covered by the EPA), the Home Secretary was to be empowered to exclude people from Britain to Northern Ireland, police powers of arrest and detention would be extended, and more rigorous checks would be made on those travelling between Ireland and Britain. The powers of arrest were to be subject to a 'reasonable' suspicion clause but did not have to be related to suspicion of a specific offence. Detention was to be permitted for up to forty-eight hours for the purpose of obtaining information and could be extended for up to five days subject to the approval of the Home Secretary. Any person suspected of membership of a proscribed organisation, escalation of

IRA

attacks in Britain.

Home Secretary, on 28 November

involvement in the 'commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism' or of being the subject of an exclusion order was subject to these detention powers, later to

The

become Section 7 of the

PTA

1974.

provisions for exclusion were wholly executive in nature.

The

decision to

Home A safeguard for those threatened with exclusion was the right to have referred to one of the advisers to the Home Secretary established PTA if so requested within forty-eight hours of the exclusion order

exclude was not subject to judicial review but was the prerogative of the Secretary. their case

under the

71

being served. This was of limited use since

it appeared the advisers were not privy on which the decision to exclude was based, given the constraints of security. The adviser system was not intended to allow the subject

to the information

of an exclusion order to prepare a 'defence' since

one directed

at

people against

whom

Exclusion orders could only be served

Northern Ireland situation and Britain to

Northern Ireland

if

it

was not

a judicial process

a criminal case could not

if the

but

be prepared.

suspected offence were related to the

a citizen of the

UK could not be excluded from

she/he had been ordinarily resident in Britain for

had been born in Britain and normally resident comply with an exclusion order or aiding or concealing a person who was subject to one was to be an offence liable to up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine. To emphasise the exceptional nature of the powers, which Jenkins described as 'draconian', the Act was to be subject to six-monthly renewal by Order, and its provisions restricted to terrorism related to Ireland and not domestic or international incidents. The impact of the Birmingham bombings meant that the second reading passed unopposed although some Labour backbenchers, including Litterick, Thome, Hooley and Abse were critical of the provisions. Discontent focused on the Bill being an emotive and ill-considered reaction, the failure of the government to demonstrate that existing legislation was inadequate to deal with mainland terrorism and that the executive power of exclusion would be open to criticisms of arbitrariness. Given the climate of the period those who the previous twenty years or there. Failure to

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

114

72

were concerned with the civil liberties implications became marginalised. Various amendments were moved to mitigate the more severe elements of the Bill. Lyon, a Labour member, introduced but later withdrew an amendment to reduce the residential qualification for exemption from exclusion from twenty to five years. Hooley, supported by forty-nine Labour members and Fitt, favoured a three -man tribunal which would have the power to confirm or revoke an exclusion order thus bringing an independent element into the process which would be binding on the Home Secretary. This was defeated with Jenkins arguing that the advisers would have to be trusted with sensitive information which could not be divulged to an independent tribunal and the use of the latter would give the impression of introducing a quasi-judicial element and there was no question of permitting open proceedings or the public presentation of evidence. Also, the Home Secretary already had the executive authority to exclude aliens from the so there was a certain consistency in having the same provisions in the PTA. A third amendment which sought to restrict the duration of the Act to three months before renewal was also defeated. The Act was passed unopposed with the principal sections relating to arrest and exclusion as above. Proscription was limited to the IRA although it could be

UK

amended by order

to include other groups. (This section did not apply to

Northern Ireland

it

as

was covered by the

EPA

1973).

As well

as extending police

powers, immigration and customs and excise officers were given authority to

board ships and planes

to search for

evidence relating to suspected offences or

Schedule 3 of the Act allowed for a on the ports that ships or aircraft could use in journeys between Britain and Northern Ireland, and made provision for the mandatory filling of embarking and landing cards by passengers. The reservations about the Act did not disappear despite the front bench reassurances. Its operation did not quell fears that exclusion was arbitrary and many Labour members pressed for an independent tribunal to consider the cases of those subject to exclusion orders. Jenkins's response was that those who

relating to those served with exclusion orders. restriction

favoured

this:

are barking judicial

as

we

up the wrong

element into

this

reasonably can. But to

quasi-judicial element

There were

is

when they say that the thing to do is to get some sort of The thing to do is to get rid of this legislation as soon pretend that we can keep this legislation and introduce a

tree

procedure.

misleading.

73

also doubts raised about

whether the Act had any practical

effect; to

mainland bombing might 4 be more related to IRA strategy than proof that the PTA was effective.' Indeed the government itself had doubts on this score and employed the tenuous argument that such legislation was necessary to prevent the deterioration of establish cause

relations Britain.

75

and

effect

was

difficult

and

a decline in

between the "indigenous" population and the

Irish

community

in

The Labour administrations 1 974-79

115

In an attempt to placate backbench criticism Jenkins undertook not to ask for

renewal in November 1975 unless the government had decided that substantial parts of the Act could be dropped. Instead,

new

legislation

would be prepared

thus allowing a thorough review and the possibility of amendments which could

not be introduced by the use of Orders for renewal. In the event, Jenkins did not

any major changes in the Act could be made; a judgment based on the

feel that

who oversaw the exclusion system. At the end of November 1975 the second reading of the new Act was held concurrently with a renewal order to bridge the gap until new legislation could take effect. Similar criticisms were raised by backbenchers and disquiet was felt concerning the large number of arrests relative to charges brought which fuelled suspicion that the Act was being used to harass Republican sympathisers and left-wing evidence of the police and the advisers

groups.

The

76

adviser system

was

to

remain unchanged although the precise role of the

adviser remained unclear. Jenkins stated that the adviser

had

all

the information

relevant to a possible exclusion order but the suspicion remained that either the

had no knowledge of the case against the suspect or that they were

advisers

implicidy discouraged from giving any information to him/her. Summerskill,

Under Secretary

at the

Home

and that no procedure was

Office, pointed out that the system

laid

down

for the

was informal

conducting of the adviser/suspect

meeting. This tended to obscure the function and value of the adviser to those

threatened with exclusion.

An independent

or quasi- judicial element in the review system was again

However Section 7 of what was to be the 1976 Act did improve the rights of those threatened with exclusion. Under the 1974 Act forty-eight hours were allowed in which written representation against exclusion could be made to rejected.

the

Home

Secretary and this period was to be extended to ninety-six hours.

Secondly, the right to a personal interview with the adviser was unless the detainee had been

removed from the

than being conditional on the request not being 'frivolous'

phrasing of the previous Act. the interview

and

absolute,

-

the rather strange

to provide legal representation at

details of the case for exclusion

exemption clauses were

Two

An amendment

made

UK with his/her consent, rather was defeated and the residential

unchanged. the 1974 Act tended left

to reinforce rather than reduce its 1976 Act was to be subject to annual renewal. This was justified on the grounds that the Bill gave the opportunity for a more considered approach than was possible when the Act was rushed through in November 1974 and that sections could be dropped by amending order. Secondly, two new

alterations to

stringency. Firstly, the

Sections (10 and

of terrorism. property

etc.

were introduced to strengthen provisions relating to support it an offence to invite or solicit another to give money, knowing or suspecting that it would be used in the commission or 1

1)

One made

preparation of terrorist acts. This was aimed at 'front' organisations which did not openly fund or support the IRA.

The

other section

made

it

an offence

to

116

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

withhold without reasonable excuse information which might be of material assistance in preventing acts of terrorism or in securing the apprehension of those

involved in terrorist acts.

A hard core of members, composed mainly of Labour backbenchers and Fitt, felt that

the

new Bill offered too few concessions to its concern for civil liberties; a

feeling reinforced by the exclusion of opponents to the Bill stage.

from the committee

Eleven Labour members voted against the third reading and their con-

tinued and persistent concerns helped in the establishment of a review in 1978

and the gradual movement of the Parliamentary Labour Party towards a more 77 critical position on the PTA. As well as disquiet at the specific provisions of the Act, opponents felt that what the government had introduced as ostensibly temporary legislation was becoming permanent and unexceptional. This meant that rather than the government demonstrating its necessity the onus was on opponents to demonstrate that it could be repealed without adversely affecting the fight against terrorism. Given the sensitive nature of the subject information was hard to come by, although the relatively few prosecutions relative to arrests implied that the Act was being abused. In the renewal debate of 1977 Rees, the Home Secretary, said that he could not state categorically that charges brought under the Act could not have been brought under other legislation but the value of the PTA in allowing longer periods of holding of suspects was in gaining information in time to prevent terrorist acts. Whitelaw, for the Conservatives, argued that as mainland terrorism had declined since the introduction of the PTA this was sufficient reason for its renewal even

if a

causal relationship could not be proven.

The

Conservatives did

not favour a formal inquiry and thought a better course was to consider individual

and

specific complaints about the operation of the Act.

This was

disingenuous approach given that the whole structure of the Act difficult for those

a

somewhat

made

it

very

detained to find out the reasons for their detention and thus

oppose it. Rees ruled out a wide-ranging review of emergency legislation along the lines of the Gardiner Report and instead established a committee under Lord Shackleton to review the PTA within the remit of 'accepting the continued need for legislation against terrorism'.

Opponents of the

review was to be circumscribed in such a way. for legislation

was proven,

at least in its

should be considering such a point.

They

PTA were

angered that the

did not accept that the need

current form, and thought that any review

The

feeling that the

government had been - six more

too timid was reflected in twenty-one votes against renewal in 1978

than in the previous year.

The

Shackleton Report

78

was published

bulk of the existing provisions. arrest

No

and detention, either on grounds

Those who base

their

argument on the

in

August 1978 and endorsed the in powers of

changes were recommended for arrest or

fact that so

its

duration. Para.

1 1

6 stated:

few of those detained under the Act

in

The Labour administrations

1 974-79

117

Great Britain have been charged ignore the point that its purpose is the prevention of They overlook in any case the very serious nature of many of the charges

terrorism.

brought following detention under the Act. They neglect the point that the police arrest and charge under other powers when there is prima facie evidence justifying this. They discount the deterrent effects, for example, of the controls at ports.

Shackleton recognised the essentially subjective tone of

conceded

that

it

was possible

this

preventing terrorism; looking for conclusive proof was largely

Minor ameliorations were recommended sion.

The

paragraph and

to exaggerate the contribution the

Act made

in

fruitless.

in relation to detention

and exclu-

physical comfort of those held should be improved and the 'fullest

same Judges' Rules and Administrative Directions concerning interrogation and admissibility of statements applied to the PTA as to other legislation and therefore Shackleton

possible' record of interviews should be kept. In theory, the

felt

that sufficient safeguards existed to permit the provision of detention for

a total of seven days.

common

than under

up to

in practice denial of access to solicitors was more 79 'normal' legislation presumably because this facilitated

However

the co-operation of the detainee. the police case that

it

made

With regard

to exclusion

Shackleton accepted

a significant contribution to the prevention of

terrorism and he rejected any procedural change. Introduction of a judicial

element would be cosmetic and would make no difference to the objections on principle to the use of exclusion. Consideration should be given to a general

review of exclusion orders to establish

if any

individual orders could be revoked.

The government was recommended to reconsider its decision not to provide financial assistance for visits by friends and relatives of those excluded, especially as no change to the duration of exclusion was to be made. Proscription was to be retained although it was conceded that its practical significance was limited; it was more a reflection of public feeling that terrorist groups should be outlawed. Shackleton did not recommend any additions to those proscribed although the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) was 80 proscribed in July 1979. It was recommended that Section 11, which had been introduced in 1976 and made it an offence to withhold information about acts of terrorism, should lapse. It was felt to be of little practical use and had a potentially adverse effect on civil liberties by allowing undue pressure to be put on those detained and by encouraging persons to inform on others on grounds of often (Shackleton was not

empowered

to consider individual cases).

ill-founded suspicion. In conclusion, while endorsing the

I

stated:

do not believe that legislation of this kind should have any degree of permanence without

a continuing I

PTA, Shackleton

hope

and careful scrutiny of its operation and its implication for civil liberties temporary concept of this legislation will not diminish. It would be highly .

.

.

that the

were to gain ground that these powers should permanent legislation. I do not think that they should. 81

regrettable if the view part of our

in

some way slide

into

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

118

March 1979 at the same time as the PTA renewal. was to be retained, contrary to Shackleton, on the grounds that the police defended its utility. Section 10(1) was amended to limit detention at ports to forty-eight hours (with extension conditional on application to the Home Secretary) so as to rationalise port and inland powers. The provision for the renewal of seven-day detention was dropped for the same reason. Financial aid for families and friends of those excluded was rejected because it was considered to be of marginal significance in alleviating hardship and would increase the risk of encouraging terrorist couriers. Measures to improve the conditions in which detainees were held, greater uniformity in notifying them of their rights and the recording of interviews were to be be implemented in line with Shackleton's recommendations. Despite Shackleton's warning of the dangers of the legislation sliding into permanence, the chances for repeal in the near future were slim. The government tended to employ a 'Catch 22' nature of justification. If terrorism in Great Britain continued the Act would be deemed necessary; if terrorism declined or stopped the Act would be deemed effective and thus the government

The

report was debated in

Section

1 1

could not risk repeal.

The Bennett Report

To return to the

overall strategy of security policy, the succession of Roy

Mason

Northern Ireland Secretary in September 1976 saw a continuation of the policy of police primacy and the securing of convictions through the courts. From March 1976 special category status was no longer granted and no detention orders were placed although the power to detain remained on the statute book. The security forces themselves accepted the strategy of police primacy: in 1976 Newman, the Chief Constable and House, the GOC, issued a joint directive which reaffirmed the constitutional position of troops as supporters of the civil power and that all army searches, arrests and patrols would be carried out with RUC agreement. At an operational level tensions existed with the army being sceptical about the RUC's ability to operate in the high-risk border areas. Creasey, who became GOC in late 1977, believed that only the army should patrol the border areas. However, Creasey's successor in 1979, Lawson, was 82 appointed specifically because he endorsed the concept of police primacy feeling that a high profile for the army was not guaranteed to be of deterrent value and might be counter-productive in antagonising the nationalist population. Between 1976 and 1979 police primacy became well established although not without the problems of professional rivalries between the different branches of to

the security forces, manifested in the tendency of not freely exchanging information. It

was not until July 1977

established.

83

The

helped to bolster such especially south

that the first joint

army/RUC operations room was

reduction in deaths and their concentration in specific areas a strategy

Armagh, put

but the continued killings in the border areas, strains

on the

policy.

Neave was

generally

9

The Labour administrations

1 974-79

1 1

84

complimentary of the Labour administration under Mason and unsuccessfully called for selective detention, pursuit of

but periodically

terrorists into the

Army and a 'supremo' to co-ordi85 army and RUC operations. For a strategy of police primacy to be effective it really needed community acceptance of the RUC. This had been explicit in the Hunt Report of 1970 and the Black Report which had hoped that the establishment of the Police Complaints Board would help to instill confidence in the public. However, the attitude of the SDLP to the RUC had remained ambivalent and the question of what attitude to take had caused intra-party tensions. The re-occurrence of allegations Republic, direct communication with the Irish nate

of ill-treatment during interrogation in 1977 further reduced the likelihood of

acceptance of the

The

RUC by the Nationalist community.

strategy of ending detention

convictions in court paramount.

had made the need

The

to obtain

evidence for

difficulty in obtaining witnesses to give

evidence, either because of intimidation or lack of support for the regime, that confessions by the accused victions.

86

meant

were an important means of securing con-

This may have been an incentive for the use of over-zealous interroga-

tion practices.

There were

other,

though more marginal, factors which may have

contributed to the resurgence of abuses including the exhortative nature of

Mason and

his desire to get results

87

and the

fact that the safeguards in the

EPA

amount of physical assault was not precluded. In a case of May 1 977 Lord Justice McGonigal argued that slaps or blows did not constitute treatment proscribed under the EPA; the 1973 were potentially open

conclusion being that: Section 6

.

.

.

'if a

was used

to

to the interpretation that a limited

degree of ill-treatment falling short of that required by

induce a statement, the judge did not automatically

have to use his discretion to exclude

88 it'.

It

must be

said that this case

seemed

exceptional in that physical assault of any kind on a prisoner usually resulted in a

confession being ruled inadmissible.

Concern about these abuses, which

existed

among elements in the RUC and IRA propaganda,

the Police Authority and could not therefore be dismissed as

resulted in the government setting up an inquiry into interrogation procedures in June 1978. This was done with some reluctance and following an Amnesty International report which had found that abuses had occurred. The government

played

down

the findings of the report arguing that

much

of

its

evidence was

unsubstantiated which was not surprising as the government had refused to

co-operate with the investigation. Both a public inquiry and

EPA

to tighten

up the Section concerning the

amendments to the inhuman

definition of brutal or

treatment were refused.

The Bennett Report was published in March 1979 and concluded that abuses had taken place although Mason was to point out that this composed only a small which covered interrogation procedures and that Para. 19 Committee had seen 'abundant evidence of a co-ordinated and campaign to discredit the police'. The report highlighted factors, as

part of the review stated that the

extensive

1

20

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

indicated above, that might have increased the risk of suspect ill-treatment. In the

months of 1978, 568 scheduled offence cases had been brought. In 72% 75-80% depended wholly 89 The number of cases and the or partly on the confession of the accused. consequent pressure on manpower meant that much of the interrogating was 90 After a consideracarried out by inexperienced and poorly supervised officers. tion of the law relating to arrest and interrogation and some of the judges' rulings first six

of these a plea of guilty had been entered and of these

relating to inadmissibility the report concluded that: there

is

the difficulty that, because the principles

on which discretion will be exercised are

so broadly stated and the facts of individual cases so infinitely various,

it is hard to predict what the judge's ruling will be. The courts have on occasion expressly refused invitations by counsel to define the circumstances in which the judicial discretion to exclude

otherwise admissible evidence might be exercised, on the ground that each case depends

on

its

particular facts.

If the lack

91

of the codification of rules

made abuses

a distinct possibility elements

of Bennett reinforced fears that they would remain unpunished.

No

criminal or

disciplinary proceedings appeared to have taken place following the post-

internment allegations of 1971. Between 1972 and 1978 nineteen officers had been prosecuted and three found guilty - a low figure given that the government recognised assaults had occurred. Also, no disciplinary action was known to have taken place in the twenty-six cases of officers being found at fault in civil 92 proceedings over the same period. A formal code of conduct for interrogation did not exist so Bennett recommended a separate section of the general code be introduced. It should specifically prohibit

threats

of physical or sexual abuse, the adoption of

unnatural/humiliating postures, the use of insults or obscenities and the carrying

out of unnecessarily physically demanding actions.

The

duration of interviews

should also be regulated and they should normally only take place between

8am

and 12pm with regular breaks. Only two officers should be engaged in interviewing at any one time and only three groups of two should be engaged on any one case. Bennett rejected the use of independent supervision

at interrogation

pro-

was argued that the public would have doubts about their practical independence and an invigilatory role for medical officers would be professionally unacceptable as it would involve a conflict of interests. Of independent supervision in general, it was felt that it was an uneasy compromise in that it would confer on people outside the police force responsibility for what the police did, but not give them clear powers to decide what the police ought to do. Another problem was that it was unlikely to be acceptable to the RUC. Therefore, supervisory bodies were to be a last resort, with responsibility for reform laying with those in immediate authority, i.e. senior police officers. This made it explicit that Bennett considered abuses were ceedings. If civilian supervisors were present

it

The Labour administrations

1 974-79

121

aberrations and not a policy sanctioned by higher authorities. In effect, this a

more

meant

consistent and regular process of supervision by senior officers of those

engaged

in interrogation,

and closed -circuit

TV in

all

interview

rooms

to facil-

itate this.

The other principal area of reform was the provision of suspects with a written record of their rights to be retained and improvements in solicitor access.

Arrangements varied between different detention centres and RUC evidence on 93 It was argued both that the Judges' Rules did not this matter was inconsistent. apply to emergency legislation and as a result access to solicitors was not granted until after a charge was preferred; and that they did apply to emergency legislation but refusal of access likely to

was

in

keeping with the proviso that

hinder the investigation.

The

denial of access

importance of confessions in gaining convictions.

was

The

it

could be denied

if

directly related to the

discretion lay with the

RUC

and no court had ever ruled evidence inadmissible on the grounds that access to a solicitor had been denied. Bennett felt that the RUC tended to 94 and recommended that an absolute over-exercise its discretion to deny access right of access should be granted after forty-eight hours if there had been no previous access and no charge preferred and also after each subsequent fortyeight-hour period.

While it did not consider that the Complaints and Discipline Branch of the was involved in whitewashes the report noted that since 1974 no disciplinary proceedings had been taken against anyone involved in interrogation and: 'we have to consider the unwelcome possibility that the questioning by the officer 95 investigating complaints may not be as searching or persistent as it might be'. The failure to identify those involved was the major problem. This issue was raised by the Amnesty Report which questioned the use of the term 'unsubstantiated' by the police where ill-treatment had been found to occur but insufficient evidence was available for prosecution. The government also tended to equate the lack of a direction to prosecute by the DDP with the absence of

RUC

abuses. Bennett

recommended

that the

DPP

should, in cases of public interest,

explain his decision not to prosecute to the Police Authority and the Police to avoid the equation of no prosecution with no assault. However, the problem of identifying those responsible would remain, given the lack of co-operation within the RUC, the lack of an independent element in the 96 complaints procedure, and the RUC unwillingness to consider disciplinary proceedings in a case where the DPP had decided not to initiate criminal proceedings; a course of inaction that Bennett felt was not always justified. The relationship between the RUC and the Police Authority was considered unsatisfactory. The RUC tended to argue that the latter's role should be limited to a monitoring of the general complaints procedure and not be concerned with the progress of individual complaints. To this end the RUC consistently invoked subjudice arguments or that details of a case were with the DPP to prevent the Police Authority from having any real power. This was supported by the findings

Complaints Board,

1

22

British

of the Black Report and role of the authority. its

Home

Some

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

Office circulars which endorsed the minimalist

of its members

felt that this effectively

undermined and

statutory obligation to keep itself abreast of the complaints procedure,

two members had resigned over what they saw as continued inaction over representations made to them by medical officers concerning ill-treatment: It is

clearly unsatisfactory

may discern

the Chief Constable to the case.

The

from the point of view of the Police Authority

that,

while they

matters about which they are concerned, they are not in a position to require

amend

the procedures and practices of his force. Yet this

is

clearly

97

RUC

regard to

should provide the authority with more information and pay more

its

representations, and the authority should be prepared to

use of one of

its

few powers: the establishment of a tribunal

make more

to consider

complaints that had not been satisfactorily resolved. If necessary the tribunal

should be empowered to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production

The effectiveness of such changes would depend in part on the composition of the authority and the willingness of members to assert of relevant documents. themselves.

The

thoroughness of the report, allowing for

its

limited terms of reference,

and the undoubted value of many of its recommendations was exploited by Mason who emphasised these positive elements and played down the fact that it concluded that abuses had occurred and nothing had been done by the government to reveal any determination to punish the perpetrators of past offences. Mason's desire to focus on the 'positive' aspects of the report was reflected in the fact that the Commons statement on the 16 March was the day of publication, thus preventing careful consideration by MPs. Fitt's call for an emergency debate, supported by Paisley, was rejected and the government's attitude failed to allay fears not exclusively found among the nationalist community. However, Mason did accept the Bennett proposals for the installation of TVs for monitoring interviews, improved access to solicitors and the limitation on the numbers of officers involved in each case. The incidence of complaints did decline in the period following the report, probably as a result of a combination

of better supervision, procedural reforms of interrogation and government sensitivity to the adverse publicity that accusations

produced.

On

and the Amnesty Report had

the debit side, the position of the Police Authority and the

Complaints Board remained weak, and scepticism remained about the lihood of abuses being prevented. to

The impact of strengthening these

be balanced against government concern

operational autonomy of the

RUC.

to

like-

bodies had

defend the morale and the

The Labour administrations

1 974-79

1

23

Economic policy

The Labour Administration inherited the tripartite institutional arrangement for industrial support

composed of

the Northern Ireland Finance Corporation

(NIFC), the Department of Commerce and the Local Enterprise Development Unit (LEDU). This structure remained until April 1976 when Orme, the Minister responsible for commerce, introduced the Industries Development

Order - the main purpose of which was to replace the NIFC with a new body It had originally been the intention in late 1975 to adapt the NIFC to give it the same remit as the forthcoming Scottish and Welsh Development Agencies. Instead a new body was introduced to harmonise the agencies of regional policy. The NIDA may be seen (NI)

to

be called the Northern Ireland Development Agency (NIDA).

as part

of an overall industrial regeneration strategy for the

with the National Enterprise agencies.

UK as a whole, along

Board (NEB) and the Scottish and Welsh

99

The NIDA was to have a more positive and interventionist role than the NIFC. The latter had been set up to provide loans and act as a guarantor for privatesector companies with liquidity problems. The NIDA was to have a dual role of setting up state industry on its own or jointly with private capital and supporting existing firms by providing loans and other services such as advice on how to improve marketing, management and research and development. As with the NIFC, the NIDA was to have no power to provide grants; application for them had to be directed to the Department of Commerce so as to maintain the established division of responsibility

and because the Department was,

in theory,

directly accountable to parliament.

The NIDA was

to operate

on the normal commercial

not assist projects which were unviable. in

its

for

criteria

and thus would

However a degree of latitude was allowed

operations:

example,

may have to wait longer for a return on investment,

it

or locate in areas which

might not be the most attractive commercially, as the price for bringing investment and employment to areas of high unemployment.

In the support of projects

which were considered

much needed

100

viable the

NIDA was to

have

decision-making autonomy but would have to gain approval from the Depart-

ment of Commerce

for "rescue" operations where, for reasons of employment maintenance in depressed areas, commercial criteria would not be the only

considerations.

Despite the general congruence with the policy of regional industrial developin the rest of the UK, the NIDA's role was not identical to that of the development agencies of Scodand and Wales. The NIDA would have a limited

ment

role in small-business latter

had

Moreover,

it

support as this was the responsibility of the

LEDU and the

NIDA became involved in this area. was envisaged that the NIDA would play a greater role in providing

to

be consulted before the

1

24

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

its British counterparts, reflecting the specific problems of Northern Ireland. To avoid the problem of overlapping of responsibilities, the NIDA was to have responsibility for companies which the NEB would assist in Britain if they were predominantly Northern Ireland based. If they were not, discussions would be necessary with the NEB, which was to operate in Northern

risk capital than

Ireland, to establish a division of responsibility.

Neave, the Conservative spokesman, was suspicious of the motives for estabNIDA. He argued that it extended the degree of direct state involve-

lishing the

101

on whose recommendation the NIFC had been created, did not endorse. Although Labour policy for the UK as a whole was more interventionist than the Conservatives would like, the difference of emphasis between the parties' policy towards Northern Ireland should not be

ment

in the

economy which

the report,

exaggerated. The corporatist composition of the nine-person board of the NIDA, including representatives of Trades Unions and the employers' organisa-

was similar to that of the NIFC established by a Conservative government. emphasised the commercial nature of the board and the desire to avoid bureaucratic constraints by the exclusion of civil servants from membership. The first Annual Report of the NIDA 102 reveals that the direct control of companies was not the dominant role of the agency and this pattern continued up to its abolition in 1982. Of twenty-one approved investments in 1976-7 nine tions

Orme

were

form of loans, seven were

in the

of

NIDA

joint ventures

and

five

were companies

NIDA. The engineering sector was an important beneficiary

wholly owned by the support,

with

textiles

and electrical/electronic industries also

prominent.

The

other provision in the Industries Development Order, besides the estab-

NIDA, was

1 of the Industries Developpower of the Department of Commerce to provide grants to industry. It had been amended in 1971 to allow grants to be specifically related to the maintenance and/or creation of employment, and the 1976 Order widened the purposes for which selective financial provision could be made to include assistance in the reconstruction or orderly running-down of

lishment of the

ment Act 1966. This Act

the revision of Section

dealt with the

an industry.

The

LEDU

support was left unaltered when 1974 its operations were expanded to include the Belfast region which had been excluded in 1971 when the LEDU was established. This was part of a wider change of policy which marked a shift from the growth-centre strategy and the attempts to limit industrial development in the Greater Belfast region which had been a feature of economic planning since the function of

in small-business

Labour took power. However

early 1960s.

103

in

Although the east of the province generally had lower rates of

unemployment than

the west, there existed pockets of high

parts of Belfast itself and this

was reflected

not be over-emphasised since the

50%

in peripheral areas

in the policy shift.

unemployment in However it should

LEDU was to provide capital

compared with up

to

40%

grants of up to

in the Belfast region in

The Labour administrations

1 974-79

recognition of generally higher

1

unemployment

The problems of the growth-centre

25

and west. on labour the Regional Physical Development

strategy

rates in the south

which depended

in part

its success were recognised in 975-95 104 which advocated a more deconcentrated policy of industrial development. The traditional immobility of labour in Northern Ireland had been exacerbated by the recurrence of the 'troubles' and the paper argued for the modification of existing policy and the 'spread' of development over more areas, such as making the main town of each district council the basis for regional development rather than concentration on fewer principal towns as earlier 105 reports had favoured. As illustrated above, the institutional basis for industrial support did not change radically in the years of the Labour government. It would also seem that the emphasis on particular sectors and their growth potential was not subject to fundamental revision. Basically, the policy was still premised on the need to maintain or create employment and to this end a pragmatic approach was adopted. Despite the difficulty in attracting international capital, owing to the recession and the poor image of Northern Ireland (in 1977 no jobs were created 106 in new projects as distinct from expansions in existing ones) and the higher

mobility for

Strategy

1

costs of job

promotions in

this sector relative to

indigenous openings or expan-

was maintained as the expansion of local companies or of state-controlled industry was incapable of reducing unemployment. These points were highlighted in the 'Economic and Industrial Strategy for Northern Ireland', a major report by a civil service team which was published in 107 September 1976. It identified three main problems confronting the Northern Ireland economy: the erosion of manufacturing jobs, the collapse of inward investment and the poor prospects for public-sector job creation when the government was trying to limit public expenditure. The report endorsed the need sions, this strategy

for

continued attempts to attract international investment despite the limitations

of such a policy. Department of

Commerce

evidence suggested that Northern compared with the Republic of Ireland not only because of the 'image' problem but also because of the latter's form of incentives which were based more on exemption from corporation tax than the northern system. The problem was that Northern Ireland was often in direct competition for projects with the Republic, but it was unlikely that the government, under Treasury pressure, would allow a different taxation system from that pertaining in the rest of the UK, although Quigley was sympathetic to the idea. The rate and flexibility of incentives needed revision, with perhaps up to 80% grants on fixed 108 assets, to deal with the unemployment blackspots. While endorsing the need to attract foreign investment, preferably operating as integrated units rather than as branch plants which were more likely to cease Ireland fared badly in this respect

manufacture in the province 109 the report stated itself assume the role

that the state

should

term as

was the only

this

likely

way

that:

'we regard

of entrepreneur'

to resolve the

110

it

as inevitable

at least in the short

problems of unemployment

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

26

blackspots such as

West

Belfast,

Newry and

Strabane.

On

the question of the

public sector the conclusion was that: generally speaking

we do not consider an

satisfactory substitute for the

in the private sector. Equally,

employment in the public 111 programme.

increase in

employment

in the public services a

maintenance or creation of jobs in directly productive however,

services

is

we

feel that the retention

activity

of the existing level of

an important component of any job stabilisation

Consequently, the expansion of public employment in education and health and

was advocated. Other recommendations included the need to expand labour schemes such as Enterprise Ulster, which at that time employed 1,700. To rationalise industrial and manpower training policy the Departments of Commerce and Manpower Services should be merged to create a Department of Economic Development; however this was not to occur until 1982. Support for industrial costs should be extended by an across-the-board energy subsidisation and selective support for transport costs to be made available if such costs potentially jeopardised employment. Quigley recommended the reform of the Northern Ireland Economic Council, which had been established in 1964 as an advisory body, and had given evidence of dissatisfaction with its role. It was chaired by the Secretary of State which limited its independence and was not consulted sufficiently at the formative role of decision making. It should either be more closely integrated into government or be given a more independent role with its own chairman. The Northern Ireland Economic Council was reconstituted in August 1977, at the same time as the reforms mentioned below. It was to have an independent chairman and fifteen members appointed by the Secretary of State - a corporatist mixture of representatives of trades unions, employers and academic economists. The Quigley Report reinforced the belief that any industrial-support policy had to incorporate the three elements of public-sector activity, support for local industry and the attraction of foreign capital. However, despite Mason's own emphasis on economic policy when he became Secretary of State in September 1976 and the acceptance of Quigley, critics have argued that the main proposals of the report were ignored. Bew and Patterson (1985) conclude that: 'in practice the economic regime associated with Mason was little more than palliative in its 112 effects'. There was not the expansion of state-led industry which Quigley had advocated and the structure of financial support was left unchanged. The tentative proposals for tax 'holidays' were not implemented, probably as a result of Treasury pressure over cost-per-job limits laid down for industrial support, and 113 the potentially adverse effect on other UK regions. The fact that the implementation of parts of Quigley did not occur until August 1977 also raised doubts social services

about the government's urgency. 114

The changes for industry

of 1977 had two elements. One was the improvement of support and the other was a more aggressive approach to the marketing of

The Labour administrations

1 974-79

1

27

Northern Ireland. In the August 1977 package selective capital grants for machinery and equipment were raised from the level fixed in 1971 of 30-40%, to between 40% and 50%. However, these figures do not reflect the fact that, in practice, individually negotiated packages between companies and the Department of Commerce and NIDA could result in the government agencies providing the bulk of the capital necessary for a project.

115

Other forms of support and the writing off

for industry included the further subsidisation of energy costs

of the Northern Ireland Electricity Service (NIES) debt of £250 million.

The

attempt to improve the

'selling'

of Northern Ireland as a

site for

overseas

investment was important because of limits to the expansion of financial

had a marginal effect if potential were discouraged by the image of Northern Ireland. A cursory examination of the promotional literature of the development agencies will reveal an emphasis on the normality of, and the facilities available in, Northern

incentives and because these incentives investors

Ireland.

To

this

end,

relations exercises

Mason became

personally involved in high-profile public-

and Northern Ireland opened

its

own promotional

offices in

had proved singularly unsuccessful in attracting investment) and the USA. Following a review in 1978, Department of Commerce officials, in arrangement with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, were seconded to consular posts in the USA specifically to counter the poor image of Northern Ireland. The USA was targeted because of its historic relationship with Ireland and because it had been the source of much investment in the 1950s and 1960s. From the late 1970s onwards the need to promote a positive image was emphasised as it was felt that investors' perceptions were coloured by the greater level of violence of the early 1970s and it was the image problem, rather than the level of financial support, which put Northern Ireland at a disadvantage with its closest competitor 116 for inward investment, the Republic. From ministerial and official level down to local councillors, who, lacking planning powers have little direct role in economic regeneration, a host of representatives have engaged in promotional

Japan

(a

country from which

it

activities.

Mason's dual policy of promotion and increased had some effect in reviving the interest of potential investors. In 1977 two USA companies visited Northern Ireland compared with twenty-nine in 117 1978 and Department of Commerce estimates of jobs promoted by companies new to Northern Ireland were 3,698 for 1978 and 1,865 for 1979, the first 118 time the annual figure had exceeded 1,000 since 1973. However such figures have to be treated with caution; the majority of the 1978 figure is accounted for by the DeLorean project negotiated in July of that year which anticipated 2,600 jobs after a five-year period. Although the DeLorean project was not typical, it demonstrated in sharp relief that promoted job figures were not always realised, At

least in the short term,

incentives

inward investment projects did not guarantee secure long-term and the cost per job often exceeded the Department of Commerce

that large-scale

jobs

128

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

government felt unable to abandon the search for incoming investment. Although LEDU-sponsored enterprises and local companies could often create jobs at a lower cost neither had the capacity to provide sufficient number to make inroads into male unemployment 119 which had reached 10% in 1976 and 12% by 1978. guidelines. Despite these potential pitfalls, the

The

policy of attempting to attract overseas investment brought into sharp

fund such projects on the basis of and yet also having regard for the social and political element in job creation. This contradiction was made worse as the amount of mobile investment available decreased and the terms of support were more easily dictated by the company involved. DeLorean brought home these problems but the experience in this case was not unique. A Public Accounts Committee 120 was later to censure the Department of Commerce for failing to Report relief the inbuilt contradiction of trying to

commercial

criteria

observe Treasury limits regarding costs per job in financial assistance to

Courtaulds in 1973, and for overestimating the number of jobs created, and similar criticisms were Industries.

made

in relation to support for

likely to

Simms

be

Steel

The DeLorean project was to

suffer similarly albeit on a larger scale. Committee a Department of Commerce the department had difficulty in controlling the cost of a

In evidence to the Public Accounts official

admitted that

project once

it

was

established.

Department of Commerce agreed to provide grants, loans and factory space worth a total of£35. 19 million to the DeLorean companies and this was supplemented by £17.757 million of share capital and £7.92 million of loans from the NIDA. By the time of the collapse of the project in 1982 it was estimated 121 that £77 million of public money had been spent. The Public Accounts Committee Report on the DeLorean affair was critical of the NIDA and the Department of Commerce for failing both to consider adequately the viability of the project and DeLorean's background, and to monitor the use of the capital granted or loaned once production had started. This was despite the fact that both the Republic of Ireland and Puerto Rico had refused to finance DeLorean and that a consultant's report commissioned by the Department of Commerce in July 1978 described the venture as 'extraordinarily risky' and considered remote the chances of it succeeding. These risks seem inherent in a strategy of public support for private capital, especially in such cases as this, where public funds form the bulk of the capital invested. 122 The sponsoring agencies have little In July 1978 the

control over whether job promotions

(i.e.

those projected) are realised and

predicted cost per job escalates and exceeds that which

is

laid

down

the

if

the

dilemma the hope

then occurs of whether to pull out of the venture or extend financing in of some future return. The problems with DeLorean, which were not unique, did result in a later revision of the policy of support for large

incoming

capital-

intensive ventures.

As

well as the general legislation and institutional arrangements for industrial

support, specific measures were introduced to aid the shipbuilding and aircraft

The Labour administrations 1974-79 industries.

129

Both industries were nationalised

in Britain in

1976 and the Northern

Ireland sectors, although publicly controlled, were excluded from this legislation.

The shipbuilders Harland and Wolff became wholly owned by the Department of Commerce under the Shipbuilding Industry (No. 2) (NI) Order 1975 and Shorts and Harland, the aircraft company, was jointly controlled by the Depart-

ment of Commerce which held Industry the remainder. indirectly responsible

Commerce and

91%

of the shares, and the Department of

The companies were in the anomalous position of being to

the

House of Commons

via

the

Department of

the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, although they were

limited companies with the normal

liability.

Rees maintained

that the reason that

was that would provide administrative simplicity in the event of devolution when responsibility for them would be with the relevant Minister in the Northern Ireland executive. This did not allay unionist suspicions that their exclusion was indicative of British economic disengagement. Orme had hinted in 1975 that the closure of Harland and Wolff was being considered, but Department of Commerce control was reaffirmed in the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Order 1979 which replaced that of 1975. Separate legislation had been introduced because of the huge subventions necessary to modernise and to allow the orderly run-down of the shipyards. The slow decline and loss making of Harland and Wolff would have almost certainly resulted in closure had it not been for the social considerations of the jobs lost and the symbolic significance of the industry to the Unionist community. Once again the desire to base financial support on commercial criteria and the political and social implications of further deindustrialisation were in tension in the government's economic policy. The importance of government assistance to manufacturing industry through the operation of the Department of Commerce and the NIFC (the NIDA after the industries were not included in British nationalisation legislation

making them responsible

to the Minister

May 1976) is revealed in the statistic that approximately 45%

of jobs in this sector

were with companies in receipt of government assistance; this proportion 123 remaining stable over the period 1 975-9. This level of support managed roughly to stabilise manufacturing employment in the period of the Labour rate of job loss in the 1980s. Male manuemployment fell from 105,600 to 95,700 between 1975 and 1979 and female employment in the manufacturing sector for the same period fell from 124 5 5, 1 00 to 5 1,3 00. Unemployment figures for the six years 1974-9 respectively were 6.4%, 8.3%, 10.2%, 11.3%, 12% and 11.6%. The levelling offin the final

government compared with the rapid facturing

three years

may be

attributed to the revival in inward investment, the increase in 125

and the Youth Opportunities Programme Scheme (YOPS) in 1977 which removed young people from the unemployment register. This was part of a UK-wide scheme, although in Northern Ireland a much higher proportion of those involved were engaged in (largely government- funded) training or real

terms of public expenditure in Northern Ireland in the

introduction of the

late

1970s,

130

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

apprenticeships than in 'work experience' on employers' premises compared

UK. 126

Despite the emphasis in the work of the LEDU, and the Department of Commerce on support for manufacturing industry, by the end of the Labour administration it was becoming clear that the stabilisation of employment, which was the major rationale of government support, was increasingly dependent on direct public employment, youth training schemes and efforts to expand the service and high-tech sectors to compensate for the decline in manufacturing industry.

with the rest of the

NIDA

Social policy If social policy

is

defined in the context of government policy in Northern Ireland

as the adoption of practices or the introduction of agencies to counter the claims

of Catholic disadvantage or discrimination, the period 1974-9

may be seen

more passive one in comparison with the late 1960s or early 1970s. This is, because the reforms of the

earlier period (chapters 2

and

3)

as a

firstly,

reduced the scope for

more institutional and legislative changes of the type for which the Civil Rights movement had campaigned. Secondly, the dissolution of the Civil Rights movement had led many of its former activists into political groupings or parties which concentrated on constitutional arrangements whether of a Republican bent

(e.g.

which focused on an internal settlement such as power sharing (e.g. Currie, Fitt, Hume and Cooper). A third reason is the complacency of the British government which tended to believe that formal institutional changes were sufficient to demonstrate the even-handedness of its administration while the continued differentials in unemployment and in the occupational profiles of those in work between the two communities suggested that more positive action was needed. The changes in government and the priority given to the Sunningdale strategy and the subsequent executive explain why the proposals of the van Straubenzee Report of 1973 (see chapter 3) which addressed the question of discrimination and disadvantage in employment was not acted upon until 1976. 127 The bulk of its proposals were then included in the Fair Employment (NI) Act 1976. The Act, supported by the Conservatives but opposed by the OUP and DUP, established the Fair Employment Agency (FEA) which became operative in September 1976. It consisted of a chairman, a position held by Robert Cooper, Farrell, Devlin) or those

formerly deputy leader of the Alliance Party and Minister of Manpower Services

1974 executive, and eleven other members appointed by the Department Of these, three were nominees of the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trades Unions, and three were nominees of the Northern Ireland Confederation of British Industry. 128 The FEA was origi-

in the

of Manpower Services.

nally to have a

mid 1980s

budget of £250,000

that the

p.a.

and

a staff of forty

budget approached

this

sum and

this projected figure.

129

but

it

was not until the were only half

staffing levels

The Labour administrations

The FEA's

1

974-79

131

functions were to be those

recommended by

the 1973

Working

Party with the additional responsibility of monitoring public-sector recruitment

The three principal functions were the promotion of equality of opporand the elimination of discrimination through such activity, the undertaking of research to establish the possible factors that hindered equality of opportunity, and the provision of redress in the case of individual complaints of discrimination. The last of these meant that the FEA relieved the Commissioner for Complaints and the Parliamentary Commissioner of their responsibility for

policy.

tunity

redress in cases of alleged discrimination. In principle at least, the remit of the

FEA

was

a significant advance in

action to enforce

employment

legislation.

recommendations was

provision for

a recognition that the prohibition

discrimination in the 1973 Constitution Act and the

Commissioner were not

To

The

improving equality of opportunity and the recourse to legal

initiatory action in

of

work of the Parliamentary

in themselves sufficient.

deal with the three provisions in turn.

The promotion

of equality of

opportunity was to be effected, whenever possible, by voluntary action of the

To this end, Section 5 of the Fair EmployDepartment of Manpower Services, after consultation Human Rights Commission and the representatives of the trades unions and employers, to publish a 'manpower policy and practices' 130 guide which would advise employers on how to improve recruitment (and

companies, agencies

ment Act required with the FEA, the

etc. involved.

the

promotion) policy so as to avoid potential, albeit unconscious, discrimination.

Examples included monitoring of the religious composition of the workforce, although the keeping of records was not mandatory, and efforts to ensure that vacancies reached the widest possible audience so as not to restrict recruitment to

one community.

Those

bodies, in the public or private sector, which accepted the

manpower

were invited to sign a 'Declaration of Principle and Intent' which would allow the signatories to advertise themselves as Equal Opportunity employers. A register of signatories would be kept by the FEA which would be empowered to remove those who lapsed from the required standard. The first Annual Report of the FEA 1976-7 131 records that 497 companies/organisations 132 had signed the declaration, over 50% of those within the scope of the Act. policy directives

However

the value of this provision

is

questionable since

it

is

largely self-

regulatory and does not necessarily involve any further action by the signatory.

133

it was not until 1982 that an employer seeking a government was required to sign the declaration. The role of educational and promotional activity was prominent in the early work of the FEA with the holding of seminars to advise employers on how to

Additionally contract

improve recruitment procedures and to encourage them to sign the declaration. This was augmented by the second function mentioned above: research, which

was often conducted by academics on behalf of the FEA. By 1979 three research papers had been published dealing with the occupational profile of the

132

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

population, a comparison of attitudes towards

work of the two communities, and

the educational achievements of the two communities and their relationship to 134

The latter two reports revealed that attitudes to employment opportunities. work and educational achievements could not adequately* explain the disproportionate unemployment and low-status jobs suffered by Catholics as revealed in the

first

paper.

This emphasis on research gave rise to the suspicion that the FEA was not devoting sufficient energy to the enforcement of equal opportunity and would have no effect on those Intent.

135

who

ignored the invitation to sign the Declaration of

Section 12 of the 1976 Act gave the

FEA legal sanctions against bodies

which failed to implement recommendations concerning the institution or improvement of equal opportunities. The normal procedure was to attempt conciliation first and use the law as a last resort. The FEA would carry out an investigation (on its own initiative or in response to a specific complaint) and if equality of opportunity were found to be lacking, the FEA would make the relevant recommendations and generally secure a written undertaking agreeing to them. If the undertaking was not given, or given and not complied with, the FEA could make an application to the County Court which could grant injunctions or award damages. In the case of an individual complaint, whichever side was found against had the right of appeal within twenty-one days of the 136 FEA's findings. The third major element of the FEA's work was the consideration of individual complaints of discrimination. It encountered the same difficulties as other agencies operating in this field, for example, the PCA and the Commissioner for Complaints. These include possible lack of faith in the efficacy of the FEA and the difficulty of proving discrimination which was often compounded by the fact that many companies did not keep proper records of interview procedures for applicants for jobs or promotion, or of the religious composition of the workforce.

The FEA itself felt that it would be better to concentrate on Section tions

(i.e.

the study of patterns of

opportunity in a company or a specific its

12 investiga-

employment and the question of equal sector of the economy) rather than channel

limited resources into individual complaints.

137

Findings of direct discrimination against individuals were few; probably

and when they did occur proof would would seem reasonable to assume that those who did practise discrimination could disguise such a policy and put an 'objective' gloss upon it. In the first four years of the FEA six findings of discrimination were made and four of these were overturned by the courts which tended to rehear the case rather than, as the FEA had anticipated, restrict themselves to a review of the FEA's findings and the reasons for them. The emphasis on investigations in specific sectors was later endorsed by Osborne who argued that:

because such cases were

relatively rare

often be hard to establish.

It

direct discrimination

is

probably quite limited although this must at least partially be a

7

The Labour administrations 1974-79 function of widespread segregation in

133 employment

areas or firms dominated by 'the other side'. clearly in

demarcated

in

here

of the

that, despite

limiting attempts to obtain

FEA

role of the

is,

work

in

therefore, quite

terms of continuing to develop a strategy of Section 12 investigations 138

both private and public sectors.

The problems

The

FEA

will

be dealt with further below.

It

should be noted

having the support of the main British parties, the government,

do enough to ensure the effectiveness of the FEA. It was compared with the government's own projections in Ireland Civil Service (NICS), which as a government and the Northern 1976, department could have set an example, paid no attention to the Manpower 139 and later resisted an FEA Service guide on Manpower Policy and Practice investigation into it. It was not until the early 1980s that the government became more supportive; the Labour administration tended to focus on economic and social policies at a macro level and underestimated the importance of the in practice, did not

continually underfunded

religious

element within them.

The FEA was the

only

140

new agency

established in the social policy field during

Labour administration. The other bodies established in the 'active' period of reform 1968-72 were left largely unchanged. The Department of Community Relations was merged with the Department of Education under Lord Donaldson in 1975 by the Community Relations (Amendment) (NI) Order 1975. This was a

the

rationalising

move

following the abolition of the

Community Relations Commis-

sion by Cooper, the Minister responsible in the power-sharing executive. relationship

The

between the department and the commission had been ill-defined

and a cause of much internal

friction since the early

1970s and the more

ambitious role desired by the commission had never been realised (see social policy section in chapter 2).

Cooper had argued

that the existence of

power

sharing meant that the commission was no longer necessary to improve relations

between the two communities as had been the case on

its

foundation in 1969.

The decision also reflected the suspicion of, if not hostility towards, an agency by elected representatives who felt that some of its members encouraged the self-assertiveness

and ambitions of community groups which were not subject to

an electoral mandate. Cooper had argued that the commission impeded the process of communication between people and government.

141

Before

its

commission had failed to achieve the more ambitious of its original intentions in developing cross-community projects. The other functions, such as funding recreational projects in deprived areas, were from 1975 to be administered by district councils overseen and financed by the Department of Education. The Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights (SACHR) which had its origins in the period of the devolution plans in 1973, had expressed concern in 142 its Third Annual Report 1976— that its statutory powers were not extensive enough and that public expectations of its role were disappointed. In response to the SACHR concern, Mason informed it in August 1978 that he endorsed a role abolition the

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

134 for

it

which gave

it

mendations of the 1

made on its own initiative, Although some of the recom-

a wider scope for considerations

rather than being limited to

SACHR

977-8 143 advocated

its

statutory role.

were acted upon

(e.g.

the fourth Annual Report

direct access to the Parliamentary Corrfmissioner for the

complainant rather than having a complaint channelled via an impression

is

that

official redefinition

its

impact on government policy was

or extension of the role of the

of Rights, for Northern Ireland only

of a

Bill

the

UK, and

the overall

There was no

SACHR and both its advocacy

if necessary

but preferably covering

concerns over the continuation of detention provisions on statute

and the length of remand

The

MP)

slight.

in

Diplock cases were ignored by the government.

significance of housing in

Northern Ireland

social policy,

accusations of discriminatory allocation and the poor quality and

owing

to the

amount of the

public housing stock, had led to the reorganisation completed in 1973 (see

chapter cation

144

3).

The problem

of discrimination declined with centralised allo-

but the problems of the low quality and quantity remained. For

example, in Belfast in 1974 36.3% of houses lacked one or more basic amenity

and despite the expansion of the housing budget this figure was still 28.6% in 1979 145 g e ifast was not exceptional in that there were similar proportions of dwellings lacking one or more basic amenity in many of the rural areas, with the better rates being in the Belfast Urban Areas, excluding the city itself. Between 1974 and 1979 the percentage of dwellings designated by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) as unfit declined from 19.6% to 14.1% although 146 both figures are considerably higher than for England and Wales. The Development Programme for 1970-75 stressed the need for a rapid expansion of public-sector housing and NIHE completions peaked in 1977 at 7,676 which indicates that housing starts peaked in 1975-6. By 1979 NIHE 147 completions had fallen to 3,436. This trend reflects the rapid expansion of the first half of the 1970s which meant that the worst of the problem of shortage, as opposed to the condition, of dwellings, had been overcome and also the disadvantages of wholesale redevelopment which had provoked resistance from community groups concerned about the destruction of established communities. This shift of emphasis was apparent in the Housing (NI) Order 1976 which was the result of a review dating back to the end of 1974. The Order contained four major proposals. Firstly, the Department of Environment was to encourage the expansion of the voluntary housing movement and help in financing and supervising its work. Secondly, areas of special need were to be designated Housing Action Areas in which the NIHE would acquire houses and also offer higher rates of grants for private-sector renovation in these areas. Thirdly, a

new

structure of grants for private-sector renovation

was introduced. Grants were to improvement which were discretionary, intermediate which

be of three types; could be normally obtained as of right for dwellings lacking standard amenities, and repair grants. These were based on a structure introduced in Britain but paid at a

higher rate in Northern Ireland of 75% and up to

90%

in

Housing Action

The Labour administrations

1 974-79

Areas as compared with

50-60%

135 in Britain,

and were

to apply

throughout

Northern Ireland whereas in Britain the grants were restricted to housing action and general improvement areas. Carter, the Minister presenting the Order, justified the differential benefit for Northern Ireland because of the worse condition of the housing stock and the problems of rural areas which were not amenable to treatment on an action area 148 The fourth provision sought to tackle the problem of unoccupied basis. properties and strengthened the

power of the

NIHE

to secure or

demolish

unoccupied premises and recover the costs incurred from the owner if these resulted from his/her neglect. The NIHE was also empowered to take posses-

meet housing needs while acquisition was pendon the condition that application for compulsory purchase was made to the Department of Environment within one month. This Order reveals a congruence of housing policy between Northern Ireland and Britain. The emphasis on renovation rather than demolition, concern about depopulation of the inner-city areas and the decline of traditional communities, and support for housing associations and voluntary housing groups were all elements found in British policy. However the extensive powers of the NIHE and the higher levels of grant reflected not only the generally worse state of Northern sion of unoccupied property to ing,

Ireland housing but the government's perception of the interrelation of this with

other areas of policy. I

can see that many of the problems, be they social, economic or political, are based on bad

housing. If

we could

get to grips with the problems of

contribution to solving Northern Ireland's

bad housing, we might make

a

many other problems. 149

Conclusion was argued in the conclusion to the previous chapter that the parameters for were largely developed in the period 1972-4. Many of the policies of the 1974-9 administration had a continuity with those of its predecessor; albeit with

It

activity

changes of emphasis. For example, the ostensible commitment to devolution with a power-sharing element remained despite policy continued to strengthen the

its

inherent difficulties; security

emphasis on the courts and police primacy and

the major social policy reform, the establishment of the

the

FEA, had

its

genesis in

Working Party of 1973.

Given the persistence of communal inequalities and the political stalemate, a judgment on the overall record of this administration would find it wanting. In its defence, however, the strike and its ramifications and the general (i.e. UK)

UWC

on public expenditure from the mid 1970s were factors largely beyond the control of the Secretaries of State and limited their scope in policy making. This, rather than the change of party in government, would help to explain the relatively passive nature of the administration. This passivity, and the constraints

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

136

of progress, was reflected in two developments: one relatively and the other of greater duration. These were, respectively, the development of integrationism among the Conservative front bench and a more critical attitude towards Labour's Irish policy by elements within the party, relative lack

short-lived

particularly

The

among extra-parliamentary

differing character of the

groups.

150

two Northern Ireland Secretaries can be While Mason adopted a more

over-emphasised as a factor in policy shifts.

hawkish approach to questions of security the relative lack of emphasis on constitutional issues during his tenure can be ascribed as much to the perceived lack of room for manoeuvre by government as to a personal disinclination to focus

on

political

advance as part of the policy equation.

Notes 1

FortnightNo. 81 5/4/74.

2

The SDLP saw security in an

3

See Nelson 1984

problems of the dual

4

all-Ireland context.

for the political

development of the paramilitaries and the

role.

UWC strike see Fisk 1975.

5

For a detailed account of the Nelson op. cit. ch. 14.

6

e.g.

see the review of Rees 1985 by P. Devlin in Fortnight No. 233 10/2/86.

7

e.g.

the accusations by

to prevent intimidation

some members of the executive that the security forces failure to use them to provide essential services. 478 and Rees op. cit. p. 90.

8

Crossman 1977

9

Interview with Rees 10/12/87.

p.

10

Fisk op.

1

See McAllister 1977b pp. 41-2. Rees op. cit. p. 73.

12 13

14 15

cit. p.

198.

HC Vol. 874 Cols 878-1021 and 1038-83 3-4/6/74. HC Vol. 874 Col. 1049 4/6/74. Orme HC Vol. 874 Col. 1181 4/6/74.

Wilson

18

Power 1977 p. 59. Rees op. cit. p. 107. 'The Northern Ireland Constitution'

19

Gallagher 1984

20

Cmnd

16 17

21

22 23 24

p.

Cmnd 5675

HMSO 1974.

310.

5675 1974 op. cit. para. 50. See Fortnight No. 82 26/4/74. See below in this section for details.

Rees

HC Vol. 876 Col.

1

195 9/7/74.

A similar point is made by Power op.

cit.

25

This position has been most consistently expressed by Powell.

26 27

There was

See,

created to

28 29

failed

and the

e.g.,

the constitutional proposals of Atkins in 1979.

facilitate

a rationalisation of

departments

in this period.

New

ones had been

the representation of the power-sharing parties in the executive.

HC Vol. 877 Col. 66 15/7/74. Gilmour had compared the wording of clause 2 of the

Fitt

Bill

with para. 55 of the

The Labour administrations White Paper, and argued

1 974-79

137 was more vague

that the former

in that

it

talked of 'most

widespread acceptance' in the community whereas the White Paper talked of 'majority

and widespread support' within the Convention. 30 Orme HC Vol. 877 Col. 112 15/7/74. 'Constitutional Convention: Procedure' Northern Ireland Discussion Paper 2

31

HMSO 1974. For more details see McAllister 1975 and Rose 1976. Rees HC Vol. 903 Col. 54 12/1/76. 34 Rees had considered intervening in this period of talks but felt such action ran the risk of the government being accused of contributing to the convention failure. 35 Rees op. cit. p. 264 and interview with Orme. 32 33

36 37 38 39 40

FortnightNo. 103 23/4/75.

41

Fortnight

42

44

Mason HC Vol. 925 Mason HC Vol. 939 Mason HC Vol. 939

45

Fortnight

46

In June 1978, during a

Fortnight

No. 118 9/1/76.

Fortnight

No. 11126/9/75.

See Rees op. cit. e.g. Taylor 1980

43

p. 3 17.

58 and Hamill 1985 No. 134 8/10/76. p.

Col. 1645 10/2/77. Col. 1727 24/1 1/77.

Col. 1834 24/11/77.

No. 166 28/4/78. visit to Belfast,

introduce a regional council structure

47 cit.

p.

202.

p.

Thatcher said that the Conservatives would

if elected.

Increased representation was supported by

Mason but opposed by Rees. Rees op.

322.

Bew and

48

Patterson 1985 p. 93 argue that increased representation was not solely

related to gaining Unionist parliamentary support.

HC Vol. 959 Col. 306 28/1 1/78. Rees HC Vol. 871 Col. 1466 4/4/74. At its inception the UDR had 20% Catholic membership which had fallen to 2%

49 50 51

O'Dowd et al. p. 185. see O'Dowd etal. 1980 p. 191. The Republic's legislation was the

by 1979.

52

e.g.,

53

Extradition Act 1965 and the Backing of

Warrants (Republic of Ireland) Act 1965 was the

54 1982

See McGrath 1983

UK legislation.

for a consideration of the extradition

55

HC Vol. 893 Cols 1689-1742

56

'Report of a Committee to consider, in the context of

rights,

5847

measures

19/6/75.

to deal with terrorism in

civil liberties and human Northern Ireland' (Gardiner Report) Cmnd

HMSO London 1975.

57

ibid. para. 12.

58

ibid. para. 21.

59 60

482 cases between 1/1/72 and 3 1/1/74.

61

Groups were deproscribed

Gardiner op.

cit.

para. 50. as an incentive for

them to enter constitutional politics;

an example being the Ulster Volunteer Force in April 1974.

62

problem and Connelly

for the legal perspective in the Republic.

Rees

HC Vol. 894 Cols 814-42 26/6/75.

.

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

138 63

.

Flackes 1983 p. 320.

64

'The Northern Ireland Constitution'

65

ibid. para. 42.

Cmnd

5675

HMSO 1974.

66 See McNair-Wilson HC Vol. 914 Col. 903 2/7/76. 67 Hamill op. cit. p. 243. 68 According to one of its members. Taylor op. cit. p. 5 1 69 'The handling of complaints against the police: Report of the Working Party Northern Ireland' (Black Report) Cmnd 6475 Belfast 1976. 70

National Council for Civil Liberties submission to Black.

71

Others Ministers could exclude

72

For

if

Home Secretary were not available. PTA see Scorer and Hewitt 1981, Sim and

the

critiques of the operation of the

Thomas 1983 and

for

sections in other works

on emergency

legislation e.g. Boyle et

al.

1980

and Walsh 1983.

HC Vol. 892 Col.

1155 19/5/75.

73 74

Jenkins

75 76 77 78

HC Vol. 892 Cols 153-4 19/5/75. HC Vol. 901 Col. 963 26/1 1/75.

A ceasefire was in operation for much of 1 975 1

See security sections

in

chaps 6 and

7.

'Review of the operation of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions)

Acts 1974

&

1976' (Shackleton Report)

79 See the Bennett Report below Northern Ireland.

80

The IRA was

81

Shackleton op.

82

Hamill op.

83

ibid. p. 217.

84

e.g. see

85

One was

Cmnd

7324 London 1978. on denial of access under the

for findings

the only organisation proscribed by the

cit.

cit.

PTA.

para. 159.

p. 262.

HC Vol. 940 Col. later

EPA in

1690 8/12/77.

appointed in July 1979 following the death of eighteen soldiers

at

Warrenpoint.

86 'Report of the Committee cf Inquiry into Police Interrogation Procedures Northern Ireland' (Bennett Report) Cmnd 7497 London 1979 para. 30.

in

HMSO

87

Taylor op.

88 89 90

ibid. p. 74.

91

ibid. para. 84.

92

ibid. para. 154.

93

ibid. para.

94

ibid. para.

256.

95

ibid. para.

344.

96 97 98 99

Bennett endorsed the earlier findings of the Black Report on Bennett para. 394.

cit. p.

70.

See note 86 above. Bennett Para. 108.

270.

this issue.

For Neave's concern see Taylor op. cit. p. 332. Orme HC Vol. 908 Col. 1723 1/4/76. 100 Orme HC Vol. 908 Col. 1724 1/4/76. 101 'Review of Economic and Social Development in Northern Ireland: Report of the Joint Review Board' (Cairncross Report) Cmd 564 HMSO Belfast 1971.

The Labour administrations

1

974-79

139

Annual Report 1976.

102 103

See Bradley

104

'Regional Physical Development Strategy 1975-95' Discussion Paper: Depart-

etal. 1986.

ment of Housing, Local Government and Planning HMSO Belfast 1975. 105 Examples include the Matthew and Wilson Reports. 106

Harrison (R.T.) 1982 Table 13,

107

'Economic and Industrial Strategy

Team' (Quigley Report) 108

ibid.

109

It is

281.

p.

for

Northern Ireland: Report by the Review

Belfast 1976.

Section 12:19. often argued that branch plants are

more

susceptible to closure than fully

integrated projects but see Keeble 1976 p. 216 for a contrary view.

110

Quigley op.

111

ibid.

cit.

Section 13:1.

Section 25:18.

112

Bew and

113

FortnightNo. 152 August 1977.

114

FortnightNo. 135 22/10/76.

115

In particular cases up to

Patterson op.

cit.

p.

91

90%

.

of costs could be provided by the development

agencies (Economist 16/12/78). 1 16 See e.g., the evidence of Buder, the Minister of State, on 9/6/82 to the Industry and Trade Select Committee HC 500 398(1) and (11) 1982 paras. 26 and 27. Also see

Quigley for the problem of competition with the Republic for investment.

117

Economist 16/12/78.

118

Harrison (R.T.) 1982 Table on

119

Excluding school leavers and seasonally adjusted. NI Annual Abstract of

p.

281.

Table 10:8 Department of Finance and Personnel HMSO Belfast 1986. Committee of Public Accounts Fourteenth Report: HC 612 1 980. Committee of Public Accounts 25th Report 'Financial Assistance to DeLorean Cars Ltd' HC 127 (1) and (2) 1984. See note 1 14 above. Harrison op. cit. Table 3 on p. 275. NI Annual Abstract of Statistics: Department of Finance and Personnel HMSO

Statistics 1 20

121

Motor 122 123 1

24

Belfast 1986.

125

1983

Public expenditure increased by

6.5% between 1977-8 and 1978-9. Connolly

p. 70.

NIEC

126

'Youth Employment and Training'

127

Interview with

1 28

The Working Party members had been representatives of industry and the trades

FEA Official,

Paper No. 27 Belfast 1982.

Belfast 3 1/7/86.

unions.

129 Interview with FEA Official, Belfast 3 1/7/86. (The annual budget of the FEA in 1985-6 was £268,000 with a staff of fifteen plus the chairman. SACHR Report: 'Religious

and

Discrimination and Equality of Opportunity in Northern Ireland: Report on Employment' Cm 237 London 1987 Section 12:15). 130 'Guide to Manpower Policy and Practices' Department of Manpower Services Political

Fair

1978.

Annual Report of FEA 1976-7:

HMSO 1977-8.

131

First

132

Organisations with fewer than twenty-five employees were to be exempt from the

Act's provisions for

two years and those with fewer than ten employees for three years.

1

British govern ment policy in Northern Ireland 1 96 9-89

40 133

134

Interview with FEA Official, Belfast 3 1/7/86. FEA Research Paper No. 1: 'An Industrial and Occupational Profile of the Two

Sections of the Population in Northern Ireland: an analysis of the 1971 Population

FEA Research Paper No. 2: 'Attitude to Work in Northern Ireland' Miller FEA Research Paper No. 3: 'Educational Qualifications and Religious Affiliations

Census' 1978 1978. in

Northern Ireland' Osborne and Murray 1978.

For a particularly critical piece see Graham 1984. For a detailed account of the procedure adopted for the investigation of individual complaints see Chapter 1 1 of the SACHR Report 1987 op. cit. 137 See First Annual Report op. cit. 135

136

138

Osborne 1982

p.

139

Interview with

FEA Official,

140

ibid.

141

See

142

HC Paper No. HC Paper No.

143

528. Belfast 3 1/7/86.

Griffiths 1974.

199 1977-8. 176 1978-9.

up until 1982 there had been no findings of discrimination against the NIHE. (Brett 1982 p. 76), although there were many complaints to the Commissioner for Complaints relating to transfers, allocations and delay in repairs. 145 'The Belfast Experience: Housing Renewal in Northern Ireland' NIHE Belfast 144

At

least

1984.

146

Harrison (R.L.) 1982

147

Government Expenditure Plans Cmnd 9702-ii 1986. Carter HC Vol. 918 Cols. 374-75 26/10/76. Carter HC Vol. 918 Cols. 417-18 26/10/76. Developments within the Parliamentary Labour Party

148 149 150

Chapters 5 and

6.

p. 82.

will

be considered

in

The

Conservative administration

1979-83

Introduction

The

Conservatives, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher,

1979 election with 339 seats

to

won

the

May

Labour's 269 and gaining an overall majority of

Humphrey Atkins was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The two Ministers of State were Michael Alison and Hugh Rossi and the three Under Secretary positions were filled by Lord Elton, Phillip Goodhart and Giles

43.

Shaw. Rossi was succeeded by Adam Butler in January 198 1 and

at the

same time

David Mitchell and John Patten took over from Goodhart and Shaw. In September 1981 James Prior succeeded Atkins as Secretary of State, Lord Gowrie replaced Alison as Minister of State and Nicholas Scott became the third

Under Secretary replacing Lord

Elton.

Constitutional policy

The

and Atkins 's devolutionary attempts Conservative manifesto of 1979 stated that 'in the absence of devolved government, we will seek to establish one or more elected regional councils with a wide range of power over local services'. This reflected the failure of devolution initiatives over the previous five years and the influence of the 'integrationist' lobby which included the Conservative spokesman Neave. However, by the end of 1979 another attempt at devolution had been launched. One reason for this departure from the opposition stance was the death of Neave. He was killed by the INLA in March. He had been an advocate of the establishment of regional councils and was likely to have been the new Northern Ireland Secretary. Broader reasons included the need to demonstrate to international opinion that Westminster was not complacent about the situation. In 1979 this seems to have been particularly aimed at the USA. Guelke argues that although evidence for the American connection is largely circumstantial: 'no other factor loomed as large in analysis of the initiative and it seems reasonable to conclude that US

The

retreat from integrationism

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

42

pressure was the main reason for the

1

initiative'.

The

UK

was concerned

to

prevent Northern Ireland from becoming an issue in the American presidential

and wanted

election

The second was

to defuse criticism

which had resulted

in

an arms embargo

RUC following the revelations of the Bennett Report (see chapter 4).

on the

likely that

important international actor was the Republic of Ireland and

it

any restoration of local government powers in the north would

strain relations with the Irish government. This was because such a policy would be viewed with suspicion by the SDLP, which disliked the integrationist implications, and still favoured a devolved administration with a role in the executive and an institutionalised Irish dimension. An indication of the importance of the American connection is that the new

by the British Ambassador in Washington in September end of the following month Atkins announced that he was inviting the four main Northern Ireland parties - the OUP, DUP, SDLP and Alliance - to a conference at Stormont to discuss a possible settlement. This was to cause problems as by the end of 1979 there were four Northern Ireland MPs Fitt, Kilfedder, Dunlop and Maguire - who were not members of any of these 2 parties. Atkins defended the narrow basis of the invitation on the grounds that it would make the workload of the conference manageable but he was prepared to accept written submissions from groups or individuals not invited. On 20 November formal invitations were issued and a White Paper containing the 3 government's proposals was published. The scope of the conference was outinitiative

1979.

was

'leaked'

Towards

the

lined in para. 4.

The Conference and

will

will

.

.

.

not be concerned with the constitutional status of the Province

not be asked to discuss issues such as Irish unity, or confederation, or indepen-

dence. Nor, since there

is

no serious prospect of agreement on them,

will the

Conference

consider either a return to the arrangements which prevailed before 1972, or a revival of the system which obtained in the

first five

months of 1974.

This meant that safeguards for the minority were necessary but did not have take the form of guaranteed places in the executive.

The

proposals then outlined the

minimum requirements

government which were broadly those pertaining

in 1973.

to

of the British

There was

to

be no

transfer of control of the judicial or security system, overall financial control

would remain with Westminster and there would be no devolution without the maintenance or extension of the existing safeguards against religious and political discrimination. The term power sharing was not used but para. 5 stated that there would have to be 'reasonable and appropriate arrangements to take account of the interests of the minority'.

The degree of devolution was left open-ended, dependent on the wishes of the Northern Ireland parties and the degree of accommodation between them. The government favoured legislative and executive devolution with a transfer of the same powers as in 1974 (though without the Irish Dimension) as it made for

The Conservative administration administrative

simplicity.

4

1 979-83

1

However,

other

were

alternatives

43

acceptable

including executive devolution only or executive devolution limited to those areas

which were the responsibility of local government in Britain. Therefore housing, education and social services could be administered by two or more regional bodies. If 'upper-tier' p r ,^ers were returned this would not be compatible with the further transfer of powers to a new devolved government as it would have too 5 few functions to exercise and Northern Ireland would be 'overgoverned'. The provisions for minority representation and safeguard were similarly flexible. If the executive were to be formed on a 'Cabinet' system there were three possible

methods of representation. The Secretary of State could appoint

bers of the executive as in 1973, places could be

filled in

mem-

proportion to party

strengths in the assembly or by direct election in parallel elections with that for the assembly. Alternatively, the executive could be

formed by

a

committee

system, in which case a proportion of chairmanships and/or seats on committees

would be guaranteed to representatives of the minority. Another possible system of safeguard was use of the weighted vote. If the executive was composed of only one party and operated with the Cabinet system, it could be subject to periodic votes of confidence weighted so as to necessitate the support of some of the minority representatives. Similarly, a committee system could be subject to a weighted vote before legislative proposals could be put to the whole Assembly, and these proposals could also be subject to a weighted vote of the assembly as a whole.

The weighted

vote

would allow

'blocking' or delaying

and two possible additional safeguards were outlined.

whereby the Secretary of State could delay minority of assembly directly with

members

power

One was

to the

legislation if requested

or, alternatively,

Assembly

a right of appeal,

by a stated

an appeal could be lodged

Westminster or the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The Bill of Rights, which could not be amended by

second was the introduction of a the assembly,

and would rule

legislation ultra vires if

opposed by a certain

proportion of the assembly.

An appendix to

the

White Paper outlined the various options

available.

These

included a bicameral or unicameral institution with legislative and executive

powers or with executive powers only.

The

executive could take the form of a

Cabinet system with advisory committees or be composed of committees, or executive devolution could be partial with powers similar to those which local authorities have in Britain.

The

essential requirements for the

government were

those of broad-based support and efficiency; within these parameters any of the

was acceptable. Chances of success for any of the options looked slim. The OUP had decided to boycott the talks because it felt the proposals were unworkable and feared the resurrection of something similar to the Sunningdale scheme. The party was not united in being opposed to devolution and in favour of the restoration of local government powers but the integrationist wing had been strengthened by

possible structures

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

44

Molyneaux's succession to the leadership in September 1979. A second reason rivalry between the Unionist parties and it was felt that a boycott would help the OUP to outflank Paisley as the upholder of uncompromising

was the

6

Unionism. The

SDLP had initially decided to boycott the talks in protest at the

exclusion of discussion of the Irish dimension but changed

December when Atkins agreed

its

that other topics than those laid

mind

down

in

mid

in the

White Paper could be discussed in a series of parallel talks. The White Paper was debated on 29 November with support from the Labour opposition for the broad framework since it closely reflected the party's own commitment to devolution based on partnership. Criticisms from Labour largely focused on the degree of open-endedness. John, a deputy spokesman, felt that Atkins should play more of a steering role rather than adopt a neutral position towards the various options in the appendix, and criticised the committee structure in the event of the assembly having legislative powers as it would not provide executive coherence.

The Conference

met on the 7 January 1980 with the SDLP, DUP and Between this date and 24 March there were 34 half-day

first

Alliance in attendance.

sessions of talks and a series of bilateral talks with individuals outside the four

main late

parties.

No progress was made;

February outlining why

it

the

DUP submitted a twelve-point plan in

could not accept power sharing to which the

SDLP responded with accusations of intransigence. The OUP had maintained boycott with Molyneaux describing the conference as a 'time wasting exercise 7 and window dressing'. The conference was adjourned indefinitely on 24 March. There was no time limit placed on the existence of the conference but as there appeared to be no room for manoeuvre there seemed little point in reconvening it. In May there was a meeting between Haughey, the Taoiseach, and Thatcher in London which marked the beginning of a renewed Anglo-Irish element in the Northern Ireland equation. The cordial tone of the meeting fuelled unionist suspicions that an institutionalised Irish dimension was to be 8 resurrected and further reduced the chances of the devolution proposals. 9 A second White Paper was published in July 1980 presenting the results of the conference and suggesting possible ways forward. The cautious and even pessimistic tone of the government was revealed in para. 6 where it stated that it had not expected the conference to reach agreement but the process had been aimed at 'establishing the highest level of agreement between the parties rather than identifying a single detailed scheme of government to which all would subscribe'. In the absence of party agreement on the question of minority representation, the government reiterated the possible alternatives. Minority interests could be safeguarded by having positions in the executive which would be provided for by direct elections or by elections held in the assembly. Alternatively, if the minority were not to have seats in the executive, a council of the assembly could be created to balance the power of the executive. This would be composed of the chairs and deputy chairs of the departmental committees,

its

The Conservative administration

1 979-83

1

45

which would have equal representation of supporters and opponents of the executive. Council decisions would have to have 50% +1 support thereby ensuring some minority representative support was necessary. The council would have one or more of blocking, delaying and referral powers and in the event of continued deadlock between the legislative proposals of the executive and the checking and balancing of the council it would be the responsibility of the Secretary of State to attempt a resolution.

two basic forms of minority representation was acceptable, would continue. No devolution would occur without 'meaningful' participation for the minority and 'the Government would then explore other ways of making the government of Northern Ireland more responsive to the 10 wishes of the people of Northern Ireland'. The proposals were again tentative. Atkins claimed that the government was only laying down minimum requirements and outlining areas where the parties agreed. John, for the Labour Party, argued that it preferred minority representation within the executive as the council would be largely negative and encourage polarisation rather than accommodation within the assembly. The 11 dual system would also tend towards administrative complexity. Rees supported the White Paper and argued that, although the phrase power sharing was studiously avoided, it was implicitly recognised. Labour's criticisms centred on 12 practical and administrative details rather than on the thrust of the proposals. The more trenchant criticism came from Conservative backbenchers who attacked the government for reneging on the manifesto commitment and advo13 cated the restoration of local government powers. There was suspicion that a principal reason for devolutionary attempts was to establish a body which could If neither of these

direct rule

provide

members

for

an all-Ireland institution with unification as a long-term

was denied by the government and Alison rejected local government reform on three grounds. Firstly there was general support in Northern Ireland for a devolved institution; secondly, changes in local government had to be premised on safeguards for the minority and thus the same problems would appear as with the White Paper proposals and thirdly there were administrative difficulties with Civil Service reorganisation if 'upper-tier' responsibilities were removed from the Area Boards. 14 By November 1980 Atkins was forced to aim. This

conclude there

is

that:

not sufficient agreement between the political parties to justify the Government

bringing proposals to the

The

House

for setting

up

a devolved administration at this stage.

year ended with a meeting between Thatcher,

Howe

15

(Chancellor),

Carrington (Foreign Minister) and Atkins and their Irish counterparts Haughey,

Lenihan (Foreign Affairs Minister) and O'Kennedy (Finance Minister). The communique spoke of the 'totality of relations' between the two countries which 16 reinforced Unionist fears of increased Dublin involvement in the north. To reflect this totality the two delegations agreed to the establishment of joint studies

1

46

British

government policy

institutional arrangements.

Northern Ireland I 969-89

economic co-operation and possible

to consider citizens' rights, security matters,

new

in

This was cemented

in the Anglo-Irish Inter-

The summit was mutually beneficial to the leaders but also reflected the stalemate in attempts at internal settlements and the move towards the Dublin axis in consideration of the north had been prefigured by Hume's move in that direction with his governmental Council which was established in November 1981.

overtures to

Haughey earlier in

the year.

17

Northern Ireland were limited

improvement of existing 64 of the last White Paper. The proportion of elected representatives on area boards was increased from 33% to 40% and the executive departments were rationalised. The existing eight departments were to be reduced to six by 1982. Finance and the Civil Service were to be merged into the Department of Finance and Personnel; Commerce and Manpower Service were to merge as the Department of Economic Development with more delegation to ministers of state and under

Changes

in

to the

administrative arrangements in early 1981, reflecting para.

secretaries.

A

further and abortive attempt to improve local input into

Affairs in the absence of devolution

was made by Atkins

Nothern Ireland

in July 1981.

He

proposed a Council composed of elected representatives of District Councils,

Westminster and the European Parliament of approximately

fifty

members

nominated by political parties in proportion to their electoral strength. This would avoid the need for new elections and the corresponding legislation which

would take too long given the need to fill the political vacuum. The council would be purely advisory and have three main functions: the consideration of proposed Northern Ireland legislation; scrutiny of the functioning of government departments; and the consideration of future political proposals for the province. Reception was lukewarm; such a council was seen variously as undemocratic, likely to come into conflict with Westminster or as a body to provide members for 18 the joint Anglo-Irish studies which were to be undertaken. Talks with the Northern Ireland parties proved fruitless and the idea was dropped. 'Rolling devolution

and the Northern Ireland Bill

September 1981 with the away than ever following the hunger

Prior succeeded Atkins as Secretary of State in likelihood of an internal settlement further strikes

of the summer.

19

The

refusal of the

South Tyrone by-elections, won by Sands

SDLP

anti-H block/political prisoner candidates, had, distinction

between the

to contest the

in April in

and Carron

Fermanaghin

August

as

Unionist eyes, blurred the

SDLP and Sinn Fein and the hunger strikes had further

polarised the two communities. Despite this unpromising background and his

own pessimism 20

Prior announced new proposals in April 1982 following three months of discussions with the Northern Ireland parties. The supposedly novel element in the proposals was popularly termed 'rolling devolution'. This was not Prior's own brainchild and had been suggested by

The Conservative administration

1 979-83

MP,

1

47

White Paper debate of July 1980 and 4). The idea was that an assembly would be established and if agreement could not be reached on devolution it would remain to play a scrutinising and deliberative role. Six statutory committees would be established; one for each of the Northern Ireland Departments and non-statutory committees could be set up at the assembly's discretion to consider other areas. In the event there were to be five of these 21 The power of the comincluding one for security and one for home affairs. mittees was to be somewhat limited in that they would not have the authority to

Mawhinney,

a Conservative

in the

elements of it existed in Mason's proposals (see Chapter

summon ministers responsible to parliament or their officials as

of right, or have

access to departmental papers. Prior explained the rolling devolution concept thus:

The Assembly

will

have the option of moving to

full

devolution from the outset, or

if it

seems easier to achieve agreement on devolving the responsibilities of some Northern Ireland Departments, to make proposals for partial devolution. The arrangements will be flexible in that partial devolution

could lead to further or

full

devolution, and

if

the

agreement on which devolution was based collapsed and could not be reestablished

would be possible

for the

Assembly

to revert to

its

erative functions, with the Secretary of State taking

Therefore devolution could proceed on a

scrutinising, consultative

back other

it

and delib-

responsibilities.

22

by department and be was established lapsed. If a department's functions were not devolved, the relevant committee would continue to fulfil its advisory and scrutinising role. As a department came under the assembly's authority the statutory requirement for a corresponding committee would cease. The same provision was made for reserved powers as in Atkins's proposals with the exception that security and law and order could be transferred at a later date dependent on the successful operation of the assembly. The logic of Prior's position was based on the belief that 'an end to the political deadlock of recent years offers the best hope of a sustained improvement in the economy and in 23 security'. The granting of a role to the assembly in the absence of an agreement on devolution would have the effect of both filling the political vacuum in the province and improving the administration of direct rule through the committee system which would scrutinise departmental policies. As with all initiatives since 1973 power sharing was a taboo phrase, and it was rolled

back again

if

the agreement by

'stages' basis

which

it

not considered necessary to have guaranteed places for minority representatives

he was willing to leave the workings of the However, there were specific rules governing the For this to occur there had to be evidence of cross-

in the executive. Prior stressed that

assembly to those elected to

move to devolution community support

itself.

it.

for the proposals reflected in

voting in favour. In this case the Secretary of State

proposals before parliament. Alternatively,

70% had

or

more of the assembly

a statutory duty to lay the

if that figure

were not attained the

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

48

had 'cross-community' was only intended as a that the government stated that it would not guide. consider devolution on the basis of proposals which were not acceptable to a significant section of the minority community. Secretary would consider proposals

if

he

felt

that they

The 70% figure was The crucial point was

criticised for its rigidity but

support.

it

The reception to the proposal was largely one of indifference or hostility in Northern Ireland, with the exception of the DUP. The SDLP had in the last year loved towards an all-Ireland approach to the problem and was critical of a plan that did not include guaranteed power sharing. The White Paper had mentioned the aspirations of the Nationalist community and recognised its legitimacy but 24 had failed to go any further in providing an institutional expression of it. The ;

parties in the Republic, especially Fianna Fail,

and Haughey denounced Northern Ireland

were

similarly sceptical of the plan

as a failed political entity.

25

integrationist element in the OUP and its Conservative supporters saw same flaws as in the Atkins proposals. It was an attempt at 'backdoor' power sharing and an assembly was principally designed as a body to provide Northern Ireland with personnel for a parliamentary tier to the Anglo-Irish Governmental Council established following the Thatcher-FitzGerald summit of November

The

the

1981. Powell argued that not only did

it

resurrect the unworkable aspects of

would provide the

focal point of alienation power between the province and Westminster. The scrutinising and deliberative powers of the committees would undermine ministerial responsibility and, 26 having no real power, would not rectify any disillusionment with direct rule. The DUP took a much more positive view of the role of the committee system and was much more supportive of devolution. This is in part at least related to the success of the DUP in the district council elections of 1981 when it won more of the popular vote than the OUP and Paisley saw the assembly as a vehicle to boost his attempt to become the dominant voice of Unionism. Given the opposition of two of the main Northern Ireland parties, the Republic and a small but tenacious group of Conservative backbenchers, it remains to be answered why Prior persisted with the proposals. One reason was alluded to above: the claim that political agreement would have a beneficial effect on the economy and the security situation. Secondly, as with Atkins, there was a benefit 27 to be gained internationally from being seen to be doing something. This point was echoed by Nick Scott, who stated that:

sharing, but the assembly

doing nothing suggests that there

is a stable and satisfactory situation in Northern Ireland. assumes that the political climate, the economic prospects and the security situation will 28 not get any worse. But this is not an analysis which the government can accept.

It

A third possible reason is that the proposals had the support of the

Labour

Party,

or at least the front bench. At the party conference of September 1981 the resolution that

it

was desirable and possible

to unite Ireland with the

consent of

The Conservative administration

1 979-83

149

the people north and south had been passed. This was envisaged to be a

long-term aim and in the short term the process of developing consent was based

on power sharing

in a devolved

assembly and closer institutional links with the 29

Concannon, who had served in Northern supported the White Paper but argued that the and Mason, under Rees Ireland government's approach was too permissive: Republic in areas of mutual interest.

The Government have devolution

is

Northern Ireland

a duty to state openly that in the case of

permissible only

when

executive functions. In short, only a

community is taken into partnership 30 sharing of power should be acceptable. the minority

In reply to these objections Atkins argued that

was pointless

it

in

to specify exactly

the operational details of the assembly since the example of 1974 demonstrated the dangers of rigidity. If the government were to insist

on an

explicit

power-

sharing element in the operation of the assembly the chances of Unionist

co-operation would be further reduced.

made in the Northern on 10 May. The positions struck in the White Paper debate were repeated with a Conservative backbench lobby, led by Amery and Biggs-Davison, allied with the Unionists in opposition. The main attacks focused on the assembly being a prelude to unification and the conflict that would be created between the assembly and Westminster. Three Conservatives, Lloyd, Budgen and Viscount Cranbourne resigned positions in government over the Bill. Labour offered three main criticisms and were to abstain. Firsdy, the government should endorse guaranteed minority representation in any future executive rather than leave this open to discussion. Secondly, the presiding officer of the Provision for the establishment of the assembly was

Ireland Bill which had a second reading

assembly should be appointed by the Secretary of State rather than be elected by

members of it which was

likely to result in a

position. Thirdly, the Irish rectify this the

more

dimension was not

partisan individual holding the

sufficiently

emphasised and

to

assembly should have a committee to deal solely with relations

with the Irish Republic.

There was a majority of 137-29 for the government at the third reading on 29 June after the Conservative integrationists had fought a rearguard action in the Committee stage. Despite their delaying tactics the integrationists never government since they could never muster more than Ireland Act 1982 showed no major changes from the White Paper although there was an additional safeguard intended to allay fears about the vagueness of the criteria for devolution. A draft Order proposing full or partial devolution would have to be presented to both Houses of Parliament which would have to be satisfied that the provisions of the Order were likely to command widespread acceptance throughout the community. The elections were to take place on 20 October 1982. Seventy-eight seats were to be contested by the STV system using the electoral boundaries of the twelve

seriously threatened the

about twenty rebels.

The Northern

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

150

Westminster seats.

As mentioned above, the DUP were more supportive of the OUP but the latter would contest the elections and take their

seats.

assembly than the

At the beginning of October

announced that the SDLP would be which would include the parties of the

Hume

seeking talks on an all-Ireland basis

31

Republic and the Unionists. Because of the lack of a concrete recognition of the

SDLP would contest the 32 on an abstentionist platform. The decision of Sinn Fein to contest the elections on an abstentionist platform, following an ard-fheis decision in 1981, meant that the SDLP could not boycott the elections and thereby risk handing the initiative to Sinn Fein. Therefore, there was no possibility of the assembly moving beyond the scrutinising stage unless the SDLP could be persuaded to

Nationalist tradition in the devolution proposals, the election

participate.

The

seats

won and

percentages of

first

preference votes cast were

OUP

26

DUP 21

(23%), SDLP 14 (18.8%), Alliance 10 (9.3%) and Sinn Fein 5 (10.1%) with the two other seats going to independent Unionists. The turnout 33 was 61.7%. Although trr SDLP vote was slightly higher than in the 1981 local (29.7%),

34

and Sinn Fein votes would appear to have come from previous one in three of what may be assumed to be 35 the Catholic vote had gone to Sinn Fein had worrying implications for government policy. It made it difficult to maintain that there was scarcely no support for the politics of violence. Moreover, the strategy of attempting to erect a powerelections

abstainers, the fact that approximately

sharing structure with the support of the

SDLP as the political representative of

community would be undermined if Sinn Fein became strong enough to challenge the hegemony of the SDLP. The assembly thus met with fifty-nine members participating and embarked upon its scrutinising and deliberative functions, including preparing reports for parliaments consideration and reviewing draft legislation for Northern Ireland. The impact of the assembly was further reduced by the inter-party rivalry over the allocation of chairs of the committees and Kilfedder's appointment as the minority

presiding officer. This role for the assembly could continue indefinitely since there was no time limit placed on

its

existence and there

was no prospect of

devolution while the Nationalist boycott continued.

The

principal developments in early 1983 centred

on Hume's attempts

to

develop his ideas for discussions on an all-Ireland basis. In February he

announced

and Spring, the leaders of the parties comprising the were discussing the SDLP proposal for a Council for a New Ireland and the Fianna Fail leader Haughey gave it his support at the party's ard-fheis. Haughey saw it as a way towards a constitutional conference on British 36 withdrawal and the hopes of FitzGerald and Hume that it would be a serious that FitzGerald

coalition government,

attempt to consider structures in which the unionist tradition could be accommodated were undermined when at the end of March the OUP, and Alliance

DUP

declined FitzGerald's invitation to participate.

The Conservative administration

1 979-83

151

Security policy

The

principal legislative basis of security policy, the

EPA

1978 and the

PTA

1976, were both passed under a Labour administration with Conservative

when

came to office they saw no need for further Concerns about the exceptional nature of the Acts and the implications for civil liberties were consistently expressed by a group of Labour backbenchers and Fitt (see Chapter 4). The Conservative response was to argue that the renewal provisions were sufficient for parliamentary monitoring of the legislation and for concerns to be expressed. However, in the early 1980s there was a growing lobby within the Labour Party prepared to challenge the bipartisan position on both constitutional and security policy. Constituency parties renewed efforts to get conference to accept resolutions for withdrawal of troops and the endorsement of unification, the latter being 37 adopted in 1981. This was partly a reflection of the gains made by the left within the constituency parties and the disillusionment with the political stalemate and emphasis on security during Mason's period as Northern Ireland Secretary support and

changes

the Conservatives

in the provisions.

1976-9. In the renewal debate on the

PTA

in

March 1981 38

Hattersley, the

shadow

Home Secretary, tabled a motion calling for an inquiry into the Act to consider its As he acknowledged,

operation and possible amendments.

it

was

a

modest

request as he did not require an inquiry to consider the necessity for the Act.

main purpose should be

to provide

operation than that given in the

Commons,

possible abuse of the exclusion provisions.

vote against renewal

if the

the motion. Whitelaw, the

especially in relation to the use

The Labour

Secretary, argued that as

half years since the Shackleton Report

39

there was

However Labour concern was echoed by the

who supported

front

little

Liberals,

it

its

and

bench would not

request were refused but would divide the

Home

The

more comprehensive information on

House over

was only two and

a

point in another review.

SDP and some Unionists

the motions for an inquiry. Forty-four

members voted

against

renewal which was the highest figure yet in the annual debate; an indication of

growing concern over the seeming permanence of the PTA. In the next renewal debate of March 1982 Whitelaw conceded the a review.

Although he did not specify why,

it is

likely that

such

a

demand for move would

Labour front bench and bolster an unsteady bipartisanship. Suphad little to lose since it was very unlikely that any review would advocate the repeal of the PTA. Hattersley went as far as to say: 'I cannot believe that if the right honourable Gentleman and I were in opposite roles this evening I 40 would be asking for the Act to be renewed.' There must be some scepticism about whether Labour would have been so forthright in government as in opposition. In the event Hattersley recommended abstaining pending the publication of the report. However, fifty-three members, mostly Labour, voted against

placate the

porters of the Act

renewal.

152

British

The

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

Review, chaired by Lord Jellicoe, was published in February 1983.

41 It

was concerned with the details of operation rather than whether the PTA was actually necessary: the terms of reference included: 'accepting the continuing need for legislation against terrorreflected the Shackleton Report in that

The From the ism'.

statistics

it

presented in the report supported the fears of its opponents.

inception of the Act in

November 1974 up

to the

end of 1982 5,555

people had been detained under Section 12. Exclusion orders had been laid against 261 (nearly

Therefore nearly being taken.

The

5%) and

90%

criminal charges against a further 361 (nearly 7%).

of those arrested were released without further action

relatively

low numbers of prosecutions, especially in Britain,

raised suspicions that the Act

harassment.

42

complement

was being used

for intelligence gathering

and/or

In Northern Ireland the Act could be used as a substitute for, or

to,

the arrest provisions of the

EPA. The

'reasonable' criterion for suspicion as did the

PTA

EPA

but the

did not have a latter

had the

advantage of allowing the five-day extension of detention. Jellicoe reached the same conclusion about the preventative role of the arrest powers as had successive Home Secretaries. Para. 55 stated: 'There can be no clear proof that the arrest powers in the PTA are, or are not, an essential weapon in the fight against terrorism.' As the case against the Act was not proven and the police endorsed the utility of the provisions, Jellicoe recommended only minor adjustments. Extended detention was justifiable for intelligence purposes but

with certain safeguards. These should include extension being for a specified period and not automatically for results.

There should be

five

days and only on the grounds of anticipated

Home Office scrutiny of extension applications to too freely granted and where possible the Home

close

ensure that they were not

Secretary rather than junior ministers should be responsible for approval.

Section 12 power of arrest should only be used

when no

appropriate, with 'normal' legislation being employed

The

other power was

whenever possible. The was not only the longer

attraction of emergency legislation to the security forces

period of holding permitted but also that

it

did not require suspicion of a

particular offence.

Having endorsed unchanged powers of arrest and detention, Jellicoe made recommendations to improve the position of those subject to them. Recommendations included provision of a printed notice of rights to be retained by those held and right of access to a solicitor after forty-eight hours and every subsequent forty-eight hours. Financial support was to be made available if detention exceeded forty-eight hours and the physical conditions of detention should be improved with better accommodation and exercise facilities made available.

Exclusion orders were considered to be a material contribution to public safety in the

UK. 43 Although

should be kept for use possibility of abolition.

the incidence of their use had declined the provision in

extreme cases but subject to regular review with the principal changes to the 1976 Act provisions were

Three

1 979-83

The Conservative administration

recommended.

Firstly, the

153

period of normal residence which indemnified a

person from exclusion should be reduced from twenty years to three years. Secondly, exclusion should be for a fixed three-year period rather than indefinite with renewal subject to fresh application by the police with the onus being on the

Home

Secretary to justify extension rather than the excluded person having to

provide grounds for the revoking of the order. Thirdly, the period in which

made should be extended from

representations against exclusion could be

would be the

right to a personal

Secretary's adviser after exclusion

had occurred. This

ninety-six hours to seven days. Also, there

interview with the

Home

was to remedy the problem that people often did not make representations as this had the effect of prolonging detention before exclusion. Proscription under the Act, which included financial support of and addressing meetings of proscribed groups as well as membership, was endorsed. The practical effect of proscription was limited but deproscription would raise problems of public disapproval and lay the government open to charges of going 'soft' on terrorism. Subsidiary comments rejected proscription of loyalist groups to produce symmetry with the EPA since loyalist terrorism was not a problem in Britain.

Despite improvements to the exclusion provisions, the report as a whole

confirmed the fears of its

critics

44

that exceptional legislation

was becoming more

acceptable and permanent. Jellicoe advocated the dropping of the 'Temporary Provisions' section in the Bill

was

to

title

of the Act and the Police and Criminal Evidence

extend the length of detention in police custody incorporating the

precedent of the EPA. As a prospective safeguard against the too-easy accept-

ance of the

PT A, Jellicoe recommended the retention of annual renewal and that

any new Act should have a

maximum

life

of

five years, after

should be drafted to allow a reappraisal of the legislation.

It is

which

a

new

doubtful

if

bill

such

permanence of the Act. Another become permanent was the recommendation

provision was adequate to prevent the growing indication that the Act

was

likely to

to international terrorism. The 1976 Act was Northern Ireland although the powers of arrest were not circumscribed. In the renewal debate of 1981 Whitelaw stated that:

that

its

powers should extend

specifically related to

power of arrest and detention is not limited to Irish terrorists, because it may not always to the police at the time of arrest whether a terrorist is motivated by Irish or other causes. However, in a current circular, Home Office advice to the police is that it would be contrary to the intention of the Act for this power to be used to arrest someone 45 concerned with terrorism known to be unconnected with Northern Ireland. the

be obvious

The government

accepted Jellicoe's report and in the renewal debate of 1983

Whitelaw announced

that a

46

new Bill would be drafted for legislation of five years' The Labour Party was to oppose renewal for

duration, subject to annual renewal. the

first

time following a conference decision of 1982. Hattersley argued that

because of the infringement of civil

liberties, the

continuation of the Act had to be

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

154 contingent on certainty that

was

cited to

show

it

was

essential to the safety of the nation. Para.

that neither Jellicoe nor

Whitelaw had demonstrated

55

this. It is

had expected Jellicoe to reach any other conclusions. Both the remit of the inquiry and the record of previous inquiries into emergency legislation militated against hopes for radical revision or repeal. Hattersley felt that both the extension of the putative Act to cover international terrorism and its five-year duration would diminish the importance of annual renewal and 47 reflected a deeper illiberal trend in government policy on law and order. Para. 9 ofJellicoe had stated that the PTA should only remain in force if it fulfilled three criteria. It had to be effective, its aims could not be achieved by the use of normal legislation and it did not make unacceptable inroads into civil liberties. On all unlikely that Hattersley

three counts, argued Labour, the legislation failed.

The government preventative and

how few were The Act was by its nature

claimed that the figures in Jellicoe revealing

charged after arrest were of

little

significance.

much of the information gained was of use although insufficient argument that was an unfortunate but the possible detention of those engaged in terrorist

to bring a criminal charge. Implicitly, there

intelligence gathering

and the

necessary price to pay for

was

also the utilitarian

arrest of innocent people

activities.

The among

conversion of Labour to opposition of the Act provoked indignation

breakdown of Labour Party. However, of Labour in government and

the Conservatives at what was perceived to be the

bipartisanship and the malign influence of the

left in

such principled opposition has not faced the

test

the

Home Secretary when Labour introduced the initial Act, doubted that if 48 Hattersley were Home Secretary he would repeal The concern over the drift

Jenkins,

it.

permanence and abuse of the powers of arrest had been as valid in the late 1970s when the Labour government had endorsed the maintenance of the Act. Renewal was carried and a new Bill based on the Jellicoe recommendations was presented by the Conservatives later in the year (see Chapter 6). The other principal piece of emergency legislation, the EPA, was also under scrutiny in this period. The fifth Annual Report of the Standing Advisory 49 Commission on Human Rights (SACHR) had recommended the dropping of the detention provision and the insertion of a clause specifically prohibiting the to

use of threats of violence during interrogation. Section 8(2) of the 1978 Act referred only to 'inhuman or degrading treatment' and it was felt for presentational reasons, at least, a clause concerning threats should be incorporated.

recommended that Section

It

which the onus on bail was placed on the defendant rather than the prosecution should lapse and be granted on the same terms as in non-scheduled offences. The discrepancy between the number of arrests made and charges brought under Sections 11 and 14 gave rise to suspicions that the powers were used for the screening and harassment of the Nationalist community but the SACHR did not feel that conclusive evidence existed on this point.

was

also

2(2) by

The Conservative administration In

its

next report the

1 979-83

155

SACHR recommended a clause of reasonable suspicion be

1 1 powers had originally be was no longer used this section was largely applied for questioning with a view to re-arrest under Section 13 with respect to a specific offence. As a specific offence was rarely mentioned in arrest under Section 11: 'we consider it crucial that the minimum requirement should be for the officer to have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the individual is a 50 terrorist who has been involved in specific criminal activity.' The same criterion of reasonableness was advocated for Section 14 which concerned arrest by members of the armed forces. Without a test of objectivity it was impossible to ascertain whether abuses were taking place. On a more general note, the SACHR expressed its concern over a remark made by Alison, the Minister of State, that the burden of proof lay with those wishing to change the 51 Act. This indicated that there was a tendency for the Act to become accepted as permanent legislation. The provision for detention lapsed in 1980 52 but the government refused to implement the other recommendations of the SACHR. The Labour spokesman, John, was concerned that the government did not do more to publicise the SACHR findings either within the Commons or among the public, and called for a judicial review of the Act as it was five years since the Gardiner Report. In the renewal debate of December 1980 Atkins rejected such a course since it would only raise unrealistic expectations among those who wanted to dismantle the Act. Drastic reform was not feasible and this would be the only basis on which a review would be justified. In 1981 Concannon repeated the Labour demand for an inquiry. The front bench did not advocate the jettisoning of the main provisions but wanted specific areas to be considered. These included the possibility of a plurality of judges in Diplock courts, changes in the wording of the section relating to admissibility, the list of scheduled offences and the onus of proof in cases of firearm possession. Concannon moved a motion for an inquiry which was defeated; however the Labour front bench was not prepared to vote against renewal. The Labour Conference of 1981 had accepted that Diplock courts had to be retained but supported a plurality of judges, de-scheduling of minor offences and expressed

introduced into Section

1 1

to prevent abuses. Section

invoked as a preliminary to detention but as

it

concern over 'case hardening'. 53

announced that an inquiry was to be set up. This change of heart was presumably related to consistent Labour pressure over the previous two years and a feeling that a review would mitigate further strains on bipartisanship. Having set such store on a review Labour would be bound to accept its conclusions and it is unlikely that anyone thought it would propose any radical changes. Labour backbenchers feared that the scope of the review would be too limited and criticised the government for lack of urgency. The review, by Baker, was not appointed until April 1983 as the government argued that it had to wait for the conclusions ofJellicoe. The decision to establish a review headed off In June 1982 Prior

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

156 a possible

Labour vote against renewal and the review's conclusions

will

be

considered in the next chapter.

At the operational

level, the policy

of 'police primacy' was maintained despite

the increased level of violence in 1981 related to the hunger strikes.

The problem

of securing convictions through the courts continued. Detention, which had not

been used since 1975, was allowed to lapse in July 1980. Detention powers were to remain on the statute book as amending legislation would be required to remove them. However, the renewed use of detention would be subject to parliamentary approval by way of an Order whereas previously the Secretary of State could reactivate the measure on his own initiative. The securing of convictions through the courts was made more difficult by the adverse publicity surrounding the interrogation of prisoners and the implementation of the Bennett recomendations (see Chapter 4). Hermon, who became Chief Constable of the RUC in January 1980, had made a personal commitment to improve the force's reputation and in the period following Bennett complaints of ill-treatment declined.

54

These factors help to explain the emergence of the use of accomplice evidence on a large scale from 1981; which is commonly known as the 'supergrass' strategy. This was not without precedent in British law though accomplice evidence had been used extensively in Ireland in previous centuries to counter agrarian and nationalist unrest. There were also a series of 'supergrass' trials in Britain in the 1970s but with crucial differences from the way in which the system was to operate in Northern Ireland. Firstly, the judge had a duty to warn the jury of the danger of convicting on uncorroborated evidence; in the absence of juries in the Diplock system this resulted in the rather dubious practice of the judge warning himself in such circumstances. Gifford states: 'there is no guidance from

any Appellate Court as

how

to

a judge sitting alone should deal with the

uncorroborated evidence of an accomplice'.

55

Secondly, the majority of con-

were obtained with corroborated evidence and in 1977 the Director of Public Prosecutions issued a directive that no more cases should be brought on uncorroborated 'supergrass' evidence. Thirdly, it appears that in only

victions in Britain

one case in England was immunity from prosecution granted; in other cases a reduced sentence was the incentive to turn Queen's evidence. In the late 1970s the use of 'supergrasses' declined in Britain. Public and professional disquiet about both the morality of granting concessions to convicted criminals and the practical consequences of using possibly unreliable evidence seem to have been influential in this decline.

The

origins of the policy in

Northern Ireland are unclear. Scott, Under

Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office, stated that there was no executive decision to encourage the use of accomplice evidence; operational decision by the

RUC. 56

did not constitute a strategy.

The

it

was an

Therefore, the use of accomplice evidence

RUC position was that

it

merely encouraged

those willing to give evidence, although lawyers cited cases of their clients being

The Conservative administration

1 979-83

157

pressurised to provide information and to provide the

RUC with names of those

wanted brought to trial. Both Gifford and Greer (1987) are sceptical of the RUC claim. Between November 1981 and November 1983 at least twenty-five 57 'supergrasses' were responsible for the arrests of nearly six hundred suspects. The scale of the operation and the offering of immunity from prosecution or other inducements was unlikely to have developed without at least tacit approval it

of the Attorney-General or other

members of the

executive.

and the practical problem of giving credence to the evidence of those who had admitted to serious crimes and had a vested interest in implicating others, the actual process of the trials brought the system into disrepute. The sheer number of defendants and charges and the corresponding length of trials raised the question of whether the supergrass, even if the testimony were honest, could be expected to recall accurately the individuals involved in (and details of) specific cases. For example, in the Black case, the second of the completed cases, there were 38 defendants and 1,084 indictments covering 45 separate incidents. The dangers of relying on uncorroborated accomplice evidence were apparent. The utilitarian case for the system was also likely to be undermined if respect for the judicial process was

As

well as the moral objections to the 'supergrass' system

eroded; both loyalist and republican groups opposed the use of supergrasses and judges were to develop a more

of many of the the policy.

trials after

critical position after the early trials.

1983 seemed

to

The

collapse

mark the end of the current phase of

58

In response to disquiet at the operation of 'supergrass' trials the government

issued guidelines. In a

General stated that

all

Commons

statement of October 1983 the Attorney-

decisions concerning immunity from prosecution were

taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions, after consultation with the Chief 59

In practice, the role of the police must have been decisive since they were the only ones capable of judging the potential of the accused as a 'supergrass'. Despite this safeguard and RUC claims that immunity was not sought for those accused of or guilty of murder, the provisions fell short of those

Constable.

no immunity had been granted since a recommendation of LJ Lawton in 1974 whereas in Northern Ireland the Director of Public Prosecutions had granted immunity to at least fifteen people by the end of 60 1984. An appendix to the tenth report of the SACHR recommended that all details of arrangements made between the accomplice and the authorities regarding immunity or financial inducements should be disclosed to the defence before the trial since these terms were material to the credibility of the evidence given. In early cases no such details were given, although later it appeared to be existing in Britain. In Britain,

more general

practice.

The problem difficult to

make

of corroboration was not resolved.

raison d'etre of the 'supergrass' strategy

not available.

It

would be extremely

corroborative evidence necessary for prosecution since the

The presence

was

that other evidence

was frequently

of a jury might make uncorroborated evidence more

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

158

acceptable to the extent that

it

would have

than only a judge, but there was

little

to convince at least ten jurors rather

prospect of the restoration of jury

trial.

EPA 61

Baker argued that uncorroborated evidence was acceptable since judges were competent to assess the credibility 6f 'supergrasses' and had to give reasons for their decisions which could be challenged in the In his review of the

Appeal Court. The collapse of a series of cases after 1983 indicates that judges were critical of uncorroborated evidence and Greer argues that need to limit the damage to the legal system and stress its independence from the executive helped 62 Baker felt that to produce a more critical stance by the legal profession. 'supergrass' trials were likely to be a passing phenomenon but if continued there should be a limit of twenty defendants per trial. The accusations that the length of remand was in effect a form of covert detention (in the first five cases the length of 63 remand was between ten and twenty-one months) had further discredited the system. Baker recommended that either bail should be mandatory after twelve months or else application could be made to the High Court after six months and every subsequent three months if refused. Although 'supergrass' trials were to continue until 1986 the high point of the strategy was 1981-3. To summarise, the reasons for the decline appear to be a mixture of awareness of the disrepute into which the law was brought, a more critical position adopted by the judiciary and the failure of the system to prevent the continuation of violence.

As

been

well as the development of the supergrass strategy there have

summary killing of suspected Republicans has taken place - a avoid the problems of securing convictions through the courts. By

suspicions that the drastic

way

to

the nature of such incidents

it

is

virtually impossible to

occurrences constitute a predetermined policy and sanctioned. Boyle et

al.

(1980)

64

if

determine

such

if

so at what level

it

was

indicate that in 1978 there developed a tendency

ambushes for suspected terrorists and to shoot them when the army personnel were themselves not threatened. This contravened both criminal law and the 'yellow card' directives for army operations. Evidence that the government is prepared to condone such actions does not seem to be conclusive. Successful prosecutions have been brought against UDR members for sectarian attacks and at least one member of the army has been found guilty of murder. 65 However, in two well-publicised cases involving the RUC the verdicts and the

by the army

to lay

judges' statements demonstrated a reluctance to convict despite prima facie

evidence of unlawful

Manchester, from a suspicion that

unprepared

Economic

The

if the

killing.

The removal of Stalker, Deputy Chief Constable

'shoot-to-kill' investigation of the

government had not

officially

RUC

of

further fuelled

sanctioned such actions

it

was

to take sufficient action against those involved.

policy

advent of a Conservative administration in

May

1979 with an ideological

The Conservative administration hostility

towards

state

1 979-83

159

support for industry, public expenditure, the corporatist

embodied in the development agencies and to regional policy mechanisms in general had potentially grave implications for the Northern Ireland economy and the policies of the Rees/Mason period. However, despite the abolition of the Regional Employment Premium in 1979, three years later than in Britain, there was evidence that the Conservatives accepted the need for public support for private capital both in expanding sectors and for those in decline. Financial support for DeLorean and Harland and Wolff was main66 and Northern Ireland was accepted as a special case inasmuch as tained financial incentives were higher than in assisted areas in Britain. Given the Conservatives' opposition to major public-sector industrial development, the main thrust of policy was to be the public support, both direct and indirect, of private capital. This had been an important element of policy in the previous administration (see Chapter 4) and the changes were of emphasis rather than a qualitatively different policy. This is most clearly demonstrated in the concentration on the service sector and new hi-tech industries rather than on the traditional regional policy focus on manufacturing industry. Regional policy had supported manufacturing industry because firms in this sector were more likely to be large employers and have a corresponding greater multiplier effect and it was considered that they were easier to attract to the province because they were more mobile, being less tied geographically to their 67 markets. However, the rapid decline in manufacturing industry with the loss of 68 between June 1979 and June 1981 revealed the limitations of such jobs 28,000 a policy. To attempt to offset this decline both the Department of Commerce and the Northern Ireland Economic Council (NIEC) endorsed a greater emphasis being placed on the service-industry sector; the latter did so in part because of the lower cost of job creation. It was unlikely, which both the government and the development agencies appreciated, that this sector could wholly compensate for 69 manufacturing decline because it did not tend to be labour-intensive and many representation

of the 'sunrise' industries tended to situate themselves in areas of the to the

main

regions.

financial centres

and the European market than

UK closer

in peripheral

70

Another indication that the Conservatives recognised the need

for public

support of commerce was illustrated in that industrial development, along with housing, was given priority in the Northern Ireland expenditure programme. In June and December 1980 the allocation of resources to departments was revised to channel more funds towards industrial development at the expense of the 71 education and social services budgets. An unpublished review for the government by Arthur Andersen, the accountancy consultants, in 1979 considered that support for industry was 72 'broadly cost effective'. Standard Capital Grants were available at 30% compared with 22% for Special Development Areas in Britain and approximately fifty different measures, both financial and 'back up', were available in the

1

60

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

form of selective assistance. These measures were usually negotiated by companies on an individual basis with the Department of Commerce. If incentives were 'broadly competitive with those available in other countries' as Shaw, Under Secretary with responsibility for Industry, claimed in April 73 1980 one possible area for reform was the institutional arrangements for the provision of support. A tripartite structure of the Department of Commerce, the Northern Ireland Development Agency (NIDA) and the Local Enterprise Development Unit (LEDU) had existed since 1972, apart from the substitution of the NIDA for the Northern Ireland Finance Corporation in 1976. Concern

had been expressed by the Northern Ireland parties and the NIEC about whether 74 This might there was sufficient co-ordination between the different agencies. have been influenced by the unfavourable comparisons drawn between the Northern Ireland system and the Industrial Development Authority of the Republic. It was felt that the success of the latter was aided by its greater autonomy from government and a greater corresponding commercial freedom. The more complicated structure and division of responsibility in Northern Ireland, and the potentially bewildering array of grants, loans and services available was a potential disincentive to inward investment. Shaw rejected calls for major restructuring on the grounds that the existing agencies were proving successful and that new legislation would be required which could prove disruptive to their functioning. Other factors may have been that as devolution talks were in progress, the government wanted to await the outcome of these before altering what would be a transferred matter in the event of devolution. Also, it had been suggested that the Civil Service feared that restructuring would weaken its influence in industrial policy and it pressurised 75 the Department of Commerce to resist such changes. In the absence of major changes the government announced its intention to create a consultative forum to improve the co-ordination of the three agencies. It was to be composed of the Minister responsible for industrial development, the chairs and chief executives of NIDA and LEDU, the chairman of the Industrial Development Advisory Committee (ID AC) 76 and members of the NIEC. Three other measures were announced. There was to be a change of emphasis in NIDA operations. It was to concentrate on industrial-development promotion in growth and especially hi-tech sectors and to encourage the promotion of joint ventures between Northern Ireland and overseas companies. Its 'rescue' function, granted in 1976, was to be taken over by the Department of Commerce and its financial limit fixed by the department was to be raised from £50 million to £75 million. The second measure was an increase in promotional staff for the Department of Commerce with two more based in USA and one each in France and Germany. Thirdly, the Department of Manpower Services was to be expanded to adopt a leading role in industrial retraining and in offering support for managerial training

schemes.

Despite the rejection of administrative changes

in

1980, the government

The Conservative administration

1 979-83

161

continued to review the situation. This was partly due to the pressure of Northern Ireland opinion and perhaps that in the circumstances of rapidly rising

ployment

77

there was a feeling that anything was worth a

try.

unem-

In August 1981

Atkins proposed the establishment of the Industrial Development Board (IDB) following the recommendation of a steering group chaired by Butler, the

The IDB was established by the Industrial Development (NI) Order which was presented to parliament in July 1982. It was to replace the NIDA and the section of the Department of Commerce concerned with industrial development in an attempt to fashion a more unified and streamlined development agency. The model of the Republic's IDA seemes to have been an influence, and this is also reflected in the downplaying of the role of the Minister to allow as much operational freedom as possible to the executive of the IDB. Ministerial involvement was to be limited, in general, to cases where social or political factors were significant or when especially large sums were involved. To facilitate this the IDB could allocate up to £3 million to any company in select financial assistance without prior approval from the Ministry of Finance and Personnel (which controls departmental expenditure) and up to £2 million in miscellaneous provisions, such as equity stakes, training assistance and factory successor to Shaw.

leasing.

The emphasis on commercial the board.

It

was

to

criteria

was

also reflected in the composition of

have up to twelve members appointed on merit rather than as

representatives of particular bodies and interest groups. This

was

a shift

from the

development agencies. The chief executive, who would take the major commercial decisions on the advice of the 78 board, was to have been a proven success in the private sector and the government hoped that such experience would result in greater efficiency for the development agency and avoid the risks of bureaucratic delay. With the DeLorean experience fresh in the mind the aim of the IDB should be: 'to provide assistance to companies only where it is satisfied that following the one-off injection of such assistance the company will be capable of standing on its own

more

corporatist arrangements of the earlier

feet without further special subsidy.

79

The tension between favouring the autonomy of the development agencies and the need for government supervision of the allocation of public funds persisted.

The IDB was

part of and integrated into the newly-created Department of Economic Development and doubts were expressed as to whether the new arrangements would make a significant difference. The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and the NIEC favoured rationalisation 80 but felt that integration of the IDB into the new Department might militate against autonomous commercial decision making. Butler himself was to admit that the institutional arrangements were not fundamentally different from those which had preceded them. 81 For reasons mentioned above, the department was to retain control of administering standard capital grants.

The second

function of the Industrial Development (NI)

Order was

to

merge

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

62

the Department of Commerce and the Department of Manpower Services into a

new Department of Economic Development. This had originally been advocated by Quigley (1976) because industrial-training and direct-labour schemes were an important part of industrial development and a merger woulcf provide a better integration of policy.

The third element in industrial support was LEDU, which was left unchanged in the reorganisation. It

underwent

a

major expansion

in

1980-81 with

its

annual

There was an internal decision to adopt a higher profile in response to higher unemployment 82 which the government supported. The record of the LEDU had been good especially in terms of the cost of jobs promoted and the government had an job promotion target raised from between 1,000 and 1,200 to 4,000.

ideological predisposition towards the small-business sector.

Not only was the

LEDU expanded, its remit was revised. With Department of at the end of 1980 the LEDU was empowered to offer

Commerce agreement

had been limited to manufacturing New measures were introduced aimed to assist those made redundant. The Small Business Development Programme had been introduced in October 1979, aimed at those with experience in larger concerns who had no small-business background. Up to 80% starting-up costs were available for new ventures. In 1981 a new enterprise grant was introduced geared towards the unemployed with no previous experience. Grants of up to £5,000 as a subsidy to income and for the purchase of plant and equipment were made available. If there is one particular trend that stands out in this period, it is the emphasis on attracting new service and hi-tech industries, as the prospects for manufacturing revival were slight. To this end, at the close of 1982 Prior announced that the IDB was to have senior personnel allocated to four specific sectors: robotics, electronic office equipment, medical electronic equipment, and service-sector equipment. This was in response to Chamber of Commerce evidence to the 83 Industry and Trade Committee that the hoped-for new technology sector industries had not materialised. As far as priorities of which size of firm to attract, Butler made it clear that the government had to continue the search for overseas assistance to the service sector. Prior to this

it

or manufacturing-related service industries.

investment despite the high cost of job creation

common to this sector:

persuaded that the small firm sector and the medium

'I

am fully

to large establishment or

domestic sector by themselves are not sufficient to overcome the problems which

we

face/

In

84

March 1983

development.

Up

Prior detailed a to

80%

new group of measures

to stimulate industrial

corporation tax reimbursement was to be offered on

approved projects. The logic behind

this

was

that

such incentives would only be

companies who had achieved viability concession) and it was hoped to redress the balance available to

(as

it

in the

was

a profit-related

competition with the

Republic's Industrial Development Authority which used tax relief much more widely. This reform had been advocated by the

IDB, the Committee Report of

The Conservative administration

1

979-83

1

63

1982 and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Rather than tax reliefer se the would be administered in the form of a grant, related to employment creation, by the IDB and LEDU since differential tax policy for Northern Ireland fiscal was not considered acceptable as it would breach the uniformity of the assistance

UK

structure.

Other measures included the increase of derating on industrial premises from to 100% from the next financial year, grants of 30% towards energy conservation projects in an effort to offset Northern Ireland's higher energy costs, and a new advisory service to provide information on improved production processes and research and development. The estimated cost of the derating and energy measures was £9-10 million per annum, but it was not possible to estimate the cost of the corporation tax relief scheme or the number of jobs likely

75%

to

be created.

Although Northern Ireland benefited from higher than the rest of the

levels

of industrial support

UK and relatively high levels of public expenditure, 85 there

was a degree of congruence

in industrial policy.

One example was

the govern-

ment's attempt to target more closely the areas in need of support; these often frequently termed the 'inner

being what

is

announced

in the

extended to

cities'.

The

budget of March 1980, was directed Northern Ireland.

enterprise zone strategy,

at

urban regeneration and

The purpose of enterprise zones was to allow firms to site in designated areas where they would not be subject to bureaucratic constraints and granted 100% derating, simplified planning procedures and exemption from being required to keep statistics for government purposes. In July 1980 two areas of Belfast, one in the west of the city and one on the shore of Belfast Lough, were designated enterprise zones confirmed by an Order of October. A third zone was designated in Derry in November 1982. According to government figures, 35 firms employing 206 people had been set up in the Belfast zones by the end of 1982. 86 However, the enterprise zone programme seemed ill-suited to Northern Ireland and it is doubtful that even the government considered that the programme would have much effect on employ87 ment. The main impact was ideological in that any private -sector activity in a depressed area when 'freed' from bureaucratic constraints could be hailed as a success, and critics have argued that the exercise was mainly about public 88 relations. A problem with the enterprise zone scheme, which also applied to Britain, was that there was no discrimination in favour of newly-created firms. This meant that some of the job creations were in fact relocations from other parts of Northern Ireland. O'Dowd and Rolston (1985) estimate that this may be 89 as high as 55%. Many of the industries attracted were in the retailing and warehousing sectors which did not tend to generate much employment compared with, for example, the manufacturing sector. Even the siting of the west Belfast Zone adjacent to areas of high unemployment did not prove especially successful since it has not been established that those employed came

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

64

from these areas where unemployment reaches 30-40%. tends to militate against the enterprise zone strategy capital subsidy

is

A

final

point which

that the general level of

and non-financial support throughout Northern Ireland

that the incentives available in the zones are of marginal significance.

is

such

Even when

such incentives induce relocation the risk occurs of the 'swings and roundabouts' of regional policy; jobs merely move from area to area rather than the net number available being increased.

The expansion of industrial training schemes and courses for young people was another policy in which Northern Ireland broadly reflected that of the UK as a whole. However, the provision in Northern Ireland was greater, reflecting the higher level of unemployment and possibly the view that the unemployed were more likely to become involved in paramilitary activity. In autumn 1982 the Youth Training Scheme (YTS) was introduced to replace the Youth Opportunity Programme (YOPS) which had existed since 1977 and provided places for 10,000 people. YTS was introduced a year earlier than in Britain and was to be more comprehensive; attempting to find work experience/college places/ apprenticeships for sixteen- and seventeen-year olds where in Britain the 90 emphasis was on places for the former. Under the direction of the Department of Manpower Services the YOPS scheme had provided a variety of programmes to remove young people from the labour market. These included apprenticeships in Government Training Centres and in the private sector, the Work Preparation Unit aimed at industry-oriented activities, Younghelp, a community and social work scheme and places on Enterprise Ulster schemes. To deal with the problem of the longer-term unemployed Action for Community Employment (ACE) was introduced in April 1981 as a supplement to the Enterprise Ulster programme established in 1973. It was to provide full- or part-time employment for those who had been unemployed for twelve out of the previous fifteen months. The sponsor of a project, often a community group or voluntary body, would be provided with up to 90% of its labour costs by government. By comparison with the YTS, which was ostensibly to have a training element, ACE was a straightforward job-creation scheme, principally aimed at the unskilled, with the projects typically being environmental or building repair work. The ACE scheme was to take prominence over the Enterprise Ulster since the latter tended to be more cosdy. An assessment of the value of these schemes is beyond the scope of this work, though it might be noted that the training value of the YTS has been severely criticised in the UK generally. Whether the prime motive of the government was to subsidise the labour costs of the private sector, reduce unemployment or to keep people off the streets, it put a significant amount of resources into the schemes. In 1981-2 the Department of Manpower Services expenditure on industrial (re)training

and direct labour schemes was £73.3

the figure for standard capital grants and about

loans and other forms of industrial support.

91

40%

million, almost twice

of expenditure on grants,

By 1984 9,150

adults were placed

The Conservative administration

on

training,

ACE,

1 979-83

Enterprise Ulster and

1

management schemes and

65

there were

6,550 people on the guaranteed year of the various YTS projects and 1,850 on 92 second year YTS projects. The total is equal to approximately a quarter of male

manufacturing jobs in the province.

The switch of emphasis to the new-technology sector and service

expansion in

the government's industrial -support strategy was emphasised above. Neither this

nor the expansion of training and direct labour schemes could compensate for the accelerated decline of manufacturing employment.

Between 1979 and 1984

over 28,000 male manufacturing jobs were lost compared with a decline of

10,000 between 1975 and 1979.

93

The

capacity of the public sector to offset this

had declined since the 1970s because the rate of increase in public expenditure had declined in real terms. The combination of this, the closure of many of the multinationals which had been established in the 1960s, and the continuing difficulty of attracting inward investment was reflected in the rate of unemployment. The figures (male and female) for the years 1979-83 were 1979,

9.6%; 1980, 11.4%; 1981, 15.4%; 1982, 17.3% and 1983, 19.4%, with male 94 figures alone showing higher levels.

Social policy

The

period 1979-83 did not witness any major innovations in the field of social

policy.

poor

Housing continued

level

to

be of significance; reflecting both the continuing

of public housing stock in the province and the hope that improved

housing conditions might have wider advantages in helping to legitimise the state

The government may not have felt that there was a direct one frequent commentator on housing in Northern Ireland

for disaffected citizens.

relationship but

argues that there was at least the possibility of a spin-off effect. Continuing British is

relatively

high levels of public expenditure can ... be seen as part of the

Government's perceived

'reformist' strategy for

Northern Ireland. Such a strategy

based on the premise that a 'high' level of public expenditure on housing

contribute to the amelioration of the Province's wider political problems.

may

also

95

Whatever the relationship between better housing and the problems of violence and securing a political settlement, it is undeniable that Northern Ireland was spared the reduction in housing expenditure experienced by the rest of the

from the

late

UK

1970s. In 1980-81 the government announced that housing was to

and environmental budget and by 1981-2 and in subsequent years per capita expenditure on housing in Northern Ireland was

take priority in the social

almost four times the level of that for England and Wales. 96

The

accession of

Prior to the position of Secretary of State helped in this process as he

was more

successful in fighting for additional expenditure than his predecessor, Atkins.

Housing Executive which partly reflects the

In 1983 housing completions by the Northern Ireland

(NIHE)

totalled 4,044, the highest figure since

1978

98

97

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

66

renewed emphasis put on housing. However, the rate of completions cannot be used as the sole indicator in housing improvements since the Conservatives, as had their Labour predecessors, continued a move towards rehabilitation rather than new constructions. Although in terms of expenditure housing in Northern Ireland may be contrasted with policy for the UK as a whole, many of the same provisions were introduced and housing policy had a large degree of congruence with that of Britain. Examples include the large increases in public-sector rents to subsidise the capital programme of the NIHE which was permitted to spend more of its income, including that from house sales, on capital projects than were local authorities in Britain.

Another example of congruence with British policy was the increased sector. This included the 'right to buy' under the Housing (NI) Order 1983, the selling of sites and 'unlettable' properties to private developers and the adoption of the 'homesteading' policy in July 1980 under which bricked-up properties, mainly in the inner city parts of Belfast, were sold at low cost in an attempt at regeneration and to reverse the trend of depopulation in these areas. There was also increased liaison and joint initiatives with banks and building societies in an effort to attract funds for the rehabilitation of downmarket properties. These trends were reflected in the increase in owneroccupied property from 42% of dwellings in the early 1960s to 54% by 1984." emphasis on the role of the private

The ideological commitment to the private

sector of the Conservatives should

not be over-emphasised in the Northern Ireland context. detailed above were underpinned by public subsidy

continued to be

much more

Many

of the ventures

and the public rented sector

adequately financed than in Britain. Prior himself 100

and the assumed if unquantifiable between housing conditions and alienation from the state was by the Northern Ireland Office in securing high levels of expenditure, to Britain, for Northern Ireland housing.

claimed that 'we are

all

Keynesians here'

relationship utilised relative

The position of the (SACHR) continued to

Standing Advisory Commission for

be marginal, as argued above.

101

Human

Rights

The Seventh Annual

Report 1980-81 recorded the commission's dissatisfaction with the limited to, and the lack of consultation over, the Repre-

parliamentary time allocated

sentation of the People Act 1981; legislation which had serious implications for

human rights. 102 The

report for the following year noted with regret that neither

the White Paper 'Northern Ireland:

subsequent Northern Ireland rights.

103

More

UK as

A Framework

for Devolution' nor the

debates considered the question of

human

SACHR

had long advocated a Bill of Rights, a whole but if this proved impossible then for Northern

generally, the

preferably for the

Bill

Ireland only; but this continued to have

little

The SACHR also noted that there was human rights which it had not embraced

support

among

the British parties.

an economic and social dimension to in its

work, and that economic decline

made the work of the Fair Employment Agency (FEA) in the private sector that much more difficult. 104 Despite Prior's undertaking to review the role of the

The Conservative administration

1 979-83

1

67

SACHR, there was little prospect of a Bill of Rights being adopted and even less of any recognition of the concept of rights in the economic and social sphere.

The Ninth Annual Report 1982-3 105 summed up the frustration of the SACHR and closely reflected the complaints made when Mason was Labour Secretary of State:

106

We encounter contrasting interpretations of our statutory remit and this inevitably affects the extent to which we are able to investigate matters of concern to us. We do not have formal investigatory powers. Limited resources are available to us and considerable uncertainty continues to exist as to our proper relationship with other statutory agencies

which operate in the human rights field. Moreover, it is abundandy clear that the wording of Section 20 of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973, which lays down the Commission's statutory remit, no longer reflects the significant shift there has been in the public perception of human rights and the pressure which this undoubtedly exerts on our

programme of work; nor does

the Act

make

clear the role

we should

play in promoting

public awareness of human rights in general or those particular issues of concern to us.

To

clarify its position, the

Ireland Office officials and will

be considered

in

107

SACHR called for a Joint Study Group of Northern SACHR members to be set up. The outcome of this

Chapter

6.

Conclusion

A

principal feature of this administration

constitutional sphere, albeit largely abortive.

was the degree of activity in the Both Atkins and Prior followed the

well-established precedent of the devolutionary path, thus demonstrating a continuity with the administration of

1974-9 and

adopted by the Conservatives when in opposition.

a

break with the integrationism

The principal difference in the

devolutionary proposals was the greater emphasis on the Irish dimension in the

1982 White Paper with

its

explicit recognition

of the legitimacy of the Nationalist

was insufficient to win support of the SDLP and, in the long term, the increased emphasis on bilateral arrangements with the Republic following the summits of 1980 and 1981 was of more significance as this process was to culminate in the agreement of 1985. The change of Secretary of State in 1981 had little impact on the formulation of constitutional policy; the main difference between the tenures appears to be in Prior's relative success in 108 shielding Northern Ireland from public expenditure restraints. This period is also marked by a reappraisal of Irish policy by the opposition. This was of limited significance in the constitutional area as 'unity by consent' did not practically affect support for devolutionary proposals and thus general support for the government was maintained. Conflict, or at least disagreement, between the parties was more evident over security policy which reflected Labour's more critical position concerning emergency legislation. However, this opposition did not extend to the government's stance over the hunger strike issue tradition.

However,

this

1

1

68

British

which was supported by all but the

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

'fringe'

elements of the Labour Party.

Notes »

Guelkel984p.36. 2 Kilfedder and Dunlop were independent Unionists, Maguire was an independent and Fitt resigned from the SDLP in November 1979. 3 'The Government of Northern Ireland: A Working Paper for a Conference.' Cmnd 7763 1979. 1

4

ibid. para. 5.

5

ibid. para. 28.

6

Fortnight

7

Flackes 1983

No. 174 Dec. 1979/Jan. 1980. p.

240.

some Unionists and Conservative backbenchers government was trying to introduce an assembly as a vehicle for the re -introduction of an institutionalised Irish Dimension was too conspiratorial. (InterAccording

8

that

to Atkins, the belief of

the

view).

9 'The Government of Northern 7950 1980.

10 1

12 13

Ireland: Proposals for Further Discussion.'

Cmnd

ibid. para. 64.

John HC. Vol. 988 Cols 570-73 9/7/1980. Rees HC. Vol. 988 Col. 702 9/7/1980. Principal among them were Amery, Gardiner,

Stanbrook

and

Biggs-

Davison.

HC. Vol. 988 Col. 716 9/7/1980. HC. Vol. 994 Col. 558 27/11/1980.

14

Alison

15

Atkins

16

The May 1980 Summit had spoken

of the 'unique relationship' between the two

countries.

17

Fortnight

that the 1985

18 19

No. 180 March/ April 1981.

It

was within the framework of the council

agreement was signed.

See HC. Vol. 7 Cols 1020-1176 2/7/1981. For details of the hunger strike period and the government response see Clarke

1987.

20

Prior quoted in O'Malley 1983 p. 367.

21

Prior allowed the discussion of security, a reserved matter, as an incentive for

For an assessment of the 1987 and O'Learyetal 1988.

participation.

22 23 24 owing 25

HC. HC.

role of the

Assembly committees, see A.J. Greer

692 5/4/1982. 693 5/4/1982. The section in the White Paper on the Irish Dimension had been watered down to pressure from Thatcher and Haiisham. Prior 1986 p. 197. See Fortnight No. 186 May/June 1982. Anglo-Irish relations were at a low point Prior

Prior

Vol. 21 Col.

Vol. 21 Col.

following the Republic's refusal to support Britain over the Falklands war.

26 27 28 29

e.g. see

Powell in the debate of 28/4/1982.

See Flackes 'A Short Road Scott

HC.

to the Sea?' Fortnight

No. 188 October 1982.

Vol. 22 Col. 931 28/4/1982.

This position

is

developed by Soley, Labour Party spokesman,

in his

submission

The Conservative administration to the

1 979-83

New Ireland Forum, Public Sessions No.

1

1 1

Dublin 19/1/1984 and

69

in Collins (ed.)

1985.

30

Concannon HC.

31

This was

32

FortnightNo. 190 January 1983.

33

This figure from Flackes 1983.

Vol.

22 Col. 866 28/4/1982. New Ireland Forum which

to result in the

first

met

in

May

1983.

34 Bew and Patterson 1985 p. 123. 35 The combined vote of the SDLP, Sinn Fein and the Workers' Party. 36 Fortnight No. 192 March 1983. 37 At the 1981 Labour Party Conference there was a total of 58 resolutions and amendments relating to Northern Ireland; the highest ever figure. 38 HC.Vol.l Cols. 331-95 18/3/1981. 39 See the security section in chapter 4. 40 HC. Vol. 20 Col. 157 15/3/1982. 41 'Review of the Operation of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976' (Jellicoe Report) Cmnd 8803 London HMSO 1983. 42 See, for example, Scorer and Hewitt 1981 and Walsh 1983. 43

Jellicoe Para. 176.

44 See previous renewal debates and the Sixth Annual Report of the SACHR 1979/80 HC 143 1980/81. 45 HC. Vol. 1 Col. 393 18/3/1981. 46 HC. Vol. 38 Cols 564-642 7/3/1983. 47 HC. Vol. 38 Col. 573 7/3/1983. 48 HC. Vol. 38 Col. 575 7/3/1983. 49 Fifth Annual Report of the SACHR HC 433 1979/80. 50 Sixth Annual Report of the SACHR HC 143 1980/81 p. 8. 51 ALISON HC. Vol. 975 Col. 1 194 1 1/12/1979. 52 Detention powers lapsed but were not removed from the Act. 53 HC. Vol. 26 Col. 943 30/6/1982. 54 Boyle, Hadden and Hillyard 1980 p. 40. 55 Giffordl984p.5. 56 ibid. p. 10. 57 Greer 1987 p. 7. 58 For a debate about whether the 'supergrass' strategy had ended, see the article by Jennings and Greer in Fortnight No. 232 (21/1/86) and the reply from McDonough in No. 234 (24/2/86) and the correspondence in Nos. 236 (24/3/86) and 240 (2/6/86). 59 Statement by Attorney General. HC. Vol. 47 Cols 3-5 24/10/83. 60 Tendi Annual Report of the SACHR 1983-4 HC 175. 61 'Review of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978' (Baker Report) Cmnd 9222 HMSO 1984. 62 Greer op. cit. p. 8. 63

Gifford op.

64

Boyle,

cit.

p. 9.

Hadden and

Hillyard 1980 pp. 28-29. See Asmal 1985 paras. 54 and 55. See Chapter 7 for details of the Stalker 'affair'. 66 Although such support was based upon expected production from DeLorean in early 1981 and hopes for diversification at Harland and Wolff. 67 Keeble 1976 pp. 202-4.

65

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

170 68

NI. Annual Abstract of Statistics Dept. of Finance and Personnel Belfast

HMSO

1986. Table 10:2.

69 See Industry and Trade Committee Seventh Report 'Government Support for Trade and Industry in Northern Ireland' HC 500 398 I & II 1982. 70 Other 'peripheral' areas of the UK, such as Scodand and Wales, proved more successful than Northern Ireland in attracting high-tech industries. Teague 1987 p. 171. 71 Fortnight No. 178 October/November 1980 and No. 180 March/April 1981. 72 Buder evidence to the Select Committee op. cit. Para. 2. 73 Shaw HC. Vol. 952 Cols 190-192 1/4/1980. 74 Harvey and Rea 1982 p. 89. 75

76 under 77 78 79 80

ibid.

The Advisory Committee to the NIDA which had a statutory right to be consulted the Industrial

Development Act 1966 with respect

to

NIDA-sponsored

See below for figures. Saxon Tate, of Tate and Lyle, was appointed. Buder HC. Vol. 27 Col. 1 130 14/7/1982. A Report by the Northern Ireland Economic Council industrial development agency independent of government.

in

1980 advocated

81

Northern Ireland Committee 2nd Sitting Col. 38 5/5/1982.

82

Interview widi

83

Industry and Trade Committee op.

84 85

Evidence of Buder

35%

a single

LEDU Official Belfast 3 1/7/86.

The government

approximately

projects.

to Industry

cit.

para. 138.

and Trade Committee para 116.

has claimed that public expenditure in Northern Ireland

is

per capita above that for Britain. This estimate has been challenged;

Economic Council Paper 'Public Expenditure Comparisons between Northern Ireland and Great Britain' No. 18 Belfast 1981. 86 HC. Vol. 45 Col. 374 13/7/84. 87 Anderson 1983 p. 315. see in particular the Northern Ireland

88 0'DowdandRolstonl985p.227. 89 ibid. p. 226. 90 'Youth Employment and Training' Northern Ireland Economic Council Paper No. 27 Belfast 1982. 91

Figures taken from Industry and Trade Report.

92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Annual Abstract of Statistics op. cit. Table 10:4. ibid. Table 10:2. ibid. Table 10:8. Singleton 1986 p. 48. ibid. See also figures in this article. See Connolly 1983 p. 135 and Weir 1983. See Government Expenditure Figures Cmnd 9702-1 1 1986. Cartmill and Singleton 1984 p. 43. Weir op. cit. p. 384. 101 See social policy section in chapter 4. 102 HC. No. 202 Session 1981/82 paras. 4-21. This Act was passed after the election of Bobby Sands for Fermanagh/South Tyrone in April 1981 to prevent convicted criminals standing as candidates.

103

Eighth Annual Report 1981/82.

HC. No. 230 Session 1982/83

paras

1

1-12.

1

Tlie Conservative administration 1 979-83

104

ibid para. 44.

105

HC. No. 262

06 107 108

See

1

Session 1983/84.

social policy section in chapter 4.

HC. No. 262

Session 1983/84. para. 58.

Connolly 1983

p. 72.

1

7

The

Conservative administration: 1983 to the Anglo-Irish Agreement

Introduction

The Conservatives were returned to office in June 1983 with an increased overall majority of 144, winning 397 seats to Labour's 209 seats. Prior remained as

Secretary of State until September 1984 when he was replaced by Hurd,

who was

by King in September 1985. The Earl of Mansfield was Minister of State from June 1983 until May 1984 and Butler held the same position until in turn replaced

September of

Under

that year

when he was

replaced by Rhodes-Boyson.

Secretaries were Patten, Scott and

The

The latter two were still serving at the time of the agreement, having been succeeded by Richard Needham in September 1985.

April 1984).

three

Lord Lyell (who was appointed

in

Patten

Constitutional policy

The

inauspicious beginning of the 'rolling devolution' initiative of 1982,

SDLP abstentionism and the scepticism of the Official Unionists, added impetus to the attempts to the move from an 'internal' settlement (i.e. one based solely on power sharing or some form of cross-community accommodation within Northern Ireland) to an all-Ireland framework. It should be noted that this development was not solely reducible to the stalemate in the devolution strategy. Since the summit of December 1980 when the government of the Republic of Ireland and the UK agreed to joint studies at an official level, the results of which were published in November 1981, it had been clear that the British government was prepared to move beyond the Northern Ireland stage if the prospects for devolution remained slight. Since the assembly's inception it had fulfilled its scrutinising and deliberative role but there was no indication that the SDLP was prepared to end its boycott. As indicated in the previous chapter, the SDLP leadership had moved towards a position in which any further political progress had to be premised on some form of input from the Irish Republic. The question that remains to be answered is that if the prospects for bedevilled by

1

Conservatives: 1 983 to Anglo-Irish Agreement

1

73

more pronounced and/or formalised role for from the Unionist community why the government did not continue with direct rule which was commonly perceived as devolution were remote and a

Dublin would

risk further opposition

An important internal factor (i.e. within Northern Ireland was the entry of Sinn Fein into electoral politics. Following the election of Sands and Carron in by-elections during the period of the 1981 hunger strikes, Sinn Fein contested the assembly elections of 1982 gaining 10.1% of the first preference votes and in the general election of June 1983 gained 13.4% of votes 2 cast, compared with 17.9% for the SDLP. The chances of Sinn Fein superseding the SDLP as the principal nationalist party were probably slim but it did make the option for the government of 'sitting it out' and not attempting a new initiative that much more difficult. If the SDLP were no longer, or perhaps no the ieast worst' option. itself)

longer perceived to be, the electoral voice of the nationalist community the strategy of trying to erect power-sharing with

its

participation

became

that

much

more problematic.

A related issue was that support for Sinn Fein was interpreted by many commentators as growing evidence of 'alienation' amongst the Nationalist community. This term was not used in a specific or sociological sense. It implied that one or more of the factors of lack of recognition of the Nationalist cultural tradition, judicial

3

economic disadvantage and

a perception of the security forces

and the

system as sectarian disposed a significant section of the nationalist

population to support Sinn Fein and implicitly the use of violence. This notion of alienation

was used by

Hume

in

an

effort to establish

discuss possible structures in which to in Ireland.

an all-Ireland Forum

to

accommodate the two dominant traditions

Thatcher was sceptical about the existence or growth of alienation

4

but the later acceptance of the British government of an institutionalised input by the Irish Republic in the north indicated that the in

argument had some resonance

Westminster. External, or international, interests in Northern Ireland also

difficult for the British

government

to

pursue a

'passivist' policy.

long been an interested observer in the Irish question.

5

While

made

it

more

The USA had it

was wary of

pushing the issue too hard for fear of being accused of interference in an

ally's

United States government would view some form of Anglo-Irish agreement favourably, to the extent that it was prepared to grant funds to aid economic development if an agreement were sovereign matters,

reached.

it

was

clear that the

6

Secondly, partly as the result of Hume's lobbying, in the early 1980s the took a more active interest in Ireland and in

March 1983

EC

the political committee

of the European Parliament proposed to prepare a report on the Northern Ireland question.

7

The report was approved by the Political Affairs Committee in later by the European Parliament. The report respected the

February 1984 and

sovereign authority of the

UK

over internal matters and refrained from

advocating any particular constitutional blueprint.

The

British

government had

1

74

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

refused to co-operate with the study on the grounds that the subject was outside the competence of the

EC

although Conservative

MEPs

abstained rather than

voting against the report. Despite the cautious tone of the report, all-Ireland dimension in social

it endorsed an and economic development, supported the Inter-

8 Governmental Council and advocated the establishment of a parliamentary tier. In short, both the EC and the United States viewed the situation in an all-Ireland context which implied a recognition of the legitimacy of Nationalist aspirations to an extent which would be unacceptable to most of Unionist opinion. This made it more difficult, in diplomatic terms, for the UK to focus exclusively on 'internal' frameworks or to adopt a 'passivist' approach in the face of economic stagnation and Nationalist alienation. The New Ireland Forum met for a period of a year between May 1983 and May 1984. It received written and oral submissions from interested parties, including church representatives, community groups, individual Unionists and two Westminster MPs, Biggs -Davison and Soley, although they were not official 9 representatives of their respective parties. A number of studies were also published dealing with the Irish economies, the legal structures, north and south, and the cost of the violence. The Forum Report itself was published in May 1984 containing three main sections: an account of the origins of the problem; an assessment of the present situation; and a consideration of three possible frameworks for a future Ireland, Joint Authority, a Federal/Confederal state or a

unitary state.

The more

ambitious hopes that the forum might achieve some breakthrough

accommodating the two traditions had been dashed by the refusal of the Unionist parties to participate. The report itself was contradictory in that while it recognised the British and Protestant element in Unionism it failed to demonstrate how these could be better safeguarded under any of the Forum's three constitutional options than under the prevailing position of Northern Ireland as part of the UK. Therefore, it was left undemonstrated why any Unionist should support these projected constitutional arrangements. Commentaries on the report saw it as old-fashioned unitary state nationalism with a few glosses which did not indicate a serious attempt to 10 incorporate the north. The lack of commitment to repeal Articles 2 and 3 of the 1937 Constitution and the wrangling between the parties of the Republic over which of the three options to adopt further undermined the credibility of the in laying the foundation for a pluralist Ireland

forum.

11

In Britain, Kinnock, the

welcomed the forum since it policy. Prior welcomed the condemnation of violence and recognition of

Labour Party

leader,

endorsed 'unity by consent' which was Labour party 'positive' aspects

of the report, the

the Unionist tradition, but argued that since

none

fulfilled the criterion

reflected in a radio interview in late

much as

he could

in

all

three options appeared to be ruled out

of northern consent. His lack of optimism was

May when he declared he

Northern Ireland and was prepared

to

felt

he had done as

be replaced.

12

175

Conservatives: 1 983 to Anglo-Irish Agreement

more diplomatic

Prior's

reservations about the

more forcefully by Thatcher at 1984 when she bluntly rejected I

have

made

it

quite clear

.

.

.

Forum Report were

expressed

the Chequers Anglo-Irish summit of November all

three options.

that a unified Ireland

was one

That is out.

solution.

was confederation of the two States. That is out. 13 authority. That is out. That is a derogation of sovereignty. solution

A

third solution

A second was joint

what had largely become received wisdom at Whitehall: the and threat posed by, Nationalist alienation which had been assiduously pushed by Hume, FitzGerald, and Irish Foreign Affairs officials, Donlon and 14 Thatcher's position may have been influenced by the results of the Lillis. European elections of June 1984 in which the Sinn Fein vote of 13.3% was virtually the same as at the 1983 general election and substantially less than the 22.1% gained by Hume for the SDLP. The possibility that Sinn Fein could

She

also rejected

degree

of,

seemed

establish itself as the leading Nationalist party

terms of

political philosophy,

Thatcher was

to

be receding. Also,

in

sympathetic to theories of

less

was more likely to and order or personal responsibility than a consideration of unemployment levels or shortcomings in Northern Ireland's alienation than Prior or Whitehall officials; criminal activity elicit

a response of the

need

for law

security forces.

At the press conference following the summit there seemed from the Dublin-Westminster ary tier was once

axis.

The

need

We

drift

away

cannot impose ways from London.

for greater security co-operation

An improvement

can only be brought about by

agreement between the minority and majority and we obviously

agreement ...

I

have long taken the view that

will strain for that

we cannot impose something from

15

This was reassuring

condemned Hurd's his first

be a

more postponed by referring it to the respective parliaments and was emphasised:

the

London.

to

question of an Anglo-Irish parliament-

to Unionists

and Anglo-Irish

relations

worsened

as

Hume

reiteration of Thatcher's rebuttal of the alienation thesis. In

speech to the Northern Ireland Assembly in December 1984

Hurd

told

were not accommodated the government and consult with Dublin 'over the heads' of the Northern

the Unionists that if the Nationalists

would continue Ireland people.

to rule

However

the Unionists felt

it

unlikely that Thatcher, widely

thought to be one of the more pro-Union of recent Prime Ministers, would

make

which would infringe British sovereignty. In early 1985 the Unionist parties made overtures to the SDLP but it seems on the assumption that the latter would not take up its assembly seats. Thus the Unionists could portray thema deal

selves as conciliators without the risk of having seriously to consider

any

machinery for power sharing or cross-community administration. In light of this

it

remains to be seen why there was movement towards the

resuscitation of the Anglo-Irish process.

There were four factors which indicated

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

176 that the likelihood or

need

for

such a course was no more pressing than in

previous years. Firstly, there was Thatcher's supposed Unionist sympathies indicated above. Secondly, the low level of violence and deaths in Northern

compared with 1981 and the early to mid 1970s,* meant security on an all-Ireland basis were no more pressing than previously. Thirdly, the probability of a unionist backlash if Dublin were given any institutionalised input into northern policy making risked substituting one alienation problem for Ireland,

initiatives

another. Fourthly, as indicated above, Sinn Fein's electoral advance appeared to

have peaked.

However, there were also countervailing factors which were to prove to be the It has been suggested that the accession of Hurd to Northern Ireland Secretary speeded up the process of treating Northern Ireland as a mutual problem to be dealt with on a bilateral basis with the Republic. Hurd came from the Foreign Office which was involved in the negotiations with Dublin and thought to be, especially by Unionists, a department sympathetic to bilateral 16 Secondly, there is the question of negotiations and perhaps unification itself. the degree of Unionist hostility to an institutionalised role for Dublin. The negotiations which led up to the agreement of November 1985 were led by the Cabinet Secretary Armstrong and his Irish counterpart Nally and the respective ambassadors, Goodison and Dorr. This could have led to an underestimation of 17 However, elements of the the likely unionist hostility to the agreement. Northern Ireland Office felt that middle-class Unionism could be assuaged if benefits of improved security and economic revival could be offered as incentives to accept Dublin's role. Alternatively, and in a more Machiavellian mode, it might have been calculated that Unionist hostility to the agreement would be an incentive to internal power sharing which, as it turned out, was to be offered as a way to diminish Dublin's consultative role when the agreement was signed. Two other points should be noted. The international perspective, made more pertinent by Hume's cultivation of international contacts, and the need to 'be seen to be doing something' was still of relevance. Also, Thatcher's commitment to the Union proved sufficiently flexible to afford the Republic what was to be a consultative role. After the agreement was signed, she admitted to having under18 estimated the reaction of the unionist community but claimed that the Union had been made more secure by the recognition by the Republic that any change in the constitutional position of Northern Ireland required the consent of the majority, and the potential effect of the agreement in weakening Sinn Fein and the IRA. An indication that a renewed attempt at Anglo-Irish negotiations was to be made came in early 1985 when a Cabinet Committee was established to consider the issue. It included most senior Cabinet members including Howe, Whitelaw, Hurd, Brittan, Tebbit, Biffen and Gowrie but Gow, formerly Thatcher's Private Secretary, was excluded. This was an indication of the trend in developments as he was known to oppose increased Dublin influence in the north and was to stronger.

177

Conservatives: 1 983 to Anglo-Irish Agreement

resign from a Treasury post until

November

when

the agreement was signed.

From

early

1985

there was a succession of meetings at official and ministerial

made public, which further angered By March Hurd and FitzGerald and the two Foreign Ministers, Howe and Barry, had met twice and Thatcher met FitzGerald at European Community summits in March and July. The matters discussed and the progress made were subject to much rumour given the secrecy surrounding them. However, it seems that by May/June the

level,

the substance of which was not

Unionists.

prospects for agreement were poor; partly because of the differing emphasis on what was necessary to combat 'alienation'. Dublin, no doubt influenced by the SDLP, emphasised the judicial and security elements in 'alienation'. Possible areas of reform included the disbanding of the UDR, the introduction of a new code of conduct for the RUC, joint courts in which judges from the Republic could sit alongside Northern Ireland judges in Diplock cases, and the introduction of three judges in Diplock courts.

The

was unfavourable. In June Hurd and the Lord Chief Justice opposed the joint-court principle although he later withdrew his objection if the 19 two parliaments agreed to the policy. Three judges presiding in Diplock trials had been advocated over a long period by critics of the system but had been 20 rejected in reviews of the Emergency Provisions Act on the grounds that there were insufficient personnel in the Northern Ireland judiciary and that a plurality of judges was unsuitable in the adversarial system of British courts. The problem with major reform of the security forces or the judicial system was that it was likely to provoke unionist hostility and might also affect the morale of the RUC and UDR. This could be crucial when the former had to be relied upon to cope with potential disorder from Unionists resulting from any agreement being reached. The RUC was attempting to demonstrate its impartiality over the re-routing and banning of loyalists marches in the summer of 1985 and the British government did not wish to add to the pressures upon it. The UK was more likely to make concessions on cultural aspects of the Nationalist tradition, in acknowledgement of its legitimacy and equality with the British response to these suggestions

ruled out the

UDR

as a subject for negotiation

Unionist tradition. Recognition of the Gaelic language, for example, in the

naming of streets, and the flying of the tricolour 21 would offend the more extreme Unionists but would be easier concessions to make than security or judicial reform. In light of the differing emphasis on what was necessary to tackle 'alienation' it would seem that the balance moved in the UK's favour in the period up to the signing of the agreement on 15 November 1985. The agreement established an Intergovernmental Conference to be jointly chaired, when meeting at ministerial level, by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and an Irish minister designated as the Permanent Irish Ministerial Representative. This position was filled by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Barry. There was also provision for meetings to be held at an official level and for other

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

178

ministers or advisers to be included

if the

topic

under discussion

fell

within their

area of responsibility. Examples cited were the Attorney-General and the respective heads of the two police forces.

The Forum

role for

Dublin

in the

conference

fell

short of the three options of the

Report. Joint authority was explicitly ruled out; 'There

is no derogation from the sovereignty of either the United Kingdom Government or the Irish Government, and each retains responsibility for the decisions and administration 22 The conference recognised the of government within its own jurisdiction.' right of the Irish government to be consulted on matters relating to Northern Ireland, and the British government's commitment to listening to the views of the Republic are contained in the same Article: 'In the interest of promoting peace and stability, determined efforts shall be made through the Conference to resolve 23 any differences.' One commentator considered that the position of Dublin can

be: 'best described as considerably less than joint sovereignty but definitely

than 'mere' consultation.'

The

more

24

conference was to consider four principal areas. These were:

political

matters, security matters, legal matters which included the administration of

and cross-border co-operation (which included economic, cultural, and security matters). Political matters involved efforts to accommodate the two traditions in Northern Ireland, to ensure the avoidance of economic and social discrimination and to consider the possibility of a Bill of Rights. To help secure this equality, the Irish government was to be consulted on the role and composition of agencies involved in this area; namely the Police Authority, the Police Complaints Board, the Fair Employment Agency, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights. Three principal areas were the subject of security matters: security policy itself, the relations between the security forces and the (Nationalist) community, and prison policy. Article 8 on legal matters focused on the possibility of mixed courts and the question of extradition and extra-territorial jurisdiction. The conference was to have no operational responsibilities in the security field; these would remain with the Chief Constable of the RUC and the Commissioner of the Garda Siochana. A commitment to enhanced cross-border co-operation was justice,

social

made

in Articles 9

and 10 although there was

operation already existed through

little

specific

mentioned. Co-

more informal channels and

via the Inter-

Governmental Council of 1981. In view of the Unionist hostility to a role for Dublin, Article

1

it

should be noted that

included a recognition by the Irish government that any change in the

status of Northern Ireland could only

come about with

the consent of a majority

Northern Ireland and that at the present there was not a majority for a change in status. The British government was to use this statement in efforts to reassure 25 the Unionists about the agreement but in effect it said no more than was conceded at the time of Sunningdale in 1973. Moreover, the failure to remove Articles 2 and 3 of the Republic's Constitution, which claimed sovereignty over in

Conservatives: 1 983 to Anglo-Irish Agreement

1

79

Northern Ireland, fuelled unionist suspicions that rather than helping to perpetuate partition as the British government argued, the conference was part of a process of unification.

Another feature of the conference was

its

flexibility in that

it

could be

superseded by other constitutional developments. Article 2(b) allowed for the reduction of Dublin's input into policy areas

if they

became

a devolved administration. Therefore, rather than

the responsibility of

being a clean break with

previous constitutional initiatives the conference can be seen as having a degree

which preceded it. The devolutionary government in attempting to defuse the expected Unionist opposition. If the conference were so unpalatable one recourse for Unionists was to work for its supersession by accommodating

of continuity with those

initiatives

element was of possible advantage

to the British

Nationalists in a devolved administration.

The

conference was subject to review after three years or earlier

by either government, which allowed them scope and nature of its

to see:

activities are desirable'.

of the

governments.

development

of joint

requested

This implied that the degree of

Dublin involvement could be altered; one interpretation possiblity

if

'whether any changes in the

authority

is

if

that

it

allowed the

favoured

by

both

26

Having detailed the reasons for the establishment of the conference and its it would be instructive to consider the initiative in the context of previous constitutional policy. There is no doubt that the impact of the conference, both within Northern Ireland and without, was enormous, with commentators seeing it as potentially the most ambitious attempt at a settlement 27 since the early 1920s. There are three, and possibly more, elements to the agreement which differentiate it from previous initiatives since direct rule. Firstly, the recognition of the right of the Republic to be consulted in the making of Northern Ireland policy and act as de facto advocates of the Nationalist community went far beyond the Irish dimension as envisaged in the 1973 Council of Ireland or the joint studies in areas of mutual interest which had taken place informally for many years and been formalised in the Intergovernmental Council of 1981. It can be contrasted with the downplaying of an Irish dimension in the period of the Convention, 1975-6, and during the tenure of Rees and Atkins. Even as recently as the end of 1984 Thatcher had emphasised that the way forward lay within the province rather with structures imposed by London or Dublin (see p. 175). Secondly, the need for the consent of the Unionist community to constitutional initiatives which had caused the downfall of the 1974 executive and bedevilled all subsequent attempts at power-sharing initiatives had been circumvented. For the British government the conference had the advantage that it did not need Unionist participation or consent to operate, thus making provisions,

effective opposition to

Thirdly,

the

it

difficult.

28

recognition of the

rights

and

identity

of the Nationalist

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 96 9-89

180

community was emphasised more than initiatives,

government declared

British

in the previous attempts at constitutional

when

with the exception perhaps of the Sunningdale period that, if

forthcoming,

it

the

would support any future

wish of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland to becorrie part of a united Ireland.

29

Also the fact that the Republic was to be consulted on Northern

Ireland policy was popularly viewed by both communities in Northern Ireland as a 'gain' for the Nationalists.

As Northern Ireland

is

often perceived, especially in

the field of constitutional policy, as a 'zero-sum' game, this was also seen as a

defeat for the Unionists.

However, the conference should not be considered as a total break with past 30 As O'Leary (1987) has noted, two factors have been of importance with the Northern Ireland Office in attempts to frame political settlements. One is termed the internal track (i.e. the securing of the broadest possible agreement within Northern Ireland) and the other the external track (i.e. the maintenance of good relations with the USA and the Irish Republic to avoid international embarrassment). The possibility of devolution which would reduce the role of the conference has been held out to the Unionists and therefore a continuity with policy.

previous attempts to re-establish devolution

exists.

The

external track policy

is

well served given the near-unanimous support for the agreement in Britain, the

USA. 31 Both

Republic and the

the power-sharing policy of

1973-4 and the

Atkins attempt at devolution of 1979-80 were influenced in part by their effect on the international

community and,

despite the

many

differences, the 1985 con-

ference was also informed by the same consideration. O'Leary argues that the

coming together of

'well-established bureaucratic strategies' of the Northern

Ireland Office, incremental political manoeuvres, and explain the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

SDLP

pressures, best

32

Security policy

The recommendations of the Jellicoe Report (see Chapter 5) formed the basis of a new Prevention of Terrorism Act which received its second reading in late October 1983. The debate on the second reading reflected the positions the parties had adopted in the renewal debates since 1982 when Labour had taken a more critical position, culminating in opposition to renewal in 1983. An amendment was moved by Hattersley which

stated that the:

basis of the Opposition's rejection of the Bill

no

clear proof of the effectiveness of such

Ireland

who

is

that

Lord Jellicoe found

that there can be

measures and that some people

in Northern 33

are opposed believe that the Bill will foster support for terrorism.

He argued that the Bill was being opposed on grounds of both principle, in that involved arbitrary arrest and detention; and practice, in that the

be shown

to

be

maintained that

it

not

and could increase support for terrorism. It was was not inconsistent for Labour to have supported renewal

effective it

PTA could

Conservatives: 1 983 to Anglo-Irish Agreement

until

1983 and now to move the amendment since the

changed. In 1974 that

181

was considered necessary

it

were feared and

justification for the

to prevent the

to prevent a backlash against the Irish

Act had

widespread attacks

community in

Britain.

Now the justification was based more upon intelligence-gathering which Brittan 34 seemed to endorse. Other reasons for the shift to opposition were the seeming permanence of the powers and the terms of the Jellicoe Report which prevented a proper consideration of whether the powers were necessary. Soley, an influential figure in the Labour Party's move towards opposition to the PTA, echoed the belief that the gathering of intelligence rather than the conviction of terrorists was the main purpose of the Act. The government's defence was the same as it had employed over recent years. It was impossible to prove definitely that the Act reduced terrorism but the balance had to be in favour of maintaining the provisions, especially given the support for them from the security forces. The amendment was defeated 302 votes to 144 and the main question was passed by 291 votes to 46 with the Labour front bench abstaining. The new act, the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, became law in March 1984. It was closely modelled on the recommendations of Jellicoe (see Chapter 5). The major changes were that the period of exclusion was limited to three years, which could then be renewed if the Secretary of State thought necessary, and there were improved opportunities for representation. The provisions of arrest were extended to cover international, though not domestic, terrorism unlike the 1976 Act which was limited to terrorism associated with Northern Ireland. Despite the opposition of some Conservatives,

including Atkins,

35

the definition of 'terrorism' in Section 17 (1) included the

'use of violence for political ends'.

This definition seemed to conflict with the

government's contention that the motivation for a criminal act was irrelevant and could appear to give some legitimation for terrorism.

It

also

made

extradition

more difficult. Section 17 (2) made the Act subject to annual renewal, had been the 1976 Act, and Section 17(3) limited its duration to five years.

potentially as

This innovation was suggested by Jellicoe to emphasise the exceptional nature of the legislation but

it is

doubtful whether

the drift to permanence.

However,

in

it

would have any impact

an attempt

in preventing

to allay fears in this area the

'temporary' clause was retained in the tide of the Act despite Jellicoe's recom-

mendation that

it

should lapse.

insufficient information figure,

appointed in

To

counter complaints that parliament had

concerning the operation of the

December 1984, was

to provide

PTA, an independent

an annual review of the Act.

Sections relating to arrest, detention and proscription of organisations were left unchanged in line with the Jellicoe Report. The Labour Party had also developed a more critical stance towards the Emergency Provisions Act (EPA). In the second renewal debate of 1983 36 Soley outlined three principal concerns: the illiberal

permanence of the

legislation

aspects of it which were creeping into British legislation;

37

and the

the need for

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

182 flexibility in

descheduling offences; and the possibility that judges in Diplock

courts were becoming 'case hardened'.

There was not conclusive evidence of this

although the decline in the rate of acquittals suggested that this was a possible

development.

Labour abstained on renewal in December 1983 but in the next renewal ofJuly 38 1984 it was to oppose the continuation of the EPA for the first time. Archer, the principal Labour spokesman, explained that Labour did not favour repeal of the Act. Rather, it was protesting about the lack of urgency of the government in 39 arranging a debate on the Baker Report which had been published in April 1984 and the limited terms of the report which had, prior to taking evidence, accepted the need for the continuation of emergency provisions. Labour also accused the government of not giving urgent enough consideration to Baker's recommendations on bail and descheduling (see p. 158). The government comfortably survived the vote by 181-70. The Baker Report largely endorsed the existing provisions of the 1978 Act and the need for the continuation of emergency powers. The 1978 Act covered five major areas: provisions for bail; powers of arrest; the suspension of juries; admissibility of confessions; and detention; and Baker's recommendations will be considered in turn. Baker argued that section 2(2) should be altered so that the initial onus for opposing bail should be on the prosecution. Under the 1978 Act it was the responsibility of the defence to demonstrate that bail could be granted without the risk of further offences being committed or that the defendant would not reappear for trial. Baker felt that this was unnecessary since the judge had wide discretionary powers to deny bail if he considered that the above factors were relevant. Baker also recommended that there should be an automatic right of bail after twelve months remand if the defendant had not been committed for trial. This was in response to the long periods of remand often involved in 40 Diplock cases which were frequently perceived as a form of 'backdoor' deten41 tion; a view with which Baker had some sympathy. Another factor contributing to the length of time taken to complete Diplock trials was that, owing to reasons of security, they could only be heard at the Belfast City Commission and Baker advocated that other courts should be It

was thought

that the different

contained in Sections

1 1

made

available.

powers of arrest

and 13 of the

in

EPA and Section

emergency

12 of the

legislation,

PTA should be

and preferably incorporated into one new Act covering terrorism. 42 was that under the PTA 1976 a suspect could be held initially for forty-eight hours with the possibility of up to five days' extension while under the EPA the holding period was seventy-two hours with no extension permitted. Baker favoured the forty-eight-hour provision with the option of extension and recommended it for either a new EPA or an Act which would consolidate the arrest powers of the two currently existent Acts. A second inconsistency was that arrest under Section 12 of the PTA required rationalised

The

principal difference at present

'reasonable suspicion' compared with 'suspicion' under the

EPA

of 1978; a

Conservatives: 1 983 to Anglo-Irish Agreement

difference which was of

some

1

legal significance.

ableness' should be extended to Section 11 of the

The

EPA

83

criterion of 'reason-

under which the police

operated and to Section 14 which gave powers of arrest to the armed forces.

The

powers of the army should be restricted to those offences related to terrorism rather than including 'ordinary' crime since this was inconsistent with a arrest

policy of police primacy.

Baker rejected both the return of jury trials, owing to the problem of intimidation, and the use of a plurality of judges or the use of a judge with lay assessors. The use of three judges would further slow the whole judicial process

and Baker did not feel that it would be of any practical use. One way to reduce pressure on the Diplock courts was to 'certify out' more offences (i.e. present them in jury courts) especially as many cases had no terrorist connections. Recommendations in this category included those offences which carried a maximum of a five-year sentence, kidnapping and false imprisonment offences, 43 The authority robbery and aggravated burglary, and certain firearms offences. to 'certify out' should be extended to the Director of Public Prosecutions rather than remain the preserve of the Attorney-General. To avoid the potential problem of jury intimidation in descheduled cases the judge should be empowered to discharge the jury if intimidation occurred and try the case himself.

Section 8 of the 1978 Act

made

confessions inadmissible

the use of 'inhuman or degrading treatment'.

The

if they

resulted from

SACHR had argued that the

use of violence and the threat of its use should be specifically ruled as

Baker endorsed

this

exclude a confession

illegal

44

and

recommendation. In practice, judges had discretion if it

was gained

in

to

such a way, but the right of them to do so

should be codified.

The

Section 12 power of detention without

trial had not been used since 1975 1980 although it remained on the statute book. Baker recommended its repeal as it was not consistent with the policy of criminalisation and police primacy and was also an international embarrassment. If the power to

and had lapsed

detain

in

became necessary

in the future

it

should be reintroduced by parliament

rather than by the Secretary of State's reactivation. 45

on 'supergrasses' were detailed above. Among the miscellaneous recommendations was that any new Act should be annually renewable (rather than biannually as at present) and have a five-year duration. This would bring it into line with the new PTA. It should also include a definition of 'terrorism' framed to exclude a political element since this tended to emphasise the motivation of a crime, which Baker considered irrelevant, and had a propaganda value in justifying offences. No recommendation was made concerning the proscription of Sinn Fein as this was considered to be essentially a political decision beyond the scope of the report. The report was debated in late December 1984 at the same time as the second 46 renewal of the 1978 Act for 1984. The government response to the report was

The

report's considerations

1

84

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

it. However, Hurd had made no decision on the rationalisation of police stated that the government arrest powers or the increased scope for the Attorney-General to deschedule offences. Neither was it convinced of the need to legislate on the proposed bail

generally favourable given the lack of anything radical in

reforms or the exclusion of threats of violence; the with by the judges' discretionary powers.

latter

Labour was

was, in practice, dealt to divide the

House

because of the government's delay in allowing Baker to be debated and

its

dissatisfaction with the government's response to the questions of the length of

remand, the use of uncorroborated accomplice evidence in 'supergrass' trials (which Baker had defended), and the decline in the acquittal rate in Diplock trials. The Labour front bench accepted the need for emergency powers although Archer went further than spokesmen had previously when he mooted the possibility of a return to jury trial: 'I have been driven to conclude that the time may have to come to restore for all offences the trial method which was 47 normal until eleven years ago.' If there were incidences of perverse acquittals the policy could be reversed but it would demonstrate governmental concern for civil liberties. It is

introduced

it

unlikely that

Labour thought

this feasible or

would have

themselves; the main thrust of its criticism was that the government

was showing neither urgency nor seriousness in its consideration of possible reform. Archer announced that Labour would again oppose renewal with the proviso that:

Government takes the Act away and gives it serious consideration, together with Sir George Baker's Report and what has been said this evening, and then returns to the House

if the

with appropriate proposals,

In

we

will

of course reconsider the situation.

June 1985 the government announced

that a

new

act

48

was

to

be drafted,

although no date for legislation was given. In line with Baker, Section

powers would be repealed which would mean the of the

PTA

permitting a

maximum

1 1

arrest

RUC would rely on Section 12

of a forty-eight-hour arrest period unless

was granted. Section 2(2) was to be amended to put the onus on refusing bail on the prosecution. The new Act was to be of five years' duration and subject to annual renewal. Three of Baker's recommendations were specifically rejected. The power to deschedule, although extended, was to remain with the Attorney-General and not be subject to delegation to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Secondly, the detention clause was to be retained on the grounds that if a situation warranting ministerial extension

its

use occurred during the parliamentary recess the Secretary of State should be

able to reactivate detention. Thirdly, attempts were being

length of

made

to shorten the

and reduce the average length of remand, but Baker's recommendation of the right to bail after twelve months, remand would not be trials

introduced.

Labour again voted against renewal despite an attack on the decision by Mason, a former Secretary of State. Archer outlined three principal reasons for

Conservatives: 1 983 to Anglo-Irish Agreement

the decision; the retention of the

185

power of detention, the counterproductive

nature of the emergency provisions as a whole in that they undermined the fairness of the legal system in the eyes of the minority

of the government to commit

itself to the

community and the failure new and revised

rapid introduction of a

Act.

Economic policy

The Northern

Ireland economy, in line with that of the

a degree of stabilisation in the period

UK generally, witnessed

1983-5. There was a decline in the rate of

closures and job losses in the manufacturing sector, and improved prospects for 49

However, the prospects for unemployment continued to be poor for a combination of reasons including the restraints on public-sector expansion which had created jobs in the late 1970s, the growth in numbers entering the job market and the the significant shipbuilding and aircraft sectors.

improvements

in

continued problems in attracting inward investment.

There were no

radical departures in

economic policy

in this period,

which

is

unsurprising since a Conservative government had been returned. For example, a seventy-acre site within the

boundary of Belfast International Airport was

granted Freeport status in February 1984. Like the enterprise zone experiments

which preceded it, such a policy had the ideological benefit of lifting certain restrictions on the operation of the market but in terms of employment was likely to be marginal. Also, there had been a major reorganisation of the industrial development agencies in 1982 (see Chapter 5) and thus there was little scope for further institutional reform. The strategies of these bodies in 1983-5 largely reflected those which had been developed in the previous administration. These had been revised in the face of the problems and costs involved in relying on the attraction of inward investment, which had been highlighted by the failures of DeLorean and Lear Fan. 50 Therefore the changes in the period 1983-5 were marginal and largely a continuation of those embarked upon in the previous

period.

The poor prospects for inward investment are revealed by the fact that in 1983-4 the Industrial Development Board (IDB) had managed to secure only 51 539 jobs in five projects from this source and approximately 80% of its budget was geared to protecting existing employment rather than financing new projects. Although sometimes accused of placing too little emphasis on indigenous and 52 medium-size sector companies, the IDB could not afford not to compete with other countries and regions of the UK for the limited amount of mobile capital. As there was little hope of further increasing financial incentives to capital (indeed the rate of standard capital grant was reduced from 30% to 20% in March 1985 following a review by the Department of Economic Development), there was a concentration on trying to utilise other methods to attract inward investment. One was the establishment of the 'Northern Ireland Partnership' in

1

86

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

October 1983. This was an informal group of over one hundred organisations and companies, including banks, trade unions and the Chamber of Commerce which was to attempt, through international contacts, to counteract the 'image' problem of Northern Ireland which was considered to be a major barrier to attracting overseas investors.

A

second

tactic

53

was an attempt

unencouraging sources.

to

attract

investment from previously

Historically, a large proportion of

inward investment

had come from the USA but the 1980s had witnessed a number of closures of 54 American- controlled plants and the lack of success in attracting Japanese capital made the Far East an obvious target. In May 1985 the IDB opened an information bureau in Singapore and representations resulted in Japanese direct investment in the province for the first time in 1985 and by the end of the year three Japanese-controlled units had opened. In an attempt to further capitalise on these breakthroughs, the IDB signed a co-operation agreement with the Japanese Trust and Banking Company in November 1985 by which the latter would advise Japanese companies on the financial incentives available and the industrial practices prevailing in Northern Ireland. A third strategy pursued was the emphasis the IDB put on the development of joint ventures and licensing agreements between Northern Ireland and foreign companies. This reflected the difficulty there had been in attacting fully integrated productive units, as opposed to branch plants, to the province. Not only had the number of jobs in foreign-controlled firms in Northern Ireland declined in Northern Ireland, but since the successful period of the late 1960s and early 1970s the form of investment had tended to change from new developments to the acquisition of existing companies; a trend reflected in less employment creation and capital expenditure. It was hoped that such joint ventures would facilitate the development of new export markets. The historic dependence on the British market meant that potential recovery might be arrested

if the

economy remained depressed.

British

The IDB had been criticised for failing to emphasise sufficiently the medium-size sector

55

possibility of attracting

but, as argued above,

it

small and

could not afford to ignore the

inward investment. However, there was an awareness of

the potential problems of sponsoring large-scale incoming investment.

Thus

emphasis, following the trend of the early 1980s, was placed on projects in which the quality and longevity of employment appeared good rather than

on numbers

Another problem to be addressed was the relative failure of Northern Ireland, compared with other regions of the UK, to attract new high-tech sector 56 industries. In an attempt to remedy this, the IDB identified medical care and technology, electronics and information technology, manufacturing technology and tradeable services as four of the eight sectors given priority in its mediumterm strategy produced in 1985 57 and encouraged linkages between the alone.

and industry in technological research. In March 1985 a new development fund, Ulster Development Capital, was launched. This was a joint

universities

3

Conservatives: 1 983 to Anglo-Irish Agreement

187

venture incorporating the IDB, insurance companies and pension funds with the

Northern Ireland economy, and, in be seen if Northern Ireland can improve its share of this sector; certainly more 'traditional' sectors such as textiles, clothing/footwear and food/drink/tobacco remain significant in industrial development-assisted employment. objective of channelling local savings into the

particular, the 'newer' sectors. It

The

role of the other

remains

to

development agency, the

LEDU,

followed the pattern

on the service sector and a general expansion to offset the decline in manufacturing and the problems of securing inward investment. Job creations by LEDU increased from 2,550 in 58 1982-3 to 3,658 in 1983^ and to 4,009 in 1984-5. In April 1985 Hurd announced two new incentives for small businesses: a 50% property development grant, and a three-tier marketing grant, and in October an interest-relief grant was introduced to subsidise small firms' borrowing costs. Although the history of the LEDU may be considered largely one of success, especially with

established in the early 1980s: that

is,

a concentration

the low cost of job creation (£4,600 in 1984-5), there

is little

scope for

this sector 59

making significant inroads into unemployment which stood at 21.2% in 1985. As well as direct industrial support, the other main strand of the government strategy for unemployment was the use of direct labour and community schemes and, as in the rest of the UK, schemes to remove young people from the job market and unemployment figures. Of the former, Enterprise Ulster was extended for a further three years from the end of March 1983, and employed approximately 1,500 mostly unskilled workers.

Employment scheme was more

The

Action for

Community

expanded from employing 2,500 in 1983 to approximately 4,000 in 1984, with expenditure increasing from £5.25 million 60 in 1982-3 to £10.81 million in 1983^. However, as with the efforts of the development agencies, such attempts were likely to be little more than palliative given the unchanging problems of Northern Ireland's 'image' and its peripheral 61 location. Crucially, the period of public-sector employment expansion acting as a compensating mechanism was over. The recovery of some of the traditional 62 sectors, such as textiles, clothing and food production following the contraction of 1981-3 was unlikely to affect mass unemployment with its attendant political and social implications. rapidly

Social policy

As with economic policy, there are few developments to record in the field of social policy. This can be ascribed in part to the government preoccupation with the development of negotiations leading up to the 1985 agreement, and also to the relatively uninfluential position of the agencies operating in this field. For example, the FEA Report of 1982— 63 records its dissatisfaction with its staffing levels,

although reports covering this period have an optimistic tone concerning

public awareness of

its

role in

promoting equality of opportunity. Similarly, the

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

88

S ACHR's influence in important areas of government policy remained marginal; its

long-held advocacy of a

government's timidity

Bill

of Rights was ignored as were

in considering 64

its

criticisms of the

reforms of the Emergency Provisions Act

following the Baker Report.

The

SACHR had previously expressed misgivings about what

it felt to be its and had sought consultations with govern65 ment officials for clarification of its position. In July 1984 Prior stated that he recognised: 'that there is a strong case for amending the commission's statutory

ill-defined

and circumscribed

role

remit, at a suitable legislative opportunity, 66

While the

more

clearly to reflect the

commis-

SACHR was

encouraged by this response, nothing concrete materialised. The report for 1984-5 recorded that no legislasion's

broad concern'.

tive clarification

the protection of

had been forthcoming and expressed disappointment

human

rights in

that:

Northern Ireland and the developing role of the

Commission cannot be afforded a greater priority in terms of staff resources. We therefore remain deeply concerned that the Commission may not be making the contribution it should in

this

important

In January 1985 the

and

legislation

field

of work.

67

SACHR decided to undertake a major review of the agencies

designed to safeguard citizens against political and religious

No such review had was fuelled by the ample evidence that, despite the reforms of the previous sixteen years, the Catholic community still suffered disproportionately from higher unemployment, bad housing and poorer living standards. This was revealed in the 1981 census, the research of the FEA, and reinforced by the Department of Finance and Personnel's Continuous House68 hold Survey of 1985. The government indicated its support for the review which may have stemmed as much from fear of the possibility of American disinvestment if concerted efforts were not made as from altruistic motives. The report 69 was published in November 1987 and will be considered in Chapter 7. However, two preliminary observations will be made. The recommendation to replace the FEA with a new body under the control of the Northern Ireland Office rather than the Departments of Finance and Personnel and Economic Development tends to reinforce the argument that the FEA had discrimination and to ensure equality of opportunity.

previously been carried out and

it

lacked a measure of financial and political support from the government.

Secondly, the Policy Studies Institute workplace survey, conducted on behalf of the

SACHR,

revealed that

85%

of respondents reported that the Fair Employ-

at all on their personnel policies and 61% had no 70 This would knowledge of the 'Guide to Manpower Policies and Practices'. indicate that the FEA's belief in a growing public recognition of its aims and work was perhaps overly optimistic.

ment Act had no impact

Conservatives: 1 983 to Anglo-Irish Agreement

1

89

Conclusion

The

period 1983-5 was dominated by the negotiations which culminated in the

Anglo-Irish Agreement and thus

its

distinguishing feature was the development

of a process which might reap future benefits rather than the enactment of

This process reflected an implicit recognition by the British government that the preceding years of intervention had been insufficient not only to resolve the 'problem' but, with the rise of electoralism within Sinn Fein,

particular reforms.

perhaps also to contain

it.

The

process also marked the formalisation of the

management of Northern

'international'

established between the

UK

and the

Ireland, building

Irish

on the closer

links

Republic following the summits of

1980-81.

The perception that new structures were necessary was widespread among the interested parties during this period: FitzGerald's 'Constitutional Crusade', the

New Ireland Forum and the OUP's 'Way Forward' policy document indicate that there was a consensus that attempts had to be

made

to

break the deadlock.

The

potential failure of, or shortcomings within, any of these blueprints (including the

Anglo-Irish Agreement) does not detract from the fact that, albeit from differing perspectives,

most of the important actors believed the

status

quo of political

stalemate could not go unchallenged.

The

cement bipartisanship at the level of strains between the parties over security policy which increased with Labour opposing renewal of the EPA for the first time, following its opposition to the PTA towards the end of the previous signing of the agreement helped to

constitutional policy.

This contrasted with the

administration.

Notes 1

Anglo-Irish Joint Studies 'Joint Report and Studies'

2

Figures from Flackes 1983 and Fortnight (various).

3

For example, the use of Gaelic

were circumscribed although

4 5

6

in

naming

in practice they

streets

Cmnd 8414

1981.

and the display of the tricolour

were permitted.

for this point and Thatcher's views at the end of 1 984. See Guelke 1984 and Cox 1987 for the US and international perspective. At the time of the agreement in November 1985 no details had been released

See below

although later the

US

government agreed

to

$120 million worth of economic

aid over

three years.

7

Haagerup (Rapporteur), European Parliament Working Document 1-1526/83.

'Report drawn up on behalf of the Political Affairs Committee on the situation in Northern Ireland.'

8

No progress

had been made on the establishment of a parliamentary tier following 1 985 agreement the two governments they would give 'support as appropriate' if the two parliaments agreed to its

the consideration in the Joint Studies of 1 98 1 In the .

stated that

formation. (Article 12).

9

A list of oral and written submissions are included as appendices to the New Ireland

1

1

90

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

Forum. Dublin 1984. 10 Economist 5/5/1984 and Fortnight No. 201 May 1984. A unitary state was the preferred option. This was to ensure that Fianna Fail 11 endorsed the report and to allow the four parties to present a united frojit. 12 Cited in Fortnight No. 205 June 1984. 13 Cited in Girvin 1986 p. 157. 14 These officials later played an important role in negotiations leading up to the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

15

Thatcher quoted

16

See Cox op.

17

It

in Fortnight

was suggested

No. 210 December 1984.

85.

cit. p.

in

an interview by a

member

of the Northern Ireland Office that

elements of it were concerned about the unionist response and underestimated greater caution states: 'the

And

it.

is

North

The

belief that the

echoed is

in

an

no more

article

in crisis

felt that the negotiators had Northern Ireland Office would have opted for

by K. Toolis (Fortnight 210 December 1984)

now

than

at

any other point over the

the grey bureaucrats at the Northern Ireland Office

17/12/1985 quoted

Belfast Telegraph

19

Observer 7/7/1985.

20

Gardiner 1975 and Baker 1984 both rejected a

in

know it.'

Connolly and Loughlin 1986

18

who

last 15 years.

p. 10.

plurality of judges for the

Diplock

courts.

The

Flags and Emblems (Display) Act (NI) 1954, which limited the display of the was repealed by the Public Order (NI) Order 1987. 22 'Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Ireland' Cmnd 9657 1985.

21

tricolour,

Article 2(b).

23

ibid.

24 25 26

Cox op.

cit. p.

91.

See Tom King cited in Connolly and Loughlin op. cit. p. 156. O'Leary 1987a p. 8. Article 1 referred to, but did not define, the

status of Northern

Ireland.

27 e.g. Connolly and Loughlin op. cit. p. 146. 28 The tactics engaged in by the unionists included a challenge to the legality of the agreement in the high court, attempts to force the government to hold a referendum in Northern Ireland, the mass resignation of Westminster seats so as to recontest them as a referendum, suspension of normal business

committee

to fight the

one-day strike

in

in the

agreement, withdrawal from

March

assembly and the creation of a

district councils

and area boards and

1986, and the presentation of a petition to the Queen.

have been limited especially as

a

The effects OUP, DUP

rifts have developed between and within the and the Alliance Party over which tactics to adopt. Paramilitary action has also been muted, partly due to the distrust of the politicians. See next chapter for details.

HC Vol. 866 Col. 37 10/12/73. O'Leary op. cit. pp. 15-16. 3 Haughey's initial opposition to the agreement has been qualified general popularity of the measure in the Republic. 32 O'Leary op. cit. p. 18. 29 30

33

HC. Vol. 47

34

Brittan ibid. Col. 56.

Col. 57 24/10/1983.

in

response to the

Conservatives: 1 983 to Anglo-Irish Agreement

35

Atkins ibid. Col. 71.

36 37

HC. Vol. 50 Cols 517-571 8/12/1983. This point related

Criminal Evidence

191

extended holding powers of the police

to the

in the Police

and

Bill.

HC.

Vol. 63 Cols 559-81 5/7/1984. 'Review of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978' (Baker

38 39

Report)

Cmnd

The

40

9222 1984.

average length of remand was 46 weeks. (Prior;

HC.

Vol. 63 Col.

562

5/7/1984).

41

Baker Para. 174.

42

A new PTA was introduced at the time of the publication of the Baker Report. A 1986 Amendment Order to the EPA 1978 did extend the Attorney General's

43

power

to 'certify out'

but

it

did not extend to robbery or burglary where firearms,

explosives etc. were used.

44

See security section

45

ibid.

46 47 48 49

HC. Vol. 70 HC. Vol. 70 HC. Vol. 70

50

Financial Times 25/10/84.

51

Financial Times 6/'6/84.

52

Teaguel987p.

53

In 1983 Tate, the chief executive of the

in ch. 5.

Cols 575-650 and 651-72 20/12/1984. Col. 590 20/12/1984. Col. 652 20/12/1984.

Times 16/9/85.

172.

IDB, claimed

that the 'image'

problem of

Northern Ireland had cost 2,000 jobs from new investment from two American companies.

See

also

economic policy section

54

Teague

55

Financial Times 24/10/84.

56

Teague

57

Industrial

op.

op.

cit.

cit.

Table on

in ch. 5.

p. 168.

p. 172.

Development Board. 'Encouraging Enterprise,

A Medium Term

Strategy for 1985-1990' Belfast 1985.

58 59

60 61

1984

HC. Vol. 81 Col. 417 26/6/85. HC. Vol. 74 Col. 1155 7/3/85. HC. Vol. 53 Col. 816 10/2/84. One of these problems was the high a project to bring natural gas

cost of energy in the province. In

from the Kinsale

field in the

and revised proposals were rejected by the government Ireland gas industry was to be run

June 1984 Butler approved the

down at a cost of £97

start

in April 1985.

The Northern

million and a loss of 1 ,000 jobs. In

of a £30 million development programme of lignite

extraction although there are doubts concerning

its

long-term

Northern Ireland. (See Financial Times 4/12/85). 62 Financial Times 6/4/84.

HC 189 Session 1984/85 p. 5. HC 394 Session 1985/86 para. 71.

63

Seventh Report.

64

Eleventh Report.

65

Seech.

66

HC Vol. 64 Col. 655 25/7/84.

67

Eleventh Report op.

5.

cit.

September

Republic was cancelled

para. 7.

viability for

energy needs in

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

92 68

PPRU Monitor:

Continuous Household Survey, Religion No., 2/85. 1985 (Dept.

of Finance and Personnel).

69 SACHR 'Religious and Political Discrimination and Equality of Opportunity Northern Ireland. Report on Fair Employment' Cm. 237 HMSO, Lotidon, 1987.

70

ibid.

Section 3:52.

in

The The

Conservative administration: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1989

Constitutional policy

The

period from 1985-1989 can be categorised as one of latency in constitu-

tional policy; this

unsurprising since the agreement of 1985 was a major

is

breakthrough and subsequently events were dominated by the respective parties' attempts to destroy, sustain or modify

it.

In view of the continuing, though

confused and internally acrimonious, opposition to the agreement from the Unionist community

was

that

it

survived.

has been said that the main achievement of the agreement

it

1

It

also provided a conduit

through which disputes between

the respective governments could be resolved or defused, particularly as each

government had the

right to request special meetings to discuss issues of

contention; these normally concerned the elements of security policy which strained Anglo-Irish relations.

2

Despite the lack of progress in talks between the parties involved,

it

would be

a

mistake to assume that serious consideration was not given to possible ways forward. Indeed there was a proliferation of 'talks about talks', policy documents, bilateral

and

multilateral meetings.

The

prospects for progress always appeared

limited since the Unionist opposition to the

The

agreement never looked

to

have the

it was which could permit a reduction in the scope of the agreement. However, it never looked likely that the two principal Unionist parties would offer the SDLP sufficient (i.e. guaranteed seats in an executive) to make the latter believe that devolution was a better option than the continuation of the agreement in its established form. It might be instructive to consider some elements of the series of talks, to sketch a rough chronology and to explain why

resources to force

committed

its

suspension.

British

government reiterated that

to devolution

they were, ultimately, fruitless.

The

series of talks

ment were the most

between the Unionist

politicians

and the British governdepended on

crucial in that any advance towards devolution

the former's preparedness to take a conciliatory line towards the prior to the agreement, the Devolution

SDLP.

Just

Committee of the Northern Ireland

1

94

British

assembly debated sibilities

and

its

third report,

of that of 1974, and

55%

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

which advocated an executive with the responrequiring two-thirds of assembly support

initially

in the longer term. Despite the intervention of Sir Frederick

erwood, the Conservative

Cath-

MEP who acted as intermediary between the parties on

the Committee, the proposals looked unlikely to succeed and O'Leary et

conclude

that: 'at

no stage of

its

bridging the power-sharing gap'.

3

existence did

it

The agreement

[the

Committee] look

effectively

mittee redundant. However, in February 1986 Paisley and

Thatcher

at

Downing Street and

al.

like

made the comMolyneaux met

reacted positively to her pledge to consider the

proposals based on those of the Devolution Committee Report.

It

appeared that

Molyneaux and Paisley were prepared to continue to negotiate while the agreement was in place but back-tracked following pressure from other Unionist representatives and protests from a Harland and Wolff shipworkers' delegation. They undertook not to have further talks with the British government unless the agreement were scrapped. Consent was to be withheld and relations deteriorated as Unionist politicians endorsed a one-day strike held on 3 March 1986. It seems that Molyneaux and Paisley believed, given the solidity of the Unionist community against the agreement, the British government might be prepared to consider a temporary suspension but they could not bring their parties with them 4 unless they won some substantial concession. It has to be remembered that a devolutionary solution not only had to satisfy the two governments and the SDLP but also a substantial section of the OUP, many members of which were not disposed towards devolution, especially the fully-fledged legislative variety.

Further movement was made

less likely by two factors. Firsdy, the Unionist from the British government reflected in the boycott of Westminster and the call in April 1986 by Molyneaux and Paisley for a rates

estrangement strike as part

of a twelve-point plan for

was increasing

division

civil

disobedience; and, secondly, there

among the Unionist community about both

adopt in opposition to the agreement and what should replace include:

DUP

it.

the tactics to

Examples of this

OUP commitment to the disruption of OUP attacks on the excesses of DUP factions, the

criticism of the lack of

council business, publication of a

5

reciprocal

UDA policy

document 'Common Sense'

criticised the position of established

in early

1987 which

Unionist parties, and the endorsement of the

independence option by McCusker (deputy OUP leader) and Robinson (deputy DUP leader) in September 1986, if the agreement remained in place. The impetus for renewed talks was the general election of June 1987. The relatively

low turnout was seen as an indication of the electorate's dissatisfaction

with the Unionist campaign. 6

The Unionist MPs ended their boycott of Westminster and were prepared for talks, with Molyneaux indicating that he would look favourably on an invitation to discussions from Thatcher. Despite the shifting positions and splits in the Unionist community, none of the essentials was changed. Thatcher offered an open invitation in July 1987 to which the Unionists responded positively but confirmed that any successful outcome would

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

necessitate the replacing of the agreement.

NIO

officials

before

full

on 14

1

On the

95

eve of exploratory talks with

July, Paisley insisted that suspension

would be necessary

negotiations could take place.

The meetings between Molyneaux and Paisley and senior NIO officials in July and August 1987, the first for eighteen months, were officially described as 7 'mildly encouraging' but no comments were released on the contents. Further 'talks about talks' took place at Stormont in mid August and in mid September King met Paisley and Molyneaux in the first ministerial contact since February 1986. The basis for the talks was the publication of 'An End to Drift' by the Unionist Task Force, composed of McCusker (OUP), Millar (OUP) and Robinson (DUP) which had been set up in February 1987 to rethink Unionist strategy. As before, it seemed that an impasse had been reached. The policy document held out the prospect of power sharing of some form with the SDLP if the role of the Republic as advocate of the Nationalist community were reduced or removed. It was unlikely that the SDLP would accept this and there was the additional problem that Paisley immediately denounced power sharing and Molyneaux had no enthusiasm for anything beyond administrative devolution scarcely a 'carrot' for the SDLP. Given this situation both sides were cautious and the talks were no more than exploratory and low-level. An explanation for the resumption of talks may lay in that neither party to them had much to lose. The Unionist campaign of boycott and non-cooperation had done little to discomfort the British government and provoked criticism from the Unionist population and the government was keen to keep open the lines of communication. By the close of 1987 prospects became bleaker as Paisley and Molyneaux moved away from the task force recommendations and the OUP annual conference in November voted against devolution which would include a minority veto and an amendment by Maginnis more favourable to devolution and power sharing was defeated. In December King met Paisley and Molyneaux twice in the fifth and sixth of the series of 'talks about talks'. A further downgrading of the 'End to Drift' Report became apparent when, early in 1988, Paisley and Molyneaux set up a joint working group, reportedly following pressure from King to put forward alternatives to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. 8 At the end of January, proposals were presented to King which more closely resembled the OUP document 'The Way Forward' of 1984 than the Task Force Report with administrative devolution being the most which Molyneaux was prepared to endorse. The response of both the NIO and the SDLP was cool although at the end of January King met the two party leaders to discuss the prospects for administrative devolution. The last in the series of talks between the British government and the Unionist leaders took place at the end of May; the details of the discussions were not released and Molyneaux and Paisley warned that the meetings between the SDLP and Sinn Fein were hindering progress in inter-party devolutionary talks within Northern Ireland. This period marked the end of ten months of relatively regular meetings and with the retreat from the

1

96

British

Task Force (which caused

a

rift

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

between Paisley and

his

deputy Robinson),

devolution and a reduction in the scope, or alteration of the terms, of the

agreement seemed even less likely. Discussions between the Northern Ireland parties proved no more successful. The SDLP and the OUP, represented by two members each, had informal meetings in February and March 1986 which ended with Hume rejecting the Unionist devolutionary proposals.

The stumbling-block was that not only was it who favoured a substantial role for the

unlikely that even those Unionists

minority in a devolved administration

of the

OUP)

could

SDLP would dimension. leader,

'sell'

(e.g.

elements within the

accept an internal settlement

The

UDA,

Maginnis

such a package to other Unionists, but also whether the

'greener' elements of the

if it

meant

SDLP,

a

weakening of the

Irish

including Mallon the deputy

were opposed to such a development. As if to emphasise the polarisation, DUP and the OUP rejected talks with the SDLP on the state of the

both the

Northern Ireland economy in February 1987. Another development which was to militate against the possibility of UnionistNationalist accommodation was a series of talks between the SDLP and Sinn Fein. The first meeting between the party leaders, Hume and Adams, took place in January 1988 and others followed in March, April, June and August of the same year; a total of seven meetings. On 5 September the end of the series was officially announced by the party leaders. The SDLP regretted being unable to persuade Sinn Fein to have the IRA call off its campaign of violence and Sinn Fein declared itself perplexed by the SDLP's perception of Britain's role in Northern Ireland as one of neutrality between the two communities since the signing of the agreement. It is difficult to see what could be achieved by such talks given that the history of militant Republicanism offered little evidence that the armed struggle would be abandoned solely for electoralism. 9 Also, Hume was to attract criticism from members of his own party as well as the Unionist and Alliance parties. It is possible that Hume was unconcerned if he alienated liberal unionist opinion since he either had no real interest in, or saw no real prospect of, devolution and was unconcerned if they felt it was more difficult to negotiate with him after he had met with Sinn Fein. 10 Of lesser significance were occasional talks between the British government and the SDLP. The SDLP seemed content with the existing structure, if not always the substance, of the Anglo-Irish Conference and had

move on

the devolution issue.

There were

little

also tenative attempts

incentive to

by the Republic

overcome Unionist alienation from existing structures. In May 1988 Haughey was prepared to talk to Unionist representatives outside the framework of the agreement although Molyneaux would commit himself to no

to

stated that he

more than an exchange of policy position papers with the Taoiseach. he denied that even stated that the

In early June had been taken and in the same period Paisley would not talk to the Irish government prior to an internal

this initial step

DUP

settlement in the north.

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

By

1

97

end of 1988, with the review of the agreement due, the succession of above had achieved little concrete. The British government maintained its position of being open to talks without preconditions and in mid October invited submissions for the review which the Unionist parties formally declined on 13 October. The following month Thatcher wrote to the Unionist leaders raising the possibility of reviving the talks which had been suspended in May but no progress was made. As if to emphasise the seemingly endless search for a breakthrough which conflicted with the political realities, the BBC announced in February 1989 that inter-party talks held in Duisberg, West Germany in October 1988 promised a major development; optimism endorsed 11 by the Alliance Party which claimed 'superb progress'. However the SDLP and the Unionist parties denied that agreement on an internal settlement was near and that the 'leaking' by the BBC had helped to undermine the already slight chance of success. The stumbling-block was the same one which had bedevilled negotiations since 1985; the Unionists wanted a 'running down' of the agreement to provide the space for 'talks about talks' while the SDLP rejected any developments which included a weakening of the agreement. The prevailing mood of 1989 was one of pessimism and apathy on the political front. The more moderate of the confessional parties (the SDLP and the OUP) did well by comparison with their direct rivals (Sinn Fein and the DUP) in the local elections ofJune but this did not augur a constitutional breakthrough. The spate of journalistic reviews of Northern Ireland on the twentieth anniversary of the deployment of troops reflected a general pessimism signalled by Rees and Callaghan advocating a suspension of the agreement in August to facilitate political progress. The sterility and inconclusiveness of the bilateral and multilateral talks of 1985-9 is unsurprising. It was increasingly difficult for the Unionist community to negotiate with a united voice since there was no consensus on what could be conceded or what was a preferred constitutional arrangement. The Unionist camp threw up a myriad of ideas in this period including various forms of devolution, integration, independence and new structures for north-south relations and the increasingly vocal campaign for equal citizenship reflected growing disenchantment with the policies and tactics of the OUP and DUP. Neither government felt an internal settlement to be a pressing need especially once it became clear that Haughey, as Taoiseach, was to reverse his hostility to the agreement which he held in opposition and consequently the conference was to the

talks outlined

be maintained.

12

Having charted the basic course of inter-party and party-government talks in period and the reasons for their lack of progress, it is instructive to assess the

this

position of the Conservative government, the response of the

Labour opposition

and the consequent degree of bipartisanship. Crudely, the government position was to 'sit tight' as far as the agreement was concerned. In face of occasional, and sometimes severe, backbench criticism of its operation especially with respect to extradition

problems with the Republic, the government emphasised that the

1

98

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

and the improvein long relations, had to viewed the term. community be Commitment to ment in the agreement was reinforced as it became obvious by mid 1986 that Unionist opposition, while not exhausted, was largely ineffectual and that the Irish government, whichever party was in office, was determined to honour it despite the tensions which periodically arose. The corollary of the government position was the advocacy of devolution as a long-term aim, as expressed in Article 4 of the agreement, and the rejection of integration. To facilitate the former the government consistently repeated its

benefits of the agreement, in terms of the reduction in violence

availability for talks

with any party except Sinn Fein. Partly because of the

pressures on parliamentary time and partly because of the integrationist overtones, procedural changes in the consideration of Northern Ireland legisla-

were rejected. Orders in Council remained the predominant form of legislaand backbench calls for the creation of a Grand Committee to consider Northern Ireland affairs were rejected. tion

tion

These positions

are reflected in the debates

on the annual Extension Orders of

the Northern Ireland Act which provides for the renewal of direct rule.

13

In the

three successive debates of 1986, 1987 and 1988 integrationism was rejected for the following reasons. First,

it

ignored the different history, traditions and party

it would close the door and third there was no evidence that it would achieve widespread acceptance in Northern Ireland. In short, government constitutional policy can be characterised as having three principal features: adherence to the agreement, devolution as a longer-term aim and a consistent rejection of integration. Labour policy also endorsed these three aims, and it was argued in the previous chapter that the agreement had reinforced bipartisanship. However Labour tended to put a different complexion on the agreement, seeing it as part of a process which could, in the long term, lead to the unification of Ireland. This was the expressed hope (it cannot perhaps be dignified as a policy) of the Labour Party as stated in two policy documents: 'New Rights, New Prosperity and New Hope in Northern Ireland' published in April 1987 and 'Towards a United Ireland' of September 1988. As an incentive towards unification Labour was still in the process of developing the concept of 'harmonisation' which included the creation of an all-Ireland economic development authority and increased northsouth co-operation based on integrated policies in areas including social security, tourism, energy and agriculture. In the short term Labour's constitutional policy did not differ significantly from that of the Conservatives, although Labour was keen to contrast its far sightedness with what it considered to be the Con-

structure of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; second, to devolution

servatives'

'crisis

political progress.

Labour's

management' and emphasis on security

official position

of favouring unification by consent and rejection of

the use of violence by Republicans predisposed nationalism.

to the exclusion of

14

However there were

it

towards constitutional

strains in the party fuelled

by the existence of a

Conservatives:

A nglo -Irish Agreement to 1989

199

lobby favouring British withdrawal and sympathy for the aims

support

Sinn Fein. The

for,

of the

activities

IRA were

of, if

prevent Sinn Fein from gaining the support of a majority of Labour alone the

members of

not outright

probably sufficient to activists, let

the Parliamentary party. Furthermore, Labour's

own

organisation and tactics helped to prevent the faster development of the with-

The

drawal or pro-Sinn Fein factions.

use of the block vote at Conference had

and in 1986 Conference Agreement by 4,402,000 to 408,000 on a card vote and in 1988 a motion supporting political and military withdrawal within the lifetime of the next Labour government was defeated on a show of regularly ensured the defeat of withdrawal motions

rejected a motion attacking the Anglo-Irish

The appointment

hands.

McNamara,

of Kevin

a

member

long associated with

support for Irish unification, as shadow spokesman following the defeat of Peter

Archer

in the

draw the

shadow cabinet

elections ofJuly

1987 can be seen as an attempt to emphasis on

sting of pro-Republican dissent within the party given his

unification. It also signified

an attempt to build bridges with constitutional

nationalism in response to the

left's

move towards Sinn

Fein.

15

Irish policy was fragmented and pronouncements gave this impression, was the speech by the deputy spokesman Bell in March 1987 which implied that a future Labour government would consider an early review of the agreement in order to

Another

indication

that

Labour's

inconsistent, or at least that public

secure Unionist support in the event of a

hung

parliament.

Memories of

Callaghan's discredited dealings in 1978-9 and the risk of upsetting the 'green'

lobby within the party ensured that Archer and Kinnock's press secretary quickly

responded and ruled out any deals and any changes agreement. 1985.

The

It

to,

or early review

of,

the

maybe concluded that Labour policy remained little changed from

principal features are that 'unity by consent'

aspiration rather than policy, the

differences with the Conservatives constitutional sphere.

had the

status of

pro-Sinn Fein lobby was marginalised and party

were much greater

in the security

than in the

16

Constitutional stalemate was further revealed in the suspension of the 17

The assembly had never been likely to was periodically boycotted by the OUP and the nationalists had never taken their seats. The day after the agreement was signed an emergency sitting of the assembly passed an emergency motion repudiating all aspects of it. In early December normal meetings and the scrutiny committees of the assembly were suspended and a nineteen-member Committee on the Government of Northern Ireland was established to consider opposition to the agreement, an action which precipitated a boycott by the Alliance Party members. In mid March 1986 a formal resolution was carried to wind up the Devolution Report Committee (the third report of which had appeared just prior to the agreement in October 1985) and to refuse to carry out the scrutiny of draft

Northern Ireland Assembly find a devolutionary

Northern Ireland

in 1986.

consensus as

it

legislation.

The refusal of the assembly to carry out its statutory functions obviously put its

200 future in jeopardy. possibility of

Twice

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

May

1986 King warned the assembly about the

in

suspension and on 27

refused his invitation to discuss refer draft orders

its

May

the leaders of the Unionist parties

future. Until this time,

and consultative documents

to the

King had continued

assembly but there was

to

little

On 19 June the Northern Ireland Assembly (Dissolution) Order 1986, taken together with the Northern Ireland Act 1974 (Interim Period Extension) Order 1986 was approved by the Commons with Labour supporting the government. The Order dissolved the existing prospect of a revival of its proper functioning.

assembly but did not abolish the legal basis for the establishment of a possible future assembly. This was consistent with the long-term

aim of restoring some

form of devolution to Northern Ireland. Another and as yet uncompleted constitutional development was progress discussions concerning the establishment of Anglo-Irish parliamentary

Such

a

body had

its

genesis in the Anglo-Irish Studies report of 1981

in

tier.

(Cmnd

8414) which had, in turn, originated in the Anglo-Irish summit of December 1980 between Haughey and Thatcher. Article 12 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement left

the decision concerning further developments to the respective parliaments

November 1988 the steering committee proposals were presented to the British government. Twenty- five members each from the Dail and the Commons would compose the group. Each delegation would have a majority from the ruling party in the respective legislature with the recommended composition from Westminster being 13 Conservatives, 8 Labour, 3 Northern Ireland and 1 other member. Refined proposals presented in February 1989 recommended that more Northern Ireland members undertaking to give support as appropriate. In

could be allocated with agreement from the British parties, that the group would

meet biannually, be purely consultative and have the authority to produce reports and recommendations. At the time of writing the group has yet to be established and it is likely that Unionist MPs will boycott its operation, although it has no formal connection with the agreement.

Of the conference

18

meetings themselves, the two governments, represented by

the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of

on the topic under met thirty times between the initial meeting and the end of 1989. The frequency of meetings depended both upon relations between the two govern-

the Republic and other ministers and officials depending discussion,

ments, as either could

call for a special convening to discuss matters of urgency, and also upon internal political developments. For example, general elections tended to reduce the frequency of conference meetings. The longest period

without a formal meeting was approximately three months. Full details of the

meetings were not disclosed, although the press office of the Northern Ireland Office released a areas were those

summary of topics discussed. 19 The most regularly discussed of security, upon which the British government tended to place

emphasis, and the administration of justice in the north and public confidence in it

which was

a perennial concern of the Republic's representatives.

Other topics

1

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

which

featured

regularly

were

fair

20

employment and anti-discrimination

measures, economic co-operation and the possibility of a

of rights for

bill

Northern Ireland. A judgment on whether the conference has been a success or failure in its first four years depends largely on whether one takes a short or long-term perspective. Political opponents and critics tend to focus on the former and the lack of political

and security progress

in

Northern Ireland. The

state

of

Anglo-Irish relations in the absence of the agreement remains a matter of conjecture. However, two judgments can be categorically made. First, the

agreement

in

itself

did

not prevent disputes

and tensions between the

governments. Relations reached their nadir over the extradition question and

207 fL). The government of the Republic felt that the government consistently placed too much emphasis on the security aspect of the problem and insufficient on police-community relations and other questions affecting the minority community. Second, the conference was well suited to absorb these strains and it was never in doubt that the agreement would survive. The Republic was unlikely to relinquish its formalised input into Northern Ireland policy and Fianna Fail, following Haughey's volte-face, became as committed to the agreement as its Fianna Gael signatories. A principal advantage for the British remained that it helped to insulate the government from international criticism by the incorporation of the Republic the Stalker affair (see p. British

into policy formulation.

Under

the terms of the agreement

three years. In October 1988 King,

its operation was on behalf of the

to

be reviewed

after

British government,

invited submissions. The Unionists refused the offer and stated that they would have nothing to do with mere tinkering. The review was published in late May 1989 and concluded that 'no fundamental change' was required at present (para. 28). In light of the disagreements between the governments procedural changes were recommended in an attempt to forestall the development of disputes. These included a regular schedule of meetings (as had developed in 1988) which would allow a more systematic consideration of forthcoming developments, an informal ministerial meeting at least once a year and scope for widened ministerial participation to increase the range of topics of mutual interest covered in conference. To emphasise the positive work of

the conference para. 6 undertook to publicise

more

effectively the discussions

that took place.

The

other points covered in the review include

commitment

to devolution

by the two governments, recommendations for greater recognition of the rights and identities of the two traditions in Northern Ireland, progress in fair

employment

legislation

parliamentary

Body and the welcoming of the establishment of the Fund for Ireland. In essence, it was clear that no radical

International

departure

from

the

and

existing

towards

form

the

establishment

of Anglo-Irish

of

relations

the

was

Inter-

under

202

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

consideration and that the emphasis remained on long-term amelioration.

Security policy

The

period 1985-9 was in large part dominated by security considerations; the

stalemate in constitutional developments and the continuation of violence meant that

much government time and legislation was devoted to security measures. As

in previous chapters the focus will be

on emergency

legislation

laneous measures taken in an attempt to limit terrorist

The

Prevention of Terrorism Act had been limited to

new

and the miscel-

activity.

five years'

duration in

by 1989. It was still subject to annual 20 saw a reiteration of established renewal and the three debates of 1986-8 positions by both government and opposition. Labour consistently opposed 1984, thus necessitating

legislation

renewal on the grounds that the legislation was both wrong in principle in infringement of civil liberties and unnecessary in practice. majority of those arrested under the Act,

shadow

Home

fears that the

95%

The

its

fact that the vast

according to Kaufman, the

Secretary, in the debate of 1987 were not charged gave rise to

PTA was

with the remaining

used for harassment and normal legislation could deal

5%.

Labour was also critical of the government's refusal to let lapse the exclusion powers of the 1984 Act despite the recommendation of the independent reviews presented by Phillips and, from 1986, Viscount Colville. The government also rejected Viscount Colville's proposal in the 1988 renewal that the extension of

detention beyond the

initial

courts rather than the

Home Secretary. The government position remained that,

forty-eight hours should

be the responsibility of the

PTA were necessary and 21 Labour were in power it would risk repeal. The new PT Bill, which had to become law by March 1989 to prevent the powers lapsing, received its second reading on 6 December 1988. The principal measures were unchanged including those of proscription, forty- eight hour detention with up to five days' extension at the discretion of the Home Secretary, arrest powers, port controls and exclusion for up to three years. Three main changes from the 1984 Act were made. First, the new Act was to be of indefinite duration, not limited to five years, although annual renewal was to be retained. Second, remission in Northern Ireland was reduced from a maximum of half the sentence to one third for those sentenced to more than five years for a scheduled offence. Those on conditional release convicted of a scheduled offence would have to serve first any unexpired period of remission from the previous sentence. Third, and most significantly, measures designed to prevent the flow of money or

while terrorism continued, the provisions of the

doubted that

if

property to terrorist organisations by 'laundering' via legitimate businesses were

introduced which gave the courts greater powers to investigate accounts and seize assets,

and changed the onus of proof on to the defendant to explain the Hurd had announced such changes in September 1988

source of such monies.

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

in

response to

RUC

203

concerns that a significant proportion of paramilitary

funding came from ostensibly legitimate companies. Such legislation had a

precedent in the attempts to deal with the finances of those suspected of drug operations.

It

also

became an offence

to

handle money for terrorist organisations

although the effectiveness of such measures were likely to be limited given the increased sophistication of paramilitary financing.

The passage of the Bill was marked by acrimonious disputes between the government and opposition and by a confused stance from Labour which strained relations between its front bench and some backbenchers. Apart from its general opposition to much of the Act, Labour focused on the failure of the government to respond quickly to a European Court of Human Rights ruling of November which found that the extended period of detention contravened the convention article which required a judicial element to be introduced as soon as possible following arrest. On 22 December Hurd stated that the government wished to meet the European Court requirement but this would require more 22 time in which to make arrangements with the judiciary. In the interim, a temporary derogation would be posted which might later be made permanent. Labour's concern was raised in the second reading and later manifested itself in the committee stage in January 1989. As well as criticism of arrest powers and executive control of extended detention, Labour attacked the government for refusing to accept Colville's recommendations concerning the ending of exclusion orders and dropping the offence of withholding information which might be of assistance in preventing the commission of terrorism by another person. In consequence, Hattersley moved an amendment declining a second reading for the Bill, stating the powers 23 are 'wrong both in principle and in practice'. However, when the amendment was defeated by 3 1 1 votes to 199 the Labour front bench chose to abstain on the second reading on the grounds that it supported the clauses which were designed to curtail terrorist funding. This provoked protest from the left of the party which failed to

to the

understand the policy of abstention in

PTA.

Forty-three Labour

light

members voted

of party policy of opposition

against the second reading and

two of the rebels, Short and Bennett, resigned junior shadow cabinet positions in protest.

A second reading was given by 305 votes to 45. Hogg, Home Office Minister, change in detention procedures

In committee, inter-party disputes continued.

informed the committee that there was no

likely

was a lack of time to introduce an element of judicial review before the Bill. Labour accused the government of reneging on an agreement to bring in an amendment complying with the European ruling; in turn the government accused Labour of delaying the passage of the Bill after having agreed not to be obstructive. Labour denied that it had agreed a timetable for the committee stage. Sheerman and Archer moved amendments respectively to remove exclusion orders and keep remissions to a maximum of half the original sentence. Both were defeated without a vote being taken. Hattersley moved an

since there

completion of the

204

British

amendment

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

which would bring the legislation into line with the European Court ruling but this was defeated by 241 votes to 134. On 23 January the government won a majority of 272 to 214 authorising the use of the guillotine and on 30 January the Bill received a third'reading and was carried 235-134 with Labour opposing. The new Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act came into force on 23 March 1989. The other major piece of security legislation, the Northern Ireland Emergency Provision Act was also under review. The last Act had been passed in 1978 and the government was pledged to reconsider the legislation in light of the major review by Baker in 1984. Labour maintained its opposition to the legislation, a limiting total detention to four days,

position adopted in 1984, in the biannual renewal debates. Prior to the

new bill

being introduced in 1987, minor changes were introduced in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978

(Amendment) Order 1985. This

widened the discretion of the Attorney- General to certify that in respect of particular cases offences should not be treated as scheduled offences.

Those

covered included kidnapping, false imprisonment and offences which carried a penalty of less than a five-year sentence. The government was being somewhat cautious since three of Baker's recommendations were rejected. 'certify

The authority to

out' was not extended to cover the offences of robbery or aggravated

was to remain with the Attorney-General and not extended to the DPP on the grounds that the former was directly responsible to the Commons. There was to be no provision for a jury to be discharged in a 'certified out' case if the judge believed it subject to harassment or intimidation. The government

burglary and

it

move ran the risk of bringing the courts into disrepute. The Order was approved on 16 January 1986 with Labour support. In June 1986, during the second continuance Order of the EPA, the government outlined its plans to revise the Act and in December of that year a second reading of the new Bill was presented concurrently with the third continuance Order 1986. The new Bill may be considered as a 'mixed bag' and thus provoked an ambivalent response from the opposition and the civil liberties lobby. This was

believed that such a

in many respects provisions of the Bill improved the rights of the arrestee and mitigated the more oppressive aspects of the existing legislation. However at the same time this was partly influenced by the fact that it was becoming institutionalised. It was increasingly unlikely that the legislation would be repealed in the foreseeable future and the gap between emergency legislation and ordinary 24 legislation which applied to the rest of the UK was closing. The gradual slide of emergency legislation into permanence was a concern that opponents had frequently voiced and the 1987 Act supported their fears. To consider these points in turn. The more liberal aspects of the Bill included the requirement of 'reasonable' suspicion in the exercise of arrest and search powers replacing 'suspicion' only in the 1978 Act, the reduction of the maximum

because

period of detention for a suspect without further Ministerial authority from

seventy-two to forty-eight hours, the statutory right of access to a solicitor within

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

forty-eight hours of arrest

and the

a friend or relative of their

205

right of a suspect at the time of arrest to inform

whereabouts.

Two other important changes were

the

1978

onus of proof

in the granting of bail reverting to the prosecution: in the

legislation the

onus was placed on the defendant's counsel to demonstrate that would not be breached and this had been criticised by

the conditions of bail

Baker. Second, the safeguards relating to the admissibility of confession evi-

dence were increased. It was made explicit that confessions obtained by the use or threat of violence were not admissible and that confessions could be excluded

had exercised this do so had not previously been codified. Lest it be thought that the government had embraced a new-found liberalism, aspects of the Bill caused concern for the Labour opposition and other interested parties, including the S ACHR and the government of the Irish Republic. Archer, the Labour spokesman, stated that Labour would not oppose the second reading

by a judge

in the interests of justice. In practice judges

discretionary

power but

their right to

given the positive aspects of the Bill outlined above but would, rather, press for

amendments

in

committee. Specific concerns included the change from

biannual to annual renewal, which indicated the further institutionalisation of the legislation, the retention

of the Section 12 detention powers despite the fact that

they had not been used for twelve years and the refusal to introduce three judges in

Diplock courts. King had argued that a plurality of judges was unnecessary

given the safeguards of the automatic right of appeal and the requirement of a written record of the judge's decision. Bell, Labour's deputy spokesman,

believed that the

Crown Law

Officers had advised Thatcher against the intro-

duction of three- judge courts.

Concerns over the lengthy periods of remand which Labour had raised

recommendation

in previous

in

scheduled offence cases,

renewal debates, had led to Baker's

remand should be automatically limited

to twelve months. government rejected this as it could be 25 exploited by defendants to slow down or prevent cases coming to trial. The SACHR, in its annual report for 1986-7, echoed concern over the retention of detention powers and expressed dissatisfaction that the arrest powers were not restricted to reasonable suspicion of involvement in a scheduled offence. Other criticisms covered the lack of clarification of what constituted reasonable force in the use of firearms by the security forces, the fact that the Attorney-General was not permitted to deschedule any offence as he saw fit and that emergency powers had not been consolidated in one Act. Having rejected Baker's recommendations concerning the maximum period of remand, measures were taken to expedite bringing cases to court and the hearing of them. The RUC and DPP reviewed procedures and the number of staff involved in the preparation of files was to be increased, scheduled offences were to be tried at Crown Courts other than Belfast and the Secretary of State was empowered to set time limits on preliminary proceedings in scheduled offence cases. Remand prisoners had to be

that

Scott, King's deputy, stated that the

taken to magistrates court every twenty-eight days rather than seven days as

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

206

previously; the former requirement

magistrates were often not

empowered

was somewhat of a formality because to grant bail.

aimed

were

tightening restrictions on at These included strengthening the law concerning support for proscribed organisations to bring it into line with the PTA 1984 and putting more groups into the category of those about which it was an offence

Miscellaneous

provisions

paramilitary activity.

to collect information likely to to

become

be of use

to terrorists. Security

companies were

subject to an annually renewable licence issued by the Secretary of

State, a provision to take full effect

from the beginning of 1988. This was an

attempt to deal with the problem of paramilitary protection rackets acting

under the guise of security businesses. To facilitate a more considered appraisal of the operation of the EPA an independent annual review was established as had existed for the PTA since 1985 and the government committed

itself to a

regular publication of statistics relating to the Act's

operation.

The Labour

response was to support the second reading because of the

improvements of the suspects'

move amendments

in

rights

committee.

detention powers and to limit

defeated and Powell, the

OUP

in arrest powers and to remove the Section 12 maximum of 110 days were

and safeguards

New

clauses to

remand to a member, introduced

a clause to increase the

number of scheduled offences which could be 'certified out' which suffered the same fate. On 8 April the Bill received a third reading with no vote being taken.

Although the Act had a five-year duration and was subject

to

annual

renewal, the balance of the 1987 changes indicated that the legislation was

becoming more permanent. The attempt

to balance additional police

powers

with (formally) increased safeguards for suspects/defendants and a code of practice

for

the

operation of the powers emphasised the similarity with

'normal' legislation, particularly the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Some

of the formal safeguards were subject to restriction.

The

right of the

suspect to have someone informed of their whereabouts could be delayed by

up to forty-eight hours by an officer of the rank of superintendent or above and solicitor-client consultations were, in practice, subject to delay and held within the sight and hearing of a uniformed officer.

Labour concerns that the government was too cautious in its reforms and it relied overmuch on security measures in its Northern Ireland policy persisted after the passage of the 1987 Act. In the renewal Order of 1989, presented in March, McNamara accused the government of political lethargy, reliance on a containment policy and of ignoring concerns, expressed by the SACHR. Specific Labour disquiet focused upon the retention of detention powers, the problem of lengthy remand, the lack of a plurality of judges and 26 the recent incursions upon the suspect's right to silence. The government's consideration of allowing certifying in and the possibility of making that

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

207

fatal shootings by members of the was not sufficient to quell Labour criticisms and the Order was opposed. However, the government won a comfortable majority of 239 votes to

manslaughter charges available in cases of security forces

118.

In addition to refining the legislative basis for the fight against terrorism, the

second main weapon of the British government was the improvement of crossborder co-operation with the Republic. At an operational level this seems to have

improved in the period 1985-9 with substantial searches and arms finds executed by the Gardai and the Irish Army and frequent discussions within the Conference, often with the Chief Constable of the RUC and the Commissioner of the

The other principal area of inter-state co-operation was and the British government hoped that the agreement would facilitate developments following the Republic's commitment in 1985 to accede to the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism (ECST). However, extradition was to remain a politically sensitive issue in the Republic and was to be the cause of the most strained relations between the two governments in Gardai

in attendance.

that of extradition

this period.

Legislation had been passed in 1975 and 1976 in the two countries to tackle

problem of bringing charges for crimes committed outside the jurisdiction of where the fugitive now resided. This legislation was essentially a compromise and an ineffective one; a result of Irish members of the commission rejecting the

extradition for political offences including those of a terrorist nature.

The

effect

of the Irish legislation, the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppres-

was to restrict the scope of the political offence government had originally refused to sign the ECST in 1977 because it conflicted with the reasoning of the Law Enforcement Commission. By the mid 1980s there had been a change of heart, for what seems to have been two main reasons. First, the fact that the Irish government had a formal input in Northern Ireland policy made it politically easier to 'sell' the traditionally emotive policy of extradition to the UK. Second, the nature and savagery of sion of Terrorism) Act 1987

exemption.

The

Irish

McGlinchey case, seemed to predispose the courts A Supreme Court ruling of 1985 reversed the conclusions of the 1974 commission and found that it would be unconstitutional to exempt from extradition those charged with terrorist offences

certain crimes, especially the to reject the claim

arising

of the political offence.

from the Northern Ireland

conflict.

Subsequent

cases, including

Quinn,

Russell and Shannon, reaffirmed this change in judicial attitudes. Association

with republican paramilitary groupings

became

a reason for the non-application

of the political offence exception rather than a reason for

These developments allowed the Republic

its

to sign the

February 1986. In view of this change of policy and

application.

Convention on 24

it was would be included. Implementation was suspended until December 1987 by when the Republic hoped that further reforms in the administration of justice would be made in Northern Ireland. It

only to be expected that safeguards

its

political sensitivity

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

208

does not seem that any formal quid pro quo was agreed with the British government. FitzGerald was quoted as having believed that extradition develop-

ments were

tied to the introduction of three judges in the

Diplock courts

although Peter Barry, Fine Gael Foreign Minister and representative at the conference, denied that there was such an understanding. Extradition

(Amendment) Act 1987 was passed which

27

Additionally, the

limited the provisions of

the principal legislation to one year, with the possibility of renewal. Part 3 of the

Amendment Act covered

extradition to the

UK and required that the Attorney-

General be provided with a summary of the evidence against the person to be extradited. The British government believed that only a warrant and a note confirming that sufficient evidence existed were necessary in exchanges between the two law officers. This was to prove a matter of contention in the

Ryan case

overcome the political offence obstacle the British government may be frustrated by the strict interpretation by the Irish 28 courts of the formalities and technicalities concerning extradition procedures. Some evidence of the difficulties and the different governmental emphases of what was required before ratification arose in December 1986. The Irish government stated that ratification could be delayed unless the Northern Ireland judicial system was reformed and Dukes, the Fine Gael Justice Minister, said that changes did not so far live up to those envisaged at the time of the agreement. He and Barry raised the three judge issue at the conference meeting of 8 December to which King responded with talk of 'great practical difficulties'. Subsequently it would become clear that the UK would not shift on this point; neither the government law officers nor the Northern Ireland judiciary were (see p. 209).

It is

possible that having

disposed towards a plurality of judges.

The

accession of

Haughey

as

Taoiseach

in

March 1987 threatened

further

complications given the existence of a pro-Republican lobby in Fianna Fail. At the end of March Haughey declared that the legislation prepared by Fine Gael would be examined to see if changes were necessary before it took effect in December 1987 and this review resulted in the Amendment Act. Throughout most of 1987 it appeared that the law would not be ratified by the appointed time as

Haughey remained

critical

of the administration of justice in the north 29

The Remembrance Day bombing at Enniskillen put pressure on the Irish government to ratify extradition arrangements. Kinnock told Haughey that ratification should not be linked to the quid pro quo of reforms in the north and King voiced governmental impatience although he did not directly link the two issues.

when he questioned

need for involving the Irish Attorney-General in the which formed part of the Amendment Act which went before the Dail in November 1987 and was narrowly passed. 30 The legislation was ratified in December 1987 and a year later the Dail approved a motion 95-57 making permanent the extradition procedures. These developments failed to repair relations between the two governments as Britain the

scrutinising of warrants

felt

the Republic placed

it

in a least

favoured position by unilaterally imposing

Conservatives:

A nglo -Irish Agreement to 1989 made

conditions which

extradition

more

209

difficult

while the Republic

ponsibility for difficulties lay with Britain for not

requests.

31

A series

and Glenholmes details,

felt

res-

making detailed enough

of failed extradition attempts, including the Burns, O'Reilly

due

cases,

to defective warrants or irregularities in procedural

increased tensions between the two governments and illustrated that the

Irish courts

tended to apply the

letter

of the law as the political offence exemption

narrowed.

new low

with the Ryan case in late 1988. Ryan, an Irish Belgium on suspicion of IRA involvement. Belgium priest, had been arrested in Britain and repatriated him to Ireland. Britain his extradition to had refused extradition from Ireland but this was initially refused due to his attempted Relations reached a

inaccuracies in the presentation of warrants, according to the Irish Attorney-

General

who

Murray,

incompetence.

32

In a

accused

Commons

the documentation sent by his office

The

his

was

Mayhew

of

December, Mayhew denied

that

British

statement of

1

counterpart

insufficient or improperly presented.

only difficulty he conceded was the omission of the date from the chief

clerk's certificate

which accompanied the warrants and

this oversight

was

promptly corrected. Ryan's extradition was refused on the 13 December on the

grounds that publicity

fair trial.

The

the implied criticism of British justice

of the safeguards included in the

The

and comments by Thatcher had government reacted angrily to and argued that such a reason was not one

in the British press

prejudiced the chances of a

British

amendment

to the Extradition Act.

case provoked Conservative backbench criticism of the Irish government

and of the agreement itself. Thatcher defended the

latter

and argued that it was a

channel through which to press the Irish to reform the extradition law. At the conference meeting of 14 December, King formally asked for a review of extradition procedures. In response,

Lenihan and Collins, the

Irish Justice

Labour had had proved inadequate and rarely used which was one reason why the British government had been eager to improve extradition arrangements as part of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. It can be argued that the storm over extradition was out of all proportion to its relevance and importance within the overall security policy of the government. Minister, urged greater use of extra-territorial legislation which also advocated.

However,

this legislation

Despite the presence in the Republic of 'known' terrorists,

if

extradition pro-

cedures worked faultlessly they would have had marginal significance on the

problem since most Republican extradition

seemed

to

ment, and especially

activists are based in the north. However, assume an almost symbolic importance. For the governfor some backbenchers and Unionists opposed to the

agreement, the litmus test of the Republic government's commitment to the anti-terrorist drive

was

ratifying legislation, the

willingness to facilitate extradition.

The

delay in

on this commitment. From the Irish standpoint, British and the prejudgement of Ryan smacked of the residual anti-Irish and

case threw doubt criticism

its

procedural niceties and Murray's statement in the Ryan

210

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

Together with other seemed to confirm to the Irish that the British government saw the Northern Ireland problem largely, if not solely, in security colonial mentality

which existed

insensitive decisions (see p. 217)

terms.

in British political circles.

it

33

The

security developments so far considered

had a continuity with those of

preceding administrations and the development of Anglo-Irish relations. By contrast there was also in this period a series of ad hoc responses to the failure of existing policy to deal with both the incidence of terrorism political

and well-entrenched

support for Sinn Fein. These measures were to reinforce the criticism by

government that the government was concerned essentially On 12 October 1987 the NIO published a discussion paper 'Elected Representatives and the Democratic Process in Northern Ireland'. This was a response to the problem posed by Sinn Fein participation in local councils since the winning of fifty-nine seats in 1985. Unionist councillors

Labour and the

Irish

with the security dimension.

had complained of the inconsistency, not to say hypocrisy, of the government which expected Northern Ireland representatives to discharge functions in the council chambers with Sinn Fein members when it refused to meet them itself. Also, the government was concerned that elected representatives were free to express generalised support for Republican violence;

support would have

but in practice

The paper

made

council

this legislation

members

liable to

more

specific soliciting of

prosecution under the

considered four responses: proscription of Sinn Fein, an oath of

allegiance, extended disqualification for prospective council

members

convicted

of offences and a declaration eschewing violence as a condition of taking

The

EPA

was seldom used.

paper's preferred option was for the declaration.

incorporated into the Elected Authorities (NI)

Bill

The

office.

proposals were

which received

its

second

December 1988. Since the publication of the discussion paper pressure had mounted for new initiatives following the violence of summer 1988 and in particular the bombing of a coach of troops near Ballygawley. Clauses 1 reading on 5

and 2 of the

Bill dealt

with the extension of the district council franchise to

include categories excluded under 1962 legislation; these included citizens of the

who were not commonwealth citizens and 3-7 contained the details of the Declaration. It was to cover candidates for assembly and district council elections and those co-opted to fill casual vacancies. If elected, members: 'will not express support Irish

Republic resident in the North

the wives of servicemen. Clauses

for or approval of proscribed organisations or acts of terrorism

.

.

.

connected

with the affairs of Northern Ireland'. Clause 6 defined behaviour which would constitute a breach of the declaration. five

years disqualification

if

It was on application

to

be a

to the

offence with a penalty of

civil

High Court

a

breach of the

declaration were upheld.

The

Bill

provoked much

criticism. Unionists

wanted

offence with prosecution the responsibility of the

onus on councillors

to bring cases

a

breach made a criminal

DPP. A

and put themselves

civil

at risk

offence put the

from republican

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

211

attacks. Labour considered the proposals flawed on several grounds. The Bill would be exploited by Sinn Fein for propaganda as an attack on free speech and it was unnecessary since incitement to violence and support for terrorism were already criminal offences and it would place the judiciary in an invidious position. Marshall, the Labour shadow spokesman, believed it would be ineffective since Sinn Fein would be happy to sign the declaration while supporting IRA activity and he accused the government of presenting ill-conceived legislation because of the need to be seen to be doing something. McNamara denounced the proposals as misconceived, futile, unnecessary and likely to strengthen the paramilitary

case.

Labour's opposition was mitigated by

its

approval for the clauses of the Bill

An amendment to oppose the was defeated and Labour abstained on the second reading which was carried by 274 votes to 41 The third reading on 26 January 1989 received a majority of 98-21 with opposition from Northern

extending the

district

council

franchise.

declaration but to support the other clauses

.

Ireland that

members; Nationalists opposing the declaration and Unionists angered

breach of it was not to be made a criminal offence.

must be concluded that the Act, like proscription clauses in emergency was largely presentational. It indicated the government's distaste for Sinn Fein rather than being a practical attempt to deal with problems in district councils. The lack of concern shown by Sinn Fein, the vagueness of the declaration and the refusal to involve its own law officers indicate that the legislation would be of limited worth. A second measure aimed at curtailing publicity for the Republican cause was the broadcasting ban on Sinn Fein announced in October 1988. Some commentators have detected the increased influence of the Prime Minister in Northern Ireland policy in this period which provoked intra-governmental tensions. To formulate responses to Sinn Fein and the IRA, she utilised a highly restricted ministerial committee to push through her preferred options which provoked differences with Hurd, the Home Secretary, who had reservations It

legislation,

about the measures.

34

BBC and IB A from broadcasting direct statements by representatives of proscribed organisations, Sinn Fein, Republican Sinn Fein, and the UDA and also by persons whose statements supported or invited support for these organisations. This action was justified, Hurd argued, because such statements were offensive to viewers and terrorists drew support and sustenance from such broadcasts. On 2 November a motion was presented to the Commons to approve the October directive. Hurd enlarged on his earlier statement by arguing that TV and radio access by supporters of violence spread fear and the media were being used to deliver indirect threats. As a concession to balance, the ban on direct reporting would be lifted for the duration of election campaigns and in parliamentary proceedings. Hattersley, Labour's Home Affairs spokesman, moved an On

19 October

requiring

them

Hurd

to refrain

issued a notice to the chairmen of the

212

British

amendment not

government policy

to support the restrictions

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

on the grounds

were

that they

incompatible with a free society and likely to assist rather than frustrate terrorists

who would

find

them

to

be a propaganda coup.

The government

position

was

untenable; the fact that such broadcasts caused public offence was insufficient

ban and the claim that it would help to defeat terrorism was absurd. Other Labour speakers saw the genesis of the measure in a combination of Thatcher's authoritarian instinct and the ill-conceived policy of being seen to be doing something - the illusion of activity. This was echoed by two Conservative members, Townsend and Shepherd, who considered the measures illiberal and hasty. The illiberal aspect was reinforced as the ban applied to all subjects, not only terrorism, if the speaker represented one of the affected organisations. The Labour amendment was defeated 244-183 and the main question, approving the Home Secretary's action, was carried 243 votes to 179. The third of the ad hoc measures announced in the second half of 1988 was the restriction of the suspect's right to silence. The initial announcement by King in October 1988 of forthcoming legislation provoked criticism as it occurred in the middle of a trial of three persons accused of conspiracy to murder the Secretary of State. This prompted the judge to remind the jury that it should not justification for a

take the proposal into consideration

when reaching

its

verdict. Introducing the

Criminal Evidence (NI) Order 1988 on 8 November King stated that the right of silence

was not

to

be removed but the courts would be allowed:

'in certain

draw such inferences as would be proper from 35 an accused's silence'. Under the existing law the judge in a Diplock court must direct himself that he may not draw inferences from an accused's silence even

carefully defined circumstances to

when an innocent person may

reasonably be expected to protest his/her

innocence or provide evidence in support of establishing his/her innocence.

King attempted to bolster this change by invoking a recommendation of the Criminal Law Review Committee 1972. This was somewhat undermined by Labour and Democrat claims that this report was generally discredited and the fact that the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure 1981 had recommended no change to the right to silence at police stations and in the courtroom. The change was further justified in light of the 'deliberate and extreme exploitation' of the present position by suspects trained to refuse to answer questions and had to

be the

set against the

EPA

background of increased protection of suspects'

rights

under

1987.

Four circumstances were outlined in which the judge would be permitted to draw inferences from the suspect's silence: first, if the suspect offered an explanation at

trial

when

it

might have been given

at the initial

questioning;

must be warned he will be called to give evidence and if he refuses the court may draw such inferences as would appear proper; third, if the accused refuses to explain to second,

if the

prosecution established there

is

a case to answer, the accused

the police specific details (such as marks on clothing); and fourth,

refuses to account for his/her presence at a particular place.

if the

accused

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

213

Labour opposition reflected its criticism of the other measures considered The government was accused of political bankruptcy and over-reliance on short-term legal measures. Specific to this legislation were claims of government inconsistency. It was trying both to argue that the change was necessary to deal with the problem of paramilitary activity and that it was not an exceptional measure as it was later to be extended to England and Wales. Also, the evidence of the need for change was questionable. None had been published and the government position was based on anecdotal evidence provided by the RUC and the Northern Ireland judiciary. Opposition to the Order also came from the Democrats and some Conservative members; one of whom Lawrence considered it nonsense to claim that the right to silence was one of the most important obstacles to securing convictions. An additional concern was voiced by Fraser, a Labour member. The lack of juries, the frequent lack of access to a solicitor in the first forty-eight hours of detention and the absence of a duty solicitor meant that the safeguards for suspects in Northern Ireland were weaker than for those in England and Wales and such a change would add to this above.

among members of its own party about the common-law right, the government won approval for

disadvantage. Despite disquiet

erosion of a long-standing the

Order by 274 votes

The Order

to

210 with Labour and the

SLD opposing.

reflected the authoritarian drift of the

sented the latest in a long series of attempts to

government and repre-

make

easier the securing of

had been of primary importance since the move away from internment in the early 1970s and the frequent lack of other evidence or witnesses to help secure convictions. Physical and verbal abuse of suspects had largely stopped after the revelations of the Bennett Report in 1978 and the 'supergrass' strategy of the early 1980s had run its course. The new Order prompted speculation that its provisions could facilitate the re-emergence of 'supergrass' use as the accused's silence could be used as corroboration for other evidence such as 'supergrass' statements. It had been a feature of the 'supergrass' trial that the majority of those who did not confess had exercised their convictions. Confessions

right to silence.

36

The upsurge

IRA

and the responses detailed above brought the The government had ruled it out in June 1988 but it was subsequently discussed at a meeting of Thatcher, King, Hermon (Chief Constable of the RUC) and Walters (GOC in Northern Ireland) on 20 August and at an emergency meeting between Thatcher and King at Downing Street on 24 August. Despite support for internment from the Northern Ireland Police Federation, Unionist MPs and some Conservatives, the balance of forces was against it. The opposition of all sections of the nationalist population, one of the original problems, was a major factor and Haughey was most unlikely to introduce it in the Republic. This was of significance since Hermon and Doherty, the Commissioner of the Gardai, felt it would only be 37 effective if simultaneously introduced on both sides of the border. A third of

activity

question of internment back on the agenda.

214

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

problem was that of the international damage to Britain's reputation as internment would undoubtedly be presented by Republicans as evidence of further repression. Supporters of internment argued that better intelligence would prevent the mistakes of 1971 being repeated and while this is probably correct the three factors above held good and were sufficient to marginalise the option of internment. Following the discussions of August, relatively few changes were made at an operational level. Troop reinforcements and changes in the rules of engagement for security forces were ruled out; one change was that the S AS was to take a more prominent role in surveillance replacing the RUC in dangerous areas.

38

As well

as security legislation the other crucial part of the equation in defeating

terrorism was the improvement in community/police relations and improve-

ments in the administration of justice. These were topics frequently raised by the Irish government at the conference and seen as the key to long-term improvements in the north. In the review of May 1989, the Northern Ireland Office outlined advances made in this area. These included efforts to increase RUC recruitment from the minority community, RUC accompaniment of any army patrol likely to come into contact with the public, a new RUC code of conduct, 'Professional Policing Ethics', published in April 1988, improved structures involving the district councils to develop a widely representative group of policecommunity liaison committees and new procedures introduced by the army to expedite responses to complaints concerning allegations of misbehaviour by members of the armed forces. The major reform was the introduction of an Independent Commission for Police Complaints (ICPC) in the Police (NI) Order of May 1987. This was the culmination of a NIO consultative paper of April 1985 which set out proposals taking account of the changes contained in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in England and Wales. As in the provisions of that Act, investigation of complaints was to remain with the police. The Northern Ireland Police Authority was to undertake investigation of senior officers and Chief Inspector of Constabulary was to appoint investigating officers for lower ranks. The main responsibilities of the ICPC were as follows. It had the power to require that the investigator in cases of lower ranks was to come from another police force. The Chief Constable was required to refer to the commission all complaints requiring formal investigation for it to monitor, and it was also to have a monitoring role in minor complaints and a discretionary power of supervision in non-complaint matters. The Secretary of State and the Police Authority were given the reserve power to refer to the commission for mandatory supervision investigation of a matter which affected the public interest even if it was not the subject of a formal complaint. This last provision was specific to Northern Ireland, as was that allowing the presentation of a complaint by a third party with the verbal agreement of the complainant. The Order establishing the ICPC abolished the Police Complaints Board

HM

Conservatives:

A nglo -Irish Agreement to 1989

215

which had been set up under the Police (NI) Order 1976 and repealed the clause in the Police Act (NI) 1970 which provided for the establishment of a tribunal to consider any complaint appearing to affect the public interest. This power had only been exercised once and the government decided to include such authority within the remit of the ICPC. The Order was approved 79-13 with Labour abstaining.

Although

in principle the

reforms detailed above marked an improvement in

it is questionable whether they would have much practical effect in improving police-community relations. To a large degree these depended upon the attitude of the police 'on the ground' and,

the monitoring of the police and security forces,

with respect to the complaints system, the willingness of junior ranks to cooperate in investigations. Both of these factors were largely beyond the scope of legislative intervention. Additionally, the fact that the investigation

of complaints

government rejecting an independent scheme as impractical, gave rise to the question of whether complaints would be as vigorously investigated as possible. Much would depend on the tenacity and will of the remained with the

police, the

ICPC. Reservations about the effectiveness of the

new

provisions, the

ICPC

formally established at the end of February 1988, were echoed by the its

thirteenth report.

power

39

being

SACHR in

There were four main criticisms. First, the ICPC had no but was dependent on the requests of the

to request formal investigations

Police Authority, Secretary of State or the Chief Constable. Second,

it should be and have the authority to appoint its own personnel as additional investigators and not necessarily be restricted to the supervision of an investigation conducted by a police officer. Third, there was no power conferred on the ICPC to require the disclosure of evidence. Failure by a police officer to provide evidence should be made a

involved in

all

stages of investigations in appropriate cases

specific offence in the

RUC

the arrangements too

complex and

disciplinary code. Fourth, the

SACHR considered

difficult for the public easily to

and concluded that the new system might not go

far

enough

understand

in securing public

support.

The Public Order (NI) Order 1987, like other legislation, contained elements which improved individual rights and curtailed others. The positive aspects of Order included the repeal of the Flags and Emblems Act (NI) 1954 which This legislation had long been criticised by the SACHR, the Irish Republic and the Nationalist community. The law concerning incitement to hatred was strengthened as the original legislation of 1970 had been singularly ineffective. 40 Less attractive features included restrictions on the rights of demonstration and procession although this restriction has to be seen in the context of the intimidatory nature of certain Northern Ireland 41 marches. Reflecting the provisions of the Public Order Act 1986, the police

the

restricted the display of the tricolour.

had

to

be given seven days notice concerning the routing of marches.

Two

supplementary powers were included for Northern Ireland: notice had to be

216

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

given for processions or marches customarily held in a particular area or along a

and the Secretary of State was empowered to ban a procession in consequence of information provided by the Chief Constable or for any other

particular route

reason.

The

'catch alP nature of this provision indicates the potential for the

consolidation of executive power and the erosion of civil liberties. In the context

of Northern Ireland, such legislation could not be divorced from the

territorial

was the community which suffered from the intimidatory nature of such marches, especially in Portadown, and the principal opposition to the Order came from unionists who perceived it to be an attack on their traditional rights. The Order was presented in March 1987 and Labour, despite supporting elements in it, were to oppose the Order. Soley and Bell outlined three problems. First, asking the RUC to define the circumstances in which processions could be banned would put them in the position of making political decisions. Second, excessive power was being invested in the state at the expense of individual rights. Third, given the important implications of the legislation it should have been presented in the form of a Bill to permit more lengthy considerations of the clauses. The motion to approve was passed 160 votes to 106. It has been stressed that both the drift of legislation and particular incidents, such as the Ryan case and the early release of a soldier convicted of murder, claims of the two communities symbolised in marching. In general,

it

Nationalist

strained Anglo-Irish relations in this period with

spent in their attempted restoration. affair'

What

is

had perhaps the most serious implications

of the security forces. Stalker,

much

conference time being

commonly known

as the 'Stalker

for confidence in the operation

42

Deputy Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester

Police,

appointed to lead an inquiry into the shooting of seven unarmed men,

whom died, by the RUC in three separate incidents in Ireland

RUC

DPP, prompted Hermon

accounts of events and in

Manchester, invited Stalker review of

was

six

of

1982. Shaw, the Northern

an inquiry following concerns over 1984 Anderton, the Chief Constable of

to instigate

May

to lead

it.

It

seems

that

Hermon

expected a general

RUC operations and Stalker was consistently obstructed in attempts to

recover a tape which would help to establish the sequence of events and whether a police warning had been given before the shooting of two youths in a hay shed which the RUC suspected contained hidden arms. In September 1985 Stalker

RUC headquarters recommending prosecution of RUC officers without having had access to the tape or a transcript which

presented an interim report to eleven

Hermon

DPP was to order otherwise. In February 1986, on DPP instructed Hermon to allow Stalker access to the

refused unless the

receiving the report, the

tape. Just prior to collecting

it

Stalker was sent

on 'extended

leave'

pending an

inquiry into alleged misconduct and possible disciplinary proceedings arising

from

his

conduct as Deputy Chief Constable.

Stalker's removal inevitably

prompted speculation about

'dirty tricks'

and

conspiracy theories. Stalker believed that his removal from duty and subsequent

Conservatives:

A nglo -Irish Agreement to 1989

217

suspension from duty were 'wholly connected' with the Northern Ireland investigations with the objective of delaying the final report.

43

The

triviality

of the

changes brought and his re-instatement in August 1986 give some credence to his claim and he stresses the timing of his removal and the start of serious inquiries into his alleged misconduct did not begin until he

clearance to have access to the tape. Taylor, in his book on the

had received counters the

affair,

conspiracy theory by arguing that as the inquiry was to continue under the same

terms there was nothing to be gained by whichever party (the

government) was involved in the removal of Stalker. be postulated against Taylor.

It

44

may have been thought

RUC

at a

Anglo-Irish Agreement. Police Authority and

time

when

it

The impact

was

or the

reasons can

that the successor to

Stalker might have been less thorough and stubborn and/or that to protect the

RUC

Two possible it

was necessary

to bear the brunt of hostility to the

of disciplinary procedures, involving the

Home Office officials, and the effect on RUC morale could

have been disastrous.

45

Sampson, the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, took over the inquiry in June 1986 and presented his report to Shaw in March 1987. It found evidence of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and obstruction of the police investigation into the circumstances of the shootings and recommended criminal charges be brought against officers. On 25 January 1988 the Attorney-General announced in a Commons statement that the Northern Ireland DPP had decided that no further prosecutions should be brought in cases where charges of murder had already been brought. Four prosecutions for murder had been brought against RUC officers following the 1982 shootings and all had been cleared. Despite evidence of the commission of offences relating to perverting the course of justice no criminal proceedings were to be instituted since it would not be in the public interest or the interests of national security. It was this decision that provoked a bitter response from the Irish Republic and Labour as the AttorneyGeneral did not dispute that evidence existed that there had been attempts to pervert the course of justice. There was still the possibility of disciplinary action and Hermon had invited Charles Kelly, the Chief Constable of Staffordshire, to consider whether, and if so what, charges should be brought against junior officers.

On

26 January the

Irish

government requested a special meeting of the

Anglo-Irish Conference to discuss the decision not to prosecute, given the grave implications for public confidence in the administration of justice. This meeting

took place on 2 February following Haughey's expression of anger that the

Republic had not been consulted over, or had prior warning

of,

the Attorney-

GeneraPs decision. King was apparently unprepared to disclose to the Irish government what national security interests lay behind the decision and admitted Anglo-Irish relations were at their worst since the signing of the agreement.

46

Attempts to repair relations continued at an informal meeting held between King and Stanley, Minister for State, and Burke and Collins, respectively the Irish

218

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

Ministers for Energy and Justice, held on 10 February and between Thatcher

and Haughey

at a fringe

meeting of a European summit on 12 February.

Haughey described Thatcher's response

47

and it became clear government was not prepared to reconsider the decision. Labour's response included a call for an emergency debate on the Stalker/ Sampson report which was rejected, as was the demand for a judicial inquiry made in mid February. A motion from Irish representatives in the European as unsatisfactory

that the British

parliament condemning the decision not to prosecute was approved by 181 votes to 51.

The government tried

to defuse the situation

by arguing that the decision was

taken by a judicial figure and one independent of the executive. Therefore, the decision was not a governmental one. This defence provoked since

it

was unlikely

that

some scepticism

such a sensitive issue would have been decided upon

political involvement and the fact the government specifically denied Prime Ministerial pressure on the Attorney- General inclines one to think it protested too much. The separation of the executive and legal officers argument is rather tenuous given the close relation between the DDP and the AttorneyGeneral, the latter being a political appointee, and the government's eagerness to complain to the Irish government when Irish courts throw out extradition 48 warrants. The reasons why the government was prepared to risk a breakdown in relations with the Irish government over the issue can only be speculated upon but three factors may be of relevance. First, the morale of the RUC would have been further damaged by prosecutions. Second, if the government had sanctioned 'dirty tricks' it had to prevent further disclosures by invoking the national security argument. Third, the Northern Ireland Office which was more attuned to Irish sensibilities was largely marginalised in the post-report

without

developments.

49

Three subsequent

inquiries

appointed McLachlan,

emerged from the Stalker/Sampson

report.

King

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, to review RUC pro-

cedures and practices and the role and responsibility of special branch. In

February King announced that Kelly would head an inquiry into the

RUC

activities

of

below the rank of chief superintendent and the Police Authority would consider possible disciplinary charges against officers above this rank. At the end of June 1988 the Police Authority, by a majority of one, decided that no officers

disciplinary proceedings should be instituted against officers

had

criticised the

behaviour.

The

Hermon and two

chief

concerning accusations of obstructionism during the inquiry. Sampson

The

following

conduct of

Irish

Hermon

but did not find evidence of criminal

government expressed disappointment over the decision.

week Kelly recommended

that disciplinary charges be brought

against twenty lower ranking officers which this resulted in eighteen

Hermon

accepted. In

March 1989

reprimands and one caution.

The capacity for security-force activity to cause disquiet among the Nationalist population, the Irish government and

civil

libertarians

was maintained not only by

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

the Gibraltar shootings of IRA

members of

in March 1988 which had echoes of the 1982 shootings but also by the suspected

members

'shoot-to-kih" controversy of the

collusion of

219

the security forces with loyalist paramilitaries. In

names and and the implication of UDR involvement in assassinations. Individual members of the UDR had been involved in sectarian attacks before and these developments raised the possibility of more widespread malpractice. On 5 October the longest meeting to date of the Intergovernmental Conference ended with Brooke, the Secretary of State, rejecting the Irish government call for a comprehensive review of the UDR and reaffirming its important role in Northern Ireland security. Annesley, Chief Constable of the RUC, invited John Stevens, Deputy Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, to head an inquiry into the leaks which is still progressing at the September and October 1989 there were photomontages of Republican suspects from

time of writing.

a series of leaks of

RUC

stations

50

Economic policy

The government's economic policy was largely characterised by an attempt to exploit the gains made since the depth of the early 1980s recession. The development agencies were trying to move away from large-scale investment and failures of DeLorean

and Lear Fan, Development 51 Board (IDB) medium-term strategy for 1985-90 outlined this policy and highlighted the following points. Increased emphasis was to be placed upon the marketing and export of goods and services. Financial incentives were to be simplified and streamlined with assistance concentrated on research and development and marketing rather than capital investment. The IDB was to attempt to be more pro-active; client companies were to be invited to work with IDB executives not only on financial negotiations but also to develop overall strategies for the future. To facilitate these developments the IDB was to appoint development executives with responsibility for specific sectors. The policy was summarised thus: 'the IDB believes that its selection of, and concentration on, sectors and sub-sectors with real market potential for Northern Ireland must be one of the main planks in its strategy'. 52 In the section on home industry the above points were reiterated and new initiatives were outlined for rescue operations. Monitoring was to be improved to catch companies in difficulty earlier, the supply of rescue specialists was to be improved and new sources of private funds were to be utilised where possible if rescues were to be pursued. To facilitate marketing, perceived as one of the weak points of Northern Ireland industry, a Marketing Advisory Group was established to improve dialogue between the IDB and the business community, to address the marketing needs of local companies and to improve education and training in marketing. Efforts to reduce reliance on imports included the

the 'rescue' function, having learnt

and

to

from the

develop the sectors with growth potential.

The

Industrial

220

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

preparation of a products data base to provide companies with information

concerning locally produced goods and services to encourage government bodies to

purchase local goods.

Commitment was

reaffirmed to inward investment and four initiatives were

was to be improved which would concentrate funds in which Northern Ireland strengths could be matched or which would fill a gap in the province's industrial infrastructure. Second, emphasis would be placed on complete investment packages including research and development, financial assistance and personnel and market research. Third, priority was to be given to companies locating key back-up functions along with manufacturing facilities. This was an attempt to avoid the 'branch plant syndrome' from which Northern Ireland suffered in which only manufacturing outposts were established which were prone to contraction in times of recession. The fourth point related to geographical targetting: investment from Europe and Canada had been disappointing so Japan and Hong Kong representation was to be strengthened as potentially expanding sources of investment. The third main section of the report concerned the review of incentive schemes and four reforms were proposed. First, the packages available needed to be simplified. The IDB included grants for more than twenty separate purposes and others were administered by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Economic Development and the European Community. Second, the Corporation Tax Relief Grant, which allowed a refund of up to 80% for job creation projects was to be revised to make it more competitive vis-a-vis the Republic of Ireland's incentive of a 10% ceiling on corporation tax. Third, a new scheme of marketing development grants providing support for ten marketing activities was to be introduced in response to criticisms that the IDB had been too orientated towards fixed-cost investment to the detriment of improved marketing. Fourth, miscellaneous changes included the simplification and improvement of procedures to reduce the time and cost of processing grant applications and the introduction of flexibility in incentive packages to make them detailed. First, 'targetting'

sectors to

tailored

more towards

service industries.

Both the constraints of government spending and the previous experience of collapses dictated that the IDB strategy was geared more to low-cost support and advice to existing companies than to large-scale industrial investment. This was prompted by evidence that Northern Ireland companies were relatively poor at developing export potential necessary given such a limited home market and would generally benefit from improved research and development and marketing. Specialist incentives were offered in opto-electronics, advanced manufacturing technology, microprocessor applications, industrial robots and software development to encourage both the development of hi-tech industries and the use of technology in business generally. In evidence to the Public Accounts

of the

IDB

Committee

revealed the changing emphasis of

in

1989

IDB

53

the Chief Executive

operations. In the period

Conservatives:

A nglo -Irish Agreement to 1989

1982-4 many of

221

operations were geared to helping companies survive in a

its

period of recession whereas in 1987-8

some 80-90% of

projects considered

were concerned with the promotion and creation of new employment. What is difficult to gauge is whether this relative recovery reflected the increased effectiveness of the Northern Ireland development agencies or the knock-on effect of the relative improvement in the UK economy. As far as inward investment was concerned, it remained a generally unrewarding area due largely to the image problem of Northern Ireland. However, it was not possible to ignore this

employment given the inability of home-generated investment to reduce significantly the rate of unemployment. Figures for jobs promoted from new inward investment projects were 224, 415 and 867 for the years 1985-6, 1986-7 and 1987-8 respectively which indicates the marginal contri-

potential source of

bution of this sector.

By

54

number of foreign

firms investing in Northern Ireland since American and the IDB retained offices in New York, San Francisco and Boston and a presence via consular offices in Cleveland, Chicago and Los Angeles. The greatest growth potential appeared to be in the Far East, reflected in the opening of an IDB office in Seoul in 1987 although by April 1989 only a total of four companies from Japan, Hong Kong and Korea had invested in 55 Northern Ireland with two subsequent closures. Although the main trends in IDB activity can be adduced it is difficult to assess far the largest

the early 1970s were

the effectiveness of its operations.

was

It

appears the ill-conceived allocations of large

and to that extent procedures and had improved. In the 1985 plan the IDB states that, once it had been reorganised along sectoral lines, one of the long-term performance indicators would be 'aggregate sectoral employment over time, related to IDB funds deployed'. The development of costs per job year would be the ideal standard measure although the IDB admitted problems and imprecisions in arriving at these figures. The number of jobs promoted per year had been used as a yardstick and cited by government but this is a somewhat flawed criterion. Promotions negotiated with a company when an incentive package was offered did not always result in actual jobs and it is difficult to assess how realistic job promotion targets were so the significance of a shortfall or exceeding of targets is consequently limited. Bearing these factors in mind, the IDB target for 1985-6 was 5,750 with 2,910 created, 4,187 created in 1986-7, 5,300 in 1987-8 after a target of 5,000 and 4,492 created in the first nine months of 1988-9. 56 With respect to the sectoral allocation of IDB money, over one-third of its budget between 1985-6 and 1987-8 was devoted to the textile industry which had experienced a revival monies

to risky projects

a thing of the past

strategies

among the slower improvement in manufacturing generally. General government concern with value for money and incentives

was reflected

in the reduction in the rate

the targetting of

of the standard capital grant

20% to 12.5% in November 1987. Viggers, Minister with responsibility for Economic Development, stated that the system of automatic grants had two from

British government polity in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

222 principal disadvantages.

It

did not take into account the question of the rela-

tionship between investment and jobs created, and had a possible displacement effect in placing competitors of those in possession of standard capital grants at a

March 1988 the General Assistance Grants Order 1988 repealed Part IV of the Industrial Development (NI) Order 1982 and abolished standard capital grants. The problems of displacement and deadweight (i.e. subsidising investment which would have been made anyway) were accepted by Labour who were not to oppose in light of disadvantage in local markets. In (Abolition) (NI)

the other support measures available.

Trends within the Local Enterprise Development Unit (LEDU), the industrial

support agency with responsibility for small firms, mirrored those of the

IDB. The

policy adopted in the early 1980s of expanded support for service was continued and emphasis was placed as much on back-up facilities as solely on financial support. By the nature of the size of companies supported, large numbers of job promotions were not feasible and the viability and likely longevity of employment were important factors. Such selectivity was reinforced by four basic criteria employed by LEDU in consideration of support. One of the following normally had to be fulfilled to gain backing: the product had to satisfy a local market need, had to be genuinely innovative in opening up a new market, displace imports into Northern Ireland or have the potential for providing exports. These reflected the problem of displacement as with the grants system; if LEDU funding only transfered jobs from one part of the province to another there was little rationale to it. Consequently grants were available for consultant costs to establish feasibility in exporting and developing market share and to promote quality development following reports which unfavourably compared the Northern Ireland small57 business sector with that of south-east England and Wales. To encourage research into the problems of small businesses and to act as a forum for advice, the Northern Ireland Small Business Institute was set up in 1985 with joint academic and commercial membership. The Local Enterprise Programme, administered by LEDU, reflected government favour for low cost support schemes rather than simply throwing money at recipients. Initiated in late 1983, the programme aimed to establish enterprise agencies in each of the twenty-six district council areas. Their function was basically two-fold; to provide start-up units in the form of vacant industrial premises or by financing the construction of purpose-built units and to advise on business plans, accounting and other specialist needs for companies. Up to 50% of funding was to be provided by LEDU and the remainder from the client companies. By 1989 twenty-four enterprise agencies were operational providing accommodation and common services to over five hundred small businesses employing nearly a thousand

industries

people.

The move

towards high tech and service sectors was confirmed

1988 when the

LEDU

announced plans

in

February

for job expansions having identified

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

223

These included computer software, advanced teleto promote exports, promotion of business and leisure/tourist facilities. This expansion was to be facilitated by

areas of potential growth.

communications, use of franchising services

government approval of a 30% increase in staffing levels in December 1986. Further expansion was envisaged in a five-year corporate plan, 'The Single Market and Beyond' launched in 1989 which planned for ten thousand job promotions annually by 1994 and the replacement of the area panel structure by a new system of local forums to improve linkages with local enterprises. Job promotions for the years 1985-6, 1986-7, 1987-8 and 1988-9 were 4,381, 4,543, 4,570 and 5,004 respectively and funding from the Department of

Economic Development

in

1988-9 stood

at

£26.56

million.

Food, engineering,

general manufacturing and services accounted for approximately 3,400 of the jobs promoted.

58

The parameters of the two development agencies'

strategies were reflected in, Department of Economic Development's 'Pathfinder' report entitled 'Building a Stronger Economy' which was published in July 1987. Six task forces had been established to consider topics including attitudes to enterprise, competitiveness, exports and the better utilisation of public funds. The aim was to reduce the economy's dependence on public subsidy since this had the effect of both blunting entrepreneurial skills and 'crowding out' better business judgments. Ways to mitigate such problems included the more selective use of grants (as reflected in the later abolition of SCGs) and the encouragement of private financial-sector contributions to economic development. The logic of this dictated indigenous private -sector growth as the motor of any revival in Northern Ireland and in particular the self-employed sector. This in turn would help to diversify the economic base of the province which had historically been over-reliant on a few key industries. The second important strand of government policy towards economic revival and the problem of unemployment was the use of job creation, retraining and self-employment schemes. These were part of general UK policy although Northern Ireland had its own schemes. Action for Community Employment (ACE) was the most important; its principal role being to provide low-cost community-based jobs for the long-term unemployed. The average number of ACE posts for the period was 3,890 (1985-6), 6,147 (1986-7), 6,200 (1987-8) and 8,670 for 1988-9 with expenditure increasing from approximately £18 million to £37 million over this period and the cost per job created rising from £4,560 to a projected £5,000 by 1990. The problem with the ACE scheme was that it generally lacked a training element, having been introduced as a low-cost response to rapidly increasing unemployment in the early 1980s. This feature had been criticised inter alia by the Northern Ireland Assembly Economic Development Committee. The criteria governing ACE were outlined by Viggers in November 1987: 'priority is given to projects which provide services for disadvantaged groups, those which promote permanent employment, and projects in areas where the level of ACE

and influenced

by, the

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 96 9-89

224 provision

is

lower than the local incidence of long-term unemployment would

59

To overcome the problem of dependency and the limited duration of ACE positions an enterprise pilot scheme was introduced in May 1987 to

warrant'.

move from ACE schemes into self-employmenf. The second job scheme was the longer-established Enterprise Ulster (EU). EU had been under review throughout the 1980s and in 1983 was extended for three years. In May 1986 Rhodes-Boyson, Minister with responsibility for Economic Development, announced its extension for a further five years subject to periodic reviews. The principal reason for its continued review was its expense in terms of cost-per-job relative to the ACE scheme and the five-year extension was subject to a reduction in average costs. The numbers employed on EU schemes were 1,100 (1985-6), 1,174 (1986-7), 1,383 (1987-8) 1,400 (1988-9) and 1,080 the projected figure for 1989-90. Costs per job over this period ranged between just under £6,000 and £6,400. With a third of the ACE budget, future trends would seem to indicate the relative insignificance of EU in combating unemployment. Miscellaneous schemes included a new manpower training initiative introduced in June 1986 aimed at providing technical skills for those companies trading in external markets and two aimed at young people. The Youth Training Programme was extended in 1987 to guarantee places for all 17-year olds and a pilot scheme for employer-based training of 18- to 25 -year olds was launched with public funds. The Enterprise Allowance Scheme, operating as in Britain, had helped approximately six hundred people to found their own businesses by facilitate the

creation

1988. In 1988 the Youth Training

Programme budget was £34

million out of a total

of £116 million allocated to a variety of training and employment measures.

Training was decentralised with a host of groups and agencies involved administration including the centres, the

management

Manpower

in its

Services Commission, twelve training

training unit, eight industrial training boards with

and a system of training grants allocated by the Department of Economic Development. In April 1988 a government discussion responsibility for specific sectors

paper advocated a single organisation

was

to administer vocational training

arguing

and a sluggishness in responding to the demands of technological change. In September the DED published further proposals which promoted opposition from the sectoral training boards which feared loss of autonomy and an over-centralised system. The projects and mechanisms detailed above operated on a province-wide basis. The government also attempted to target areas as with urban policy in Britain. In July 1987 the DED announced a £10 million package to tackle the multiple problems of West Belfast entitled 'Making Belfast Work'. It included additional factory development, 500 more ACE jobs, an extra £500,000 for LEDU to supplement the five local enterprise agencies already operating in the area and various environmental schemes. The policy had similarities with British urban strategy in that it emphasised local community initiatives and that public that there

a lack of co-ordination in directing resources

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

225

funding should be only part of the answer, acting as a catalyst for further private -sector activity.

The scheme was

not without

its critics.

The

financial

problems of the area and compared unfavourably with the costs of the prestigious Laganside development and the commitment to community involvement took second place to an attempt to allocation

was small

in relation to the

channel funding via acceptable agencies such as the Catholic Church and away

from those with republican connections.

60

Enterprise Zones (EZs), as in the rest of the localised regeneration.

UK, were

further examples of

Two sites had been designated in Belfast in October 1981

September 1983. In 1988 the Department of the Environa report 'An Evaluation of the Enterprise Zone Experiment in Northern Ireland' prepared by a team of Cambridge University economists. As argued in a previous chapter the employment stimulation capacity of the EZs was limited and the report endorsed this. Of 7,300 jobs located in the zones, it was estimated that about 1,600 (16%) were net additional jobs in the zones themselves. Some more jobs were created in the local area from linkage effects associated with additional activity centred on the zone. However, 'for the and one

in

Derry

in

ment (NI) published

Province as a whole, the estimate of the negligible.

number of

net additional jobs

is

A small number of jobs have resulted from the zone policy working to

enhance the creation of new firms, but 61 from elsewhere in the Province'.

in general jobs

However, there were other gains from the panies which had been surveyed stated that significant in their operations.

It

also

on the zones have come

EZ strategy. About 50% of comEZ assistance had been crucial or

had the

effect of stimulating the property

market and focusing attention on areas which had previously been largely by-passed by economic regeneration or infrastructural development. Between 1981 and 1987 relief, capital

total

expenditure on

EZs was £16.1

million

composed of

rate

allowances, public infrastructure and land acquisition by public

agencies. Discounting expenditure

designation, the figure

is

which would have occurred without

EZ

£10.7 million which represents a cost per additional job

created of £9,200.

The report used two basic criteria to evaluate the EZ programme. One was the maintenance the

of,

or addition

contribution to

the

to,

economic

physical

activity

and employment, and the other

regeneration

of areas - environmental,

and in the property market. It would seem that the contribution of the EZ scheme lay principally in the latter area. It should be noted the report observed that Northern Ireland EZs performance did not appear to compare favourably with those in Great Britain although it was not possible to produce one single measure of relative performance. infrastructural

Urban projects also benefited from EC funding, principally through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which funded infrastructural development and industrial support schemes and the European Social Fund (ESF) which sponsored employment and retraining schemes. In 1977 Northern

226

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

Ireland had been designated as one of five priority regions for

EC regional policy

and support from the ERDF was £16.9 million, £18.4 million, £23.2 million and £45.9 million for the years 1984-5, 1985-6, 1986-7 and 1987-8 respectively. ESF funding was £37.96 million, £24.96 million, £53.31 million and £57.89 million for the same period. Additionally, £57.9 million was granted from a 62 special urban renewal for Belfast projects. A second source of external funding was the International Fund for Ireland, established after the 1985 agreement, to which the USA, Canada, New Zealand and the EC contributed. By February 1989 the fund had approved support of over £52 million, 75% of which was allocated to Northern Ireland. It was estimated that, north and south, this contribution would create 4,500 new permanent jobs, preserve 1,500 existing ones and provide 4,000 short-term jobs in the construction industry. The bulk of the funding was to be used in the border counties area of the north and the Republic. Although such funding was obviously welcome, it was marginal when compared with UK public expenditure in Northern Ireland and this remained the key to hopes for publicly funded recovery. The impact of external funding was further limited if the government 63 used it as a substitute for its own expenditure. Northern Ireland was not to remain exempt from Conservative privatisation policy. Harland and Wolff and Shorts, two of the province's most important manufacturing companies, had been in government ownership since 1975. Harland and Wolff had faced similar problems as the rest of the UK shipbuilding industry but had benefited from government to a greater extent because of both the political situation and its position in the Northern Ireland economy. In the fifteen years to 1988 subsidies to Harland and Wolff had exceeded £1 billion despite attempts to diversify production and the cutting of the workforce from 64 8,000 in 1975 to 3,800 in 1988. The rate of public support had declined partly due to diversification but was still a considerable drain on the DED budget. For example in June 1987 Harland and Wolff was voted £42.6 million in the appropriation debates to cover costs including further redundancies, the contract for the

In

navy-commissioned auxiliary oil replenishment ship and consultancy fees.

December

a further £18.1 million

was voted

to cover contract losses

and

work-in-progress costs.

The government formally announced its decision to privatise Harland and Wolff in July 1988. Although the policy was generally unpopular with Labour, criticisms were muted as it was felt that the Northern Ireland shipyards had compared with the came from Northern Ireland inter-party delegation met Thatcher in February 1989

disproportionately benefited from government support British ones.

65

The most determined

representatives and a rare to register

its

opposition

protest.

For most of 1988

seemed possible that the yard would be purchased by Ravi who was considering the building of a luxury liner, The Ultimate Dream. However, the government was unwilling to offer a £70 it

Tikkoo, a shipbuilding tycoon

Conservatives:

A nglo -Irish Agreement to 1989

227

was tied to Tikkoo's purchase of the yard and from John Parker, Harland and 66 Wolff chairman, and Tikkoo over the issue. Commentators expressed doubts about Tikkoo's suitability owing to his lack of shipyard experience and his unwillingness to take responsibility for potential losses. In mid October 1988 it was announced that the contract for The Ultimate Dream had been lost. From mid 1988 the period of uncertainty had caused friction between the government, opposition and the management of Harland and Wolff. Until a buyer could be found the government had withheld further intervention funding and refused to let the company tender for new orders since the new owners might not have been able to honour previous commitments. In February 1989 420 further redundancies were announced, in part the result of the contract embargo. The all-party Select Committee on Trade and Industry endorsed the privatisation policy in early 1989 and recommended a speedy decision on the company's future to allow the lifting of the embargo on tendering for orders which was harming the long-term future of the shipyard. At the end of March King announced that, on behalf of the government, he had approved the sale to a management/employee team led by Parker and supported by Fred Olsen, the Scandinavian fleet owner who was committed to an order for three tankers. The terms of the deal were favourable for the buyers; they subscribed to £15 million share capital and acquired the assets of Harland and Wolff for £6 million. The government was to provide £60 million of loan stock, repayment terms related to performance and £38.75 million of grants to facilitate further rationalisation. The powers of the Secretary of State, contained in the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries (NI) Order 1979, were rescinded. Government plans for the privatisation of Shorts and Harland dated back to December 1984 but a detailed programme did not emerge until July 1988 at the same time as the Harland and Wolff announcement. Shorts had experienced similar problems of rationalisation and international competition. Its image was not helped in the USA market by accusations of bias against Catholic employment and losses for 1987-8 totalled £142.5 million. 67 In the July announcement, Viggers, the Minister responsible, had stated that the government would consider selling the three sectors of Shorts separately but by the end of 1988 he undertook to sell the company as a single unit. This was in response to the chairman's attack on ministerial criticism of company problems and fears that breaking up the company would result in asset-stripping. Following the Trade and Industry Report of February 1989, which recommended recapitalisation of Shorts to expedite the sale, the government took over responsibility of Shorts's debts to commercial banks at a cost of £390 million, replacing them with convertible loans at preferential rates. Further financial assistance would be dependent on negotiations with potential buyers. By December 1988, the closing date for initial submissions, thirty companies had expressed an interest in Shorts which by April 1989 had been reduced to two firm million subsidy for the ship unless

reacted

unfavourably

to

it

pressure

228

British

proposals: a consortium led by

government policy

GEC

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

and Fokker and Bombardier,

a

Canadian

company.

On 7 June 1989 King approved a heads of agreement for sale of Shorts to Bombardier, which was to pay £30 million for the share capital. *The government was to write off the existing £390 million loan and grant £79 million over four years for

new investment capital and £18

million for other costs, mainly training.

A further £275 million was to be advanced for recapitalisation, £60 million in the form of an interest-free loan. This was repayable if Bombardier broke commitments given concerning the future of the company. As the management and workforce desired, the company was to be kept as an entity comprising the aircraft, aerostructures and missile sectors. As with Harland and Wolff the Secretary of State's powers under the 1979 Order were rescinded. To conclude, government policy in this period reflected UK policy as a whole with an emphasis on trying to encourage private -sector activity and correspondingly lessen what it saw as the unhealthy dependence on subsidy. This entailed cheaper forms of public support and gave rise to criticism from the regional CBI 68 and the trade unions that insufficient funds were devoted to industrial support. With public-expenditure growth restricted and multinational investment remaining difficult to attract, the overall economic picture remained bleak as Northern Ireland growth rates lagged behind the British revival in the late 1980s. Bright spots included the stabilisation of manufacturing employment at 22% of the total, the upturn in the linen and textile sectors and the slight decline in the 69 rate of unemployment over the four-year period.

Social policy

Developments in the social policy area were dominated by consideration of fair employment provisions. The existing legislation had been passed in 1976 and evidence that it had failed to lessen the disparities in unemployment rates between the two communities and external pressure put the question of fair employment back on the political agenda. The reasons for the difference in unemployment rates remained a matter of dispute but its existence was less contentious. The research of the FEA and the Continuous Household Survey, published by the Department of Finance and Personnel in 1985 confirmed that the male Catholic unemployment rate was approximately 2.5 times that of male Protestants, with female rates showing a lesser disparity.

Pressure for change was both internal and external. The FEA felt that it was underfunded and lobbies from the US A and the Irish Republic were important in encouraging the government to reconsider fair employment legislation. USA pressure was largely based around the MacBride Principles, which were formulated in 1984 under the patronage of Sean MacBride, former IRA leader, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and founder member of Amnesty

229

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

The

had nine clauses, including better monitoring of the composition of the workforce, affirmative measures to increase repreInternational.

principles

sentation of under-represented groups, timetables for affirmative action, the

development of training programmes to benefit minority recruitment, the banning of provocative sectarian or political symbols at the workplace and measures to provide security for members of minority groups at work and in travelling to

There ciples.

and from

it.

are two crucial elements to note in considering the

The measures

MacBride Prin-

outlined above are unexceptional but

much

debate

occurred around the question of whether the principles advocated 'positive' or 'reverse' discrimination.

Such discrimination would

conflict with British legisla-

However, some do not necessarily advocate such measures. According to the FEA, the drafting of the principles was confusing and ambiguous. With respect to what the FEA considered permissible and impermissible recruitment practices under Northern Ireland legislation, the principles are 'likely to have a detrimental effect because they at worst stray over the line, and at 70 Secondly, opposition best cause confusion and doubt about where the line is'. to the principles is linked to those who support them. The government and other opponents felt that much of the American lobby was less concerned with improving the situation in Northern Ireland than with embarrassing the British govern71 ment as part of a pro-Republican withdrawal campaign. The principal tactic employed by MacBride lobbyists in the USA was to encourage state legislatures to pass legislation under which public and institutional investment funds would be directed to companies which operated the principles, including their subsidiaries in Northern Ireland. The campaign was strengthened when the New York state legislature passed a Bill in May 1986, following the lead of Massachusetts, supporting investment in companies operating the principles and by 1989 thirteen states had adopted them. This, of course, had no relevance in British law but helped to establish the credentials and tion

and was

used by the government as grounds to oppose them.

readings suggest that the principles

respectability of the Principles.

Rhodes-Boyson, Economic Development undermine claims that the government was not committed to fair employment, it was to launch a vigorous campaign against them. 72 The argument was that the principles advocated policies contravening the 1976 Act and could force US subsidiaries to disinvest if they were bound by the principles. On a tour of the USA to promote investment in Northern Ireland in September 1987 King attacked the principles and officials of the NIO and DED were also involved in anti-MacBride campaigning. The government began to formulate proposals as an alternative to the principles. That the American lobby was instrumental in concentrating the mind of government is argued by Rowthorn and Wayne who consider the proposals of mid 1985 onwards a 'direct result of pressure from the United States' and by Although

it

was reported

that

Minister, initially favoured the principles so as to

230

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

Richmond who states that 'by far the most significant factor in pushing equality of opportunity on to the government's agenda has been the MacBride lobby'. External pressure also

came from

73

the Irish government via the Anglo-Irish

fair employment was the most frequendy raised at the Conference, being discussed in at least twelve meetings. However, this source was less important than the US lobby, partly because Dublin tended to be more reactive and did not present its own specific proposals. It was content to leave this to the British government but was critical of the delay in proposals reaching the legislative stage. This broadly mirrored the position of interested parties in the north, including the SDLP and the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions which opposed MacBride. From the background of political pressure we can turn to the evolution of legislation. In September 1986 the DED published a discussion paper entided 'Equality of Opportunity in Employment in Northern Ireland: Future Strategy Options'. The main proposals were the advocacy of stronger affirmative action,

Conference. Along with the administration of justice

topic

the introduction of contract compliance possibly through the use of financial sanctions, a multi-dimensional approach by which existing agencies in the field of

equal opportunities (the

FEA and the

Equal Opportunities Commission) would

be merged and the establishment of a government unit staffed by civil servants to

promote equality of opportunity outside the structure of any new Fair

Employment body. Problems with the 1976

legislation

had included the voluntary nature of staff if so what, affirmative action was

monitoring, the lack of clarity of whether, and legal, the

ease with which employers could register themselves as equal oppor-

tunity employers

and the lack of government sanctions against transgressors. The this. The FEA welcomed commit-

proposals went some way in recognition of

ment to make

the Declaration of Intent

more

effective, the possibility

of contract

On the debit side,

compliance and a new appeals procedure for individual cases.

the more direct government involvement in the promotion of equal opportunity was viewed with suspicion since the government had a poor record within the Northern Ireland Civil Service and the FEA feared such a development would weaken its own position. Similar reservations were expressed about the multidimensional approach. Its consideration by government was: 'consistent with a general impression that an objective of the Consultative Paper is to change the nature of the Fair Employment Agency to meet the criticism of the larger 74 employers'. A merger of agencies would facilitate the downgrading of the politically sensitive religious element in discrimination by combining it with the issue of sex discrimination.

Given the need

to canvass pressure -group opinion, the legal complexity of any

forthcoming legislation and the major report due from the considered, any

SACHR in

new Act was unlikely to emerge quickly. Thus,

were announced by King

in July 1987. 'Religious Equality

1987

to

be

interim measures

of Opportunity

in

Conservatives:

A nglo -Irish Agreement to 1989

231

Employment: Guide to Effective Action' was to be published by the DED in September 1987 replacing the 'Guide to Manpower Policy and Practice' of 1978. It aimed to help employers avoid indirect discrimination in recruitment and promotion, emphasise affirmative action and promote educational initiatives in increasing awareness of equal opportunities. The FEA grant from its funding department, the DED, was to be raised from £383,000 in 1987 to £512,000 in 1988. This helped finance the recruitment of eleven additional staff in January 1988 to make a total of thirty-one full-time FEA employees excluding the chairman.

The

75

SACHR Report 'Religious and Political Discrimination and

Equality of

Opportunity in Northern Ireland: Report on Fair Employment' was published in

October 1987

after

two years preparation.

It

reviewed the failings of the

particularly in respect of the lack of employers'

Manpower Policy and

FEA

knowledge of the 'Guide

to

and the weakness of the Declaration of Principle and Intent. Signatories had increased following the government decision to link contracts to its signing but it had little impact on monitoring or the development of affirmative action.

The

Practice'

76

report was critical of the

DED proposals of 1986. The multidimensional

approach and the establishment of a government unit were rejected and the formulation of equality of opportunity was considered imprecise.

The 1986

paper also failed to consider the setting of targets and timetables, affirmative action at the point of selection

and the use of

industrial tribunals to deal with

individual complaints of discrimination.

There were

a total of 123

SACHR recommendations

and only the principal

ones can be highlighted here. Quotas and reverse discrimination were rejected.

To facilitate equality of employment, indirect discrimination should be expressly prohibited and targets and timetables should be encouraged as a evaluating affirmative action initiatives. Organisations

on the

way of

register of holders

of a newly revised Declaration of Practice would receive a certificate of three years' duration

and renewal would be dependent on the monitoring of the

workforce's religious composition in an attempt to avoid the failings of the previous system. This would be supported by the limiting of government grants

and contracts

to those in receipt of the

Equal Opportunity Certificate and

subscribers to the Declaration of Practice.

A new Fair Employment body should replace the FEA and retain the power of company and

sector investigations

and of research. Following an

investigation,

voluntary undertakings by employers to take remedial action would be legally

binding and the

new commission

(the suggested tide) should

monitor the

implementation of agreements and ensure appropriate revisions were

where necessary. The Commission could apply

to the

High Court

to

made ensure

compliance of agreed policies. Individual cases should be considered by industrial

tribunals with the

commission empowered to assist complainants. The FEA had had the dual function of bringing

advantage of this was that the

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

232

and adjudicating in cases which potentially jeopardised its between complainant and defendant. Tribunals were considered to be a better forum for adjudication as they were relatively speedy, informal, widely accepted as impartial and required to make detailed and'public decisions. complaints

impartiality

The

on voluntary action to improve equality of opportunity last resort marked a continuity with the procedure established in 1976. The new body was to have the same committee structure, including trade union and employer representation, as the FEA. It was suggested that budget and staffing responsibility be removed from joint control of the Departments of Finance and Personnel and Economic Development and placed with the NIO and via it the Secretary of State. Miscellaneous suggestions for co-ordinating government policy included the establishment of an equal opportunities unit in the NIO and ensuring that the LEDU and the IDB were aware of report's emphasis

with legal sanctions as a

the equal opportunities implications of their industrial support policies.

The White Paper 'Fair Employment in Northern Ireland' (Cm. 380) was May 1988, following speculation that the government had speeded

published in

up proposals

in an effort to placate the Republic after the strains of the Stalker and refusal to reconsider the convictions of the 'Birmingham Six'. This was 77 The preamble accepted the existence of discrimination denied by Viggers. although 'it is by no means the sole nor even the main explanation' of employment differentials and reaffirmed that the merit principle should remain paramount 78 which ruled out the use of quotas. The separation of individual case investigation and pattern/practice cases was endorsed; the former being the responsibility of a separate division of existing industrial tribunals and the latter being the principal role of the putative Fair Employment Commission. With respect to appeals, in individual cases these would only be permissible on points of law and taken to the Court of Appeal, replacing the County Court under the 1976 affair

and practice cases, employers' appeals against the commiswould be heard by the Fair Employment tribunal which would the be body responsible for enforcing the commission's directives. The High Court was rejected as the venue for appeals (contrary to the SACHR recommendation) as too costly for small employers and often subject to delays. Indirect discrimination was to be made illegal and to evaluate companies' progress monitoring was essential. Therefore, employers with more than ten employees (twenty-five in the first two years) were to be obliged to monitor annually the composition of their workforce and submit returns to the commission. The most important factor in combating indirect discrimination was affirmative action defined as 'special measures taken to promote a more representative distribution of employment in the workforce and designed to give all 79 sections of the community full and equal access to employment opportunities'. Examples included outreach schemes, less informal recruitment, more schools used as a pool by employers and the ban on flags and emblems in the workplace. A code of practice would be prepared by the commission. This would be a legislation. In pattern

sion's directives

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

233

source of information for employers and a basis on which the commission could

draw up voluntary undertakings for employers and impose directives for It would also be a guide for the tribunal in cases of individual discrimination and in appeals or enforcing orders of compliance from the commission. The code would be voluntary but measures would have statutory effect if incorporated by the commission into a directive. The code would be prepared initially by the DED, considered in draft by parliament in the forthcoming legislation and subject to revision by the Commission once in operation. The code would cover the following areas: aims and affirmative action.

philosophy of the

employer

new

legislation, definition

responsibilities,

motion procedures,

of key concepts, a

summary of

examples of good practice in recruitment and pro-

illustrations

of how indirect discrimination could be avoided,

explanation of the purpose of monitoring, setting out the range of affirmative action procedures, and the roles

and

responsibilities of trade unions

and

employees.

FEC would would be entitled to of co-operation which would be held unless it was found to be

Failure to register with, and submit monitoring returns to, the

become

a criminal offence.

receive a certificate in

On

registration an organisation

breach of statutory obligations,

viz. failing to

submit or update monitoring

returns or failing to comply with directives issued by the commission.

A breach of

1

the employers duties would be a criminal offence; if directives were not complied

with the commission could apply to the High Court for a contempt ruling which

could result in fines or committal. Further penalties included the withholding of grants and contracts from those companies which

To

had

lost certification.

would be underrecommendation for evaluation based on targets for reducing the differential between male Catholic and Protestant unemployment rates (to 1.5:1) was rejected on the grounds that other factors apart from discrimination were of significance. The White Paper proposals were debated on 1 July 1988. Labour was critical of government policy arguing that it had failed to incorporate sufficient of the SACHR recommendations and that commitment was lacking as the response to the problem of fair employment was largely determined by American pressure. McNamara outlined seven specific criticisms: merit was not adequately defined; affirmative action was too restrictive and weak by comparison with British legislation regarding racial and sexual discrimination; indirect discrimination was not properly defined; the appeals procedure, if multi-stage, could weaken the FEC; too many agencies in receipt of public money including Harland and Wolff were to be exempt from grant and contract compliance; the code of practice was not incorporated in primary legislation and thus not subject to detailed scrutiny in committee; and lastly targets and timetables were limited to the proportion of applicants from each community and did not cover the composition of the evaluate the effectiveness of legislation a formal review

taken after

workforce.

five years.

The

SACHR

234

British

The second reading of the 1989. Labour amplified

in

Northern Ireland 1 969—89

Employment

(NI) Bill was given on 3 1 January White Paper and considered, in some be even weaker. The aim of affirmative action was now

its

aspects, the proposals to

government policy

Fair

criticisms of the

defined as trying to secure

'fair

participation' of

all

groups

in*

the workforce,

whereas the White Paper definition referred to a 'more representative' distribution. Moreover, as 'fair' was not defined it was considered an unhelpful 80 The problem of the definition of affirmative action meant that the formulation. legality of training and outreach schemes aimed at under-represented groups could be challenged if such measures were not specifically endorsed in the legislation.

Labour

also felt that contract

compliance should be more actively pursued

rather than being a last resort sanction and that the

and responsible

to,

the

NIO

rather than the

FEC

DED,

should be funded by,

since the latter's close

relationship with employers could lead to a conflict of interest.

impose a

positive duty

upon the

private

and public sectors

to

The

Bill failed to

pursue equality in

employment and redress for individuals discriminated against was inadequate. level of damages which could be awarded was lower than in the 1976 legislation and there was no provision providing for the engagement or reengagement of victims of discrimination. It does not seem that the new legislation would jeopardise forms of affirmative action, as Labour feared, but what confused the issue was the lack of definition of what was being discussed as the new code of practice had not been formulated. This angered Labour as the House

The

could not discuss important elements including the definition of affirmative action, contract is

compliance and the operation of tribunals.

a contempt of the

Bill in the

House

that the

McNamara stated:

absence of detail about what the code and regulations

To register its

dissatisfaction,

'it

Government should expect us to consider the will contain'.

Labour moved an amendment declining

a

81

second

reading which was defeated by 268 votes to 194 and opposed the second reading

on

a three line whip. The government had a majority of 272 votes to 192. The government argued that Labour should support it as it agreed in principle

with the legislation and deal with

its

criticisms of detail in the

committee

stage.

Labour's opposition was in part based on pessimism about what could be effected in

committee. However after eighteen committee sessions and amendments in

the Lords sufficient improvements were

made

to gain

Labour support. These

included clarification that affirmative action programmes would not be subject to charges of reverse discrimination and were therefore

legal,

more scope

in

ways of

monitoring workforce composition, and the strengthening of goals and timetables.

The maximum

tribunal

award

in cases

of individual discrimination was

raised from £8,925 to £30,000 and the Bill's provisions were

more part-time employees. Labour had if

widened

the Secretary of State blocked an inquiry into discrimination on grounds of

national security, the failure to use contract compliance in a positive to

to cover

reservations including the lack of appeal

manner

encourage equality of opportunity and the refusal of government to

set a

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to 1 989

235

unemployment differentials. Bill stronger and more workable than at the Labour considered On second reading stage and on 25 May supported the third reading which was passed 96 votes to 4. The Commission was to replace the Fair Employment Agency in January 1990. Fair employment dominates social policy in this period and other areas can be briefly considered. Housing policy in Northern Ireland largely reflected trends in the UK; the Housing (NI) Orders of 1986 and 1988 contained provisions extending the right-to-buy and grants for owners of defective housing sold by the public sector. Specific to Northern Ireland was the extension of NIHE tenants' rights in the 1986 Order and of NIHE powers with respect to control of houses in timetable for the reduction of Catholic/Protestant

balance,

multiple occupation. British housing policy in

new

was reflected

builds. Consequently,

in the

NIHE new

emphasis on private -sector

starts

activity

declined from 2,091 in 1985-6

1987-8 and 1,500 in 1988-9 with the private 82 annum. Public-sector emphasis was placed on renewal and rehabilitation and to facilitate this the 1986 Order allowed the NIHE to spend 100% of revenue from sales on capital projects; a power not accorded to local authorities in Britain. Government figures indicate that the state of Northern Ireland housing was gradually improving. Three criteria were used to assess the condition of dwellings. Unfit dwellings as the proportion of total stock fell from 10.4% in 1984 to 8.4% in 1987, fit dwellings in need of repairs over £3,000 in the same period fell from 15.5% to 14.1% and those in need of repairs over £10,000 fell from 5.1% to 3.9%. The housing budget was not exempt from overall public expenditure restraint and did not have the resources of the Prior era but per capita expenditure still exceeded that of Great Britain with total expenditure 83 stabilising at around £335 million per annum in the period 1 986-9. In September 1987 King announced the establishment of a new Community Relations Unit under the chairmanship of Brian Mawhinney, the Education Minister. The unit was not granted an operational budget as any projects approved by the Secretary of State would be sponsored by the relevant department. Its main functions were to examine major policy initiatives with respect to their possible impact on community relations, to review the impact on community relations of existing policies and programmes and to develop new ideas about the improvement of community relations and support those 'on the ground' working towards these ends. To supplement these aims a Community Relations Council was announced in June 1989 which was to include a Cultural Traditions Group devoted to educational and research projects exploring the cultural heritage of 84 the Northern Ireland communities. and 2,317

in

1986-7

to 1,632 in

sector figure stabilising at around 7,200 per

1

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

23 6

Conclusion

Any hopes that the new between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland could effect rapid improvements in the Northern Ireland situation were quickly dashed. Instead, the Intergovernmental Conference's most important role was to provide a forum in which tensions could be addressed. In the absence of scope for

The

period 1985-9 was largely one of consolidation.

relationship

further constitutional developments, governmental activity was focused

unemployment

long-established problems of security and the

upon the

differentials

between the two communities. Notes 1

As Kevin McNamara argued

in the

agreement's defence.

(HC

Vol. 153 Col. 1137

25/5/89).

2

See the security section

3

O'Learyetal. 1988

4

See Boyle and Hadden 'Breaking the Anglo-Irish Impasse' Fortnight 238

later in chapter.

p. 155.

May

1986

pp. 9-10. 5

See Connolly and Knox 1988

for

6

Financial Times 15/6/87 p.

and Fortnight 253 July-August 1987.

1 1

7

Financial Times 12/8/87 p. 5.

8

Fortnight

9

It

more

details.

260 March 1988.

can be argued that the 'Leninist' element in Sinn Fein thinking means that

electoralism forms only a secondary element in

For Adams's explanation of the Fortnight 259 February 1988. 10

talks

its

strategy.

and the Unionist reaction see

1

Financial Times 4/2/89 p. 4.

12

In February 1987, during the election campaign,

Haughey stated

that

articles in

Fianna Fail

would honour the agreement; a change of position from his attack on it in October 1986. For details of Unionist politics after the agreement and a defence of the CEC position see

Aughey 1989. 13 HC Vol. 99 Cols 1214-67 19/6/86. 136 Cols 403-76 29/6/88.

14

e.g.

Archer stated

HC Vol.

in a letter to the Secretary

119 Cols 198-263 7/7/87.

HC Vol.

of State of 28/1 1/85 mat the vote on

the agreement did not imply a return to bipartisanship, implicitly because of dis-

agreements over security policy and

1986

p. 8).

civil rights. (Fortnight

At a Northern Ireland Committee meeting

231,

at the

December 1985/January

Labour Party Conference

in

September 1987 McNamara, the shadow spokesman, dismissed a bipartisan approach and attacked Conservative preoccupations with security. (Fortnight 256, November 1987). 15

See J. Moore 'Livingstone:

A Minority of One' Fortnight 257, December

1987 pp.

9-10.

16

There is also

a

growing lobby in the Labour Party which supports the contesting of

elections in Northern Ireland. Kate

Hoey

is

the

MP

most

closely identified with this

group.

17

For

18

Financial Times 2 1/2/89 p. 4.

a detailed account of the operation of the

assembly see O'Leary

et al. op. cit.

1

.

.

237

Conservatives: Anglo-Irish Agreement to I 989

of Conference meetings see Appendix E.

19

For

20

HC Vol. 92 Cols 415-37

details

19/2/86.

HC Vol.

110 Cols 263-86 10/2/87.

HC Vol.

127 Cols 925-49 16/2/88.

HC Vol. 92 Col. 418

19/2/86.

21

Hurd;

22

Financial Times 23/12/88 p.

23

HC Vol.

24

See Jackson 1988.

25

HCVol. 107

26

See security section below for the relevant Financial Times 19/10/87 p. 10.

27

1.

143 Col. 215 6/12/88. Col. 1121 16/12/86. legislation.

28

Hogan and Walker 1989

29

Financial Times 12/10/87 p. 10.

30

King warned Lenihan, Fianna Fail Foreign Affairs Minister, of serious if the Act were not in force by the beginning of December. Financial Times 1 6/2/88 p. 1 3

p.

301.

implications

3

32

ibid.

33

Independent 14/12/88 p.

34

Guardian 16/12/88.

35

HC Vol.

36 37

See Greer 'He

38 39 40

Sunday Times 28/8/88 p. 1 Annual Report 1986-7 (HC 298. 1987). There had been only one prosecution brought under

41

Marches

1/12/88

p. 30. 2.

140 Col. 183 8/1 1/88.

May Be

Resurrected' Fortnight 268

December 1988

pp. 10-11.

Guardian 6/8/88.

in

this legislation.

Northern Ireland often served the function of establishing, or attempt-

ing to establish, territorial rights and thus were often points of conflict.

42 43 44

See Stalker 1988 and Taylor 1987 Stalker 1988 p. 187.

45

This

46 47 48

Financial Times 3/2/88 p. 44.

See Taylor op.

ibid.

latter

cit.

point

13/2/88

The DPP was

is

and

for fuller accounts.

letter in Fortnight

made by

Stalker op.

253 July/ August 1987.

cit.

p.

264.

p. 3.

at first in

favour of bringing prosecutions but decided against after

consultation with the Attorney General.

49

For the

NIO position see

'Tiring of an Irish Irritation' Fortnight 260,

March 1988

pp. 8-9.

50

The

miscarriage of justice concerning the 'Guildford Four' and doubts about the

'Birmingham 51

Six' also fuelled tensions

'Encouraging Enterprise:

between the governments.

A Medium-Term

Strategy for 1985-1990'. IDB,

Belfast, 1985.

52

ibid. p. 11.

53

Committee of Public Accounts: 'Matters

relating to

Northern

Ireland'.

HC 230,

1989.

54

Financial Times (Survey) 19/10/88. See also Gafikin and Morrissey 'A

the Jobs Crisis' Fortnight 251,

55

56

May

Way out of

1987 pp. 15-16.

For the origin of inward investment see HC Vol. 151 Cols 321-324 21/4/89. Figures from various government sources. See HC Vol. 151 Cols 485-6 25/4/89

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

238 for a sectoral

breakdown.

57

Financial Times 3/12/87 p. 3 of survey.

58 59 60

Figures from

LEDU Annual Report 1988/89.

HCVol. 122

Col. 541 12/11/87.

See the Obair Report 1989 ch. 10 and Fortnight 265, September 1988, p. 13. 'An Evaluation of the Enterprise Zone Experiment in Northern Ireland.' DOE,

61 Belfast,

1988

p. 65.

HC Vol.

132 Cols 300-1 29/4/88. Northern Ireland Assembly Report. 'Additionality of Receipts from European

62 63

Funds'

NIA 46,

Belfast, 1983.

Subsidy and employment figures from Financial Times 1/7/88

64

26/1 1/88

The winning

65

May

66 67 68 1987 69

and Economist

of a Ministry of Defence order worth £120 million in 1986 was

described as appeasement of loyalist terrorism by

238,

p. 7

p. 39.

1986

Swan Hunter representatives.

{Fortnight

p. 14).

Financial Times 1/7/88 p. ibid.

11/1/89

The

local

7.

p. 24.

CBI condemned

the cut in the rate of SCGs. {Fortnight 257,

December

p. 5.)

Over the period 1985-9 the unemployment

18%. These

rate fell

from approximately

figures have to be treated with caution given frequent

changes

in the

22%

to

method

of calculation.

HC 246,

70

FEA Tenth Report

71

Of course the effectiveness of the MacBride principles is a separate question from

1985/86.

1987. p. 17.

the motivation of their advocates.

72

See D. Richmond 'Discrimination: The

Politics' Fortnight

257 December 1987

pp. 15-16. ibid, and Rowthorn and Wayne 1988 p. 130. 74 FEA Eleventh Report 1986/87. HC 302, 1988, p. 35. 75 SACHR. 'Religious and Political Discrimination and Equality of Opportunity in Northern Ireland: Report on Fair Employment.' Cm. 237, 1987, p. 36. 76 ibid. 77 Financial Times 6/2/88 p. 5. 78 'Fair Employment in Northern Ireland.' Cm. 380, 1988. paras. 1:6-1:12. 79 ibid. para. 3:16. 80 This point was also made by Christopher McCrudden, a discrimination legislation expert and member of the SACHR. {Guardian 2/3/89).

73

81

HC Vol.

82

Figures from the Government's Expenditure Plans 1989/90-1991/2.

146 Col. 212 31/1/89.

Cm.

618,

1989. Chapter 18.

83

ibid.

84

Possible future work of the group

November 1989

pp. 28-30.

is

discussed by

its

chairman

in Fortnight 278,

8

Conclusion

The preceding chapters have considered the major policy decisions of successive British governments. The conclusion will attempt to tease out some of the principal

there

themes

are

in policy

continuities

and address three questions:

in

policy;

second,

the

first,

the extent to which

significance

and extent of on

bipartisanship between the two major parties; and third, whether the emphasis different elements of policy changes over time.

The question of continuity There are various ways to categorise the principal texts in their treatment of government policy towards Northern Ireland. Given the themes of this work a useful working distinction is between those which ascribe continuity or consistency to British policy and those which do not. A major review of the literature not be attempted here but rather an indication of basic themes. Of the texts which argue that there has been consistency in British policy, a principal group is that which may be described as 'anti-imperialist' and is represented by, among others, the work of Farrell, Reed and the IFM. Their thesis argues that the colonial history of British involvement in Ireland created a process of uneven development which resulted in a largely Protestant bloc in the north east whose will

1

material interest lay with the maintenance of the imperial link. Sectarianism if not solely, to divide the working class and the partition of was an artificial device which denied self-determination to the Irish people and allowed the maintenance of British imperial interests, both strategic and economic, and prevented the completion of the national revolution. Although the direct economic basis of imperialism has declined, it is still

functioned, largely Ireland

important to retain the Irish link to maintain the political state.

stability

of the British

This, in turn, provides one of the conditions for the continued accumu-

lation of capital.

It is

not only the impact in Ireland but the destabilising effect

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

240 within Britain

if

the state were to be defeated in Northern Ireland which

important element in the 'anti-imperialist' analysis. then,

is

to bolster sectarianism

and

to repress

2

Republicanism

maintain working-class disunity and

facilitate capital

a continuity in British policy which

is

is

an

The role of the British state, in

accumulation.

an attempt to

Thus there is The

directed towards these related ends.

description above provides only a bare outline of the 'anti-imperialist' position. It

should be added, so as to avoid accusations of caricaturing

that there are differences of emphasis

3

this interpretation,

between writers of this school. The works

of O'Dowd, Rolston and Tomlinson provide some of the more sophisticated interpretations.

how

4

Their work, both individually and

tactical shifts in policy

continuity. state

from

5

However,

it

collectively, seeks to explain

can be explained within a framework of strategic

remains true to say that

a Marxist perspective, stresses

this school, in its focus

on the

common themes. The party in power is

of little significance since the actions of both are determined by the logic of capital

accumulation and the preservation of the this

is

state's integrity.

The practical

effect of

and attacks on sectarianism do not and cannot policy and that British governments are opposed to

that meaningful reforms

emanate from British disengagement from Ireland. Therefore, the structural imperatives informing government policy ensure basic continuities. An emphasis on continuity is not exclusive to the 'anti-imperialist' school. It is also highlighted by writers holding a pluralist view of the state. For example, Boyle and Hadden reject the arguments of the 'crisis management' school and 6 emphasise the consistency in policy since direct rule. Examples include criminalisation and Ulsterisation in security policy, the succession of powersharing initiatives and the legislative and institutional reforms aimed at countering discrimination. O'Leary also stresses the continuity of policy illustrated by the development of a bureaucratic strategy by the Northern Ireland Office. This strategy is composed of an 'internal track' which aims to secure the broadest possible agreement within Northern Ireland and an 'external track' which is intended to promote good relations with the Irish Republic and the USA over Irish policy in order to avoid international embarrassment.

The work

of

Bew and

Patterson

is

British policy can be categorised by

7

prominent among those who deny that its

consistency. Rather

it

is

marked by

inconsistencies which can be partly explained by the deliberate policy of govern-

ments distancing themselves from Northern Ireland after partition. 8 Bew and Patterson write from a left-wing perspective but their interpretation is very different from the 'anti-imperialist' school. This is because they deny the adequacy of theories of imperialism to conceptualise the relationship between the British and the different unionist classes and groupings. British policy

is

both

less rational

and

less

malign than the 'anti-imperialists'

believe as evidenced by their functionalist view of the state.

9

Bew and

Patterson

are critical of the failures of British policy to tackle the persistence of sectarianism

and the communal

disparities in life

chances and access to resources. However,

241

Conclusion

this failure is

an unintended consequence of the years of re -involvement rather

than deliberate policy resulting from a strategy of dividing the working class.

10

In

book on Northern Ireland Bew and Patterson argue: 'the problem of the involvement of the British state in Northern Ireland 11 This one quotation sums up lies not in its existence but in its specific forms'. their rejection of notions of continuity which are based on pro-Republican the conclusion to their most recent

analyses of British policy as having a coherent imperialist rationale.

The second group subscribed to the

common

of texts which deny continuity or consistency

'crisis

management'

thesis.

These do not

is

that

which

necessarily have a

ideological or theoretical position; however, they share a belief that

British policy tends to

be

reactive, contradictory

and lacking a long-term per-

The following examples illustrate varieties of this thinking. The New Forum of 1984 accuses British policy of immobility and having a short-

spective.

Ireland

term focus and employs the term 'crisis management'. nationalist

underpinning of the forum report as

it

12

This analysis

reflects the

believes British policy con-

centrated overmuch on an internal solution to the Northern Ireland problem

when an all-Ireland element is necessary. The agreement of 1985

did not prevent

such criticisms; in June 1989 Garrett FitzGerald accused Britain of lacking a policy for Northern Ireland and of employing 'inept and unco-ordinated actions'.

13

Soley, a former Labour spokesman on Northern Ireland, uses the term 'crisis 14 management' in a similar fashion. The failure of British governments to state openly what they wished to see in the long term and to commit themselves for or against the maintenance of the Union has resulted in a largely reactive policy of dealing with each crisis as it emerges. This argument had a resonance in the Labour criticisms of the government security measures of 1988 (see Chapter 7) 15 and in McNamara's attack on political lethargy. O'Malley, in the excellent The Uncivil Wars: Ireland Today does not employ the term 'crisis management' but he shares the belief that British policy is inconsistent.

Indeed 'A Question of Inconsistency'

dealing with Britain's role. This

is

is

the sub-title of the chapter

particularly evident in the constitutional

which have included trying to convey that Northern Ireland is an UK and also recognising the Irish dimension. 16 O'Malley's conclusion is that no policy will work unless it is part of a long-term plan, and that inconsistencies and the memories of historical duplicity serve only to worsen the problem, leaving no party in Northern Ireland with faith in British intentions or

vacillations

integral part of the

who argues that long-term from a British government explicitly stating a preference for a particular constitutional option for Northern Ireland. What, then, is the status of these particular interpretations? Two of the above appear to be inadequate. The 'anti-imperialist' school is not convincing in its assurances. In this, he closely resembles Soley

improvement can only

result

explanation of why the British state

Northern Ireland or as

to

still

has an economic or strategic interest in

why disengagement would have such

far-reaching

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

242

domestic repercussions. Even of their

critics do,

it is

if one

(and

periodically

Republicanism but Secondly, the the degree

this is a

crisis

many

up with the maintengovernment suppresses the armed ideological and cultural expression) of

which in the last analysis the ance of the Union. No doubt the

state supports are tied

capital

struggle

accepts a Marxist view of the state, as

not evident that the interests (of particular fractions) of

British

the

question of a different order.

management theory

or reactive school does not cope with

of consistency in certain policy areas as

Boyle and

Hadden

rightly

indicate. In a recent work, Arthur Aughey argues that the Anglo-Irish Agreement did not mark a qualitative shift in policy since it was informed by four well-estab-

lished British assumptions

Ireland

is

different,

when

dealing with Northern Ireland. First, Northern

and second, and

relatedly,

prevailing procedures of the state. Third, desirable;

and

fourth, stability

is

to

it

should be excluded from the

some form of Irish unity is

natural and

be achieved by the establishment of political

balance through structures of consociational democracy and joint British and Irish

governmental intervention.

17

Therefore the events of 1985 are consistent

with established policy.

Aughey's third point

is

questionable but the others illustrate the consistencies

in policy. Part of the consistency/inconsistency debate

elements of policy are focused.

It is

perhaps most

strategic consistencies coexist with tactical shifts

depends upon which

fruitful to

argue that broader

determined by specific

political

conjunctures and by other, perhaps less significant, factors such as the disposition of a particular Secretary of State.

18

Since 1972

all

governments have

rejected the political integration of Northern Ireland into British politics and

advocated some form of devolved settlement. Within

been

a succession of tactical shifts.

The form and

this consistency there

has

structures of a devolved

administration have been subject to seemingly endless refinements largely condi-

tioned by what was considered politically practicable in the years following the collapse of the Sunningdale agreement. Similarly, the legitimate extent and form

of the Irish dimension moved between a minimalist role advocated by the British

government in the mid 1970s to the formal and institutionalised input accorded government by the 1985 agreement. Similar examples may be found in security policy. The form of emergency legislation has remained consistent since the British government assumed direct responsibility for security in 1972. Ulsterisation and criminalisation have also been maintained despite the occasional strains the former provoked between the British parties and the attempts of Republicans to mobilise opinion against the to the Irish

latter.

19

Again, this does not preclude more reactive or ad hoc measures such as

those of 1988 or the seeming paradox of the British government dismissing

Republican violence as criminally inspired and yet entering into 1972 or negotiating truces as in 1975.

political talks as

in

To

conclude, one must avoid the reductionism of the 'anti-imperialists' and

the failure of the adherents of inconsistency to highlight important continuities in

243

Conclusion

policy. British policy

is

best understood as having both a strategic continuity and

the capacity for tactical adjustment; a focus

on the

can blind one to the

latter

importance of the former.

The question of bipartisanship was argued that there is continuity of government would tend to fit with the common perception that a bipartisan approach towards Northern Ireland exists between the two parties which have formed administrations in the period 1969-89. However, the degree of bipartisanship is not constant and an approximate periodisation of In the preceding section

it

policy at the strategic level. This

strong and

weak bipartisanship

will

be considered below.

20

Prior to this the

and factors which tend put such an evaluation in context.

ideological dispositions of the two parties towards Ireland to reinforce bipartisanship will

The

be sketched

historical attitude of the

to

two major British parties towards Ireland

indicates important ideological differences.

been sympathetic varied.

One

to Irish nationalism

Elements

in the

Labour Party have

although the reasons for such sympathy are

strand of support was the inheritance of radical/liberal conceptions

of national self-determination which in the Irish context meant on a thirty-two

county basis.

A second

strand,

the unification of Ireland

is

which can overlap with the

first, is

a necessary precondition for the

the belief that

advance of socialism

21

A third and more pragmatic reason is that the Irish electorate in was (and is) predominantly Nationalist and Labour voting. It therefore 22 does Labour no harm to be identified with Irish Nationalism. The Conservative Party had formal links with the Unionist Party, as its full name indicates, and until February 1974 the latter's MPs accepted the Conservative whip and membership of the Conservative Council. However, this relationship was severely strained following the British government intervention in 1969 and the splintering and recasting of Unionist representation with the emergence of new parties tended to undermine Conservative-Unionist linkages. It should be emphasised that the respective nationalist and unionist orientations of the Labour and Conservative parties were most frequently manifested among backbenchers and then only among a minority of members. Front bench influence has been marginal and correspondingly influence on policy making weak. Irish neutrality in the Second World War was an important influence on Labour front bench sentiments and the Ireland Act 1949 revealed the relative weakness of the pro-nationalist lobby in the Labour Party in its

in Ireland.

Britain

opposition to the restatement of the recognition of partition. Similarly, servative

Con-

support for the Union did not imply uncritical support for the

This is evidenced by the which have proved unpalatable to much of the Unionist community were introduced by Conservative governments. Of the factors which tend to reinforce bipartisanship, a major one is that both

aspirations or sensibilities of Unionist representatives. fact that since

1969 the

political initiatives

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

244

parties accept the innate 'otherness' of Northern Ireland. this position is that

because of its historical development,

The its

general thrust of

sectarian divisions,

former devolved government and its physical separation from Britain, Northern Ireland is different from any other constituent part of the United its

Kingdom.

The

23

Northern Ireland has a history of devolution, a common land and 'different' politics is incontrovertible.

fact that

frontier with another sovereign state

The

inference drawn from this by successive governments since 1972

exceptional

(i.e.

non-British)

political

structures

are

is

that

necessary to ensure

political stability. At no time in this period did the party in government advocate the return of a devolved administration based solely on the rule of the majority party or the restoration of local authority powers with the majority party exercising sole control. This is justified on the grounds that the lack of majority party alternation in Northern Ireland and the permanent minority position of the Nationalist community renders 'normal' political

long-term

structures unsuitable.

The

24

'otherness' of Northern Ireland

two major British in the province.

parties to accept

25 It is

was

also reflected in the refusal of the

members from

there or to contest elections

debatable whether the exceptional nature of Northern

Ireland's confessional politics British parties to organise or

is

reinforced or even caused by the failure of

whether the refusal

reflects the perceived lack

support for British parties precisely because Northern Ireland

is

of

'different'.

However, the important point is that the parties which formulate Northern Ireland policy and are responsible for its administration are not in electoral competition in the province. Hence they have no need to contrast their policies with those of their electoral opponents in an attempt to win the support of those most directly affected by the policies - the Northern Ireland electorate. The lack of any electoral competition does not necessarily determine the mainten-

ance of bipartisanship, but provides no incentive for bipartisanship to be challenged. to

26

In any other area of policy making the opposition has an incentive

oppose the government

in

an attempt to gain electoral advantage;

this is not

the case as regards Northern Ireland.

There

is some evidence that maintaining bipartisanship per se was considered be of importance since disputes and acrimony between the parties could have an adverse effect on the situation in Northern Ireland. This seems of particular

to

Hogg, Lord Hailsham, emphasised the importance of party agreement and the

salience in the earlier period of British reinvolvement. In 1970 Quintin later

serious consequences in Northern Ireland

himself and Callaghan, the shadow April 1971 Wilson its

commended

predecessor embodied

Home

if

Home

there were disagreement between Secretary, over Irish policy.

27

In

the government for adhering to the policies of

in the declaration

of 1969 and in 1972 Maudling, the

Secretary, attached 'very great and serious importance' in trying to

present a united point of view from Westminster. 28 Between 1972 and 1974

245

Conclusion

Whitelaw set great store by keeping his Labour shadow, Rees, informed about 29 government deliberations. The implication was that as the situation in Northern Ireland was so serious it was necessary to approach it in a spirit of accord. The logic of this position is far from clear. There is no prima facie reason why the worsening of party relations in the Commons would have a resonance in Northern Ireland and worsen the situation. This could be an example of the insularity of parliamentarians and an overestimation of the impact of their deliberations on the wider political stage.

This factor should not be overemphasised as party relations appear to worsen in is in part a reflection of a general ideological divide which

the early 1980s. This

was developing and in part a reflection of Labour's reappraisal of Irish policy, both in the security and constitutional fields, in itself a reflection of the stalemate in the north.

Lastly, the experience of governing tends to act as a converging influence

the parties and to reinforce bipartisanship.

more

when

closely

indicate.

in

Thus

on

the parties resemble each other

government than stances adopted

in opposition

might

Experience in government and the constraints of limited policy options

can act as a tempering influence on a party when in opposition and mute criticisms of the government.

the Irish question

is

There

is

an unfortunate historical

intentions scope for improving things intractability

its

on the front benches that legacy and despite the best

a shared feeling

is

limited.

The

sobering experience of the

of the problem revealed to the party in government means there

is

a

corresponding reluctance to launch wholesale assaults on government when next in opposition.

Bipartisanship

support

may be

defined as the tendency of the party in opposition to

or, slightly differently,

towards Ireland.

The

not to oppose the policy of the government

degree of bipartisanship cannot be exactly quantified but

the voting and the stance adopted in debates

on

constitutional policy by the

opposition provide an approximate guide to relations between government and opposition.

It is

clear that the Conservative initiatives of

Sunningdale and the

Anglo-Irish Agreement marked high points in bipartisanship. Labour voted to

March 1973 which outlined the Sunningdale and the third reading of the Northern Ireland Constitution Bill which

support both the White Paper of strategy

was

to give legislative effect to the proposals.

members who saw

it

With the exception of some Labour voted

as deferring the possibility of unification,

overwhelmingly with the government to support the agreement of 1985; the motion being carried by 473 votes to 47. The reasons for this support are two-fold. Both initiatives reflected the parties' shared perception of Northern

Ireland as being different and both appeared at the time major breakthroughs in Irish policy. Constitutional activism is often a factor in reinforcing bipartisanship;

a perception by the opposition of quietism, fatalism or lethargy government is often a source of tension. 30

The two

initiatives

on the part of

of the Thatcher administration preceding the agreement,

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

246

Atkins' Constitutional Conference and Prior's Assembly, also received 31

Three Labour support was more

support.

observations should be critical

than

made concerning

Labour

this period. Firstly,

time of Sunningdale and the

at the

agreement. This, however, was related to questions of detail* concerning the proposals rather than the substance and thrust of them. Secondly, the govern-

ment's policy was subject to more criticism from the Conservative integrationist wing, which challenged both the theoretical basis and the practicality of renewed devolutionary attempts, than from the Labour opposition. Thirdly, Labour had

made no practical difference subsequent Bill. 'Unity by consent' is White Paper and to its policy and did not conflict with devolutionary rather than a aspiration perhaps an formally adopted 'unity by consent' in 1981 but this

response to Prior's

proposals.

Relations between the Conservative government and Labour opposition were

most strained in the period 1970-72 preceding direct rule and from 1987. This can be related to the point made above. Criticisms focused upon the lack of political progress and, especially in the latter period, a feeling that the

ment had strategy.

settled for

33 It

must be emphasised

that bipartisanship

period marked a radical break in perceptions opposition. In

govern-

containment rather than trying to formulate a long-term

of,

was weakened; neither

or policy towards, Ireland by the

1970-72 Labour was concerned that the government was failing to on Stormont to reform governmental structures to

exert sufficient pressure

accommodate

the minority, but

it

did not advocate direct rule or any other

no practical alternative to the was the perceived style and pace of government policy, rather than its substance, which provoked the tensions between the parties. The only period between 1969 and 1989 when it appeared that government and opposition were developing fundamentally different positions concerning constitutional policy was in 1977-9. Rees's Convention strategy of 1974-5 was self-consciously seen as having a continuity with the Conservative policy which had preceded it and Pym, the Conservative spokesman, supported Labour's 34 rejection of integration. Pym's successor Neave, however, adopted a much more sceptical approach towards devolution and instead advocated a structure of

constitutional alternatives. In the later period

agreement was posited.

It

regional councils, a tier above the existing district councils, to democratise the

system of local government in Northern Ireland.

The implications of this development have to be qualified.

It was argued above temper opposition criticism and the integrationist roots among the Conservative front bench were shallow. Once returned to office in 1979 the regional council proposal was dropped and devolutionary trends were reasserted. This was in part due to the death of Neave which deprived the integrationists of front bench representation. Even without

that the experience of

this

loss,

dominated

it

is

government tends

to

questionable whether integrationist tendencies would have

in the post-

1979 period. Also,

it

is

unlikely that the break in

bipartisanship had developed to such an extent that the Conservatives would have

247

Conclusion

voted against any Labour devolutionary proposals, especially

spread support in Northern Ireland.

To

conclude,

it

can be seen that the factors acting

as outlined above have held

if

they had wide-

35

good although

to reinforce bipartisanship

does not

this

mean

perceptions are identical or that the degree of opposition support

is

that party

constant.

The

most important factor reinforcing bipartisanship has been the presentation by government of concrete proposals, especially if they appear to have international 36 Although Labour is generally more disposed towards unification approbation. this is not an important factor in policy formulation. The Irish dimension was downplayed by Labour itself when in office 1974-9 and did not prevent its support for Conservative policy in 1979-83 which similarly ignored its institutionalisation.

In the field of security policy there

perceptions are held by both parties.

It is

is

a parallel in that certain

common

important to note that the Labour Party

has never endorsed the legitimacy of political violence which has meant that disputes over security policy are not informed by major ideological differences

concerning militant

Republicanism.

However,

this

does

not

mean

that

differences do not exist between the parties concerning both the use of

emergency

legislation

and ad hoc security measures.

Relations between the parties and the degree of bipartisanship can be broadly

divided into three phases.

From 1970 to 1972

relations

were generally poor; from

the introduction of direct rule to the early 1980s there

was agreement between

the parties about the substance of policy although certain developments, such as the

ceasefire

of 1975, occasioned strains, and from the

1980s relations

deteriorated. Let us consider these phases in turn.

The drift

period preceding direct rule saw a general Labour discontent with the

of Conservative policy, reflected in votes against the government in

November 1971 and March

1972. Specific concerns related to the operation of

internment and the belief that the government failed adequately to supervise the 37

A parallel may be drawn with constitutional Labour criticisms did not mark a rejection of policy but the shortcomings of government implementation. For example, Labour's position on internment was confused and it was not clear whether they would have rejected security activities of Stormont.

policy in that

its

use

if in office.

The

38

introduction of direct rule and the strategy of criminalisation and gradual

and ease strains between the Labour did not uncritically accept the Emergency Provisions Act 1973 which formed the legislative basis of criminalisation, abstaining on second and third readings and moving amendments; but in subsequent years, at least to the early 1980s, there was no significant difference between the front benches concerning emergency legislation. Labour's position, if anything, became less 39 critical. The only sustained challenge to the consensus over emergency legislation came from a small group of Labour backbenchers, which in the 1970s never Ulsterisation tended to reinforce bipartisanship

parties.

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

248

exceeded thirty-four in number, supported by Gerry Fitt and the occasional Liberal member. Their opposition centred on the erosion of civil liberties effected by the legislation and that exceptional judicial procedures could

undermine respect for the law and militate against the support for the security forces on which a policy of police primacy was premised. In the early 1980s Labour began to adopt a more critical position which culminated in opposition to the renewal of the PTA for the first time in 1983 and to the EPA in the following year. This clearly marks a break in policy but again the disjuncture between opposition stances and the realities of govern-

ment must be borne in mind and it is by no means a certainty that a future Labour government would repeal the two laws. In explaining this shift of policy three factors should be considered. Firstly, the persistence of the Northern Ireland 'problem' and the

Labour Party Ireland.

40

in general,

Some

sterility

and the

Conservative

of the malign influence of the of Livingstone, the Labour

of Mason's tenure was an impetus for the

left in particular, to

reappraise policy towards

members saw the Labour left

GLC

Party

move

as evidence

which included the well publicised sympathy 41 leader, for Sinn Fein. However, while it is

had made gains within the constituency parties in the early 1980s and had often adopted a more explicitly pro-Republican position, this would not explain the movement of the front bench which was fairly adept at resisting the demands of the left at the level of policy making. The second factor is that party spokesmen, including Hattersley and Archer, not of the left, were voicing concerns over the seeming permanence of the Acts and the complacency of the government. Votes against renewal were often related to the lack of government concern over reviews and insufficient attention to the true that the

left

implications for

civil liberties.

Thirdly, the post- 1979 period politics. It

is

often seen to

mark

the

end of consensus

has been suggested that Thatcher was less concerned than previous

premiers to maintain inter-party accord which also affected party relations over 42

Labour criticisms concerning the authoritarian drift of the government were mirrored by Conservative attacks on the irresponsibility of Labour Ireland.

by its failure to face up to the realities of terrorism. Such antagonisms are manifest in the post-agreement period with Labour hostility to a number of government decisions and actions, including the Ryan 43 case, the Stalker affair and the succession of security measures of 1988. Not only was opposition to emergency legislation renewal maintained but Labour

illustrated

felt that the government was employing a reactive and ill-conceived policy of containment since it lacked a political strategy.

In conclusion,

three

points

are

worthy of emphasis.

inter-party accord has characterised bipartisanship. Secondly, strains are tional policy as the differing party

Irish

policy to

Firstly,

sufficient

allow one to talk of

more evident in security than constituemphases on Maw and order' surface.

Thirdly, caution must be exercised in any assessment to separate the rhetoric of

!

249

Conclusion

opposition from

more thorough-going divergences

in the policy prescriptions

of

the parties.

Periodisation of government policy

The

work have considered four main areas of governeconomic and social. There is evidence that successive governments, as shown in policy documents and statements from ministers, believe that the different areas of policy interrelate and have an impact 44 However, it must be stressed that there are methodological on each other. problems in establishing whether this emphasis on interrelationship is reflected in policy formulation. For example, it is difficult to demonstrate a relationship in policy areas through contemporaneous developments. Relatively high public expenditure, the use and reform of specific industrial support agencies in Northern Ireland and the survival of corporatist structures illustrates that the government sees economic regeneration as part of a wider attempt to deal with the problem, since it is arguable that such measures are not solely a response to the economic problems of a depressed region but are informed by the hope, if nothing stronger, that economic revival will have a spin-off effect in ameliorating political alienation and the incidence of violence. However, much of economic policy, especially the use of public expenditure, is of an on-going nature and therefore lacks the high-profile character of constituprincipal chapters of this

ment policy:

constitutional, security,

tional initiatives. In a similar fashion,

many of

the social policy reforms con-

sidered in previous chapters involve specific institutional changes.

Once imple-

government perceived 45 there was little scope for further change in these areas. The basic point to be emphasised is that periods of inactivity in the development or restructuring of agencies and institutions in the areas of social and economic policy cannot necessarily be cited as evidence that governments do not consider these factors to be of importance in overall Northern Ireland policy. mented, often as a response

to specific grievances, the

In a fairly obvious way, constitutional initiatives are of a different order than

those in the economic and social policy arena. sincerity

It is

not to doubt government

concerning the value of initiatives to point out that there are imperatives

informing them, and benefits to be gained, which are independent from their relationship to other areas of policy.

One is the somewhat crude and unscientific

Any who was in office for an average of two to three years

but politically significant factor of being seen to be doing something. Secretary of State after 1972

without presenting proposals would run the risk of accusations of either defeatism or complacency by the opposition and of being seen to endorse direct

form of administration. A second factor is that on financial resources unlike further attempts to regenerate the economy and/or tackle the economic disadvantages of the minority community.

rule as an acceptable long-term

such

initiatives

make no

great claim

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

250

The developments in the four policy areas detailed in previous chapters would suggest that government statements that the Northern Ireland 'problem'

more than mere

is

However, the different nature of the policy areas precludes a simplistic evaluation of their interconnection by the process of assessing whether legislation or policy changes act in concert. With these considerations in mind, specific phases in the period 1969-89 can be identified when certain areas of policy had a higher profile than others and when the emphasis moved between the 'internal' context and the bilateral one involving multifaceted are

rhetoric.

the Republic of Ireland.

The

first

phase of government policy covers the years 1969-72.

The principal

were an emphasis on specific institutional and legislative reforms as attempts to provide an internal solution to the legitimate grievances of United Kingdom citizens and the residual role of constitutional characteristics of this period

The

initiatives.

amenable

'problem' appeared to have well-defined causes which were

to specific prescriptions.

movement could be remedied by

The

articulated grievances of the civil rights

a combination of the extension of British

standards of liberal democracy and specific reforms reflecting the 'exceptional'

communal

divisions.

In essence there was a strategy of modernising and

centralising the structure of local administration

which was

blatant aspects of discrimination and provide for the services.

The

more

to mitigate the

most

efficient provisions

of

46

failure

direct rule in

of these reforms to prevent the escalation of violence resulted in

1972 and the beginning of the second phase.

negotiations which culminated in Sunningdale

government

The

process of

marked the recognition by the

that the 'problem' required a recasting of political institutions to

include guaranteed minority representation in any newly established assembly.

This was accompanied by a change of emphasis from solely internalised politics to their internationalisation via the proposed Council of Ireland structure. This is an important development in that it was a recognition by the British government that the question of national identity

was central and the Northern Ireland

question could not be resolved (solely) through the machinery of internal reform.

The

had a resonance in the combining policies across different areas. The power-sharing structure was intended to remedy the lack of nationalist confidence in the security forces, the Council of Ireland was to be granted a consultative role on policing strategy and, perhaps most importantly, both governments undertook joindy to consider ways to deal with the problem of 47 terrorists evading prosecution by crossing the border. It should be emphasised internationalisation of constitutional reform

security field and can thus be seen as a coherent attempt at

that such developments did not preclude further internal reforms

(i.e.

those

which could occur independendy from the new relationship with the Republic) such as the working party on discrimination set up in 1972. The important point is

that the

Irish

government had accepted the legitimacy and

dimension.

utility

of a formalised

251

Conclusion

The

third phase covers the years

differentiated

from

its

1974

This phase may be broadly

to 1980.

predecessor in two ways.

Firstly, as a reaction to the failure

of power sharing, internal attempts to deal with Northern Ireland once more

came to the

fore with a relegation of the direct input

succession

of abortive

constitutional

dimension. Secondly, there was

little

initiatives

movement in

from the Irish Republic. The downplayed the Irish all the area of social policy. This

can be explained by a lack of room for manoeuvre after the concentrated spate of reform in the period 1969-72. The only major change to supplement the agencies and legislation aimed at securing formal equality and the eradication of discriminatory practices was the Fair

Employment Act 1976 which had

genesis in the working party report of the previous phase. oversimplification to characterise this phase as

It

one of quietism informed by a

perception that no radical breakthroughs were on the agenda.

A

fourth phase

may be dated from

late

its

would not be an

48

1980 with the announcement of the Kingdom and the Irish

establishment of joint studies between the United

all the major policy areas (viz. citizens' rights, security matters, economic co-operation and possible new institutional structures). A forum for consultation was institutionalised in the InterGovernmental Council of 1981. Although ministerial contacts existed between the two governments when the

Republic in

Irish

dimension was excluded from constitutional

the council

is

of significance as

inadequate and

it

was within

it

initiatives,

was recognition

that

this structure that the

agreement was established. The quietism of the

late

the development of

an internal policy was

conference of the 1985

1970s had contained the

of violence but had not dealt with two other problems which made the government vulnerable to criticism; the lack of political progress and the con-

level

tinued disparities in Catholic and Protestant living standards. In addition to these

strikes

and the

electoral

unemployment

rates

and related

concerns, the aftermath of the hunger

emergence of Sinn Fein

in

1982 added

to the difficulties

of sustaining a policy of 'sitting tight' and hoping for gradual improvements.

The 1985 agreement,

the conclusion of this phase of trying to re-think ways

forward, had parallels with the policy of the Sunningdale period. Firstly,

marked the reintroduction of the

'internal'

management of Northern

it

Ireland

with incentives for the revitalisation of internal structures. Secondly, the political

involvement of the Republic was premised upon against terrorism, in particular

its

its

co-operation in the fight

undertaking to accede to the European Con-

vention on the Suppression of Terrorism. Thirdly, there was an undertaking to

consider different policy areas as a whole; an indication that the government

continued to recognise the multifaceted nature of adequate policy prescriptions for

Northern Ireland.

The

final

1985 and

49

phase may be dated from the signing of the agreement in November

its

maintenance

illustrates that the

government has endorsed

that the

principle of inter-governmental

management of Northern Ireland. However,

fact that the role

falls

of the Republic

the

short of any administrative responsibility for

1

.

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

252 the North

means

that internal or unilateral initiatives

by the British government

remain, as in previous periods, crucial in the formulation of policy. This

is

by two policy developments which are of importance in the postagreement period; the rediscovery by government of the persistence of commuillustrated

nal disparities in

unemployment and

and the willingness of governments

the related inadequacy of earlier legislation

to utilise

ad hoc security measures represent-

ing the politics of the latest outrage.

To conclude, governments of both parties have maintained that constitutional or security initiatives in isolation are insufficient; they must reinforce each other

and be bolstered by economic regeneration and social reform. However, this does not mean that policy formulation can work as an integrated whole. A consistent attempt to formulate integrated policy is vitiated by the fact that Northern Ireland has largely remained of marginal importance to British policy 50 makers. Events within Northern Ireland have frequently undermined, and forced reappraisals of, policy. This helps to explain tactical shifts within the same area of policy and changing emphases between different policies over the last twenty years.

Notes

2

Reed 1 984, Reed 1984,

3

See Martin 1982

1

Farrell 1980, Irish

pp.

Freedom Movement 1 983

384 and 374. for a consideration of the 'anti-imperialist' position

and the work

of Bew and Patterson for a critique.

4

O'Dowd, Rolston and Tomlinson

5

Rolston 1986.

1980, Rolston 1986.

6 Boyle and Hadden 1985 p. 66. See management. 7 O'Leary 1987a. 8 Bew and Patterson 1985 pp. 88-95. 9 O'Leary op. cit. p. 18. 10 Bew and Patterson 1982-3. 1 Bew and Patterson 1985 p. 144. 12

New Ireland Forum

13

Interview with the Independent 7/6/89 p.

14

Soleyl985.

15

HC Vol.

later

in

section for theories of crisis

1984a. Section 4:3.

16

148 Col. 917 8/3/89. O'Malley 1983 pp. 205-6.

17

Augheyl989p.33.

18

The

broader strategic consistency

fits

6.

with O'Leary's internal and external track

model. 19

Strains over security policy and criminalisation arose in the period of the

ceasefire

when Rees was

Secretary of State.

The hunger

strikes

height of Sinn Fein mobilisation over criminalisation.

20

See below

in this section for a definition

IRA

of 1980-81 marked the

of bipartisanship.

253

Conclusion

This

21

is

the 'orthodox

the position adopted by James Connolly

left'

who inspired what may be termed

analysis of the Irish situation.

was Faulkner's belief about Harold Wilson. Faulkner 1978 p. 130. See parliamentary statements by Rees HC Vol. 903 Col. 54 12/1/76, Prior HC Vol. 72 Col. 853 28/4/85 and Soley HC Vol. 87 Col. 819 26/1 1/85. 24 Prior ibid. Alison HC Vol. 988 Col. 988 9/7/80 and Pym HC Vol. 874 Col. 898 22

e.g., this

23

3/6/74.

The

25 tions in

situation

is

changing with the establishment of model Conservative associa-

some Northern Ireland

constituencies.

See Roberts 1987 for a further consideration of this argument. Hogg HC Vol. 799 Col. 3 10 7/4/70 and Callaghan 1973 p. 65. Wilson HC Vol. 815 Col. 272 6/4/71 and Maudling HC Vol. 833 Col. 1086

26 27 28

20/3/72. Interview with Rees, London, 10/12/87.

29 30

This

31

For

32 33

See,

is

important in the post-agreement period; see later in this section for

details.

details of these proposals see ch. 5. e.g.,

HC Vol. 23 Col. 485 10/5/82. HC Vol. 917 Col. 917 Col. 917 8/3/89 and Labour

See McNamara's comments

accusations of the government's political bankruptcy in the debate on restrictions to the right of silence.

34 Rees 35

'Our

Compare with

policies will

HC Vol. 87 Col.

thetical

This

is

FitzGerald's criticisms, see note 13 above.

be firmly based on those of our predecessors

in office.'

See

also

1465 4/4/74.

supported by Atkins (Interview, London, 8/12/87). Although

and would depend on the form of the proposals, he thought

Conservatives would have opposed devolutionary initiatives

if

it

it is

hypo-

unlikely that the

they had support in

Northern Ireland.

36 to

This is particularly true of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Opposition support is

likely

be forthcoming for a policy which has a large degree of international support.

37 38 39

See It

of State,

40

ch. 3 for details.

ibid.

was of course Labour who introduced the PTA and Mason, a Labour Secretary widely considered to have been one of the most 'hawkish' concerning security.

is

After electoral defeat in 1979 there was a reappraisal of policy by the

left in

many

1974-9 government. 41 See, e.g., the attacks by Stanbrook, Fraser and Waddington (who speaks of Labour's decay) in the PTA renewal debate in 1983. HC Vol. 38 Cols. 564-52 7/3/83. 42 Interview with Orme, Manchester, 21/9/87. 43 See the section on security ch. 7. 44 Examples include a statement in the Commons by Callaghan at the time of

areas in light of the perceived failings of the

Westminster's

initial

intervention

(HC

788 Col. 48 13/10/69), and White Paper of Cmnd 5259 para. 24) and that of 1982 Devolution' Cmnd 8541). Atkins and Prior

Vol.

1973 ('Northern Ireland Constitutional Proposals' (Northern Ireland: frequently

made

A Framework

for

reference to the inter-relationship of different policy areas. See Atkins

HC Vol. 988 Col. 552 9/7/80 and HC Vol. 22 Col. 870 28/4/82; Prior HC Vol. 21 693 5/4/82 and HC Vol. 23 Col. 470 10/5/82. 45

Col.

Examples include the establishment of the Housing Executive and the Community

Relations Commission, electoral reform and local government reorganisation.

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

254

46 For details of the arguments for local government changes see 'Report of the Review Body on Local Government in Northern Ireland' Cmd 546 Belfast 1970. (Macrory Report). 47 The outcome was the establishment of the Joint Law Enforcement Commission which Britain hoped would result in agreement concerning extradition. For further details see security section in ch. 4.

48

In particular

Mason seemed

to believe general

economic regeneration rather than

further anti-discrimination measures was the key to improvements in the position of the

minority community and he also tended to downplay the significance of constitutional initiatives.

49

The areas mentioned in the agreement were: political matters, security and related

matters, legal matters including the administration of justice and the promotion of

cross-border co-operation (Article

2(a)).

The

Irish

government was

consider the 'role and composition' of bodies such as the

also permitted to

SACHR, the FEA, the EOC, the

Police Complaints Board and the Police Authority for Northern Ireland (Article 6).

50 For Cabinet attitudes to the Northern Ireland question see the statement of Sir Frank Cooper, former Permanent Secretary in the NICS, in Hennessy 1986 p. 168.

Appendix A: Principal legislation

1969-89

Principal constitutional

and security legislation 1969-89

Constitutional (including electoral reform

Date

and White Paper proposals)

Security (excluding annual renewals of

emergency legislation)

1969 Electoral

Law Act (NI)

Ulster Defence Regiment Act

Local Government Act (NI)

1970 Criminal Justice (Temporary Provisions) Act (NI)

Public Order

(Amendment) Act (NI)

Police Act (NI)

1971 Electoral

Law Act (NI) 1972

Local Government Act (NI)

Prosecution of Offences (NI) Order

Northern Ireland (Temporary

Detention of Terrorists (NI) Order

Provisions) Act

Northern Ireland (Border

Poll)

Northern Ireland Act

Act

1973

Northern Ireland (Border

Poll)

Order

Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act

'Northern Ireland Constitutional Proposals',

Cmnd 5259

Northern Ireland Constitution Act

256

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1 969-89

Principal constitutional and security legislation 1969-89 Constitutional (including electoral reform

Date

and White Paper proposals)

continued

Security (excluding annual renewals of

emergency legislation)

1974

'The Northern Ireland Constitution',

Cmnd 5675 Northern Ireland Act

Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act

1975 Criminal Jurisdiction Act

Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions)

(Amendment) Act

1976 Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act

1977 Police (NI)

Order

1978 Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act

1979

House of Commons

(Redistribution of

Seats) Act

'The Government of Northern

Ireland:

A Working Paper for a Conference', Cmnd 7763 1980

'The Government of Northern

Ireland:

Proposals for Further Discussion',

Cmnd 7950 1981

1982

A Framework for Cmnd 8541

'Northern Ireland: Devolution',

Northern Ireland Act 1983

1984 Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act

1985

'Agreement between the Govt of the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Govt of the Republic

of Ireland',

Cmnd 9657

257

AppendixA Principal constitutional and security legislation 1969-89 Constitutional (including electoral reform

Date

andWh ite Paper proposals)

continued

Security (excluding annual renewals of

emergency legislation)

1986 Northern Ireland Assembly (Dissolution)

Order 1987

Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act

Public Order (NI) Order Police (NI)

Order

1988 Criminal Evidence (NI) Order

1989 Elected Authorities (NI) Act

Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act

British government policy in Northern Ireland 1 969-89

258

Principal economic and social policy legislation 1969-89 Economic

Date

Social (including centralising of local government functions)

1969 Ministry of Community Relations Act (NI)

Community

Relations Act (NI)

Commissioner

for

Complaints Act (NI)

Parliamentary Commissioner Act (NI)

1970 Industrial Investments

(Amendment)

Social

Needs (Grants) Act (NI)

Prevention of Incitement to Hatred Act

Act (NI)

(NI)

1971

Housing Executive (NI) Act

Development Act (NI) (Amendment)

Industries

Industrial Investments

Act(NI) 1972 Education and Libraries (NI) Order

Finance Corporation (NI) Order

Health and Personal Social Services (NI) Order

Planning (NI) Order

1973 Enterprise Ulster (NI) Order

1974 1975

Community Relations (Amendment)

Shipbuilding Industry (NI) Order

(NI) Order

Shipbuilding Industry (No. 2) (NI)

Order 1976 Industrial

Development (NI) Order

Housing (NI) Order Fair Employment (NI) Act 1977 1978

Industries

Development (NI) Order

Housing (NI) Order 1979

Aircraft

and Shipbuilding Industries

(NI) Order

Appendix A

259

Principal economic and social policy legislation 1969-89 Economic

Date

continued

Social (including centralising of local government functions)

1980 1981 Industrial Investment

Housing (NI) Order

(Amendment)

(NI) Order

Enterprise Zones (NI) Order

1982 Industrial

Development (NI) Order 1983

Housing (NI) Order 1984 1985

1986

Housing (NI) Order 1987 1988

Housing (NI) Order

General Assistance Grants (Abolition) (NI) Order

1989 Fair

Employment (NI) Act

Appendix B:

and

Principal constitutional initiatives

party positions

Legislation/debate

NI (Temporary Provisions) Bill

Intro-

Official

duced

opposition

by

response

Remarks (R

=

Reading)

1

Cons.

Abstention

2R:9 Conservatives oppose 3R:4 Conservatives oppose 2 3R:8 Labour members oppose

Cons.

Support

2 Conservatives,

Cons.

Support

1

1972

NI (Border

Poll) Bill

1972

(23/11/72)

Motion

to

Paper,

approve White

Cmnd 5259,

1

Labour

member oppose motion

28-29/3/73

NI

Constitution Bill 1973

Cons.

Abstention

2R:

1

Labour, 2 Conservatives

oppose (24/5/73)

Support

3R:

1

Labour,

1

Conservative

oppose (3/7/73)

NI

1974

Bill

2R and 3R

Lab.

Support

No division on 2R and 3R

Lab.

Support

38 Labour members oppose

15/7/74

House of Commons

2R

28/11/78

(Redistribution of Seats)

1978

Bill

NI

2

Bill

1982

Cons.

2

Abstention

2R: 21 Conservatives oppose

Abstention

3R: 3 Labour 19 Conservative

Support

14 Labour, 20 Conservatives

10/5/82 1

oppose 29/6/82 Anglo-Irish Agreement

(Motion

to

Cons.

Approve)

oppose

27/11/85 Notes:

x

Includes

2 1 teller.

Includes 2

tellers.

1

Appendix C: Principal security legislation

and party

positions

Legislation/

Intro-

Debate

duced

Remarks

Opposition

by

Debate following internment

Lab.

22/23/9/71

Labour did

68 Labour members helped

not divide

force division and voted for

House

adjournment

Callaghan motion attacking

Govt security policy 29/11/71 Motion condemning Govt

Lab.

Defeated

First time

Labour divided House

by Govt Lab.

Defeated by Govt

over lack of urgency in security policy 1/2/72

NI

Bill

23/2/72

Detention of Terrorists (NI)

Cons.

Supported

No division on 2R or 3R

Cons.

Abstained

32 Labour opposed

Cons.

Abstained

2

1

Order 1972 11/12/72

NI (Emergency Provisions) Bill

on2R

1973

Labour voted opposed

in favour; 15

17/4/73 Abstained

6 Labour opposed

1

on3R 5/7/73

EPA

1973 Continuance

2

Lab.

Supported

18 Labour opposed

Lab.

Supported

No vote on 2R or 3R

Lab.

Supported

23 Labour opposed

2

Lab.

Supported

10 Labour opposed

2

Order 1974-9/7/74 Prevention of Terrorism

(TP)

Bill

EPA

1973 2nd Continuance

28/1 1/74

Order 1974 5/12/74 1974 Continuance Order 1975 19/5/75

PTA

262

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1969-89

Appendix C

continued

Legislation/

Intro-

Debate

duced

Remarks

Opposition

Lab.

Supported

No vote taken

EP Amendment Bill 2R 27/6/75; 3R 14/7/75

Lab.

Supported

No vote taken

Prevention of Terrorism (TP)

Lab.

Supported

16 Labour opposed

Lab.

Supported

No vote taken

Lab.

Supported

1 1

Lab.

Supported

No vote taken

Lab.

Supported

No vote taken

1977

Lab.

Supported

16 Labour opposed

1977

Lab.

Supported

No vote taken

Lab.

Supported

No vote taken

Lab.

Supported

23 Labour opposed

Lab.

Supported

No debate

Lab.

Supported

1 1

Lab.

Supported

34 Labour opposed

2

Cons.

Supported

19 Labour opposed

2

Cons.

Supported

18 Labour opposed

1980

Cons.

Supported

26 Labour opposed

2

EPA

1978 Continuance Order 1980 22/7/80

Cons.

Supported

21 Labour opposed

2,4

EPA

Cons.

Supported

22 Labour opposed

2,4

EPA

1973 Continuance Order

1975 26/6/75

Bill

2R 26/1 1/75

EPA 2nd

2

3

Continuance Order

1975 11/12/75 Prevention of Terrorism (TP) Bill

Labour opposed 2

3R 28/1/76

EPA Continuance

Order 1976

2/7/76

EPA 2nd

Continuance Order

1976 17/12/76

PTA Continuance Order

2

9/3/77

EPA Continuance Order 30/6/77

EPA 2nd

Continuance Order

1977 8/12/77

PTA Continuance Order 1978

2

15/3/78

EPA

1978 Continuance Order

1978 30/6/78

EPA 2nd Continuance Order

Labour opposed 2

1978 6/12/78

PTA Continuance Order

1979

21/3/79

EPA

1978 Continuance Order

1979 2/7/79

EPA

1978 2nd Continuance Order 1979 11/12/79

PTA Continuance Order

1

4/3/80

1978 2nd Continuance Order 1980 10/12/80

l

Appendix

C

263

Appendix C

continued

Legislation/

Intro-

Debate

duced

Remarks

Opposition

by

PTA Continuance Order 1

8/3/8

1981

Cons.

5

Abstained

37 Labour opposed

2

26 Labour opposed

2

16 Labour opposed

2

but would divide

House over motion

EPA

1978 Continuance Order

Cons.

Abstained

Cons.

Abstained

Cons.

Abstained

52 Labour opposed

2

Cons.

Abstained

18 Labour opposed

2

Cons.

Abstained

16 Labour opposed

2

Cons.

Opposed

First time

1981 2/7/81

EPA

1978 2nd Continuance Order 1981 15/12/81 PTA Continuance Order 1982 15/3/82 EPA 1978 Continuance Order

7

1982 30/6/82

EPA

1978 2nd Continuance

Order 1982 9/12/82

PTA Continuance Order

1983

EPA

Labour voted

against

PTA

7/3/83 1978 Continuance Order

Cons.

Abstained

Cons.

Opposed

1978 2nd Continuance Order 1983 8/12/83

Cons.

Abstained

Prevention of Terrorism (TP)

Cons.

Opposed

Cons.

Opposed

No vote

(1

Labour

teller)

1983 12/5/83 Prevention of Terrorism (TP) Bill

2R 24/10/83

EPA

Bill

EPA

Labour opposed 2

3R 25/1/84

1978 Continuance Order

EPA

1978 2nd Continuance Cons. Order 1984 20/12/84 PTA 1984 Continuance Order Cons.

Opposed Opposed

1985 21/2/85

EPA

1978 2nd Continuance Cons. Order 1985 26/6/85 EPA 1987 Continuance (No. 3) Cons. Order 1985 16/1/86 EPA 1978 (Amendment) Order Cons

Opposed Opposed Supported

1985 16/1/86

PTA Continuance Order

First time

EPA 8

1984 5/7/84

1986

Cons.

Opposed

Cons.

Opposed

19/2/86

EPA

1 1

1978 2nd Continuance Order 1986 19/6/86

Labour voted against

264

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1969-89

Appendix C

continued

Legislation/

Intro-

Debate

duced

Remarks

Opposition

by Bill

Cons.

Labour oppose continuance Order but not 2R

1987

Cons.

Opposed

Bill

Cons.

No vote taken

PTA Continuance Order 1988

Cons.

Opposed

Cons.

Opposed

NI (Emergency Provisions)

2R taken with 3rd Continuance Order 1986

16/12/86

PTA Continuance Order 10/2/87

NI (Emergency Provisions)

3R 8/4/87 16/2/88

EPA Continuance

Order 1988

25/2/88 Prevention of Terrorism (TP) Bill

EPA

Abstained. Labour backbench rebellion.

43 vote against

Prevention of Terrorism (TP) Bill

Cons.

2R 6/12/88 Cons.

Opposed

Cons.

Opposed

3R 30/1/89

1978 and 1987

Continuance Order 1989

8/3/89

NOTES:

l

Figures include

taken with second reading. 5

4

2

Figures include

tellers.

Soley, later deputy spokesman,

3

2nd. Continuance Order was one of the tellers.

House over the lack of a review into the PTA. 6 Although the Labour Front Bench accepted the need for the EPA.

Hattersley presented a motion to divide the

operation of the 7

1 teller.

Labour Conference 1981

Conservatives rejected. to the

8

called for an urgent review of the

EPA which the

Opposition to renewal was the result of the lack of amendment

EPA following the Baker Report.

265

Appendix D:

Northern Ireland Office Ministers

Secretaries

of

Ministers of

Under-Secretaries

State

ofState

State

Conservative

W. Whitelaw

1972-74

Lord Windlesham

(24/3/72-1/12/73)

F.Pym

D. Howell (26/3/72-5/11/72)

(26/3/72-5/6/73)

Channon

P.

P. Mills

(26/3/72-5/11/72)

(2/12/73-4/3/74)

W. van Straubenzee

(5/11/72-4/3/74)

Lord Belstead (5/6/73-4/3/74)

(5/11/72-4/3/74)

D. Howell (5/11/72-4/3/74)

Labour

M. Rees

1974-79

Orme

S.

(5/3/74-9/9/76) R.

Mason

Lord Donaldson (11/3/74-14/4/76)

(7/3/74-8/4/76)

Moyle

R.

J.

Concannon

J.

Dunn

(27/6/74-10/9/76)

(10/9/76-4/5/79) J.

Concannon

(27/6/74-14/4/76)

(14/4/76-4/5/79)

Lord Melchett

(14/4/76-4/5/79) R. Carter

10/9/76-4/5/79)

(14/4/76-4/5/79) T. Pendry

(11/11/78-4/5/79) Conservative

H. Atkins

1979-89

(5/5/79-13/9/81) J.

Prior

(14/9/81-10/9/84)

D. Hurd (11/9/84-2/9/85) T. King

(3/9/85-24/7/89)

M.

Alison

Lord Elton

(7/5/79-15/9/81)

H. Rossi (7/5/79-5/1/81) A. Buder

(5/1/81-11/9/84)

Lord Gowrie (15/9/81-13/6/83)

(7/5/79-15/9/81) P.

Goodhart (7/5/79-5/1/81)

G. Shaw (7/5/79-5/1/81) D. Mitchell (5/1/81-13/6/83)

266

British

government policy in Northern Ireland 1969-89

Appendix D

continued Secretaries

of

Ministers of

Under-Secretaries

State

ofState

State

Conservative

1979-89

P.

Brooke

Lord Mansfield (13/6/83-12/4/84)

(25/7/89-

R. Rhodes-Boyson

J.

Patten

(5/1/81-13/6/83) N. Scott

(11/9/84-11/9/86)

N. Scott

(15/9/81-10/9/86) C. Patten

(12/9/86-11/6/87) J.

Stanley

I.

Stewart

(14/6/83-5/9/85)

Lord Lyell

(13/6/87-25/7/88)

(12/4/84-24/7/89) R.

J.

Cope

Needham (10/9/85-

(25/7/88-24/7/89) B.

(25/7/89-

Mawhinney (23/1/86-

P. Viggers

(11/9/86-24/7/89)

Lord Skelmesdale (25/7/89P.

Bottomley

(25/7/89-

I

wish to thank Gordon Gillespie of the Department of Political Science, Queen's

University Belfast for information used in this appendix.

Appendix E Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental

meetings 1985-89

Date

Venue

Principal matters discussed

11/12/85

Belfast

Security co-operation, relations between security

30/12/85 10/1/86

London London

13/2/86

London

11/3/86

Belfast

forces and the minority community, legal matters.

Special meeting to discuss

Maze hunger strike.

Extradition, public confidence in administration

of justice, Irish language, Flags and

Emblems Act.

Administration of justice, extradition.

Cross-border security co-operation, forthcoming public order legislation, details of cross-border

co-operation in social and economic

9/5/86

London

17/6/86

Belfast

fields.

Extradition, public confidence in justice, housing,

co-operation on development of tourism.

Minority confidence in security forces, cross-

border security co-operation,

29/7/86

London

6/10/86

Dublin

Irish language.

Special meeting requested by Irish to discuss sectarian attacks.

Implementation of cross-border security

recommendations, possible consultative paper

on

fair

language, International

31/10/86

London

Bill

of Rights,

employment,

Fund

Irish

for Ireland.

Special meeting requested by Irish to discuss

cross-border security co-operation.

8/12/86

Belfast

Public Order (NI) Order, provisions of

Emergency Provisions Bill,

Irish

concern over use

of 'supergrasses'.

22/4/87

Belfast

Fair

employment measures,

operation.

security co-

268

British

government policy

in

Northern Ireland 1969-89

Appendix E

continued

Date

Venue

Wl/Kl

London

Principal matters discussed

Fair

employment measures,

security co-

operation, cross-border co-operation on

economic/social matters.

21/10/87

Belfast

Administration of justice, extradition,

of Conduct,

16/11/87

Dublin

2/2/88

Belfast

fair

RUC Code

employment proposals.

Security matters.

Special meeting called by Irish to discuss

Attorney General's statement concerning

Stalker/Sampson inquiry.

16/2/88

Belfast

Resumed

24/2/88

Dublin

Fair

25/3/88

London

discussions of matters of 2/2/88.

employment proposals, International Fund. Security co-operation, commitment to improve community-security force relations in NI, Irish concerns over Stalker/Sampson report, prison policy.

4/5/88

Dublin

Cross-border security co-operation, administration of justice,

fair

employment

proposals, social and economic problems of W. Belfast.

17/6/88

Belfast

Security co-operation, recent difficulties

concerning extradition, administration of justice, fair

employment, measures

for

W.

Belfast

regeneration.

27/7/88

London

Cross-border security co-operation, security

force-community Belfast, policy for

relations, fair employment, W. young offenders, International

Fund. 13/9/88

Dublin

Reviewed on-going work concerning between community and security

relations

forces,

preparation of fair employment legislation.

2/11/88

Belfast

Further review of measures to improve security

and confidence

in the administration

of justice,

preparation of fair employment legislation.

14/12/88

Belfast

British

concern over

failure to extradite

Ryan,

cross-border security co-operation, security

force-community relations, British statement that fair

8/2/89

London

5/4/89

Belfast

employment

legislation pending.

Fair employment, extradition, security force-

community

relations.

Cross-border security, extradition, progress review of agreement.

24/5/89

Belfast

Completion of review of working of the agreement.

in

Appendix E

269

Appendix E

continued

Date

Venue

Principal matters discussed

15/9/89

Dublin

'Leaking' of information by role

5/10/89

London

NI

security forces,

and future of UDR.

Further discussions of topics raised

at

15/9/89

meeting.

18/10/89

Belfast

Continuation of topics of previous two meetings: confidence in security forces and administration of justice. Britain outlined attempts to improve vetting of

UDR recruits. Irish favour

comprehensive inquiry into

force-community this proposal.

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Index

Attlee,C13, 15

Abse,L. 113

Community Employment (ACE) 164-5, 187, 223-4

Aughey, A. 242

Action for

Adams, G. 196 Alison,

M.

Baird, E. 101

Baker Report 158, 182-5,205

141, 145, 151,265

Alliance Party 41, 44, 49, 54, 97, 100, 142,

144, 150, 197, 199

Barry, P.

177,208 216

Bell, S. 199, 205,

AmeryJ. 149

Bennett, A. 203

AndertonJ. 216 Anglo-Irish Agreement 189, 193 movement towards 175-7

Bennett Report 118-22, 142, 156, 213 Bevin,E. 12-13

provisions of

BiffenJ. 176

177-80

Biggs-Davison,J. 149, 174

Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental

'bipartisanship'

Bleakley, D.

Conference details of meetings 200,

Appendix

E

review of 201-2, 245 Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Council 146, 148, 174, 178-9

243-9

44

Border Poll (1973) 50, 94 Boundary Commission 2 Brittan, L.

176

Brooke, P. 219, 266

Anglo-Irish Parliamentary Tier 174-5,

200-1

Budgen, N. 149 Burke, R. 217

Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) 2

Butler, A.

141,161,265

Annesley, H. 219 'anti-imperialists'

Anti-Partition

239-42

League

14,

Cairncross Report 75, 77 Callaghan, J. 17, 19, 20, 23, 24, 40, 82,

16

Archer, P. 182, 184, 199, 203, 205, 248

Assembly (1974), elections Assembly (1982) 175, 246

to

53

149-50 suspension of 199-200

elections to

H. 142, 144, 146, 155, 165, 167, 179,181,246,265

Atkins,

101-2,197,199,245 opposition to integration 47

White Paper (1973) 52

Cameron Report 20, 32, 34, 36 Campaign for Democracy in Ulster 16 Campaign for Social Justice 17 Carrington, Lord 58, 145-6

288

Index

Carron, O. 146

talks

Carter, R. 90, 135,265

with

Mason 100

detention

Catherwood, F. 194

1972 Order and provisions 65-7

Chamberlain, N.

repeal of Order 73

Channon,

10, 12

P. 46, 83,

265

Devlin, B. 52, 71, 130

Diplock Report (1972) 67-71, 156

Chichester-Clark, J. 23, 26, 41 Churchill,

W. 12-13

Direct Rule

Civil Authorities (Special Powers)

(NI) 1922 Collins,

7, 18, 25,

Act

30, 60, 6, 73

introduction of 45-7

Donaldson, Lord 90, 265

Dukes, A. 208

G. 209

Colville, Viscount

202-3

DunlopJ. 142

Commissioner 84-5

Complaints 33, 82,

DunnJ.90,265

for

Community Relations Act (NI) 1969 34 Community Relations Commission (CRC) 24, 35-6, 78, 85, 133 Community Relations Council 235 Community Relations Unit 235 Compton Report 60-6

Eden, A. 12

Concannon, J. 90, 102, 149, 155, 265 Connolly, J. 48 Constitutional Conference (1980) 144 see also Atkins, H. Constitutional Convention (1975) 93-100

Enterprise Allowance

Cooper,

I.

Elected Authorities (NI) Bill 210-11 Electoral

Law Act (NI) 1968

English,

M. 72

187,

224

enterprise zones 163-4, 185, 225

European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism

Cosgrave, L. 54 CostelloJ. 14-15

Council of Ireland (1973 proposals) 51,

Extradition

CraigJ.3,11,17

Fair

W.

41, 56, 97

Fair

Criminal Evidence (NI) Order 1988

212-13,257

1987, 207

84, 130-3, 178,

228 passim

Employment Commission 232-3, Employment

in

Northern Ireland'

(White Paper) 232-3

Cripps, S. 11

Fair

management' 198, 240-1

Employment

(NI) Act 1976 84, 130,

258 Fair

Darlington Conference 48-9

Employment

(NI) Bill/Act 1989

233-5, 259

Delargy,H. 14-15

DeLorean 127-8,

207, 251

235 'Fair

Criminal Jurisdiction Act 1975 105

'crisis

(ECST) Act

Employment Agency 187,

Cranbourne, Viscount 149

(ECST)

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2