Chapter

Sunningdale for slow learners

P. J. McLoughlin

in John Hume and the Revision of Irish Nationalism

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780719079566
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702468 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719079566.003.0011
Sunningdale for slow learners

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Séamus Mallon famously described ‘Sunningdale for slow learners’. The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) was based on effectively the same formula as the Sunningdale Agreement – power sharing and an Irish dimension – and was more comprehensive than Sunningdale in the assurances that it offered to unionists. It provided a commitment to further reform to achieve full social and economic equality in Northern Ireland, and also promised to fulfil the demands that had first led John Hume into political action in the civil rights era. The Hume–Adams dialogue was unavoidably ambiguous on the relationship between unionist consent and Irish self-determination. Through the GFA, northern nationalists can feel that they have attained equality, and that they have exercised their right to self-determination and sovereignty. It can be argued that the GFA broadly vindicates the thinking of Hume, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and revisionist Irish nationalism.

Keywords: Good Friday Agreement; Sunningdale Agreement; Northern Ireland; John Hume; civil rights; SDLP; revisionist Irish nationalism

Chapter.  8060 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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