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The 40th anniversary of the establishment of the first power-sharing executive is an opportunity to reflect on the nature of democratic practice in Northern Ireland. This one-day conference is open to the public and aims to explore not only the reasons for the sudden demise of the ‘Sunningdale Assembly’ during the Ulster Workers’ Council Strike but also the divided legacies that that demise bestowed on Northern Irish politics.

The questions that surround the Sunningdale power-sharing experiment continue to resonate within Northern Ireland today:
- Democracy has widened, but to what extent has it deepened?
- In what ways and in what areas are people’s voices not being heard?
- How can political disenchantment, apathy and differing views on democratic legitimacy be managed?
- What do we, as a society, do about groups who feel alienated from mainstream politics?
- What are the reasons behind the resilience of violent factions?

This unique event will bring together historians, journalists, commentators, eyewitnesses to the executive, archivists and political scientists to address these and other issues relating to the long struggle for democracy in Northern Ireland. It aims to assess the lessons of the Sunningdale failure and asks how they apply to contemporary Northern Ireland.

Speakers include Professor Arthur Aughey; Sir Kenneth Bloomfield; Dr Sarah Campbell; Dr Jude Collins; Dr Anthony Craig; Dr Aaron Edwards; Dr Gordon Gillespie; Professor Thomas Hennessey; Mr David Huddleston; Mr Alex Kane; Dr Brendan Lynn; and Dr Malachi O’Doherty.

Hosted and sponsored by:

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland
The Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, University of Ulster
The Political Studies Association, Irish Specialist Group

All members of the public are very welcome to attend.

Admission is FREE, but booking is essential.

Event info

This event has ended

Friday 23 May

9am to 4pm

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland

Dr Cillian McGrattan