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John Hume and the Revision of Irish Nationalism$
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P. J. McLoughlin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719079566

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719079566.001.0001

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Sunningdale for slow learners

Sunningdale for slow learners

(p.175) 10 Sunningdale for slow learners
John Hume and the Revision of Irish Nationalism

P. J. McLoughlin

Manchester University Press

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

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