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No SolutionThe Labour Government and the Northern Ireland Conflict, 1974-79$
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S.C. Aveyard

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096402

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096402.001.0001

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The collapse of power-sharing

The collapse of power-sharing

(p.20) 2 The collapse of power-sharing
No Solution

S.C. Aveyard

Manchester University Press

This chapter considers the initial three months of the Labour government, incorporating both the political and security situation. During this time the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees, and the Northern Ireland Office made changes to security policy. Many of these showed continuity with the previous administration but some reflected the differing attitude of the Labour frontbench while in opposition. Most prominent was the suggestion that the police should play a greater role in security efforts. In May the UWC strike led to the collapse of the power-sharing executive and this is considered in great detail. It is argued that previous accounts have placed insufficient emphasis on the political context and the parameters within which the security forces could operate. The practical difficulties involved in strike-breaking are large and the loyalist strike should be placed in the broader, British context of difficulties experienced in handling industrial disputes in Great Britain.

Keywords:   Labour government, UWC strike, Police, Security forces, Strike-breaking

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