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Brooke / Mayhew Talks (April 1991 to November 1992)
- A Chronology of Main Events



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Text and Research: Martin Melaugh and Brendan Lynn
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change

This page contains a chronology of the main events associated with the Brooke / Mayhew Talks (April 1991 to November 1992). The reader should also consult the main chronologies for other entries related to this event.

Brooke / Mayhew Talks (April 1991 to November 1992) - A Chronology of Main Events

1990

Tuesday 9 January 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, delivered a speech in Bangor, County Down, in which he sought to break the political stalemate by seeking to encourage a fresh round of inter-party talks aimed at restoring devolved power to Northern Ireland. In particular he stressed that sufficient "common ground" existed for progress to be made and urged Unionist politicians to resume contact with the British government. Whilst reluctant to make any commitment to suspend the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) to allow for Unionists to engage in discussions, Brooke did hold out the promise that he would seek to work the AIA in a sensitive manner.

Tuesday 16 January 1990
item mark John Taylor, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of Parliament, called for an end to the Unionist boycott of talks with Northern Ireland Office ministers.

Sunday 18 February 1990
item mark In a radio interview Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated that whilst there would be not be a complete suspension of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) to allow for talks to begin, it might be possible to use gaps in the Anglo-Irish Conference for political negotiations to take place.

Tuesday 20 February 1990
item mark John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met to discuss the possibility of political talks.

Saturday 24 February 1990
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) announced that its councilors would resume meeting with Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Ministers on issues of 'specific importance to any council area or relevant board'.

Monday 26 February 1990
item mark The inaugural meeting of the British-Irish Interparliamentary Body (BIIB) took place in London. The meeting was boycotted by Unionists.

Tuesday 27 February 1990
item mark The Irish Times (a Dublin based newspaper) published an article which outlined a set of proposals on Northern Ireland which were purported to have been handed to Tom King, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, in January 1988 by James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). These proposals contained suggestions about the future governance of Northern Ireland. Whilst claiming that the report was not entirely accurate Molyneaux also stressed that Unionists were prepared to discuss the ideas further in future negotiations, if and when the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) was suspended.

Thursday 1 March 1990
McGimpsey Appeal on Irish Constitution
item mark An appeal to the Irish Supreme Court by Chris McGimpsey and Michael McGimpsey on the issue of Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution was rejected. The Court ruled that Articles 2 and 3 are a 'claim of legal right' over the 'national territory'. The Court stated that the articles represented a 'constitutional imperative' rather than merely an aspiration.

Friday 2 March 1990
item mark There was a meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) in London.

Friday 23 March 1990
item mark James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), said that there would be no agreement on talks while Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution remained.

Wednesday 11 April 1990
Official Visit by Taoiseach
item mark Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), made the first official visit to Northern Ireland by a Taoiseach since that by Seán Lemass in 1965. Haughey addressed a conference organised by the Institute of Directors in Belfast. Four hundred loyalists staged a protest against the visit.

Friday 4 May 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, told Unionist leaders that proposed political talks would consider an alternative to the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

Friday 11 May 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met with Unionist leaders and agreed that there would be a gap in the meetings of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) to allow talks to begin.

Tuesday 22 May 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held a long meeting with Unionist leaders in London. James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), announced that they were 'well satisfied with the results'.

Thursday 24 May 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met with John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), in London for talks.

Monday 28 May 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met with Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), and Gerry Collins, then Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Friday 15 June 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met with representatives of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). It was announced that talks would begin after the summer holidays.

Thursday 5 July 1990
item mark In a statement to the House of Commons Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that he was unable to report agreement on the schedule for proposed talks. The main difficulties centred on disagreements over when the Irish government should become formally involved in the negotiations. In addition no compromise had been reached on Unionist demands that Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution would have to be repealed if the talks were to succeed.

Friday 13 July 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met with Gerry Collins, then Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs, to review the ongoing stalemate in the political progress.

Tuesday 17 July 1990
item mark After a five hour meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) involving Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, no progress was made on setting a date for political talks to begin.

Monday 23 July 1990
item mark A report in The Times (a London based newspaper) detailed further disagreements between some of the Northern Ireland parties over the proposed political talks. Whilst Unionists declared that they would only enter negotiations with the Irish government as part of a United Kingdom delegation, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) outlined their opposition to any use of the term 'United Kingdom' and as an alternative argued for the use of 'Britain' and 'Ireland'.

Thursday 26 July 1990
item mark As the British House of Commons went into recess for the holidays, Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated that he would renew his initiative in September 1990.

Friday 7 September 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, attempted to re-launch the talks process in a speech in Ballymena, County Antrim.

Friday 14 September 1990
item mark There was a meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) in Dublin.

Wednesday 26 September 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated that he might produce his own proposals for the future of Northern Ireland

Monday 1 October 1990
item mark At a fringe meeting at the British Labour Party conference Seamus Mallon, then deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), stated that Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, should abandon the agenda drawn up in the summer for the proposed political talks.

Sunday 7 October 1990
item mark In an interview John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was called for the abandonment of the present proposals for the commencement of political talks.

Saturday 27 October 1990
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) conference was held in Newcastle, County Down. James Molyneaux, then leader of the UUP, attacked Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution.

Wednesday 31 October 1990
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that the talks initiative was 'on hold'.

Friday 9 November 1990
Brooke Speech
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, made a major speech on the British position on Northern Ireland to an audience in London. Brooke stated that Britain had no 'selfish economic or strategic interest' in Northern Ireland and would accept the unification of Ireland by consent.

Friday 28 December 1990
item mark In an interview published in the Belfast Telegraph (a Belfast based newspaper) Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said he believed that there had been "real advances" during the year. Although admitting that no substantial progress he pointed to the fact that there had at least been "new thinking about difficult issues, re-analysis of positions and goals, and re-evaluation of the validity of traditional aims in the context of the nineteen-nineties".

1991

Thursday 17 January 1991
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met with representatives of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) at Westminster. The SDLP objected to aspects of the arrangements for proposed talks on the future of Northern Ireland. Specifically the SDLP criticised the fact that Brooke would determine the point in the talks at which representatives of the government in the Republic of Ireland would be invited to attend.

Thursday 31 January 1991
item mark There was a meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) in Dublin. Following the meeting Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that political talks were "a possibility, not a probability".

Friday 8 February 1991
item mark The government in the Republic of Ireland agreed to abide by the arrangements for planned political talks on the future of Northern Ireland. The arrangements meant that Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, would decide the point in the talks at which the Irish government would be invited to attend.

Thursday 14 February 1991
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, told the House of Commons that there were still differences between the Northern Ireland political parties, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), and Irish ministers, over the proposals for talks.

Monday 4 March 1991
item mark Councillors in Belfast City Council voted by 21 to 19 to end the ban on visits by government ministers. [The first visit by a government minister since the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) took place on 25 March 1991.]

Thursday 14 March 1991
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced to the House of Commons that an agreement had been reached with the Irish government whereby he would decide when they would enter the political negotiations. In addition he also set Easter as the deadline for all the parties deciding on the arrangements for new political talks. [The talks were to involve the four main political parties and were the first in a series that lasted from April 1991 to November 1992 and later became known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks. Patrick Mayhew took over from Brooke as Secretary of State before the talks were concluded.]

Monday 25 March 1991
Arrangements for Talks Agreed
item mark The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI), all agreed to the arrangements for political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) on the future of Northern Ireland. Richard Needham, then a Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Minister, became the first NIO minister to visit Belfast City Hall since the Unionist protest began over the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

Tuesday 26 March 1991
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) would involve a three-strand process. This process was to include relationships within Northern Ireland and achieving a devolved government ('Strand One' of the talks), between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland ('Strand Two'), and between the British and Irish Governments ('Strand Three'). In addition the three strands were to form a complete agreement - 'nothing is agreed until everything is agreed'.

Tuesday 9 April 1991
item mark The Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference held a meeting in Belfast. Following the meeting Gerry Collins, then Irish Foreign Minister, announced that there would be a 10 week gap after its next meeting on 26 April 1991. [The break in meetings was designed to allow Unionists to enter talks on the future of Northern Ireland.]

Monday 15 April 1991
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, began a week-long visit to the United States of America (USA) to promote the forthcoming talks on the future of Northern Ireland.

Wednesday 17 April 1991
item mark The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC), acting on behalf of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), and the Red Hand Commandos (RHC), announced that there would be a ceasefire beginning on 30 April 1991. [The ceasefire was to facilitate the proposed political talks and would last as long as the talks. Attacks by all three organisations continued in the period before the ceasefire.]

Friday 26 April 1991
item mark There was a meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. This was the last meeting for a 10 week period to allow talks to take place between the political parties.

Monday 29 April 1991
CLMC Ceasefire
item mark The ceasefire announced on 17 April 1991 by the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) began at midnight. [The ceasefire was ended by the CLMC on 4 July 1991.]

Tuesday 30 April 1991
Preliminary Talks Began
item mark The preliminary round of political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks), involving the four main political parties, on the political future of Northern Ireland began. [Initially there were a series of bilateral meetings between Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and representatives of the parties.] Problems soon arise however concerning Strand One of the talks over details such as where the discussions should be held and who should subsequently chair the later stages of these negotiations.

Wednesday 1 May 1991
item mark The British government said that proposals for Northern Ireland select committee at the House of Commons were worth considering. [The ideal was one favoured by Unionists in favour of more integration between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom (UK) but it was opposed by Nationalists and Republicans. The select committee was eventually established in 199x(?).]

Tuesday 7 May 1991
item mark A series of bilateral political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) were held at Stormont but there was no agreement among the parties about the venue of the main talks.
item mark Political Talks: Bilateral Session with the SDLP held at Parliament Buildings.

Wednesday 8 May 1991
item mark Political Talks: Meeting of the full SDLP Delegation with the Secretary of State and the NIO Team (began 11.25).

Wednesday 15 May 1991
item mark The leaders of the main Unionist parties refused to accept the deadline imposed in the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) and instead travelled to London for a meeting with John Major, then British Prime Minister. Unionist representatives spoke to Major about the issue of the venue and nominations for the role of independent chairman of the talks. In particular they voiced their objection to the nominee of the British government, Lord Carrington, as the independent chair for the Strand Two negotiations, because of comments he had made concerning Northern Ireland politicians in his memoirs.

Monday 20 May 1991
item mark The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) announced that it was leaving the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) until such time as the procedures for the main talks were agreed by the other parties.

Wednesday 22 May 1991
item mark In the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) the venue for Strand Two (the North-South Stage) of the main talks was agreed by the parties.

Wednesday 5 June 1991
item mark The main political parties in Northern Ireland agreed to the start of the main political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) on 17 June 1991.

Saturday 15 June 1991
item mark Ninian Stephen (Sir), then an Australian High Court judge and a former Governor-General of Australia, was named as the independent chairman for the strand of the forthcoming talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) involving relationships between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Monday 17 June 1991
Political Talks Began
item mark The four main political parties met at Stormont, Belfast, to begin talks on the future of Northern Ireland. The talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) began with opening statements from each of the parties. Prospects of a breakthrough however were considered as slim given that a meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) was scheduled for the middle of July. This was important because Unionists had stated that they would withdraw from the talks once the two governments begin their preparations for the AIIC meeting.
item mark Political Talks: Plenary Meeting held at Parliament Buildings (began 1256). Plenary Meeting (began 1436; ended 1542). Plenary Meeting (began 1600).

Tuesday 18 June 1991
item mark Political Talks: Plenary Meeting held at Parliament Buildings (began 1150; ended 1245). Plenary Meeting (began 1415). An agreed press statement was issued.

Wednesday 19 June 1991
item mark Political Talks: Plenary Meeting held in Parliament Buildings (began 1036; ended 1135). Plenary Session (began 1147; ended 1245). Plenary Meeting (began 1415; ended 1555). Plenary Meeting (began 1610; ended 1711).

Monday 24 June 1991
item mark Political Talks: Plenary Meeting held in Parliament Buildings (began 1205; ended 1245). Plenary Meeting (began 1415; ended 1550). Plenary Meeting (began 1608; ended 1640). Plenary Meeting (began 1758; ended 1812). An agreed press statement was issued.

Wednesday 26 June 1991
item mark Political Talks: Plenary Meeting held at Parliament Buildings (began 1030; ended 1135). Plenary Session (began 1150; ended 1250). Plenary Meeting (began 1610; ended 1730). Plenary Session (began 1835; ended 1940).

Monday 1 July 1991
item mark Political Talks: Plenary Meeting held in Parliament Buildings (began 1420; ended 1555). Plenary Meeting (began 1617; ended 1725).

Wednesday 3 July 1991
Political Talks End
item mark In order to try to prevent the complete collapse of the negotiations Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced at Westminster that he was bringing this stage of the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) to an end. [Unionists had stated that they were unwilling to continue the talks beyond 9 July 1991.]
item mark Political Talks: Plenary Session held at Parliament Buildings (began 1005; ended 1029).

Thursday 4 July 1991
End of CLMC Ceasefire
item mark The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) announced the end of the ceasefire, as of midnight, that had begun on 29 April 1991. [The ceasefire had been called to coincide with the period of the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks).]

Friday 12 July 1991
item mark The results of a survey of public opinion on the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) was published. It showed a high level of support for the resumption of the talks (73 per cent of people questioned in Northern Ireland; 87 per cent in the Republic of Ireland; and 79 per cent in Britain). The survey was carried out by Ulster Marketing Surveys, Irish Marketing Surveys, and Gallup.

Tuesday 16 July 1991
item mark The Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) held a meeting in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Meetings of the AIIC had been suspended for 11 weeks to allow the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) to proceed.

Monday 16 September 1991
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held a series of meetings (16 September - 20 September) with leaders of the political parties in Northern Ireland in an effort to restart the talks process (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks). However, with renewed speculation about the date of the next Westminster general election no progress was made towards setting a date for a resumption of the discussions halted in July 1991.

Friday 27 September 1991
item mark The Irish Times carried a report of an interview with Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Brooke was reported as stating that Articles 2 and 3 of the Republic of Ireland's constitution were "not helpful" in finding an agreement in Northern Ireland. He also warned that people should not seek to stretch the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA).

Wednesday 9 October 1991
item mark The Conservative Party held its annual conference. Delegates praised the efforts of Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to find an agreement, and they also recognised the need for an 'Irish dimension' in any settlement.

Wednesday 16 October 1991
item mark The Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) held a meeting in London.

Wednesday 20 November 1991
item mark The Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) held a meeting in Dublin.

Monday 2 December 1991
item mark The Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) held a meeting in Dublin.

Wednesday 4 December 1991
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, again met the leaders of the political parties in Northern Ireland to try to begin all-party talks. John Major, then British Prime Minister, travelled to Dublin, Republic of Ireland, to meet with Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). This was the first visit by a British Prime Minister since 1980. The two leaders agreed to hold biannual meetings.

Friday 20 December 1991
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, outlined a fresh set of proposals to the Northern Ireland parties in the hope that these would lead to the resumption of the political negotiations that have been suspended since July 1991.

1992

Thursday 2 January 1992
item mark A new formula was devised for the resumption of political talks.

Friday 17 January 1992
Teebane Bombing
item mark The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb killing eight Protestant civilians who had been travelling in a minibus past Teebane crossroads between Cookstown and Omagh, County Tyrone. The men had been working at a military base in County Tyrone and were travelling home when the attack occurred.
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, appeared on the 'Late Late Show' on Radio Telefis Éireann (RTE) and was persuaded to sing 'My Darling Clementine'. [Unionists accused Brooke of gross insensitivity in agreeing to sing on the show following the Teebane bombing. Brooke later revealed that he had offered his resignation over the matter.]

Monday 27 January 1992
item mark Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that it was not possible at that time to launch "fresh substantive talks".

Thursday 30 January 1992
item mark Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), announced his resignation as both Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil (FF). [Haughey's resignation followed the re-emergence of allegations about phone-tapping in 1982.]

Sunday 2 February 1992
item mark During a television interview Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, refused to rule out the possibility of the British government doing a post-election deal with Unionists. He stated that if talks were not successful a solution might be imposed that was more integrationist than devolutionist.

Thursday 6 February 1992
item mark Albert Reynolds was elected as leader of Fianna Fáil (FF) and also became Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister).

Monday 24 February 1992
item mark Brian Mawhinney, then Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), held a meeting with the leaders of the four main political parties.

Monday 9 March 1992
Plenary Session of Talks
item mark Representatives of the four main political parties in Northern Ireland held a 'plenary session' of political talks in Stormont. The parties agreed to meet again following the forthcoming general election.
item mark Political Talks: Business Committee meeting (began 1615; ended 1635).

Wednesday 11 March 1992
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, announced that there would be a general election on 9 April 1992.

Thursday 9 April 1992
General Election in UK
item mark A general election was held in the United Kingdom (UK). The Conservative Party won the election with a reduced majority of 21 seats in the House of Commons. In Northern Ireland the main news in the election was that Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), lost his seat in West Belfast to Joe Hendron (Dr) of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). [Adams was to regain the seat at the 1997 general election. Towards the end of the parliament, as the majority was further reduced, the Unionists were able to increase their influence over matters related to Northern Ireland.]

Saturday 11 April 1992
Mayhew Appointed Secretary of State
item mark Patrick Mayhew was chosen to replace Peter Brooke as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. There were further changes at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) with Michael Mates becoming deputy Secretary of State and the minister responsible for security.

Monday 27 April 1992
item mark There was an announcement at the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC) that there would be a three-month suspension of its meetings to allow the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) to recommence. Differences however emerged between the British and Irish governments with Sir Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and David Andrews, then Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs, publicly disagreeing as to whether, amongst other things, the Government of Ireland Act was open for discussion.

Tuesday 28 April 1992
item mark In the Dáil Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), stated that as part of the forthcoming political talks that the Irish government would push for the inclusion on the agenda of the Government of Ireland Act.

Wednesday 29 April 1992
Political Talks Recommenced
item mark The political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) recommenced at Stormont with the four main political parties making opening statements. A press release about the talks was issued.
item mark Political Talks: Business Committee meeting (began 1432; adjourned 1615; resumed 1643; ended 1755).

Monday 4 May 1992
item mark Political Talks: Business Committee meeting (began 1138; ended 1255). Second Business Committee meeting (began 1434; ended 1620).

Tuesday 5 May 1992
item mark Political Talks: Business Committee meeting (began 1140; ended 1200).

Wednesday 13 May 1992
item mark A submission made to Strand One of the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) was leaked to the media. The main element of the submission was a proposal for a six-member Commission that would act as the cabinet of any future government. Three members would be elected (treating Northern Ireland as a single constituency) and three appointed (one each by the British government, Irish government, and the European Community). In turn an elected assembly would scrutinise their performance as well as making its own recommendations to the commissioners.

Tuesday 26 May 1992
item mark Political Talks: Business Committee meeting (began 1640; ended 1715).

Wednesday 27 May 1992
item mark Political Talks: Papers submitted to each political party by the Talks Secretariat.

Tuesday 2 June 1992
item mark Political Talks: Document entitled 'New Political Institutions in Northern Ireland: Possible Outline Framework (to assist discussion)’ was submitted to each political party.

Friday 12 June 1992
Strand One of Talks Deadlocked
item mark The parties involved in the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) agreed to begin work on Strand Two and Strand Three of the process even though discussions on Strand One were at a standstill.

Friday 19 June 1992
item mark There was a meeting between representatives of the British and Irish Governments and the Northern Ireland parties to discuss an agenda for Strand Two of the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks).

Thursday 25 June 1992
item mark James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), together with Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), put a motion before the House of Commons which called for the setting up of a Northern Ireland Select Committee. The motion was supported by the Liberal Democrats, and the Welsh and Scottish Nationalist parties. However the government opposed the motion which failed to gain sufficient support.

Tuesday 30 June 1992
item mark Further meetings were held in London as part of the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks).

Monday 6 July 1992 - Wednesday 8 July 1992
item mark As part of Strand Two of the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) there were discussions in London between the British and Irish Governments and the Northern Ireland political parties. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) also attended the discussions although three members of the party resigned in protest at the development.

Friday 24 July 1992
item mark There was a summer adjournment in Strand Two of the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks). The talks recommenced on 2 September 1992.

Wednesday 2 September 1992
Political Talks Resumed
item mark Following the summer adjournment, Strand Two of the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) resumed.

Wednesday 9 September 1992
item mark Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), together with Peter Robinson, then deputy leader of the DUP, walked out of Strand Two of the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks). The politicians left because Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution were not the first item on the agenda for the talks. Two members of the DUP remained in the talks as 'observers'.

Saturday 12 September 1992
item mark A confidential discussion paper was leaked from the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks). It was claimed that the paper had been prepared by Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in an attempt to overcome a perceived lack of channels of communication between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. [The paper was heavily criticised by Unionists and was later withdrawn when James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), threatened to leave the talks. In particular Unionists were angered by certain phrases that had been used such as 'an agreed Ireland' as well as 'powers to be exercised through North/South channels'. There were further leaks on 20 September 1992.]

Sunday 20 September 1992
item mark There were further leaks of discussion papers from the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks). Sunday Life (a Belfast based newspaper) gave details of an Irish government paper that indicated there would be no change on Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution unless there was some movement on the Unionist side. [Unionists wanted to see changes to the Irish Constitution take place first.] There were additional revelations in other newspapers which provided details of the structure of any new assembly.

Monday 21 - Wednesday 23 September 1992
item mark James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), led a delegation from the UUP to talks in Dublin Castle, Dublin, with the Irish Government. The talks were based on Strand Two and the topics discussed included constitutional matters, security co-operation, channels of communication between the two states, and identity and allegiance. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) did not attend the talks in Dublin. [These were the first formal discussions by Unionists in Dublin since 1922.]

Friday 25 September 1992
item mark John Major, then British Prime Minister, held a meeting with Albert Reynolds, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), in London. The two leaders set the 16 November 1992 as the date for the next meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC). [As Unionists refused to take part in political talks while the AIIC was operating this date put a limit on the process.]

Saturday 26 September 1992
item mark In a radio interview John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), declared that Northern Ireland was "not a natural entity and therefore you cannot have a normal democracy". In addition he went on to describe the SDLP's proposal, already outlined at the political talks, for the governance of Northern Ireland.

Wednesday 30 September 1992
item mark The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) returned to the resumed political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) at Stormont. The DUP attended this section of the talks because the main business was Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution. [The DUP were criticised as having an 'a la carte' approach to the talks.]

Monday 9 November 1992
item mark Representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) presented a series of proposals at the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) in a last minute attempt to prevent the process from collapsing. Included were proposals for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland and provisions for Nationalists to have a 'meaningful role' in the government of Northern Ireland. In return for the Irish government repealing Articles 2 and 3 of its constitution the UUP would consider the establishment of some form of body linking members of any new Northern Ireland Assembly with the Dáil.

Tuesday 10 November 1992
End of Political Talks
item mark Unionists withdrew from the political talks (later known as the Brooke / Mayhew talks) and brought the process to an end. Their action was provoked by the restart of work by the Maryfield secretariat for the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC). Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that informal party contacts would continue. [The talks had lasted almost two years (30 April 1991 to 10 November 1992) and had cost an estimated 5 million.]


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