A number of consociational power-sharing initiatives are compared to explore some of the reasons why the elite conflict regulation model has not settled the Northern Ireland conflict. In the period 1972-85, four attempts by the British government to formulate and implement a power-sharing government within Northern Ireland failed as a result of the recalcitrance of one or other of the mainstream political parties. The 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) ended the Unionist veto and included the Irish government in the political process to find a solution. Since 1985, four efforts by both governments to establish a devolved power-sharing government have included previously marginalized political groups in the political process. In this article, I argue that since the 1985 AIA the bilateral external ethno-
Byrne, Sean (2001) Consociational and Civic Society Approaches to Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland, Journal of Peace Research 38 (3): 327–352.