2005 volume 23(1) pages 63 – 83

Cite as:
Knox C, Carmichael P, 2005, "Devolution -- the Northern Ireland way: an exercise in 'creative ambiguity'" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 23(1) 63 – 83

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Devolution -- the Northern Ireland way: an exercise in 'creative ambiguity'

Colin Knox, Paul Carmichael

Received 12 July 2004; in revised form 12 October 2004

Abstract. Devolution in Northern Ireland followed directly from the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement which provided, inter alia, for a democratically elected Assembly "inclusive in its membership, capable of exercising executive and legislative authority, and subject to safeguards to protect the rights and interests of all sides of the community". More than six years on, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly are in suspension for the fourth time (the latest since October 2002). The conjunction of devolution and the implementation of the Agreement mean that the former is wholly dependent on the vagaries of the latter and, as a consequence, has devalued the potential of devolution to improve the governance of Northern Ireland.

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