By Michael Kerr
The Destructors is the story of lost opportunities. In 1973, Northern Ireland's first Secretary of State, William Whitelaw, convinced rival unionist and nationalist leaders, such as Brian Faulkner and John Hume, to set aside irreconcilable differences and form a power-sharing executive at Stormont. The opponents of British policy in Northern Ireland - paramilitary organizations and the unionist politicians who were not central to Whitelaw's plans - sought to efface power-sharing from the constitutional options that would be open to Northern Ireland if the executive collapsed. And in May 1974 they succeeded, when the British government failed to protect the executive from an unconstitutional political strike led by the Ulster Workers' Council. Taking a fresh and dynamic look at what the idea of power-sharing meant to the different parties to the Northern Ireland conflict, The Destructors examines how the Northern Ireland Executive's fate was sealed when the policy of using power-sharing to regulate the troubles was abandoned by British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, following an ill-timed Westminster general election in February 1974. Drawing on previously unavailable British and Irish archival material, and over 40 interviews with politicians and officials central to a peace process that led to an Anglo-Irish settlement at Sunningdale in December 1973, author Michael Kerr re-examines why Northern Ireland's power-sharing experiment failed.
Publication Date: 6/14/2011