Direct rule

Direct rule
For direct rule in India, see President's rule.
Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland

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Direct rule was the term given, during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, to the administration of Northern Ireland directly from Westminster, seat of United Kingdom government.[citation needed] The most recent bout of direct rule came to an end on 8 May 2007 when power was restored to the Northern Ireland Assembly following April elections and a power-sharing agreement among major parties.

Although every day matters under direct rule were handled by government departments within Northern Ireland itself, major policy was determined by the British Government's Northern Ireland Office, under the direction of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; and legislation was introduced, amended, or repealed by means of Order in Council (effectively, rule by decree). Direct Rule did not mean that the people of Northern Ireland had no democratic say in how they were governed; like other parts of the United Kingdom they elected (and still elect) members of parliament to the Parliament of the United Kingdom to which the Northern Ireland Office is responsible. But it did result in the existence of an administration specific to Northern Ireland which did not have a specifically Northern Irish mandate.

The most recent system of Direct rule was originally introduced on 28 March 1972 under the terms of the UK's Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972, which also suspended the Parliament of Northern Ireland ("Stormont").

The British Government sought to establish a Northern Ireland Assembly in 1973 (under the Sunningdale Agreement; this was brought down by Unionist action), in 1982 (this time boycotted by Nationalists), and more recently under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Each time, the intention in principle was that the Assembly would take over the political governance of Northern Ireland, and that direct rule would thus come to an end. The results of the Good Friday Agreement were the most successful at achieving this; however, the Assembly was nevertheless suspended (and direct rule re-imposed) for over three months starting in February 2000,[1] twice briefly in August[2] and September[3] of 2001, and again from October 2002[4] until the spring of 2007.

Both unionists and nationalists frequently objected to direct rule, since the system gives the people of Northern Ireland relatively little democratic say over their own governance. However, some unionists accepted and were content to go along with the system since it seemed to show the province as an integral part of the UK; while some nationalists accepted direct rule if only because they believed that politicians in London are less hostile to Northern Ireland's Catholic community than a government elected by the local Protestant majority.[citation needed]


See also

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  • direct rule —    Direct rule was the term given, during the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries, to the administration of Northern Ireland directly from Westminster. The most recent bout of direct rule came to an end on 8 May 2007, when power was… …   Glossary of UK Government and Politics

  • direct rule — the name given to the system of governing Northern Ireland during the suspension of the Stormont parliament from March 1972 until 1999. Executive power was exercised by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and laws on matters with which… …   Law dictionary

  • Direct Rule — Der Begriff Indirect rule bzw. Indirekte Herrschaft bezieht sich im engeren Sinne auf eine bestimmte Art der Europäischen Kolonialpolitik im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, wie sie insbesondere für das Britische Empire typisch ist, aber auch von anderen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • direct rule — n [U] the government of Northern Ireland by the British Parliament instead of by Stormont, the Northern Irish Parliament in Belfast. Direct rule began in 1972 and ended in 1999 when a new Northern Ireland Assembly was elected, but started again… …   Universalium

  • Direct Rule — Le Direct Rule (français : Administration directe) est une mesure politique britannique qui consiste à faire passer le contrôle d un pays sous l administration directe du Parlement du Royaume Uni. Portail du Royaume Uni …   Wikipédia en Français

  • direct rule — N UNCOUNT Direct rule is a system in which a central government rules an area which has had its own parliament or law making organization in the past …   English dictionary

  • direct rule — noun a system of government in which a province is controlled by a central government …   English new terms dictionary

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