The Story of the Negotiation of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985
Wednesday 5 October at 8.15pm in the Sheraton Hotel
Talk by Frank Sheridan
William English Memorial Lecture: 2020-2022
Summary – The Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) signed by Garret FitzGerald and Margaret Thatcher on 15 November 1985 was unique in providing a treaty-based arrangement for the government of a territory disputed between two states. In effect, it gave the Irish Government an intrusive role in the processes of the government of Northern Ireland. Frank Sheridan was Private Secretary to Foreign Minister, Peter Barry, during the later stages of the negotiation of the Agreement. In 2021, Frank’s edited account of the memoir of Sir David Goodall, formerly Deputy Head of both the Foreign and Cabinet Offices, was published by Four Courts Press. Goodall kept a personal journal throughout the negotiations from September 1983 to December 1985, which he later transformed into a single narrative account which has, until its recent publication, remained under personal and official embargo. Given that source-material and Frank Sheridan’s personal experience, this talk will provide a gripping account of the negotiation between the two sides as the prospect of an agreement tottered continuously between collapse and survival.
Speaker – Frank Sheridan is a retired Irish diplomat and, at the time of his retirement in 2014, was Irish Ambassador to Brazil. Earlier in his career he had served in the office of Dr Garret FitzGerald when he was Foreign Minister and as Private Secretary to Foreign Minister, Peter Barry, during the later stages of the negotiation of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985. Following retirement, he completed a Master’s degree in Trinity College Dublin in contemporary Irish history, focusing on the New Ireland Forum and the period covered by the memoir of Sir David Goodall. He worked as a researcher on the film documentary John Hume in America and did research too for the late Seamus Mallon, former Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland, for his memoir (written with Andy Pollak) A Shared Home Place.