Sunningdale and the UWC strike
In December 1973, an agreement was signed in Sunningdale by both the British and Irish governments and Brian Faulkner, Prime Minister of the suspended Northern Irish parliament. It proposed that Northern Ireland be governed by an Executive in which power was shared between the elected parties, rather than by majority rule. A Council of Ireland was also proposed to advise on cross-border issues. Unionist opposition was widespread and the intention to defy power-sharing was encapsulated in a strike by the Ulster Workers' Council, organised with the direct involvement of loyalist paramilitaries. The strike brought Northern Ireland to a standstill for almost two weeks, until the British government capitulated and abandoned the agreement.