Cadogan Group

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Northern Ireland.jpg This article is part of SpinWatch's Northern Ireland Portal.

The Cadogan Group is a Unionist think tank in Northern Ireland set up in 1991.


Colin Armstrong, Arthur Aughey, Paul Bew, Graham Gudgin, Jim Hamilton, Dennis Kennedy, Henry Patterson, Patrick Roche and Bill Smith.

On first being reported in the press in 1992 the group was said to consist of:

The members of the group are Professor Paul Bew of the Politics Department, Queen's University Belfast; Mr Arthur Aughey, a senior lecturer in Politics at the University of Ulster; Mr Paddy Roche of the Economics Department, University of Ulster; Mr Graham Gudgin, director of the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre; Mr Dennis Kennedy, the former head of the EC Office in the North; and Mr Arthur Green, a former undersecretary at the Department of Education Northern Ireland.[1]

Northern Limits

In 1992 the Cadogan Group produced a pamphlet entitled Northern Limits: Boundaries of the Attainable in Northern Ireland Politics.[2]

The Irish Times reported that the pamphlet:

calls for the deletion of Articles 2 and 3 from the Irish Constitution "as soon ,as possible", challenges key nationalist beliefs on the potential for reform in the North, and claims that both joint authority and Irish unity are not financially viable.
The Cadogan group recommends that a North/South Co-operation Council be set up, bringing together relevant ministers from Belfast and Dublin, and possibly serviced by a joint secretariat working out of both cities. The council would offer Dublin no more involvement in Northern affairs than Belfast would have in the South and its role,would be consultative, not executive.[2]

At a Belfast hearing of the Opsahl Commission in January 1993, Commissioner Eamonn Gallagher challenged the Cadogan Goup over its contention that the New Ireland Forum had exaggerated the extent of discrimination in the North. The Irish Times reported:

Asked why there was no mention of the Special Powers Act, - the legislation, said Mr Gallagher, used by the authorities to discriminate against Catholics in the North - in the Cadogan group's lengthy submission, one of the members said it had also been applied against the loyalist community in the past.
Challenged to give an example of this, members said they could not produce examples "out of a hat", but said they could do so at a future date. Professor Paul Bew, of the group, perhaps stung by the efficacy of the challenge, said that in the 1940s it had been stated that the absence of family planning in the South "was far more productive of human misery that the Special Powers Act ever was".[3]

In a letter to the Irish Times, Bew responded:

The full subtlety of the exchange at the Opsahl Commission has escaped your reporter, Gerry Moriarty (January 20th). I was not "stung by the efficacy" of the commissioner, Eamonn Gallagher's challenge; I simply felt that it was based on a historical error which, as a matter of fact, it was. As both Patrick Buckland and Michael Farrell make clear in their books, the Special Powers Act was used against Loyalists.
Incidentally, my own profoundly critical view of the Special Powers Act and other features of Unionist rule (1921-72) may be found in Paul Bew and Henry Patterson, The British State and the Ulster Crisis, 1985, pp 4-5.[4]

Blurred Vision

In May 1994, the Cadogan Group produced a Blurred Vision a pamphlet arguing that a settlement based on joint authority would be undemocratic. The Irish Times reported:

The academics claim that they have been "erroneously labelled" as unionist and that their proposals are simply grounded in the "reality" that there can be no change in the North's constitutional status without majority consent.
The reality is that unionists are a majority in Northern Ireland and it is unionist consent that is needed for any constitutional change. That is the only basis on which political discussion about the future of Northern Ireland should proceed.[5]

Lost Accord

In July 1995, the group produced Lost Accord a response to the Framework Document produced by the British and Irish governments as a basis for negotiations in Northern Ireland. TheIrish Times reported that the pamphlet called for the end of the Anglo-Irish Agreement:

It also calls for the closure of the Maryfield Secretariat the dropping of proposals for dynamic cross-Border bodies the shelving of the objective of Irish unity and the abandonment of plans for the direct election of a three-member panel which would have executive powers in a new 90-seat Northern Ireland assembly.
The group presents its thinking as being "based on the realities of the situation in Northern Ireland, not on entrenched stances or wishful thinking".[6]



  1. Suzanne Breen, "North group says unity not financially viable", The Irish Times December 01, 1992, CITY EDITION
  2. 2.0 2.1 Suzanne Breen, North group says unity not financially viable, Irish Times, 1 December 1992.
  3. Gerry Moriarty, Hearings a soapbox for wide range of views, Irish Times, 20 January 1990.
  4. Paul, Bew, Opsahl Commission, Irish Times, 30 January 1993, p.11.
  5. Suzanne Breen, Joint authority ruled out by North group, The Irish Times, 6 May 1994.
  6. NI group sees framework documents as 'flawed', Irish Times, 3 July 1995.