On 6 December 1973 tripartite talks officially began at Sunningdale in Berkshire, England with the objective of setting up a power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland. Talks concluded on 9 December after four days of deliberation and negotiation.

RTÉ News reports from a press conference on 6 December 1973 featuring statements by the signatories of the Sunningdale Agreement as the talks got underway.  An Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave and former unionist prime minister and chief executive of the power-sharing executive Brian Faulkner, share their thoughts on the agreement, its objectives and the historic nature of this agreement.

Cosgrave speaking on behalf of the Irish government states "We believe that the formation of the council will promote and encourage the growth of consensus politics throughout Ireland and the eventual elimination of violence." He further comments that the objective of the council is to build steadily the spirit of greater confidence and better understanding between the different sections and historical traditions in Ireland.

Brian Faulkner describes the agreement as a historic step towards a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland between Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Edward Heath, the Prime Minister of the Republic and the heads of the three political parties of Northern Ireland. 

The agreement collapsed in May 1974.