The Good Friday Agreement Referendum

As part of the agreement, it was proposed to build on the existing Inter-Parliamentary Commission in English-Irish. Prior to the agreement, the body was composed only of parliamentarians from the British and Irish assemblies. In 2001, as proposed by the agreement, it was extended to include parliamentarians of all members of the Anglo-Irish Council. The previous text contains only four articles; It is this short text that is the legal agreement, but it contains the latter agreement in its timetables. [7] Technically, this proposed agreement can be distinguished as a multi-party agreement, unlike the Belfast Agreement itself. [7] The overall result of these problems was to undermine the confidence of trade unionists in the agreement, which was exploited by the anti-DUP agreement, which eventually overtook the pro-agreement Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in the 2003 general elections. UUP had already resigned from the executive in 2002 following the Stormontgate scandal, in which three men were indicted for intelligence gathering. These charges were eventually dropped in 2005 because persecution was not “in the public interest.” Immediately afterwards, one of Sinn Féin`s members, Denis Donaldson, was unmasked as a British agent. As part of the agreement, the British Parliament repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920 (which had founded Northern Ireland, divided Ireland and asserted territorial right to the whole of Ireland) and the people of the Republic of Ireland amended Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, which asserted a territorial right to Northern Ireland. The participants in the agreement were composed of two sovereign states (the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland), with armed forces and police forces involved in the riots. Two political parties, Sinn Féin and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), were linked to paramilitary organisations: the IRA (Commissional Irish Republican Army) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), associated with the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), had withdrawn from the talks three months earlier.

The vague wording of some so-called “constructive ambiguities”[8] helped ensure the adoption of the agreement and delayed debate on some of the most controversial issues. These include extra-military dismantling, police reform and the standardisation of Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement was approved by referendum on 22 May 1998, both in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland voters were asked to approve the multi-party agreement and Irish voters were asked to approve both the multi-party agreement and some constitutional amendments to the Anglo-Irish agreement. In the end, the intervention of a number of international statesmen, including Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela, helped, along with bono and Kenneth Branagh supporters, to revive the pro-agreement campaign.

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