Good Friday Peace Agreement

Although politicians continue to disagree, there has been no return to the violence that has been observed in Northern Ireland. It`s a much more peaceful place, and many say it`s Good Friday agreement. The Good Friday Agreement is the cornerstone of our commitment to peace and stability on this island. It was agreed on 10 April 1998 and was adopted by an overwhelming majority in May 1998 in two referendums in both parts of Ireland. “It is up to the Irish people alone, by mutual agreement between the two parties and without external hindrance, of their right to self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and at the same time given, north and south, to achieve a united Ireland, while accepting that this right be acquired and exercised with the agreement and approval of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland.” In 2004, negotiations were held between the two governments, the DUP, and Sinn Féin, for an agreement to restore the institutions. The talks failed, but a document published by governments detailing the changes to the Belfast agreement was known as the “comprehensive agreement.” However, on 26 September 2005, it was announced that the Provisional Republican Army of Ireland had completely closed its arsenal of weapons and had “taken it out of service”. Nevertheless, many trade unionists, especially the DUP, remained skeptical. Among the loyalist paramilitaries, only the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) had decommissioned all weapons. [21] Further negotiations took place in October 2006 and resulted in the St Andrews Agreement.

The agreement reaffirmed its commitment to “mutual respect, civil rights and religious freedoms for all within the Community.” The multi-party agreement recognized “the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance with regard to linguistic diversity,” particularly with regard to the Irish language, Ulster Scots and the languages of other ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland, “all of which are part of the cultural richness of the Island of Ireland.” The result of these referendums was a large majority in both parts of Ireland in favour of the agreement. In the Republic, 56% of the electorate voted, 94% of the vote voted in favour of the revision of the Constitution. The turnout was 81% in Northern Ireland, with 71% of the vote for the agreement. The multi-party agreement required the parties to “use all the influences they might have” to obtain the dismantling of all paramilitary weapons within two years of the adoption of the agreement by referendums. The standardization process has forced the British government to reduce the number and role of its armed forces in Northern Ireland “to a level compatible with a normal peaceful society.” These include the elimination of security measures and the abolition of special emergency powers in Northern Ireland. The Irish government has pledged to conduct a “thorough review” of its violations of national law. The relationship between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, First Minister and Deputy First Minister, was a sign that Northern Ireland had really changed. The Presbyterian preacher and former IRA commander were once sworn enemies, but they suddenly worked together in the same office and were nicknamed “The Chuckle Brothers” because of their good relationship. A majority of Northern Ireland`s population – almost 56% – voted to keep the UK in the EU. The DUP was the only one to support Brexit.