On 10 April 1998, an agreement was reached to put an end to the problems of Northern Ireland, known as the Good Friday Agreement. Here, historian Alan MacLeod studies the long road to the peace process, which wanted to reconcile two different traditions in Ireland – and looks at the legacy of the agreement… (1) This agreement provides for a democratically elected assembly in Northern Ireland, which performs its functions as a member, including the executive and the legislative branch, and which is subject to prospects of protecting the rights and interests of all parties to the Community. 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 peace process began in 1993. British Prime Minister John Major worked closely with Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds on a joint declaration that should form the basis of a peace initiative. This led to the Downing Street Declaration of December 15, 1993. The declaration recognises Ireland`s two different traditions and notes that peace can only be achieved by reconciling differences between them. Both governments are committed to establishing this reconciliation process and putting in place appropriate political structures to facilitate it.
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. The agreement was for Northern Ireland to be part of the United Kingdom and remain in place until a majority of the population of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland wished otherwise. If this happens, the British and Irish governments will be “obliged” to implement this decision. Brooke also tried to connect northern Ireland`s constitutional parties. He proposed that cross-party discussions should be tackled in three areas: the first to deal with relations within Northern Ireland; the second, which deals with relations between the two parts of Ireland; and the third on the links between the British government and the Irish government. Discussions began in April 1991, but quickly became part of procedural disputes. But the three-part format should be at the center of the Good Friday agreement. Throughout the year, the major paramilitary groups on both sides respected the ceasefire. A dissident paramilitary group, the Continuity IRA, exploded a bomb on 7 February 2000 at Mahon`s hotel in Irvinestown.1 Splinter groups opposing the peace agreement posed a threat to peace in Northern Ireland.2214 the British and Irish governments convened talks with the executive parties in Northern Ireland, leading to the Stormont House agreement of December 2014.
The Stormont House Agreement covers a wide range of political, social and economic issues and pursues both the objectives of reconciliation and economic renewal in Northern Ireland. To that end, the government, like the British government, has made a number of financial commitments. The Stormont House agreement also provides for the creation of a new institutional framework for the management of the past. A copy of the agreement was published in every assembly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland so that people could read before a referendum where they could vote.