Good Friday Agreement

The Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement (Irish: Comhaontú Bhéal Feirste or Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta; Ulster-Scots: Bilfawst Greeance or Guid Friday Greeance) was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s. Northern Ireland's present devolved system of government is based on the Agreement. The Agreement also created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The Agreement is made up of two inter-related documents, both agreed in Belfast on Good Friday, 10 April 1998:

  1. a multi-party agreement by most of Northern Ireland's political parties;
  2. an international agreement between the British and Irish governments (the British-Irish Agreement).

The Agreement set out a complex series of provisions relating to a number of areas including:

  • The status and system of government of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. (Strand 1)
  • The relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. (Strand 2)
  • The relationship between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. (Strand 3)

Issues relating to civil and cultural rights, decommissioning of weapons, justice and policing were central to the Agreement.

The Agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums held on 22 May 1998. In Northern Ireland, voters were asked whether they supported the multi-party agreement. In the Republic of Ireland, voters were asked whether they would allow the state to sign the agreement and allow necessary constitutional changes to facilitate it. The people of both jurisdictions needed to approve the Agreement in order to give effect to it.

The British-Irish Agreement came into force on 2 December 1999. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was the only major political group in Northern Ireland to oppose the Agreement.

Read more about Good Friday Agreement:  Parties and Structure, Status of Northern Ireland, New Institutions, Decommissioning and "normalisation", Equality and Human Rights, Referendums, Implementation, Similarities and Differences With The Sunningdale Agreement, See Also

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