Good Friday Agreement - New Institutions

New Institutions

Good Friday Agreement
Strand 1
Northern Ireland Assembly
Strand 2
North/South Ministerial Council
Strand 3
British–Irish Council
British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference
Additional bodies
British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly
North/South Consultative Forum
North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association

The Agreement sets out a framework for the creation and number of institutions across three "strands".

Strand 1 dealt with the democratic institutions of Northern Ireland and established two major institutions:

The Northern Ireland Assembly is a devolved legislature for Northern Ireland with mandatory "cross-community" voting on certain major decisions. The Northern Ireland Executive is a power-sharing executive with ministerial portfolios to be allocated between parties by the d'Hondt method.

Strand 2 dealt with "north-south" issues and institutions to be created between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. These are:

North-South Ministerial Council is made up of ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of Ireland. It was established "to develop consultation, co-operation and action" in 12 areas of mutual interest. These include six areas where the Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of Ireland form common policies but implement these separately in each jurisdiction, and six areas where they develop common policies that are implemented through shared all-Ireland institutions.

The various "institutional and constitutional arrangements" set out in the Agreement are also stated to be "interlocking and interdependent".

As part of the Agreement, the newly created Northern Ireland Assembly and the national parliament of Ireland (the Oireachtas) agreed to consider creating a joint parliamentary forum made up of equal numbers from both institutions. In October 2012, this forum was created as the North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association.

The Northern Ireland political parties who endorsed the agreement were also asked to consider the establishment of an independent consultative forum representative of civil society with members with expertise in social, cultural, economic and other issues and appointed by the two administrations. An outline structure for the North/South Consultative Forum was agreed in 2002 and in 2006 the Northern Ireland Executive agreed it would support its establishment.

Strand 3 dealt with "east-west" issues and institutions to be created between Ireland and the United Kingdom (as well the Crown Dependencies). These are:

  • British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference
  • British–Irish Council
  • An expanded British–Irish Interparliamentary Body

The British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference was agreed to replace the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Council and the Intergovernmental Conference created under the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The Conference takes the form of regular and frequent meetings between the British and Irish ministers to promote co-operation at all levels between both Governments. On matters not devolved to Northern Ireland, the Government of Ireland may put forward view and proposals. All decisions of the Conference will be by agreement between both Governments and the two Governments agreed to make determined efforts to resolve disagreements between them.

The British-Irish Council, is made up of ministerial representatives from the British and Irish governments, the devolved administrations of the UK (Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales), as well as from the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey (Crown dependencies of the United Kingdom). The purpose of the Council is to promote co-operations and pose a forum for the creation of common policies.

Under the agreement, it was proposed that the already-existing British-Irish Interparliamentary Body would be built upon. Prior to the agreement, the Body was composed of parliamentarians from the British and Irish parliaments only. In 2001, as suggested by the Agreement, it was expanded to incorporate parliamentarians from all of the members of the British-Irish Council.

These institutional arrangements created across these three strands are set out in the Agreement as being "interlocking and interdependent". In particular, the functioning of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the North/South Ministerial Council are stated to be "so closely inter-related that the success of each depends on that of the other" and participation in the North/South Ministerial Council is "one of the essential responsibilities attaching to relevant posts in ."

Read more about this topic:  Good Friday Agreement

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