Sunningdale V Good Friday Agreement

Finally, it was agreed that the Council executive would be limited to `tourism, the protection of nature and aspects of animal health`, but this did not reassure the Unionists, who saw the Republic`s influence on northern affairs as a further step towards a united Ireland. They had their fears confirmed when, in a speech at Trinity College Dublin, SDLP Councillor Hugh Logue publicly described the Irish Council as “a vehicle that would plunge trade unionists into a united Ireland”.” [4] On 10 December, the day after the agreement was announced, loyalist paramilitaries formed the Ulster Army Council – a coalition of loyalist paramilitary groups, including the Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster Volunteer Force, who would oppose the agreement. The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) or the Belfast Agreement (irish: Comhaonté Aoine an Chéasta or Comhaonté Bhéal Feirste; Ulster-Scots: Guid Friday Greeance or Bilfawst Greeance)[1] is a couple of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that put an end to most of the violence of the Troubles, a political conflict in Northern Ireland that had erupted since the late 1960s. This was an important development in the Northern Ireland peace process in the 1990s. Northern Ireland`s current system of de-decentralized government is based on the agreement. The agreement also created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. In the formalization of intergovernmental cooperation, the 1985 agreement changed the nature of the debate from endogenous to exogenous. From now on, a dialogue would be conducted between the two governments of Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, and no longer between the warring parties in Northern Ireland. The inability of unionism to destroy the agreement led to a period of internal exile that was only properly treated in the 1990s, but in an Anglo-Irish context. Essentially, this meant that the peace process had two components: one between the constitutional parties in Northern Ireland and the second between the British and Irish governments.

(Another strand – the dialogue between the North and the South within Ireland – was added later.) Finally, the first strand was reinforced by the involvement of the SF and the small loyalist parties, the Ulster Democratic Unionist Party (UDP) and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) – parties close to the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

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