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Stormont Agreement 1998

The agreement consists of two related documents, both agreed on Good Friday, 10 April 1998 in Belfast: the signing of the agreement received broad support from the majority of political parties in Northern Ireland, but not from the Ulster Unionist Party and external governments. However, the Northern Ireland trade union movement did not give much support to the agreement, which led a series of protests and public meetings against the agreement, and the majority of public service unions affiliated with the ICTU held a one-day strike on 13 March. [3] Issues of sovereignty, civil and cultural rights, dismantling of weapons, demilitarization, justice and the police were essential to the agreement. These themes – parades, flags and the legacy of the past – were negotiated in 2013 under the chairmanship of Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Meghan L. O`Sullivan, a professor at Harvard Kennedy School and now on the CFR board. The talks involving the five main political parties were not agreed upon, although many of these proposals – including the creation of a historic investigation unit to investigate unsolved deaths during the conflict and a commission to help victims obtain information about the deaths of their loved ones – were a large part of the Stormont House agreement reached in 2014. “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.” The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums on 22 May 1998. In Northern Ireland, in the 1998 referendum on the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, voters were asked if 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 authorize the necessary constitutional changes (nineteen constitutional amendments from Ireland) to facilitate it. The citizens of both countries had to approve the agreement to implement it. In May 1998, adults from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland voted in favour of the Good Friday Agreement that formalised it – and the Northern Ireland Assembly took its seats in December of that year.

The agreement sets out a framework for the creation and number of institutions in three “parts.” On 15 August 1998, 29 people were killed in a car bomb attack in the town of Omagh, County Tyrone. The bombing was blamed on a group opposed to the Belfast Agreement. As part of the agreement, it was proposed to build on the existing Inter-Parliamentary Commission in English-Irish. Prior to the agreement, the body was composed only of parliamentarians from the British and Irish assemblies. In 2001, as proposed by the agreement, it was extended to include parliamentarians of all members of the Anglo-Irish Council. Social reform has also been the subject of wide-ranging differences between members of the executive (particularly Sinn Féin) and the UK government. The Ministry of Finance was determined that Northern Ireland would adopt social reform and fined the executive for failing to do so. Within the executive, the parties were divided. While Sinn Féin had opposed the adoption of social reform, the Democratic Unionist Party had tried to do so, arguing that it was inevitable and that an omission from London would result in further fines.

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