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1998 Good Friday Agreement (N Ireland)

The years following 1998 remained turbulent and uncertain, with the Northern Ireland Assembly having been established but regularly suspended, mainly due to concerns about the continuation of paramilitary activities. It was not until 2005 that the IRA was decommissioned and, in 2007, Sinn Féin supported the new PSNI police force. 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 British government is virtually out of the game and neither parliament nor the British people have, as part of this agreement, the legal right to obstruct the achievement of Irish unity if it had the consent of the people of the North and The South… Our nation is and will remain a nation of 32 circles. Antrim and Down are and will remain a part of Ireland, just like any southern county. [20] The Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement, was concluded in multi-party negotiations and signed on 10 April 1998. Northern Ireland political parties that approved the agreement were also invited to consider the creation of an independent advisory forum, which would represent civil society, with members with expertise on social, cultural, economic and other issues, and would be appointed by both administrations. In 2002, a framework structure was agreed for the North-South Advisory Forum, and in 2006 the Northern Ireland Executive agreed to support its implementation.

Referendums were held on 22 May 1998 in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland, 71% of voters voted for the deal and 29% voted against it. Although this was an important confirmation, an exit poll for the Sunday Times showed that 96 per cent of Northern Ireland nationalists supported the deal, compared with only 55 per cent of trade unionists. However, the agreement has also been the subject of a wave of controversy. The agreement brought together republicans and trade unionists after decades of political conflict in Northern Ireland. 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.