Also known as The Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement, depending on your political viewpoint. This thread is designed to explore where people stand in relation to the agreement. A matter of days ago, Mike Nesbitt said the UUP should learn to "apologise" for the Good Friday Agreement. It allowed us all "to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both", a point that is hotly debated still in 2013.
676,966 of us voted 'Yes', 274,979 voted 'No'. Would these figures be different today, if so, how so? The Ulster Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party, Sinn Féin, Alliance, Progressive Unionist Party, Ulster Democratic Party, Northern Ireland Women's Coalition Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Progressive Democrats, Democratic Left, Green Party, and the Socialist Party all campaigned for a 'Yes' vote, only Republican SF, the DUP & UKIP encouraged a 'No' vote. Various Irish republican groups have continued armed struggled, SF has asked all nationalists and republicans to turn them into the new police force called the PSNI. The turnout was over 80%.
Articles 2&3 were amended in the south, the Irish government now 'aspires' for Irish freedom instead of the irredentist claim to the rest of the country. Prisoners were released early, some of these prisoners have returned to jail, some are Stormont ministers, a government that pre-agreement they wished to 'smash'.
Adams and SF have been massive defenders and promoters of the agreement as seen below:
'We have to make sure the good friday agreement works'.
'The good friday agreement and the basic rights and entitlements of citizens that are enshrined within it must be defended and actively promoted by London and Dublin'.
Loyalists were also actively supporters of the agreement, however recent events surrounding flags and identities have resulted in many of loyalist politicians claiming that community has been left behind. Indeed Adams said of the former, now deceased leader, 'David Ervine played a key role within loyalism throughout the development of the peace process. He made a valuable and important contribution to moving our society away from conflict'.
The DUP was scathing of the agreement, however, it seems to be getting along fine with its new friends in SF, implementing it. Even as late as 2005, Ian Paisley said the Good Friday agreement "should be given a reasonable burial". The party even snubbed celebrations marking this year's tenth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
The UUP was largely supportive of the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement. However following the referendum the party began losing ground to the DUP and was eventually replaced as the main Unionist party in 2005. David Trimble accused the DUP has of having 'no alternative, no plan, no real leadership, no ability to negotiate and nothing to show for 30 years of negative campaigning'. He is now Lord Trimble.
Founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, John Hume, was a fervent supporter of the agreement. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with David Trimble for his efforts and many believe his active talks with the IRA meant overtook his party in the 2001 general election.
Another small but active supporter of the agreement was the Women's Coalition.
One could go on all day about the agreement in 1998, but the real meaning of this thread is to gauge how the Irish and Unionist people have reflected upon it. The best way to sum up the question could be by quoting two leading politicans during that phase of the conflict:
Which statement do you agree with more, or do you disagree or agree with both:
'Partition is more copper-fastened by the Agreement of 1998'.
'It is one treaty, and one stepping stone away from a United Ireland'.
Would you vote 'Yes' or 'No' today?
* Guid Friday Greeance is Ulster-Scots for The Belfast Agreement.