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Thread: The Good Friday Agreement was agreed 15 years ago.

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    Politics.ie Member theloner's Avatar
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    Default The Good Friday Agreement was agreed 15 years ago.

    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'.

    Or

    '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.
    Last edited by theloner; 29th March 2013 at 10:31 AM.
    'Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness'.

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    Politics.ie Member Dublin 4's Avatar
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    "Good For Nobody Agreement" - 5 times as many Peace Lines now.

    Alternatively- "Good for Brickies Agreement"

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    Politics.ie Member Ulster-Lad's Avatar
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    I personally have a problem with article 2 & 3 being amended.
    ‘The Great only appear great because we are on our knees: Let Us Rise!’ “ (James Larkin)

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    Politics.ie Member greengoose2's Avatar
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    The Agreement is made up of two inter-related documents, both signed in Belfast on
    Good Friday, 10 April 1998.

    Get the fact right before you post. The clue is in the word TODAY!


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    I voted yes in 1998 and would do so again. I think the relative stability since '98 is evidence that the agreement was progressive for all parties.
    Redacted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greengoose2 View Post
    The Agreement is made up of two inter-related documents, both signed in
    Belfast on
    Good Friday, 10 April 1998.

    Get the fact right before you post. The clue is in the word TODAY!

    Beat me to it!

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    Politics.ie Member theloner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ulster-Lad View Post
    I personally have a problem with article 2 & 3 being amended.
    It was amended with 94% support, but my feelings are the Irish people felt they were choosing between peace or conflict.
    Last edited by theloner; 29th March 2013 at 02:50 PM.
    'Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness'.

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    Politics.ie Member theloner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greengoose2 View Post
    The Agreement is made up of two inter-related documents, both signed in Belfast on
    Good Friday, 10 April 1998.

    Get the fact right before you post. The clue is in the word TODAY!

    Sorry, don't get mad. The day that's in it threw me.
    'Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness'.

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    Politics.ie Member greengoose2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theloner View Post
    Sorry, don't get mad. The day that's in it threw me.
    Easter is a moveable feast. Now were it the Happy Christmas Agreement...

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    It was a necessary fudge, and has quite a few serious flaws not least in the way it was implemented where nationalism had to take most of its lumps up-front, while the hugely necessary reforms that would pain unionism were dragged out over years. Also the two governments throughout remained obsessed with the notion of "shoring up the center against the extremes" which is actually quite ridiculous when you think about it - you make peace between enemies, not between Best Friends Forever.

    That said eventually after another decade of ham-fisted mis-implementation the DUP were finally cajoled onto clambouring on board and in general Themmuns are learning to play nice with Usns. It's still a learning curve and it still probably needs to run in its current form for another decade or so.

    If over the next 10 years real fiscal powers can be devolved to Stormont then the politicians there will have to learn to grapple with tax/spending/deficit issues which could actually get very very interesting. Shortly after that they can hopefully start making moves towards dropping the mandatory coalition and in-built sectarian aspects of the GFA. Wouldn't it be fun in 15 years time seeing a voluntary DUP/SF coalition who have hammered out a package of social welfare, tax and business-promotion measures, with a vocal SDLP/Alliance Opposition (or any other menu of parties you might prefer). I think the UUP are probably dying and if they still exist at all will be a fringe rump of crazy old men at that stage...and good riddance.

    Something of a wildcard in all this is the political evolution of Scotland which will also be radically changing both in terms of internal governance and its relationship with London over the same period, no matter what way the 2014 referendum goes.

    Ultimately any radical reforms and new ideas for competent governance on this island are going to start emanating from Stormont, not Leinster House. Anyone still thinking in terms of the old slogan of 26 + 6 = 1 might be in for a bit of a shock....

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