Seems an opportune time to look at the opposition to this agreement back in the day. They really are an odd assortment.
The most implacable of opponents were obviously Unionist MP's who resigned en masse and fought the by-elections on one issue, opposition to the agreement. They lost one seat as a result.
Sinn Feín opposed it and their vote dropped in those by-elections.
Fianna Fail opposed it when it came up for ratification in Dail Eireann.
Perhaps the most odd opponent was Mary Robinson, subsequent President of Ireland, who resigned from the Labour Party as a result.
When one looks at some of the language used in the House of Commons by Unionist MP's I'm sure some of them will be embarrassed by its intemperate nature. Here are a couple of examples from Hansard, the official record of Parliament:
To what extent is the Prime Minister's word her bond? Does she recall that in November 1984 she signed a communiqúe with the same viper that she took to her breast in Hillsborough castle? In that communiqúe, she promised that any political structures or processes affecting Northern Ireland would have to be acceptable to both sections of the community. What test of acceptability does the Prime Minister intend to use? Has she the least appreciation of the deep sense of betrayal felt by the people of Northern Ireland at this act of political prostitution?
I never knew what desolation felt like until I read this agreement last Friday afternoon. Does the Prime Minister realise that, when she carries the agreement through the House, she will have ensured that I shall carry to my grave with ignominy the sense of the injustice that I have done to my constituents down the years— when, in their darkest hours, I exhorted them to put their trust in this British House of Commons which one day would honour its fundamental obligation to them to treat them as equal British citizens? Is not the reality of this agreement that they will now be Irish-British hybrids and that every aspect—not just some aspects—of their lives will be open to the influence of those who have harboured their murderers and coveted their land? Is the Prime Minister aware that that is too high a price for me and hundreds of thousands of others in Northern Ireland to pay?
Does the right hon. Lady understand—if she does not yet understand she soon will—that the penalty for treachery is to fall into public contempt?
Certainly from reading those and other comments at the time there was a total over-reaction by Unionists and a complete misunderstanding of what that agreement meant. The reaction of Sinn Fein was as expected, unrefined and ill thought out logic encapsulated with a "Brits Out" slogan. Fianna Fail's opposition can be put down to Haughey's cynical opposition to ALL Government initiatives at the time. Mary Robinson's stance is merely bizarre.