The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) or the Belfast Agreement (irish: Comhaonté Aoine an Chéasta or Comhaonté Bhéal Feirste; Ulster-Scots: Guid Friday Greeance or Bilfawst Greeance) is a couple of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that put an end to most of the violence of the Troubles, a political conflict in Northern Ireland that had erupted since the late 1960s. This was an important development in the Northern Ireland peace process in the 1990s. Northern Ireland`s current system of de-decentralized government is based on the agreement. The agreement also created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Belfast Agreement is also known as the Good Friday Agreement, as it was concluded on Good Friday on 10 April 1998. It was an agreement between the British and Irish governments and most of northern Ireland`s political parties on how to govern Northern Ireland. Discussions that led to the agreement have focused on issues that have led to conflict in recent decades. The aim was to form a new de-defyed government for Northern Ireland, where unionists and nationalists would share power. 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. But what is the Good Friday Agreement and why was the Anglo-Irish agreement so important? Here are the details… The two main political parties in the agreement were the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), led by David Trimble, and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), led by John Hume. The two heads of state and government together won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. The other parties to the agreement were Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party and the Progressive Unionist Party. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which later became the largest Unionist party, did not support the agreement. When Sinn Féin and loyalist parties entered, they left the talks because republican and loyalist paramilitary weapons had not been decommissioned. The front page of the Independent`s 1998 Agreement was formally concluded between the British and Irish governments and eight political parties in Northern Ireland, including Sinn Féin, the Ulster Unionist Party, the SDLP and the Alliance Party. The DUP was the only major political group to oppose it.
As part of the agreement, the British Parliament repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920 (which had founded Northern Ireland, divided Ireland and asserted territorial right to the whole of Ireland) and the people of the Republic of Ireland amended Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, which asserted a territorial right to Northern Ireland.