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What made the Good Friday Agreement possible in 1998?

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Natasha Furness 11He Northern Ireland Question 1 Page 1 What made the Good Friday Agreement possible in 1998? There were many factors which made the Agreement in 1998 possible, incorporating different groups. These groups were the IRA, Sinn Fein, lead by Gerry Adams, SDLP headed by John Hume, Irish Government, the British Government who were primarily directed by the Conservatives and then the Labour Party in 1997. Also, the USA, with Bill Clinton as the president and both him and George Mitchell playing a major role in the peace talks, UUP, with David Trimble being the leader and Loyalists Paramilitary Groups for example the LVF and UVF. Also, the Catholic Church was a big pat of it as well. The DUP can also be linked in with all of these groups however did not want to be a part of the peace talks. There had been a lot of previous attempts at peace but they had failed. This was because with each, at least one group had disagreed to it and not everyone could get on because of different views and opinions. For example The Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985. This was unsuccessful however because Sinn Fein discarded of it saying it established the partition in Northern Ireland. So for peace to be likely, an agreement would have to be brought up which linked every group together and so they found a common ground. ...read more.


If it had been just Sinn Fein who had put forward this agreement, the British would have turned them down straightaway, without even Natasha Furness 11He Northern Ireland Question 1 Page 2 considering it. However, because the SDLP was also behind it and they have more credibility than Sinn Fein, the British were prepared to take into consideration this agreement. This shows that the peace talks were successful and links in the chain of parties were starting to come together. This also shows that the Republican side of this "chain" were all on board for peace to happen; Sinn Fein and the SDLP, also, Sinn Fein are in contact with the IRA. Sinn Fein now had more authority because of the peace talks they had had with the SDLP and that they had come up with an agreement for peace. People saw that they did want peace after all. The president of the U.S.A also saw this and he was prepared to work with them, which would also give Sinn Fein more credibility, as America is a very powerful and influential country. Clinton stated that the U.S.A would give economical help to Ireland if a peaceful settlement was reached and he invited Gerry Adams to stay in America showing that he was "giving him a chance". Adams was quick to take up the offer, as economic help from the U.S.A would be a huge help and he also did go to visit. ...read more.


He was under a huge amount of pressure from his own party because if he agreed then it would have been seen as giving in to the Nationalists and also a lot of IRA prisoners would be freed. However he was also under a lot of pressure from the other parties who Natasha Furness 11He Northern Ireland Question 1 Page 3 had agreed to the settlement, because if he did not consent, then he would have been seen as the man who wrecked Northern Ireland's chance for peace. And so he was set a deadline to agree. He was in talks for a very long time until he did finally agree and put his role as leader of the UUP on the line. George Mitchell, senator in the U.S.A played a very vital role in these talks; he was a very highly ranked negotiator and could get people to agree to many things. He brought together the last link in the chain and played a huge part. Trimble agreed to the settlement on Good Friday, hence the name and the people of the Republic of and Northern Ireland all voted on the agreement in a referendum in May 1998. All the issues that I have discussed all link together in one way or another and are highly important for the succession of peace. If one party had disagreed then it may have all destroyed and a peace agreement may not have been established, even today. At the moment the situation is quite unpredictable and is quite carefully balanced. ...read more.

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