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With reference to any material you have studied explain the approach of the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein to the Good Friday Agreement

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With reference to any material you have studied explain the approach of the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein to the Good Friday Agreement Following the unprecedented success of both the DUP and Sinn Fein in the 2003 assembly elections and the subsequent shift in electoral control, which resulted, it appeared that the NI assembly would be subjected to political stalemate and the very future of the assembly itself called into question. Such an alarming situation has developed due to the electoral success of both these parties who consistently throughout the treacherous history of Northern Ireland politics have proved to be the two most polarised of parties. Both party's conflicting policy differences and their varying approach to the Good Friday Agreement has resulted in a virtual deadlock. For the purpose of this essay I must now highlight and indeed examine in detail the differences shared by both the DUP and Sinn Fein towards the Good Friday Agreement. To begin with, I will analyse the primary policies of the DUP and the party's approach to the GFA. The DUP who were once the unquestionable opponent of the NI executive and the Good Friday Agreement have been forced to compromise and interact to a greater extent in the GFA due to its recent electoral success. ...read more.


The DUP despite the fact that it refuses to participate directly with the NI executive has nevertheless nominated members of its party to positions on the Executive. Although Peter Robinson was nominated and accepted as Minister for Regional Development and Nigel Dodds became Minister for Social Development they do not sit in the executive itself and initially boycotted meetings of the Executive as part of an on-going strategy of undermining the GFA from within. Yet the DUP knew that self-imposed exclusion from the executive entirely would render it weaker and less effective in influencing decisions of devolved government in NI. Therefore the party's strategy become one, that while the NI assembly and Executive existed it would exclude itself from it, but it would work to bring about its downfall. Also the DUP have been highly critical of David Trimble and his party's involvement in the GFA. The DUP has continually called for the UUP to pull out of the Executive and has accused to UUP of "Selling Out" the Union with Britain. The DUP's strategy and continued party unity brought it great success in the November 2003 Assembly elections. The DUP increased its number of Assembly seats by 10 (from 20 to 20) ...read more.


Gaining electorally while adapting to the support of its electorate for the devolved institutions, SF has engaged in the business of governing NI. Members participate fully in the Executive and the Assembly committees and the Assembly itself. Perhaps more than any of the other parties in NI, SF has proved itself to be the most adaptable, recognising the need to engage in talks, accepting compromise on contentious power sharing with former opponents and ultimately decommissioning. While the party hardliners might see this in terms of compromise and in the extreme as a sell-out, the benefits of this realpolitik are clear to see: credible and legitimate involvement in government and a growing electorate. Although initially the unprecedented success of both SF and the DUP was viewed by many as a doomsday scenario, continued emphasis has been placed on establishing greater interaction between the two parties in an attempt at restoring devolution once again to NI. Yet even the very fact that these, once Unwavering opponents are now prepared to interact to some degree demonstrates the progress that has been made in the peace process and it can only be assumed and indeed hoped that such progress is capitalises on and additional advances made in the quest to restore devolution and indeed a sense of normality to NI and finally bring closure to the bitterness and hostility after 30 years of conflict. ...read more.

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