Ahern Irish Taoiseach at the Time of the Good Friday Agreement

The participants in the agreement were two sovereign states (the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland) with armed and police forces involved in the unrest. Two political parties, Sinn Féin and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), were linked to paramilitary organisations: the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) respectively. The Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), which was linked to the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), had withdrawn from the talks three months earlier. Regardless of Northern Ireland`s constitutional status within the United Kingdom or part of a united Ireland, the right of the “Northern Irish people” to “identify and be accepted as Irish or British or both” (as well as their right to have British or Irish citizenship, or both) has been recognised. By the words `people of Northern Ireland`, the agreement referred to `all persons born in Northern Ireland who have at least one parent at the time of their birth, who is a British or Irish citizen or who otherwise has the right to reside in Northern Ireland without limiting his or her period of residence`. [11] After the Good Friday Agreement, there were two referendums. The referendum in Northern Ireland on the deal, which is based on facts and not on promises, insight and not ambiguity, received a positive vote of 71%. The associated referendum in the Republic of Ireland won a 94% yes. Now it`s time for a confirmatory referendum as the EU has extended the Brexit deadline until October 31. This must be continued, and May should take the lead in this process. The variation in brexit deals that have been discussed and the scale of Brexit promises made in 2016 are so great that it is unlikely that a deal is what the public voted for. The British people should have the last word. They should be asked whether, now that they know everything they are doing, they still want to move forward, on whatever basis the government and Parliament agree.

But in practice, it was also the time spent away from these talks and the media storm that made it possible to achieve the Good Friday Agreement. It was time in the company of rivals with different versions of what was right and what was wrong, what was possible and what was not; People with the personality and determination when surrounded by uncertainty and competing visions of the future to reach a new power-sharing agreement. Twenty-one years ago, on Good Friday 1998, we signed the agreement to end the conflict in Northern Ireland. Our name of Prime Minister and Taoiseach was taken up on this document by people from all over the political spectrum in Britain and Ireland who had worked so hard for peace. The Good Friday Agreement was a monumental moment for both our countries, and the peoples of both countries seized the opportunities it offered. Ahern attended St. Aidan`s Christian Brothers Secondary School, Rathmines College of Commerce, University College Dublin and the London School of Economics, where he earned degrees in taxation, business administration and computer science. He was elected to the Dáil (lower house of the Oireachtas, the Irish Parliament) in 1977 as a member of the Fianna Fáil party for a constituency in central Dublin and later became Lord Mayor (1986–87).

As Deputy Whip (1980-81) in the first taoiseach charles Haughey government, he became a junior minister in Haughey`s second government (1982) and Minister of Labour in his third (1987-89) and fourth (1989-91) government. Ahern`s success in reaching general economic agreements with employers, trade unions and farmers in 1987 and 1990 and his role in building Fianna Fáil`s first coalition government (with the Progressive Democrats) in 1989 confirmed his reputation as a skilled negotiator. In 1991, he became Minister of Finance. In the competition for Haughey`s successor, Ahern withdrew in favour of Albert Reynolds and remained finance minister in each of Reynolds` two governments (February-November 1992 and 1993-94). In November 1994, following the fall of the Fianna Fáil-Labour Party government, Reynolds resigned and Ahern was elected party leader. He was to become Taoiseach in a new coalition with the Labour Party, but at the eleventh hour the Labour Party decided to join a government with Fine Gael and the Democratic Left. These institutional arrangements, created in these three strands, are defined in the agreement as “interwoven and interdependent”. In particular, it notes that the functioning of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the North-South Council of Ministers is “so closely linked that the success of the other depends” and that participation in the North-South Council of Ministers is “one of the essential responsibilities associated with the relevant posts in [Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland]”. Another interesting thing that appears in the declassified files is that Mr. Bruton reprimanded his officials for the “Sinn Féin-speak” when they referred to the dismantling as part of a comprehensive agreement stating that it was not Irish government policy. The result of these referendums was a large majority in both parts of Ireland in favour of the agreement.

In the republic, 56% of voters voted, with 94% of the vote in favour of the constitutional amendment. Turnout in Northern Ireland was 81%, with 71% in favour of the deal. The agreement contained a complex set of provisions covering a number of areas, including: the direct London regime ended in Northern Ireland when power was formally transferred to the new Northern Ireland Assembly, the North-South Council of Ministers and the British-Irish Council when the regulations entering into force of the British-Irish Agreement entered into force on 2 December 1999. [15] [16] [17] Article 4(2) of the United Kingdom-Ireland Agreement (Agreement between the British and Irish Governments implementing the Belfast Agreement) required both governments to notify each other in writing that the conditions for the entry into force of the United Kingdom-Ireland Agreement were fulfilled. Entry into force should take place upon receipt of the last of the two communications. [18] The British government agreed to attend a televised ceremony at Iveagh House in Dublin, the Irish Foreign Office. .