12 Apr Sunningdale Agreement Vs Good Friday Agreement
There is a tendency to link the Sunningdale settlement of December 1973 to the Belfast Agreement of April 1998. In fact, one of the clichés is that the latter was simply “Sunningdale for slow learners.” This means that in 1998, not much more was offered than could have been guaranteed in 1974 and that the transition period was a period of lost years and lost human lives. This sentiment has some superficial power of attraction, but it does not miss the decisive point of the need to examine both the content and the context: peace agreements are only part of a peace process. And that raises the question: who were the slow learners? Issues of sovereignty, civil and cultural rights, dismantling of arms, demilitarization, justice and police were at the heart of the agreement. The agreement reaffirmed its commitment to “mutual respect, civil rights and religious freedoms for all within the Community.” The multi-party agreement recognized “the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance with regard to linguistic diversity,” particularly with regard to the Irish language, Ulster Scots and the languages of other ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland, “all of which are part of the cultural richness of the Island of Ireland.” As part of the agreement, it was proposed to build on the existing Inter-Parliamentary Commission in English-Irish. Prior to the agreement, the body was composed only of parliamentarians from the British and Irish assemblies. In 2001, as proposed by the agreement, it was extended to include parliamentarians of all members of the Anglo-Irish Council. The colonization attempts were associated with two secretaries of state, Humphrey Atkins and James Prior. Mr. Atkins established a Conference of Constitutional Parties, which met in 1980 to study the future governance of Northern Ireland. This initiative has succeeded in limiting political options to a form of power-sharing or a majority system with a blocking mechanism for minorities.
From the outset, the conference had been boycotted by the largest party (UUP) on the grounds that it was a neglect of the government`s policy of further integrating Northern Ireland into the British system. Atkins was replaced by Prior, who in April 1982 introduced a more ambitious system of “rolling decentralization,” in which an elected assembly was given question-and-answer powers to make direct domination more accountable. Powers should be gradually delegated to the Assembly if it can reach a 70% inter-community agreement. But the SDLP and Sinn Féin (SF) boycotted the meeting procedure and there was no consensus between the two. The Assembly fought until 1986; At that time, the process had moved to another (Anglo-Irish) dimension, notably after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985. This conference takes the form of regular and frequent meetings between The British and Irish ministers to promote cooperation between the two governments at all levels. On issues not left to Northern Ireland, the Irish government can present views and proposals. All decisions of the Conference are taken by mutual agreement between the two governments and the two governments, in order to make resolute efforts to resolve the differences between them.
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.