Was The Anglo Irish Agreement Successful

In improving the political climate between Britain and Ireland, the heads of state and government of both countries met for negotiations. Ireland and Great Britain agreed that any changes to the status of Northern Ireland would only be done with the agreement of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland and an intergovernmental conference was set up to examine the political, security and legal relations between the two sides of the island. The agreement dealt a blow to Northern Ireland`s trade unionists by creating, through the Anglo-Irish secretariat, an advisory role of the Irish government in northern Ireland affairs. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and other trade unionists condemned the agreement and UUP MPs resigned their seats because of the issue (although 14 were won in 1986 in by-elections). The party organized mass protests and boycotts of municipal councils and filed a complaint questioning the legality of the agreement. But these efforts – which were joined by the Democratic Unionist Party – could not force the lifting of the agreement. The agreement was adopted by Seanad Iireann by 88 votes to 75 and by 37 votes to 16. [21] [22] The Irish nationalist Fianna Féil party, the main opposition party in Ireland, also rejected the agreement. Fianna-Fiil leader Charles Haughey said the agreement was contrary to Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution because it had officially recognised British jurisdiction in Northern Ireland.

He was also rejected by independent Republican TDs Neil Blaney and Tony Gregory,[22] as a “con job” agreement. Despite this opposition, all the other major parties of the Republic supported the agreement ratified by the Oireachtas. After the Milan interview dispelled any lingering doubts about Mrs Thatcher`s willingness to act, the negotiations proceeded quickly. Until the end of July, officials had prepared the outlines of an agreement and it was up to the respective cabinets to make the necessary decisions on three or four contentious issues. Dick Spring, the Irish Deputy Prime Minister, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Barry, met with Howe and Hurd in London. He then expressed concern that the agreement threatens Irish neutrality and forces the Republic of Ireland to accept the United Kingdom`s presence in Northern Ireland. Former cabinet minister Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone, then chairman of the Greater London Council, also rejected the deal because they believed Britain should withdraw from Northern Ireland. Anglo-Irish Agreement signed by Margaret Thatcher and Garret FitzGerald, Irish Prime Minister, on 15 November 1985 at Hillsborough Castle in County Down, N.Ire, which brought the Irish government a formal advisory role in the affairs of Northern Ireland.