Good Friday Agreement Thatcher
Finally, an Island Council should be established which recognises the “full range of relations” within the British Isles, including representatives of both governments, and the decentralised institutions of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Strategically, the agreement showed that the British government recognised as legitimate the Republic`s desire to take an interest in the affairs of Northern Ireland and also showed the Unionists that they could not politically veto British policy against Ulster by their presence in the House of Commons. The agreement was adopted by Dáil Éireann by 88 votes to 75 and by Seanad Éireann by 37 votes to 16.   Fianna Fáil, the main opposition party in Ireland, also rejected the deal. Fianna Fáil leader Charles Haughey claimed the agreement was contrary to Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution because it formally recognised British jurisdiction in Northern Ireland. It was also rejected by independent Republican TDs Neil Blaney and Tony Gregory, blaney calling the deal a “fraudster`s job.” Despite this opposition, all the other main parties in the Republic supported the agreement and it was ratified by the Oireachtas. Such an attempt had already been undertaken in 1973. A power-sharing executive was set up in Northern Ireland, made up of both Irish nationalists and unionists, and Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave took part in talks with British Prime Minister Edward Heath, which culminated in the Sunningdale agreement. This agreement recognised that Northern Ireland`s relations with Great Britain could not be changed without the agreement of a majority of its population and provided for the creation of a Council of Ireland composed of members of both the Dáil (the lower chamber of the Irish legislature) and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
This agreement failed in May 1974 because of a general strike inspired by trade union opponents of power-sharing. Irish Republicans have been able to reject the only constitutional progress (in the eyes of many nationalists and republicans) since the fall of Stormont a decade earlier. As such, the agreement reinforced the policy approach advocated by the SDLP and helped republicans recognise the principle of approval as the basis for a fundamental change in Northern Ireland`s national status as the basis for a fundamental change in Northern Ireland`s national status. . . .