The Good Friday Agreement, also known as the Belfast Agreement, is a historic peace agreement signed on April 10, 1998, by the governments of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, as well as political parties in Northern Ireland. The agreement brought an end to decades of sectarian violence known as “The Troubles.”
One of the key issues addressed by the Good Friday Agreement was the border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland. Before the agreement, the border was heavily militarized and a focal point of conflict between paramilitary groups. The agreement established a framework for cooperation between the UK and Ireland on issues related to Northern Ireland, including the border.
Under the Good Friday Agreement, the border was largely removed as a physical barrier and checkpoints were dismantled. This was seen as a major step towards a more peaceful and integrated society in Northern Ireland. However, the issue of the border has become a contentious issue in recent years due to Brexit.
Before the UK`s withdrawal from the European Union, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were both part of the EU`s single market and customs union. This meant that goods and people could move freely across the border without the need for customs checks. However, after Brexit, Northern Ireland remains part of the UK`s customs territory and regulatory regime, while the Republic of Ireland continues to be part of the EU`s single market and customs union.
This has led to concerns that a hard border may need to be established between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which could undermine the progress made under the Good Friday Agreement. Both the UK and EU have committed to avoiding a hard border, but finding a solution that satisfies all parties has proved challenging.
The issue of the border remains a complex and sensitive topic, with the potential to impact peace and stability in Northern Ireland. It is important that all parties continue to work together to find a solution that respects the Good Friday Agreement and the needs of the people of Northern Ireland.