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Belfast Agreement Article 5

1.35 The Belfast Agreement includes the MPA and the BIA: a political agreement (i.e. the MPA); and a legal agreement (the BIA) with the latter, which contains a legal annex (in international law). The two annexes are different. 1.25 There are two ways of looking at the Belfast Agreement. One, printed, pages 1-26, followed by pages 27-30. The MPA was adopted by seven of the eight political parties at the last plenary session on 10 April 1998. But did the two governments also make the same agreement? And were the political parties involved in the BIA following the last-minute CEW annexation? The answers are yes or no. In the context of political violence during the riots, the agreement forced participants to find “exclusively democratic and peaceful means to resolve political differences.” This required two aspects: 1.49 It is not known why the Irish government waited eleven months for the Good Friday Agreement to be put in place before the re-establishment of Article 29 of the Constitution (as it called it). This could have been part of the plan to legitimize the MPA and avoid admitting that there was only one legal agreement with two parties. Dublin was perhaps waiting for a political agreement on the implementing bodies (the largest treaty of 8 March 1999). It is more likely that the Irish Government committed a legal error on 21 (and 22 April 1998) regarding the agreement reached during the multi-party negotiations.

This suspicion is reinforced by the argument that, at this stage, no one in Dublin was considering other contracts45, so there was no common possibility of legally approving the Belfast Agreement in accordance with the Constitution. The Belfast Agreement is also known as the Good Friday Agreement, as it was concluded on Good Friday on 10 April 1998. It was an agreement between the British and Irish governments and most of northern Ireland`s political parties on how to govern Northern Ireland. Discussions that led to the agreement have focused on issues that have led to conflict in recent decades. The aim was to form a new de-defyed government for Northern Ireland, where unionists and nationalists would share power. 1.46 On 21 April 1998, it approved the Belfast Agreement. This appears to be in line with the requirements of Article 29 of the Constitution.39 The next day, Seanad Iireann also approved the agreement.40 However, the first decision (in accordance with the Constitution, the second is not necessary) should be considered further. Is it the political face of the Belfast agreement or the legal one that has been adopted? As part of the agreement, the British Parliament repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920 (which had founded Northern Ireland, divided Ireland and asserted territorial right to the whole of Ireland) and the people of the Republic of Ireland amended Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, which asserted a territorial right to Northern Ireland.

1.5 Participants in the castle buildings were on display on Friday at around 12:00 p.m. April 10, 1998 with a written form of 67 pages (plus two pages) under the guise of a memorandum of independent presidents. This written document itself is referred to here as the Final Agreement (AI) of 10 April 1998. Independent chairs indicated that the title meant that it was a final agreement. The final agreement was the text before the last plenary session at 5:05 p.m. that day,2 although the Prime Minister, in his letter to David Trimble shortly before (see Chapter 20), had indicated the legal intention of at least one of the signatories of the BIA. 1.28 But what is the MPA, known as the agreement? At best, this is a political or moral agreement between political parties (or at least those that agreed on 10 April 1998). Both States are legal parties, but only by Schedule 1, and only by the obligation in which the content of the MPA contains obligations that are binding on States Parties after entry into force in international law (as stipulated in Article 2 of the BIA).25 In fact, the MPA is referred to as a comprehensive political agreement in paragraph 2 of the constitutional issues.