Hillsborough Agreement Northern Ireland

The agreement was widely rejected by trade unionists because it first gave the Republic of Ireland a role in the governance of Northern Ireland and because it had been excluded from the negotiations of the agreement. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led the campaign against the agreement, including mass rallies, strikes, civil disobedience and the mass resignation of all Unionist MPs in the British House of Commons. The DUP and UUP together gathered 400,000 signatures in a petition against the agreement. Northern Ireland Minister Tom King was attacked by Protestants in Belfast on 20 November. [24] On 23 November 1985, a mass rally against the agreement was held in front of Belfast City Hall, in which Irish historian Jonathan Bardon said: “Nothing like it has been since 1912.” [25] Estimates of the number of people vary: the Irish Times reported that 35,000 people were present; [26] The News of the World, the Sunday Times and the Sunday Express claimed 100,000; [27] Arthur Aughey, a professor of politics at the University of Ulster, said that more than 200,000 people were present; [28] and the organizers of the meeting said that 500,000 participated. [27] The agreement was finally reached around midnight in the Stormont Parliament Building. Earlier in the evening, Sinn Féin said that the basis of an agreement was on the table and that it gave DUP leaders time to convince their party to accept it. Robinson came out of a meeting of party colleagues to confirm that he had unanimously ruled in favour of the proposals. Earlier this week, up to 14 members of the DUP assembly opposed a proposed agreement because it had not made enough concessions to trade unionists. Brown told reporters: “The performances were as big as they were inspiring. This moment and this agreement belongs to the people of Northern Ireland, to all the people, and now more than ever their future… It is the last chapter of a long and turbulent story, and the beginning of a new chapter after decades of violence, years of conversations, weeks of deadlock. Contacts between the Irish and British governments continued after February 1987 as part of the formal structure of the IGC.