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Belfast Agreement




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Glossary of Terms

Anglo-Irish Agreement (1985) Document agreed to by the Irish Government led by Garret Fitzgerald and the British government led by Margaret Thatcher. Signed at Hillsborough, outside Belfast, on November 15. It stipulated that there should be no change in the constitutional position of Northern Ireland for as long as the majority wishes to remain as part of the United Kingdom. However, it drew strong opposition from Unionists because, for the first time, it provided an advisory role for the Irish government in the running of Northern Ireland

Arms Trial In 1970, Minister for Finance in the Irish Government, Charles Haughey, and Neil Blaney, Minister for Agriculture, were dismissed by Taoiseach Jack Lynch and arrested (subsequently acquitted) on charges of illegal importation of arms for the IRA, together with Captain James Kelly, Albert Luyks and Jock Haughey

Articles Two and Three of the Irish Constitution These two provisions of the Irish constitution, dating from 1937, described the national territory as constituting the island of Ireland, and were cited by Unionists as the major hurdle to their cooperation with the Irish government in any talks concerning the future of the North. They were amended by referendum in accordance with the 1998 Belfast Agreement. The definition of territory is now based on the idea of who is entitled to be part of the Irish nation

Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement) Signed on Friday April 10, 1998 after extensive talks in Northern Ireland, including most of the major political parties in Northern Ireland, the British and Irish governments, Senator George Mitchell and key contributions from President Clinton. The Agreement called for more cross-border cooperation and greater awareness of human rights, led to the formation of the power-sharing executive, the Northern Ireland assembly, a North-South ministerial council, and a British-Irish Council. Mandated changes in Articles Two and Three of Irish Constitution

Bloody Sunday January 30, 1972. Fourteen people attending a demonstration in Derry against internment were killed by British soldiers. The British army alleges its soldiers had returned fire from snipers. Currently the subject of the "Saville Inquiry"

Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) Umbrella grouping of militant Loyalism, including the UDA, UFF, UVF and Red Hand Commando

Continuity Army Council (CAC) Small break-away Republican paramilitary group, ruling body of the Continuity IRA (CIRA)

Conservative Party (Tory Party) Britain's main right of center political party. Allied with the Ulster Unionist Party in Northern Ireland

Dáil [Dawl] Irish parliament

Decommissioning Body Set up in December 1995 to investigate the difficult issue of decommissioning paramilitary arms. Reported its findings and recommendations in November 1999, chaired by General John de Chastelain. See detailed guide to the steps towards decommissioning

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Hardline Unionist party, formed in 1971, led by Rev. Ian Paisley

Downing Street Declaration Statement issued December 15, 1993, by the British and Irish governments. Set out principles around which the two governments would seek a settlement for Northern Ireland

Easter Rising Rebellion in April 1916, primarily in Dublin, seeking the establishment of an independent Irish Republic. Led by Pádraig Pearse, James Connolly and others.

European Union (EU) 15-member economic union. Founded in 1957. Ireland and the UK joined in 1973 when it was known as the EEC

Fianna Fáil [Fee-ana Fawl] Founded in 1926 by Eamon De Valera; the largest of the Irish political parties, currently led by Bertie Ahern

Fine Gael [Fina Gale] Formed in 1933, the second largest political party in the Irish Republic, currently led by Michael Noonan

Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) Republican paramilitary group - committed to a 32-county Socialist Republic. The INLA's political wing is the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP)

Irish Republican Army (IRA) Title given to original Irish Nationalist militant group which fought the British after the establishment of the first Dáil (Irish parliament) in 1919. Divided into the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA (Provos) in 1970

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Labour Party (UK) Britain's main left of center political party, led by Tony Blair

Loyalists People who are loyal to the Protestant monarch and, generally, want to maintain the link between Northern Ireland and Britain

Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) Loyalist paramilitary group, formerly led by Billy Wright until his murder in December 1997

Member of Parliament (MP) Elected political representative of UK parliament which meets at Westminster in London

Mitchell Principles Six key principles set out in the Mitchell Report on Decommissioning, published January 22, 1996

Nationalists People generally speaking they are in favor of a united Ireland; Nationalists are typically from the Catholic population

Northern Ireland Unionist Party (NIUP) Small Unionist party, established in 1999, led by Cedric Wilson

Orange Order (Orangemen) Name taken from the victory of Protestant William of Orange over Catholic King James II. Some of the Orange Order's annual parades can are the subject of disputes between Nationalist residents and Orangemen

Parades Commission Set up in 1997 to rule on routing of individual parades, or whether they should take place

Patten Report on Policing Published July 1999. Makes recommendations for a new Northern Ireland police service to replace the RUC. Generally, Unionists believe the Report goes too far, while Nationalists would like to see the Report implemented in full

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) New name for the RUC. Formed as part of the recommendations of the Patten Report

Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) Loyalist political party, led by David Irvine. Links with UVF

Real IRA Breakaway Republican group founded in 1997. Responsible for the Omagh bombing of August 15, 1998. The Real IRA does not accept the terms of the Provisional IRA's ceasefire, which was called in 1997.

Republicans People who want to break the link between Northern Ireland and Britain; believe that the people of Ireland as a whole have a right to self determination

Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Northern Ireland police force. Now known as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)

Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Nationalist and second largest party in Northern Ireland, founded in 1970, and led by John Hume

Sinn Féin [Shin Fane] "We Ourselves" or more commonly translated as "Ourselves Alone." Irish Republican party, founded in 1905, and led by Gerry Adams. The only party represented both in the North and South of Ireland. Links with the IRA

Stormont Seat of the Unionist government and parliament from 1932 to 1972, when direct rule from Westminster was re-established. Venue for the Northern Ireland Assembly

Sunningdale Agreement Signed in December 1973 between the British Conservative government led by Edward Heath and the Irish government led by Liam Cosgrave. Established a power-sharing government and Council of Ireland. It lasted five months and was brought down by vigorous Unionist opposition

Tánaiste [Thaw-nishte] Irish Deputy Prime Minister

Teachta Dála (TD) [Chock-ta Daw-la] Member of Irish parliament (Dáil)

Taoiseach [Tee-shuck] Irish Prime Minister

Twelfth of July Commemoration of the Battle of the Boyne every year by the Orange Order, part of the "marching season." In recent years, violent clashes have occurred when the loyal orders seek to march along their traditional routes through Catholic areas

UK Unionist Party (UKUP) Small Unionist party, led by Bob McCartney

Ulster Nine-county province of ancient Ireland. However, the term is now commonly used by Unionists to refer to Northern Ireland

Ulster Defense Association (UDA) Founded in September 1971, the major Loyalist paramilitary group, now outlawed

Ulster Defense Force (UDF) Loyalist paramilitary training group created in 1986 by UDA

Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) Founded in 1988 as ULDP (changed name in 1989), led by Gary McMichael. Links with UDA. Disbanded in 2001

Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) Loyalist paramilitary group

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Largest Unionist party, led by David Trimble, formerly known as the Official Unionist Party

Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) Originally formed in 1912 to oppose Home Rule, re-established in 1966 and is now a banned Loyalist paramilitary group

Unionists People who believe in maintaining the Union between Ireland (Northern Ireland since 1920) and Britain as established by the 1800 Act of Union. Unionists are traditionally from the Protestant community in Northern Ireland