The "Green Deal"

Page 15 of today’s Newsletter carries an adertisement by the Ulster Unionist Party which quotes about 200 words of Mitchell McLaughlin’s speech to the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis in March.

Sinn Fein said yes to the political package…because we were satisfied that we had defended the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement including its Power-Sharing All-Ireland and Equality provisions…We secured:

The establishment of the All-Ireland consultative Civic Forum,
The establishment of the All-Ireland Parliamentary Forum,
A process of rolling and frontloaded demilitarisation,
Both Governments also agreed to a resolution of residual issues around prisoners and “On-the-Runs”.

One of the first posts on the Young Unionist blog on January 11th was in relation to the All Ireland Parliamentary Forum. The DUP claim that this was in the Belfast Agreement. This is true only to an extent. The forum was to be “considered” by the Assembly before being set up, this was done on May 28th 2002 and rejected by the Assembly. The DUP, according to Mitchell, gave up this right of consideration and agreed to its establishment.

  • davidbrew

    Oh do stop it Michael. Just link directly to your party website and be done with it. Stop pretending you’ve come across these great “scoops”.

    And while we’re at it, is this another example of the UUP believing everything Sinn Fein say? Because we know your lot have got form for this sort of gullibility -going back to 1998. A pity to still be so much under their spell, when everyone else can see through their lies- including the electorate, as you’ll soon see.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Oh do stop it Michael. Just link directly to your party website and be done with it. Stop pretending you’ve come across these great “scoops”.

    Do pay attention to detail David, I did.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    David this seems hypocrisy of the highest order from someone who I presume (apologies if this presumption is unfounded) is a DUP supporter.

    Didn’t the DUP make similar noises about the Good Friday Agreement and how SF were trying to sell it as the first step to a United Ireland back in ’98?

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    “The fact that we cannot decide whether to call it the Good Friday Agreement or the Belfast Agreement demonstrates our problems.”

    On a side note and purely out of curiosity, who objects to the term GFA and why?

  • fair_deal


    1. The name in the document is the ‘Belfast Agreement’, so technically it is the name everyone agreed to.
    2. Jewish organisations have a reservation about references to Good Friday, this was traditionally the day for the commencement of pogroms.

  • Alan McDonald


    As to #1, the document is called

    The Agreement
    Agreement reached in the multi-party negotiations

    The word “Belfast” does not appear in the document.

  • Alan McDonald

    Sorry, that should have been directed to fair_deal.

  • Gonzo


    According to Austen Morgan:

    The Belfast Agreement has been published officially6 in the following hard copies:

    • 30-page booklet, with coloured front cover, entitled The Agreement: agreement reached in the multi-party negotiations, published by the United Kingdom government (and distributed to Northern Ireland households);7

    • 35-page booklet, in two columns, entitled Agreement reached in the Multi-party Negotiations, published by the Irish government (and distributed to Republic of Ireland households). This version included the Irish-language text of the proposed Irish constitutional amendments;

    • 30-page document, entitled The Belfast Agreement: an agreement reached at the multi-party talks on Northern Ireland, Cm 3883, presented to parliament by the secretary of state for Northern Ireland on 20 April 1998, and published by the Stationery Office Limited;8

    • an Irish-language version of the Irish government’s booklet, available in the Republic of Ireland;

    • the same Irish text and format, with the United Kingdom government’s coloured cover (suitably translated), available in Northern Ireland;

    • a 44-page blue book, under the title Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of Ireland, Cm 4292, Belfast, 10 April 1998, and headed Ireland No. 1 (1999), presented to parliament by the secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs in March 1999, also published by the Stationery Office Ltd;9

    • the above, printed as Treaty series No. 50 (2000), presented to parliament by the secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs in May 2000 as Cm 4705, also published by the Stationery Office Ltd;

    • and the 49-page10 Irish version, entitled Agreement between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, published in March 1999. This has a similar layout to the United Kingdom version (however, Annex 1 (the MPA) contains, as annex, the BIA).

    The name ‘the Belfast Agreement’ was given to the United Kingdom command paper, Cm 3883. It is also the term used in the Northern Ireland Act (NIA) 1998, and ‘the Belfast Agreement’ is defined in section 98.12 But where did this title come from? The Mitchell Draft Paper — the origin of the text — had no title.

    1.12 The Final Agreement was entitled ‘AGREEMENT REACHED IN THE MULTIPARTY NEGOTIATIONS’ (though Annex 1 of the British-Irish Agreement referred to it as the Agreement reached in the Multi-party Talks). And the former title was used in the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland versions of the Belfast Agreement.

    1.13 ‘The Belfast Agreement’ — I will argue below — is the most appropriate title. But it has had to do battle with ‘the Good Friday Agreement’ and, to a lesser extent, ‘the Stormont Agreement’.

    1.14 The originator of the ‘Good Friday’ name is most likely an unidentified Northern Ireland journalist. In his report in the Irish Times on 11 April 1998, Frank Millar — filing from Castle Buildings reported a local broadcaster13 as saying: ‘Think of all the bad days we’ve known here … This really will be Good Friday.’ The Good Friday Agreement is a catchy journalistic tag. And it was applied spontaneously in a heavily religious culture in Northern Ireland.

    1.15 There is an argument that Christian anniversaries should not become political clichés. There is also a view that, in Ireland, talk of Holy Week, and especially Easter Week, has a strong republican connotation and is best avoided.14

    1.16 When secretary of state Mo Mowlam presented the Belfast Agreement to parliament ten days afterwards, she chose to use the term ‘the Good Friday Agreement’.15 And so it has stuck (to the extent that, in the early spring of 1999, the anniversary of the Agreement was being proclaimed as 2 April, Good Friday that year16). The United Kingdom government still respects Cm 3883 and the NIA 1998, but, in July 1999, during the abortive attempt to form the Northern Ireland executive, the term Good Friday Agreement’ was defined in a draft international agreement.17

    1.17 The Stormont Agreement is of unionist provenance, and has developed in reaction to the nationalist Good Friday terminology.

    I think the objection to the ‘Good Friday’ Agreement was chiefly from unionists, particularly anti-Agreement unionists, who didn’t agree with the spin of the positive religious connotation.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    OK, well thanks for that rather comprehensive answer gonzo!! (Thanks to everyone else too)

    It really does just typify NI’s politics, I move for a neutral name like “The Hand of History (on our shoulder) Agreement” 😉

  • Stalford

    I seen this advert in the News Letter and if I weren’t a political anorak I would have missed it. Hardly the best use of a full page in a morning daily.

    As for the election slogan – I hope Mr. Shilliday will excuse my indency and that of the 80+% of Northern Ireland’s population that won’t be voting for his party come May 5th.

  • davidbrew

    “Do pay attention to detail …”


  • Traditional Unionist

    Stalford, you SAW.


  • Stalford



  • davidbrew

    I blame the universities

  • Traditional Unionist

    Not like the one you went to eh Brewster?

  • middle-class taig

    Brewster? Are you related to the Fermanagh GAA Brewsters?

  • Alan2

    Are the UUP stating that they are against Human Rights? A peace dividend? The repeal of repressive legislation? Measures to repair the electoral register?

    Again the UUP mis-attribute both the on-the-run issue and the case of the Irish government allowing Northern MP`s to watch in the Dail.

    The only REAL points in the WHOLE page were
    1 The establishment of an ALL-Ireland Civic Forum
    2 The establishment of an ALL-Ireland Parliamentary Forum

    Now the second one fails to mention that hand in hand with this is the expansion of the role and powers of the Council Of The Isles.

  • Alan2

    And is anyone else remotely offended by the advert in the same paper by the UUP saying
    Decent people…….
    Vote Ulster Unionist.

    I think I will skip the UUP in the PR council elections.

  • davidbrew

    Brewster? Are you related to the Fermanagh GAA Brewsters?

    No. Though surely you should really be asking if they are related to me. Wonder what the reverse of a “souper” is BTW