The conference takes the form of regular and frequent meetings between british and Irish ministers to promote cooperation between the two governments at all levels. On issues that are not left to Northern Ireland, the Irish Government can take a stand and make proposals. All decisions of the Conference shall be taken by mutual agreement between the two Governments and the two Governments shall agree to make determined efforts to resolve disagreements between them. “It is the sole responsibility of the Irish people, by agreement between the two parties and without external obstacles, to exercise their right to self-determination on the basis of the consent given freely and simultaneously, from the North and the South, in order to create a united Ireland, accepting that this right must be realized and exercised with and subject to the consent and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland.” The agreement provided for the establishment of an independent commission to review police regulation in Northern Ireland, “including ways to promote broad community support” for these arrangements. The UK government has also committed to a “comprehensive review” of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland. As part of the agreement, the British Parliament repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920 (which had established Northern Ireland, divided Ireland and claimed a territorial claim over all of Ireland), and the people of the Republic of Ireland amended Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, which affirmed a territorial claim to Northern Ireland. In an important compromise, the parties agreed on measures to promote the Irish language, which unionists have long opposed because they see it as increasing nationalist and republican culture to the detriment of their own. In return, the agreement included provisions to promote Ulster Scots, traditionally spoken by descendants of Protestants who came to Northern Ireland from Scotland. The negotiations were also prompted by promises from Dublin and London for more funding for hospitals, schools and other social services in Northern Ireland. In 2010, the signing of the Hillsborough Agreement transferred police and judicial powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which began later that year. It also included an agreement on the controversial parades that had led to ongoing conflicts between communities. In the context of political violence during the unrest, the agreement committed participants to “exclusively democratic and peaceful means of settling disputes over political issues.” This concerns two aspects: 15 The second weakness of the GFA, revealed by the issue of the Irish border after Brexit, is that of the limits of the consociative power-sharing institutions established in Northern Ireland under the GFA.

The entanglement of the Irish border shows that even though the two Northern Irish communities want to keep the Irish border equally open, and even though supporters of remain have been found in both Northern Irish communities, both communities still cling to and compete for irrevocable and mutually exclusive views on the constitutional status of the border, as if twenty-one years of consociative power-sharing democracy in Northern Ireland ethno-territorial antagonism would have entrenched rather than replaced. But there was also a better and nobler reason for the lack of true jubilation. The deal was not about winning. His signature was not one of those epic and historic moments when a bastille falls or a wall is demolished. It was, in fact, exactly the opposite: a mutual acceptance that such millennial moments were not in prospect for anyone. There was not to be a grand ceremony when all the Union Jacks were removed and the British Army walked to the ports never to return. Nor would there be any capitulation of the IRA, a pathetic departure from the demands of Irish nationalism. .