In the statement attached to the agreement, the United Kingdom agreed that all British Army patrols in Northern Ireland would have a civilian escort from the Royal Ulster Constabulary, except in the most exceptional circumstances. [19] Until 1997, the Irish government protested thousands of people against violations of the project. [20] Finally, it was the agreement that had the most impact on Anglo-Irish relations. Gone are the mega-phonic diplomacy that marked the approach of the two governments to the crisis in the North. The agreement was adopted by Seanad Iireann by 88 votes to 75 and by 37 votes to 16. [21] [22] The Irish nationalist Fianna Féil party, the main opposition party in Ireland, also rejected the agreement. Fianna-Fiil leader Charles Haughey said the agreement was contrary to Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution because it had officially recognised British jurisdiction in Northern Ireland. He was also rejected by independent Republican TDs Neil Blaney and Tony Gregory,[22] as a “con job” agreement. Despite this opposition, all the other major parties of the Republic supported the agreement ratified by the Oireachtas.

Never before had Britain officially recognized that Ireland had a legal role to play in the direction of the North. Although it is far from accepting the principle of a united Ireland, the agreement runs counter to the beliefs appreciated by the Unionist majority in Northern Ireland: the conviction that the North is exclusively a British territory, that its affairs are a purely British concern and that the Republic of Ireland, although it is a neighbour, must be regarded in all respects as a foreign country. The outcome of this meeting of minds between the two Prime Ministers is an extraordinarily vague agreement on procedures and details, but clearly on the extent of the planned cooperation between the two governments. The British and Irish governments, which followed this vote closely, had some encouraging news. The two nationalist parties contested only the four districts where Catholics have a majority. SDLP candidates committed to the agreement and their vote increases increased by 19% compared to the 1983 parliamentary elections. Support for Sinn Fein, which is attacking the deal as a “sell-off” to the British, has fallen by 25%. Given that the political rationale for the agreement is to reduce the alienation of nationalists, the strong idea of the SDLP shows that this justification is reasonable. On Friday 27 September 1991, the Irish Times reported an interview with Peter Brooke, then Foreign Minister for Northern Ireland.

Mr Brooke said Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland were “not helpful” in reaching an agreement in Northern Ireland. He also warned against the extension of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). The trial hit a major roadwork in September, when Mrs Thatcher Hurd was locked into a major cabinet reshuffle and went from the Northern Ireland Office to the Home Secretary. Christopher Patton, one of his junior ministers, who had the delicate task of having political discussions with the parties in Northern Ireland, was appointed junior minister in the Department of Education.