The Belfast Agreement, also known as the ‘Good Friday’ Agreement, 1998. The agreement was the result of a long process of talks between the Northern Ireland political parties and the British and Irish Governments. It was approved through a referendum on May 22, 1998 and given legal force through the Northern Ireland Act, 1998. It led to the creation of a number of interrelated organizations, far the most important being the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Belfast Agreement also led to the establishment of:
- A North/South Ministerial Council to bring together those with executive responsibilities in Northern Ireland and the Irish Government in order to co-operate on issues affecting the whole island of Ireland.
- A British-Irish Council for co-operation on matters of mutual interest within the competence of the relevant Administrations. It is composed of representatives of the United Kingdom Government, the Irish Government, the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and representatives of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
- A British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference comprising representatives from the United Kingdom Government and the Irish Government for bilateral co-operation on matters of mutual interest.
- A Civic Forum comprising representatives of the civic sectors (trades unions, business) in Northern Ireland with the aim to provide a mechanism for consultation on social, economic and cultural topics.