Gerry Adams, chairman of the Sinn Féin Republican Party, and his deputy Martin McGuinness, who was later to become Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, played a key role in the deal. John Morrison explains his journey as a member of the IRA Commissional to Sinn Féin leaders. The agreement recognised the constitutional status of Northern Ireland as part of the UK, reflecting the wish of the majority of citizens. But it also established a principle of approval – that a united Ireland could come into being if and when a majority of the population of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland so wanted. In this case, the British government would be obliged to hold a referendum and respect the result. The multi-party agreement forced the parties to “use any influence they might have” to secure the dismantling of all paramilitary weapons within two years of referendums to approve the agreement. The standardisation process forced the British government to reduce the number and role of its armed forces in Northern Ireland “to a level compatible with a normal peaceful society”. These include the removal of security facilities and the lifting of specific emergency powers in Northern Ireland. The Irish government has committed to a “thorough review” of its breaches of state law.
The agreement was reached between the British and Irish governments and eight political parties or groups in Northern Ireland. Three of them were representative of unionism: the Ulster Unionist Party, which has been running since the beginning of the 20th The Progressive Unionist Party (associated with the Ulster Volunteer Force (EIE) and the Ulster Democratic Party (the political wing of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) had led the Unionism party in Ulster. Two of them have generally been described as nationalists: the Social Democratic and Labour Party and Sinn Féin, the Republican Party associated with the Commissional Irish Republican Army.  Regardless of these rival traditions, there were two other rallying parties, the Alliance Inter-communal party and the Northern Ireland Women`s Coalition. There was also the Labour Coalition. U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell was sent by U.S.
President Bill Clinton to lead discussions between the parties and groups.  In addition to the number of signatories[note 1], Stefan Wolff notes the following commonalities and differences between the issues addressed in the two agreements: The result of these referendums was a large majority in both parts of Ireland in favour of the agreement. In the Republic, 56% of voters, 94% of the vote, voted in favour of revising the Constitution. In Northern Ireland, turnout was 81% and 71% of the vote was in favour of the agreement. In the Republic of Ireland, the results of the vote on an amendment to the Constitution were in line with the agreement: the agreement marks an attachment to “mutual respect, civil rights and religious freedoms for all in the Community” and Great Britain agreed to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into Northern Ireland law. . . .