11/15 – The Anglo-Irish Agreement

British soldiers at a checkpoint on Conway Street, Belfast, in 1970. (source: Flickr)

On this day in 1985 the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish leader Garrett Fitzgerald. The Agreement gave the government of Ireland a role in the Northern Irish government and confirmed that the country’s constitution would remain the same unless altered by referendum. Northern Ireland, which was and is a part of the United Kingdom, had been plagued by The Troubles – continuous fighting and terrorist actions between pro and anti-British groups, often divided along religious lines – since the 1960s. Although the violence did not immediately end, the Agreement is regarded as a crucial step in improving relations between Northern Ireland and England and paving the way for more meaningful treaties to come.

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