Both views were recognized as legitimate. For the first time, the Irish government has agreed in a binding international agreement that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom.  The Irish Constitution has also been amended to implicitly recognise Northern Ireland as part of the sovereign territory of the United Kingdom, subject to the consent of the majority of the inhabitants of the island`s two jurisdictions to a united Ireland. On the other hand, the wording of the agreement reflects a shift in the legal focus on the UK from one for the Union to one for a united Ireland.  The agreement therefore left open the question of future sovereignty over Northern Ireland.  While the Irish and British governments have committed to reintegrate paramilitary prisoners into society by creating employment opportunities, recycling and promoting educational opportunities, the European Union created a support infrastructure from the European Union Peace and Reconciliation Fund in 1998. It was reported that the Belfast-based Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust managed the fund. In addition, more than 26 community-based ex-prisoner projects were underway across Northern Ireland, covering education, vocational skills programmes, financial and social counselling, housing and housing, as well as family-centred counselling in Ireland.1 „The Good Friday Agreement – Prisoners”, BBC News, www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/schools/agreement/policing/prisoner. The Good Friday Agreement provided for an elected assembly of 108 members in Northern Ireland. The Assembly would be able to exercise executive and legislative power and would be subject to safeguards to protect the rights and interests of all parts of the Community.
According to the Agreement, the Assembly should be elected according to the system of single transferable votes of proportional representation. In a spirit of safeguarding the interests and rights of all parties, the agreement also provided for a proportional distribution of committee members in the Assembly. 1. The participants recall their agreement in the point of order adopted on 24 September 1997 „that the resolution of the issue of decommissioning is an indispensable element of the negotiation process” and also recall the provisions of paragraph 25 of part 1. In 2000, the Department of Education established comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (CnaG), a representative body of Irish secondary education. According to the CnaG, in 2012 there were around 90 Irish-language schools at pre-school, primary and post-primary levels, providing Irish middle school to nearly 5,000 children.1 There appears to be steady progress in promoting Irish middle school. Before the agreement, fewer than 500 pupils were enrolled in Irish-language schools. The main issues left out by Sunningdale and addressed in the Belfast Agreement are the principle of self-determination, the recognition of both national identities, British-Irish intergovernmental cooperation and legal procedures to make power-sharing compulsory, such as inter-community voting and the D`Hondt system for appointing ministers to the executive.   Former IRA member and journalist Tommy McKearney says the main difference is the British government`s intention to negotiate a comprehensive deal involving the IRA and the most intransigent trade unionists.  With respect to the right to self-determination, two limitations are noted by legal writer Austen Morgan.
Firstly, the transfer of territory from one State to another must be done through international agreements between the British and Irish Governments. Secondly, the people of Northern Ireland can no longer achieve a united Ireland alone; they need not only the Irish Government, but also the people of their Irish neighbour to support unity. Morgan also pointed out that, unlike the Ireland Act 1949 and the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973, which were drafted under Sunningdale, the 1998 Agreement and the resulting UK legislation expressly provided for the possibility of a united Ireland.  The two main political parties in the agreement were the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) led by David Trimble and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) led by John Hume. The two Heads of State and Government jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. The other parties involved in reaching a deal were Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party and the Progressive Unionist Party. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which later became the largest Unionist party, did not support the deal. She left the talks when Sinn Féin and the loyalist parties joined because republican and loyalist paramilitary weapons had not been downgraded. Power-sharing continued until October 15.
Because the disarmament provision of the agreement has not been implemented, the DUP has filed a motion to expel Sinn Fein from the government. The nationalists argued that they would not disarm under the conditions set by the unionists, and for this reason, trust between the unionists and the nationalists collapsed, leading to the suspension of the Assembly and the executive from 15 October 2002. Since the IICD could only examine the ceasefires and force the paramilitaries to dismantle their weapons, the IICD failed to win the trust of the unionists. It was only after the IRA`s announcement in July 2005 that it ceased its armed struggle and will „lay down arms” in favour of democratic means.1 According to IICD President General John de Chastelain, two churchmen witnessed the dismantling process.2 „Report of the Independent International Commission on Dismantling”, BBC News, 26 September 2005, news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/26_09_05_decommissioning.pdf.. .