This Essay consists of five parts. Part I locates the Agreement in a series of constitutional attempts to resolve the "Irish question" from 1971 onwards, arguing that the Agreement is both similar to, yet fundamentally different from, other settlement propositions. Part II introduces the reader to the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (or "NIWC"), saying something of its founding rationale and environment before considering its priorities for the political process in which it found itself immersed in May 1996. Part III further outlines the role that the NIWC assumed in that process, and its modus operandi, going on to describe the ideas that it inserted in the process and the Agreement itself. Part IV of this Essay offers an assessment of the Agreement, six months later, in both abstract and actual terms. Finally, drawing on contemporary empirical experience in Northern Ireland, as well as models presented by conflict resolution practitioners and theorists, Part V attempts to harvest any lessons that may be transferable from our process to others. To begin, this Essay outlines a whistlestop tour of past proposals, pausing to reflect on the parameters of the question--unionism versus nationalism--in every case until the Agreement.
Kate Fearon and Monica McWilliams,
The Good Friday Agreement: A Triumph of Substance over Style,
22 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1250
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol22/iss4/9