The Anglo-Irish Agreement was a treaty signed by British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish leader Garret FitzGerald on November 15th 1985. The agreement affirmed that the status of Northern Ireland would not change without a majority vote of its residents. The agreement also created an “Inter-governmental Conference” that gave Dublin some advisory input into the government of Northern Ireland, a move that outraged Loyalists:
“The Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom, wishing further to develop the unique relationship between their peoples and the close co-operation between their countries as friendly neighbours… have accordingly agreed as follows:
The two governments:
a. affirm that any change in the status of Northern Ireland would only come about with the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland;
b. recognise that the present wish of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland is for no change in the status of Northern Ireland;
c. declare that if in the future a majority of the people of Northern Ireland clearly wish for and formally consent to the establishment of a united Ireland, they will introduce and support in the respective Parliaments legislation to give effect to that wish.
There is hereby established… an Inter-governmental Conference concerned with Northern Ireland and with relations between the two parts of the island of Ireland, to deal… on a regular basis with:
a. political matters;
b. security and related matters;
c. legal matters, including the administration of justice;
d. the promotion of cross-border co-operation.
e. The United Kingdom government accepts that the Irish government will put forward views and proposals on matters relating to Northern Ireland… In the interest of promoting peace and stability, determined efforts shall be made through the Conference to resolve any differences. The Conference will be mainly concerned with Northern Ireland but some of the matters under consideration will involve cooperative action in both parts of the island of Ireland, and possibly also in Great Britain…
a. With a view to enhancing cross-border co-operation on security matters, the Conference shall set in hand a programme of work to be undertaken by the Commissioner of the Garda Siochána and the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary… in such areas as threat assessments, exchange of information, liaison structures, technical co-operation, training of personnel, and operational resources…
The two governments shall co-operate to promote the economic and social development of those areas of both parts of Ireland which have suffered most severely from the consequences of the instability of recent years, and shall consider the possibility of securing international support for this work…”