In May 1998, two days before the Good Friday Agreement referendum, British prime minister Tony Blair addressed the media in Coleraine, County Derry. He made five promises to the people of Northern Ireland, writing them by hand on a large whiteboard. Blair’s promises were a last ditch attempt to win over Unionists:
“I pledge to the people of Northern Ireland:
1. [There will be] no change in the status of Northern Ireland without the express consent of the people of Northern Ireland.
2. [The] power to take decisions [will be] returned to a Northern Ireland Assembly, with accountable North-South co-operation.
3. Fairness and equality [will be] guaranteed for all.
4. Those who use or threaten violence [will be] excluded from the Government of Northern Ireland.
5. Prisoners [will be] kept in [prison] unless violence is given up for good.
Whatever the Referendum result, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom I will continue to work for stability and prosperity for all the people of Northern Ireland.”