Anglo-Irish Agreement

The Anglo-Irish Agreement: A Comprehensive Look

The Anglo-Irish Agreement, also known as the Hillsborough Agreement, was signed on November 15, 1985, between the British and Irish governments. The agreement was meant to provide a framework for resolving the political conflict in Northern Ireland and improving relations between the two nations.


The conflict in Northern Ireland, also known as The Troubles, began in the late 1960s and lasted until 1998. The conflict was between Irish nationalists and unionists who wanted Northern Ireland to remain a part of the United Kingdom. The violence of The Troubles resulted in the deaths of over 3,500 people.

In 1981, during the height of The Troubles, the British government suggested that it was open to talks with the Irish government. The talks led to the drafting of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Key Provisions

The agreement had four main provisions:

1. The Irish government would have a say in the affairs of Northern Ireland, which was previously under the exclusive control of the British government.

2. The Irish government recognized that Northern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, but it also recognized the right of the people of Northern Ireland to self-determination.

3. The British government agreed to work with the Irish government to promote peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

4. The agreement established a framework for cooperation between the British and Irish governments on matters of mutual interest.


The Anglo-Irish Agreement was criticized by many on both sides of the conflict. Unionists saw it as a threat to their British identity, while nationalists saw it as not going far enough in addressing their demands for a united Ireland.

The agreement did, however, have some positive effects. It helped to open up communication between the British and Irish governments and led to the creation of the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1998. The agreement also paved the way for the Good Friday Agreement, which was signed in 1998 and brought an end to The Troubles.


The Anglo-Irish Agreement was a significant moment in the history of Northern Ireland. While it did not solve all the issues that were at the heart of The Troubles, it did provide a framework for cooperation between the British and Irish governments. Its legacy can still be felt today, as the Good Friday Agreement, which built on the Anglo-Irish Agreement, continues to shape the political landscape of Northern Ireland.