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Friday, 9 March, 2001, 11:51 GMT
Labour: The peace process

Find out more about Labour's policies on the Northern Ireland peace process.


The Government came into office having supported the developments in the peace process initiated by John Major.

At the 1997 election, the Labour manifesto declared that the future of Northern Ireland must be determined by the consent of the people as set out in the Downing Street Declaration.

Labour says that it recognises that the option of a united Ireland does not command the consent of the unionist tradition, nor does the existing status of Northern Ireland command the consent of the nationalist tradition.

Tony Blair sought to bring new impetus to the process by offering a place at the negotiating table for Sinn Fein should the IRA return to a ceasefire.

Those talks, involving Mr Blair and the then Secretary of State Mo Mowlam, led to the Good Friday Agreement in which Labour committed the government to a raft of measures as its part of the deal:

  • The establishment of a devolved assembly
  • The establishment of cross-border bodies
  • Release of paramilitary prisoners
  • Policing and criminal justice reform
  • The abolition of the Anglo-Irish Agreement
  • Moves to scale down the military presence

    The party says that it has continued to strive for the full implementation of the agreement under Dr Mowlam's successors, Peter Mandelson and John Reid.

    Labour says that in government it has been honouring these pledges through the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill, the Sentence Review Commission, the founding of the Human Rights Commission and other measures.

    While Labour says that it is intent on helping the people of Northern Ireland build a peaceful future, it will not compromise the security of the civilian population in the face of sporadic threats from those opposed to peace.

    Therefore, and in the wake of the 1998 Omagh bomb, Labour introduced what it says are legitimate tougher anti-terrorist measures.

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