In a major compromise, the parties agreed on measures to promote the Irish language, which trade unionists have long opposed to the fear that it will increase nationalist and republican culture to the detriment of their own. In return, the agreement contained provisions to promote Ulster-Scots, traditionally spoken by descendants of Protestants from Scotland to Northern Ireland. Negotiations were also reinforced by commitments in Dublin and London for increased funding for hospitals, schools and other social services in Northern Ireland. The agreement came after many years of complex discussions, proposals and compromises. A lot of people have made a great contribution. Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern were the leaders of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland at the time. The presidency was chaired by U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell.  The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums on 22 May 1998. In Northern Ireland, in the 1998 referendum on the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, voters were asked if they supported the multi-party agreement.
In the Republic of Ireland, voters were asked whether they would allow the state to sign the agreement and authorize the necessary constitutional changes (nineteen constitutional amendments from Ireland) to facilitate it. The citizens of both countries had to approve the agreement to implement it. The most controversial issue was the Northern Irish border with the Republic of Ireland. The border, heavily militarized during the conflict, has since become essentially invisible, with people and goods crossing freely. This was largely possible because Ireland and the United Kingdom were part of the EU single market, a common set of rules that allow the free movement of goods, services, people and money within the bloc. The agreement required the transfer of authority over certain policy areas of the British Parliament to a newly created assembly in Belfast and paved the way for paramilitary groups to give up their weapons and engage in the political process. It has contributed to a sharp decrease in violence and the annual death toll, which peaked at 480 in 1972, has fallen to one figure in recent years. After years of deadlock, the UK government has pledged to implement the legacy-related institutions outlined in the 2014 agreement as part of the January 2020 Stormont Recovery Agreement. However, uncertainty remains, particularly over how Johnson`s government will handle investigations into former members of the British security services for their actions in the northern Ireland conflict.
The agreement was reached between the British and Irish governments as well as eight northern Ireland political parties or groups. Three were representative of unionism: the Ulster Unionist Party, which had led unionism in Ulster since the early 20th century, and two small parties linked to loyalist paramilitaries, the Progressive Unionist Party (linked to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Democratic Party (the political wing of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Two of them have been widely described as nationalists: the Social Democratic and Labour Party and Sinn Féin, the Republican party affiliated with the Provisional Republican Army.   Apart from these rival traditions, there were two other assemblies, the Inter-Community Alliance Party and the Northern Ireland Women`s Coalition. There was also the Labour coalition. U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell was sent by U.S.
President Bill Clinton to chair the talks between parties and groups.  The Good Friday Agreement, concluded in 1998, provided a framework for a political solution in Northern Ireland concerning the division of power between unionists and nationalists.