Widespread relief greeted the 1998 Good Friday Agreement when over 94% of people in the Republic of Ireland voted to give up the territorial claim to the whole island enshrined in the Constitution until such time as there was a consensus to do otherwise. The desire to end the conflict was strongly endorsed in both jurisdictions, sustained by a dogged and consistent commitment to peace by the then Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern – a fact now buried, for the time being at least, under the debris of the current economic crisis.
The Southern reaction to the Peace Process varied depending on how closely affected by the conflict you were. For those living in the border region, the disappearance of the British Army and the opening of border roads, facilitating ease of movement between towns and villages whose hinterlands and livelihoods had been disrupted by the violence, was greatly welcomed.
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