The vague wording of some so-called „constructive ambiguities“ helped ensure the adoption of the agreement and delayed debate on some of the most controversial issues. These include extra-military dismantling, police reform and the standardisation of Northern Ireland. The overall result of these problems was to undermine trade unionists` confidence in the agreement exploited by the anti-DUP agreement, which eventually overtook the pro-agreement Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in the 2003 general elections. UUP had already resigned from the executive in 2002 following the Stormontgate scandal, in which three men were indicted for intelligence gathering. These charges were eventually dropped in 2005 because persecution was not „in the public interest.“ Immediately afterwards, one of Sinn Féin`s members, Denis Donaldson, was unmasked as a British agent. Issues of sovereignty, civil and cultural rights, dismantling of arms, demilitarization, justice and police were at the heart of the agreement. The agreement was for Northern Ireland to be part of the United Kingdom and remain in place until a majority of the population of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland wished otherwise. If this happens, the British and Irish governments will be „obliged“ to implement this decision. On 9 January 2020, the British and Irish governments proposed to northern Ireland`s political parties the „New Decade, New Approach“ agreement, which provides for a balanced package of measures to make Northern Ireland`s policy and government more transparent, accountable, more stable, more inclusive and more effective. Northern Ireland`s leaders face difficult challenges in providing basic services and managing denominational divisions.
One of the most urgent tasks is to improve health services, which have become increasingly mired in crisis after the collapse of local authorities. About three hundred thousand people – about one-sixth of the population – were on waiting lists for health care by the end of 2019, and nurses and other employees went on strike in December of that year to protest lower wages than the rest of the UK. Until February 2020, many health unions had agreed with the government on higher wages and other demands on whether the health sector was on a sustainable path but remains open. As part of the agreement, the British Parliament repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920 (which had founded Northern Ireland, divided Ireland and asserted territorial right to the whole of Ireland) and the people of the Republic of Ireland amended Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, which asserted a territorial right to Northern Ireland.