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Under the agreement Ireland gave up its claim on the north and Britain agreed to a mechanism by which Northern Ireland could secede via a future referendum.
The Northern Irish gained the right to citizenship of the United Kingdom, Ireland, or both.
“I’d rather go to Spain or something, to tell you the truth,” says Martin, a 29-year-old who lives near the Falls Road in Belfast.
Surveys find that about a third of the population considers itself British, a slightly smaller share says Irish, and around the same reports itself to be neither, but rather Northern Irish.
Stones still sail over, so houses nearby have metal cages over their back gardens.
Tony Blair, then Britain’s prime minister, later described signing the deal as “one of the few times in the job I can honestly say I felt contented, fulfilled and proud.”Yet 20 years on, the mood is sour.
Such organisations live on because Northern Irish society is still divided.
Physical walls, known as peace lines, still separate some working-class Catholic and Protestant areas.
Their share of police officers has risen from one in ten at the turn of the century to one in three, after a temporary affirmative-action programme.
National and religious identities are blurring, particularly among the young.