Some commentators have focused on the idea of “Stalemate” as a central feature of maturity. It is true that Sinn Fein had concluded that it could not “bomb” its path to Irish unification. British officials, particularly in the security community, also concluded that the IRA could not be “defeated” despite the increasing effectiveness of its efforts in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Some have argued that the United Kingdom`s security policy, which was more effective in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has helped to create a ripe dead end for implementation. However, it seems unlikely that a deadlock alone would be the cause of the 1998 agreement. The return to violence in the mid-1990s (after the first ceasefire declaration in 1994) suggests that many IRA members still viewed violence (or at least the threat of violence) as an important element of the leverage of the negotiations. Similarly, some members of the Unionist community (deviants within the UUP, the DUP and the United Kingdom) were not convinced of the need to compromise. That is why I think it makes more sense to see the agreement as a consequence of the fact that each party could view the agreement as a “benefit” (at least relative) and not as the product of an impasse from which they wanted to escape. Perhaps the best way to characterize the Agency`s role is to say that the circumstance gave each of the major players a reasonably favourable hand that allowed an agreement, but that each played the hand quite skilfully.
The release of the prisoners continued in 1999. During the Christmas and New Year period, 131 inmates were granted extended home leave. On 16 December, 308 prisoners were released.1 With the release of high-level prisoners, public support for the release of prisoners has declined, according to an opinion poll by the Belfast Telegraph.2 “The Good Friday Agreement – Prisoners”, BBC News, www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/schools/agreement/policing/prisoner… 3. As a result, all participants reaffirmed their commitment to the complete disarmament of all paramilitary organizations. They also reaffirm their intention to continue to cooperate constructively and in good faith with the Independent Commission and to use their influence to secure the dismantling of all paramilitary weapons within two years of the approval of the Agreement, in the north and south, and as part of the implementation of the comprehensive regime. 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.