The Irish backstop was a protocol in the (un ratified) Brexit withdrawal agreement that would have kept the UK (generally) in the customs union of the European Union and Northern Ireland (in particular) on certain aspects of the European internal market until a solution was found to avoid a hard border. This should not compromise the Good Friday agreement[47] and preserve the integrity of the European internal market. This would only have come into effect if there were no other solutions before the end of the (agreed) transition period. The Northern Ireland Committee « The Future of the Irish Land Border with Scientists and Political Experts, » including Dr Katy Hayward. (11 Oct 17). (Added Feb 7, 18) Katy Hayward, Reader in Sociology at Queen`s University Belfast, says that a hard border in itself does not call into question the agreement, but that it is « fair to say » that the acceptance of the Good Friday agreement was « closer integration. » As part of the agreement, it was proposed to build on the existing Inter-Parliamentary Commission in English-Irish. Prior to the agreement, the body was composed only of parliamentarians from the British and Irish assemblies. In 2001, as proposed by the agreement, it was extended to include parliamentarians of all members of the Anglo-Irish Council. The agreement reaffirmed its commitment to « mutual respect, civil rights and religious freedoms for all within the Community. » The multi-party agreement recognized « the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance with regard to linguistic diversity, » particularly with regard to the Irish language, Ulster Scots and the languages of other ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland, « all of which are part of the cultural richness of the Island of Ireland. » Cross-border studies – « The Centre for Cross-Border Studies encourages practical cooperation beyond the Irish border through research and direct interaction with cross-border actors. » In the referendum on the UK`s membership of the European Union in June 2016, Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union at 55.8% against 44.2%. In a November 2018 opinion poll commissioned by BBC Northern Ireland and RT (Republic of Ireland), 61% of respondents felt that Brexit should not take place if the price was a hard border (compared to 36% that it should, 3% do not know). [13] 14 Therefore, the GFA, as a common and reciprocal redefinition of British and Irish national sovereignty in Northern Ireland, was a remarkably incomplete and unfinished constitutional process. The withdrawal of the United Kingdom and its border problem in Ireland show that the 1998 agreement did not go far enough to provide for an explicit, indisputable and constitutional (new) definition of the Dublin and London obligations as the sovereign guarantee of the agreement.