Records from 1997/98 made publicly available online

Date published: 06 December 2022

Documents surrounding the political negotiations that led up to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement are now available online.

Photo of exterior of PRONI building

Almost 500 documents relating to 1997 and 1998 have been added to the CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) website – a partnership between the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and Ulster University.

The new material, which until now has not been accessible to the public online, provides insight into some of the key events and development during a critical period.

It includes:

  • Coverage of the political negotiations leading up to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement / Belfast Agreement in April 1998. 
  • Reference to the efforts that followed to establish the new political bodies and institutions envisaged under the Agreement.
  •  Other political and security matters including the parading issue, which often dominated the news agenda during 1997 and 1998.   

David Huddleston, PRONI Acting Director, explained the importance of the collaborative project between government and academia, saying:

 “It is important that public records are made easily available to help increase understanding of our recent past by showing the details and thinking behind political developments.

“The work with CAIN has enhanced access to key historical documents by making them viewable online from anywhere in the world. The PRONI on CAIN resource now amounts to a significant volume of archive material dating from the 1960s to 1998 and I welcome the ongoing collaboration with Ulster University to make this possible.”

Dr Brendan Lynn, CAIN Deputy Director and Politics Lecturer at Ulster University, added:

“CAIN is delighted to continue its co-operation with PRONI, which now dates back to 2010.  The addition of this new material brings the total number of PRONI documents on CAIN to just over 4,000.  I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Department for Communities for the funding provided to CAIN, back in November 2021, that enabled this latest piece of work to be completed.

“The information itself is easily available and free of charge and will be undoubtedly of great interest to students, researchers, teachers and lecturers or to anyone looking for information on the recent political and social history of Northern Ireland.”

The records are now available on the CAIN website


Notes to editors: 

  1. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is a division of the Department for Communities and is located at 2 Titanic Boulevard, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. More information is available on NI Direct  
  2. The CAIN website  provides an extensive range of information and source material on the conflict and politics from 1968 to the present day. The site is used by a worldwide audience and has received more than 24 million visits since it was launched in March 1997.
  3. Currently there are over 4,081 PRONI public records on CAIN and this amounts to approximately 17,160 pages.
  4. CAIN is based at Ulster University, within INCORE (International Conflict Research Institute) and the School of Applied Social & Policy Sciences
  5. CAIN is a component of ARK (Access Research Knowledge),a resource providing access to social and political material that inform social and political debate in the region and raises the profile of social science research. ARK is based within Ulster University and at Queen’s University Belfast.
  6. For media enquiries contact the Department for Communities Press Office via email or the Press Office at Ulster University.
  7.  The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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