By-elections called after the resignation of the Unionists did not give voters a clear choice because of the reluctance of other parties to challenge them. No Unionist candidate rejected another, while the SDLP and Sinn Féin ran for only the four seats, where the majority of votes for nationalist candidates had been voted on in previous elections. The SDLP has rejected an offer by Sinn Féin to enter into a nationalist electoral pact against the Unionist electoral pact.  The SDLP was given the seat of Newry and Armagh. The alliance has formally committed to fighting all seats on a platform to support the agreement, but some local branches have refused to choose candidates. The Workers` Party sat on a few seats. In four constituencies where no party would oppose the Unionist MP, a certain Wesley Robert Williamson changed his name by a poll in « Peter Barry » (the name of the Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs) and appeared on the label « For the Anglo-Irish Agreement », but did not campaign. Despite this, he received nearly 7,000 votes and saved three deposits. The Unionist parties between them won more than 400,000 votes and more than 71% of the overall survey, but as there were no by-elections in the stubborn nationalist seats of West Belfast and Foyle, this figure is distorted. [Citation required] The Anglo-Irish Agreement was a 1985 agreement between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to end the unrest in Northern Ireland.  The treaty gave the Irish government an advisory role in the Government of Northern Ireland, while confirming that there would be no change in Northern Ireland`s constitutional position unless a majority of its people accepted membership of the Republic.
It also sets the conditions for the establishment of a decentralized unity government in the region. The agreement established the Anglo-Irish IGC, made up of officials from the British and Irish governments. The body focused on political, legal and security issues in Northern Ireland, as well as the `promotion of cross-border cooperation`. It had only an advisory function – it was not empowered to make decisions or change the law.  The conference would have only the power to put forward proposals « to the extent that these issues are not the responsibility of a decentralised administration in Northern Ireland. » This provision should encourage trade unionists (who, through the conference, opposed the Irish government`s participation in Northern Ireland) in a deceded power-sharing government. Maryfield`s secretariat was the permanent secretariat of the conference, which included officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic, headquartered in the suburb of Maryfield in Belfast. The presence of civil servants of the Republic has mainly outraged trade unionists. [Citation required] Maryfield`s offices were closed in December 1998, after the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference succeeded the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference.  In the communiqué attached to the agreement, the United Kingdom agreed that all British Army patrols in Northern Ireland would have a civilian escort from Royal Ulster Constabulary, except in the most exceptional circumstances.  Until 1997, the Irish government protested thousands of people against violations of the project.  Irish Republicans have been able to reject the only piece of constitutional progress (in the eyes of many nationalists and republicans) since the fall of Stormont a decade earlier.