A copy of the agreement was posted in each assembly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at reading before a referendum was held in which they were able to vote. The overall result of these problems was to undermine unionists` confidence in the agreement exploited by the anti-deal DUP, which eventually overtook the pro-deal Unionist Party (UUP) in the 2003 parliamentary elections. The UUP had already resigned from the power-sharing executive in 2002 following the Stormontgate scandal, which implicated three men for gathering intelligence. These charges were eventually dropped in 2005 on the controversial grounds that the persecution was not “in the public interest”. Immediately afterwards, one of the incriminated members of Sinn Féin, Denis Donaldson, was unmasked as a British agent. The result of these referendums was a large majority in both parts of Ireland in favour of the agreement. In the Republic, 56% of voters, 94% of the vote, voted in favour of revising the Constitution. In Northern Ireland, turnout was 81% and 71% of the vote was in favour of the agreement. The multi-party agreement forced the parties to “use any influence they might have” to secure the dismantling of all paramilitary weapons within two years of referendums to approve the agreement. The standardisation process forced the British government to reduce the number and role of its armed forces in Northern Ireland “to a level compatible with a normal peaceful society”. These include the removal of security facilities and the lifting of specific emergency powers in Northern Ireland. The Irish government has committed to a “thorough review” of its breaches of state law.
The idea of the agreement was to get the two sides to work together in a group called the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Assembly would take certain decisions taken previously by the British Government in London. In 2004, negotiations were held between the two governments, the DUP and Sinn Féin, with a view to an agreement on institution-building. These talks failed, but a document released by governments detailing changes to the Belfast Agreement has been known as the “Global Agreement”. However, on 26 September 2005, it was announced that the Commissional Irish Republican Army had completely closed and “decommissioned” its weapons arsenal. Yet many trade unionists, especially the DUP, remained skeptical. Of the loyalist paramilitaries, only the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) had taken weapons out of service.  Further negotiations took place in October 2006 and resulted in the St Andrews Agreement. .