I am a Northern Irish Protestant who has lived in Dublin for the past twenty five years. I am proud to be from the Protestant community and proud to be from Northern Ireland. But I have never been so proud to be part of a society, as I have been to be part of the Republic of Ireland in recent years. A society that voted, myself included, in favour of marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose. I have a friend … Read more
Final word on the Agreement 20th anniversary.The highlight of the week.An eyewitness account told to @MarkCarruthers7 on @bbctheview about exactly what happened inside the UUP room on Good Friday 1998. pic.twitter.com/PIltKjVdL7 — Mark Simpson (@BBCMarkSimpson) April 12, 2018 More here After Tuesday night’s appearance on @bbctheview I thought I would share a personal letter I wrote to Ken Maginnis after his untimely departure from the UUP in 2012. It relates back to Good Friday 1998 and I meant every word … Read more
Political leaders of old and today gathered at Queen’s University, Belfast for a day of events focussed on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said that people “should realise that this agreement was never going to support all the problems of Northern Ireland” while former US President Bill Clinton had a triptych of advice for NI: “Keep the cranes up. Keep the voices free. Keep the votes fair. You’ll figure it out.”
Gender based violence, impediments to women’s participation in peace-building, a study on whether abortion was a workplace issue, FGM in NI and the LGBT community’s journey to equality in the wake of the Good Friday Agreement were all discussed in a panel at Saturday’s #Agreement20 conference in Manchester.
A nuanced and at times moving medley of spoken word and song remembrance of past times, incidents and ways of living during the Troubles, gradually working up to the negotiations and the 1998 Agreement. Not so balanced to become boring, but carefully seeded with surprise and honesty in the many perspectives it opened up.
At the #Agreement20 conference, Professor Thomas Hennessey explains why he thinks there was a political deal in 1998 and looks at the bottom lines of the different parties and governments involved in the negotiations leading up to the Belfast Agreement, and delves into the significance of the three-stranded approach.
David Trimble has many qualities but spreading sweetness and light is not prominent among them. He has pricked the bubble of the GFA commemorations with a sinister warning. The one thing that would provoke loyalist paramilitaries is the present Irish government saying silly things about the border and the constitutional issue. If it looks as though the constitutional arrangements of the agreement, based on the principle of consent, are going to be superseded by so-called ‘special EU status’ then that … Read more
The Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD will be in West Belfast next Tuesday, 10th April, to deliver a keynote opening address at a Féile an Phobail event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The event, titled ‘The Good Friday Agreement 20 Years On: A Community Reflects’ will take place in St Mary’s University College on the Falls Road beginning at 8.45am, and will also feature keynote speeches and contributions by former Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, … Read more
Jim Allister QC is not the only one to spot the potential extension of north-south areas of cooperation under “the backstop”, the notorious Option 3 of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, as Newton Emerson reports. There’s quite a bit more from Professor Dagmar Schiek of Queen’s University and from human rights organisations north and south. With cooperation, authority follows. It is indeed a wonder that the DUP have not reacted more strongly. They seem to be putting their faith in a … Read more
Peter Weir is a DUP MLA for Strangford, he writes for Slugger about his thoughts of the Good Friday Agreement. On Good Friday, twenty years ago, I found myself present at a central point in our history, not just as an observer but as a participant, albeit a minor one. I was in Castle Buildings as a junior member of the Ulster Unionist talks team. I was one of the so called baby barristers, a group of younger members of … Read more
Former SDLP Leader, Mark Durkan speaking in Dublin tonight has suggested a renewal review of the Good Friday Agreement. He told his audience; “As the Brexit negotiations intensify, it’s welcome that the EU27 have continued to voice a strong commitment to protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts. It’s critical, however, that such a commitment extends to protecting it in its promise and potential as well. “The full potential and flexibility of Strands Two and Three must be … Read more
Join the Tony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey of Northern Ireland, local motivational speaker Alex Kane and Irish News happiness correspondent Allison Morris for a night of positivity. We can’t promise firewalks or group hugs but we can promise you a great night of debate and entertainment as we find reasons to be cheerful 20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement. Date: Tuesday the 10th of April 2018. Doors open 6:45pm, event starts: 7:15pm Venue: The Dark Horse Bar, Belfast. … Read more
Traditionally the St Patrick’s Day pilgrimages to America have been occasions for everybody involved in our politics to be on their best behaviour and bask in waves of Irish-American blarney. Not so much this year, as Arlene Foster and Mary Lou McDonald have been left off the White House invitees list for failing to clinch the deal to get Stormont going again. But Adams and Paisley jnr are lurking in the wings as living reminders of past glories compared to … Read more
Seán Brennan, from QUB, evaluates the state of our current peace… As the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement (GFA) approaches, much talk will focus on celebrating or condemning – in other words evaluating – our ‘peace process’. When evaluating Northern Ireland’s experience of peace, it may surprise some to learn that our experiences are not universally viewed as a success. In fact, it would be fair to say the ‘liberal peace’ – which is what we have … Read more
Jenny McEneaney is a sHERed Future Co-Producer she writes for Slugger today about some of the women who have an important impact on local politics and society. Presenting five women who shaped the Northern Ireland of today Happy International Women’s Day! This year’s theme is Press for Progress in recognition of how far we (men, women, society) still have to strive before realising gender equality. This year’s International Women’s Day provides a degree of poignancy for Northern Ireland as we … Read more
Ignorance and special pleading about the Good Friday Agreement and its relationship to Brexit and the border has been a feature of angry comment that has followed the collapse of the Stormont talks. The Daily Express led the pack The Good Friday agreement explicitly stipulates there cannot be a hard border on the island of Ireland, leaving Brexiteers launching impassioned arguments on the deal. It does nothing of the sort. Even Adam Boulton who speaks with the great authority on … Read more
Paddy Wilson is a Postgraduate student at Queens University Belfast and a member of the Workers Party. On Monday, David McCann gave his assessment of the political impasse between the former parties of the Executive and made the pertinent point that; “when debating whether its’ a failure, let’s compare it to the alternatives, not the Almighty.” Outside the remits of any deity, the GFA is a creation of people. I don’t believe that any system or solution that we create … Read more