Good Friday Agreement remembered after quarter of a century of peace


The significance of the historic Good Friday Agreement is to be remembered on Easter Monday as it reaches its 25th anniversary.

As part of the events marking the milestone, Ulster University has launched the programme ’25@25′, where 25 recent graduates will be chosen for training opportunities based on their commitment to Northern Ireland’s future.

The anniversary date comes after commemorative events took place on Good Friday, the holy day the landmark peace deal was agreed.

The anniversary of the diplomatic achievement comes as the powersharing institutions it paved the way for remain collapsed, in a protest by the DUP over post-Brexit trading arrangements.

Despite a fresh framework struck between the EU and the UK Government earlier this year that looked to tweak the operation of the Protocol, Stormont has not returned.

Commenting on the anniversary, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak praised the “bravery, perseverance, and political imagination” of those who had taken “difficult decisions” on April 10 1998, as he encouraged Stormont to be revived.

Good Friday Agreement 25th Anniversary
Victims and survivors of the Troubles gather in Killough, Downpatrick, Co Down, to watch the sun rise to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (Liam McBurney/PA)

Speaking on Sunday, Irish premier Leo Varadkar said that he would “intensify” his engagement with Mr Sunak in a push to restore the powersharing institutions – based on a lesson he learned from the peace negotiations.

“One thing I’ve been struck by watching all the documentaries around the history of the Good Friday Agreement was the extent to which the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister had to be in lock-step, and now that we have the agreement on the protocol, I think it’s possible to do that,” he said.

It comes after police in Northern Ireland warned of the potential for dissident republicans attacking officers in Londonderry on Easter Monday.

Senior detectives said “strong” intelligence had indicated that public disorder could be used to launch attacks on officers in the city – though they added they had no indication this was a result of the GFA anniversary.

The heightened security risk also comes a day before US President Joe Biden is to visit Belfast in a trip that is to focus on commemorating a quarter century of the US-brokered peace accord.

The following week, further events will be held which are to be attended by former US president Bill Clinton and his wife, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.


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