15 Year Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement
The Tánaiste, together with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met with young people, representatives of civil society and political leaders in Belfast to reflect on 15 years progress and outstanding work to be completed under the Good Friday Agreement.
The Tánaiste visited Belfast on 29 April 2013 for a public discussion in Belfast’s Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC). The event marked 15 years of the Good Friday Agreement, which was signed on 10 April 1998. As part of the occasion, the Tánaiste and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had an interactive discussion with a group of young people born in 1998 as well as civil society representatives.
In his speech reflecting on the transformative effect of 15 years of the agreement, the Tánaiste encouraged those present to tackle the remaining challenges which impede progress towards a shared society in Northern Ireland.
Amongst the remaining challenges are the sectarianism that continues to permeate all levels of society in the North, and the physical segregation of communities in Belfast, Derry and elsewhere. The Irish Government believes that with constructive public debate and the implementation of outstanding aspects of the Good Friday Agreement, these challenges can be overcome.
The event emphasized the important role that young people and civil society need to play in order to make a shared, prosperous society a reality in Northern Ireland. To facilitate discussion, the Tánaiste questioned those present about their views on what is required to build this shared future, and the role of the Good Friday Agreement. The interactive debate that followed addressed some key themes, the answers to which will determine the future shape of society in Northern Ireland.
- The role of investment and education in building the economy and society of the future
- What should be done to protect and build on the existing peace
- How the challenges of sectarianism and segregation can be tackled
- How a Bill of Rights and wider civic engagement might help deal with those issues
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