Politicians from Northern Ireland and leading figures in the Irish Diaspora gathered in New York last week to commemorate the upcoming 20th anniversary of the signing of The Agreement.
Organised by Co-operation Ireland in conjunction with media outlet Irish Central, the two-day event reflected on the peace building work carried out over the last two decades and honoured the architects of the historic document.
Senator George Mitchell who chaired the talks in 1998 delivered the keynote address where he spoke of how he remained positive that The Agreement would hold and Northern Ireland would remain peaceful – despite current political challenges.
Echoing this message of hope, Co-operation Ireland US Chairman Jim Clerkin said it was up to everyone at the conference to concentrate on working to secure the peace for the next generation.
“This is not about us, it’s not about you, it’s about my kids, your kids and indeed and in my case a new grandchild. The dream we seek is a lasting peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland. If you can dream it you can do it.”
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the 20th anniversary of the signing of The Agreement was the right time to recommit to its objectives.
“This is the moment for a renewal of the commitment in the Good Friday Agreement to reconciliation – deep and lasting reconciliation.”
Ian Paisley (DUP), Pat Doherty (SF) Mark Durkan (SDLP) and James Cooper (former UUP Chairman) were also in attendance representing Northern Ireland’s main political parties.