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Labour Party to launch programme to teach members about Good Friday Agreement

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, with outgoing Irish premier Bertie Ahern, right, during a meeting at Dublin Castle which forms part of a series of events to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, with outgoing Irish premier Bertie Ahern, right, during a meeting at Dublin Castle which forms part of a series of events to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, with outgoing Irish premier Bertie Ahern, right, during a meeting at Dublin Castle which forms part of a series of events to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Labour Party is to launch a programme to educate its members on the Good Friday Agreement and the party’s “proud role” in helping to deliver peace to Northern Ireland.

Signed in 1998, the landmark accord ended decades of conflict and laid the foundations of the power-sharing Executive we see today.

The programme has been developed by academic Jon Tonge and the Labour Party Irish Society and will tell the story of the peace process, the role of woman and the trade union movement, and what it means to the new generation of young people here.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Louise Haigh said that, alongside the NHS, the Equal Pay Act and the National Minimum Wage, the Good Friday Agreement is one of Labour’s “proudest achievements”.

“It is Labour’s responsibility, inside and outside of office, to safeguard the agreement and build understanding of it. That’s why we a launching this programme which shows, 23 years on from Good Friday, our commitment to the political settlement is steadfast and unshakeable,” she said.

“The people and communities of Northern Ireland made peace happen and it is thanks to them that a future based on cooperation and inclusion was possible.

“Labour will engage our 500,000 strong membership to tell the story of peace, the women and trade unionists at its heart, and why the work goes on to deliver on its promise.”

Former Labour leader Tony Blair played a key role in the talks that led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement during his tenure as Prime Minister, alongside Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and US special envoy George Mitchell, who chaired the negotiations.

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Louise Haigh (Liam McBurney/PA)

Louise Haigh (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Louise Haigh (Liam McBurney/PA)

The programme will take the form of four webinars and use online resources, including videos, to cover key themes of the agreement.

One webinar will feature Monica McWilliams and Avila Kilmurray, members of the NI Women’s Coalition, who were involved in the talks.

The programme will be rolled out to the party’s membership in the run-up to the 23rd anniversary of the peace accord in April.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that, working in Northern Ireland in the decade after the Good Friday Agreement, he saw first-hand the “transformation that peace helped bring about”.

“The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement is personal to me, and it is personal to the Labour Party,” he added.

“But it must never be taken for granted. That’s why I am incredibly proud we are launching this unique programme for members across the country which will tell the story of peace, Labour’s proud role in it, and why the work to deliver the promise of peace goes on.”

Belfast Telegraph


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