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Good Friday Agreement has served us well, says Gerry Adams

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Anniversary: Gerry Adams

Anniversary: Gerry Adams

Anniversary: Gerry Adams

Politicians yesterday marked the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Signed on April 10, 1998, the peace accord largely put an end to three decades of violence that cost more than 3,500 lives.

Traditionally, a range of events are held across the region to mark the anniversary, but with strict social distancing rules in force due to the pandemic, some have taken to social media instead to mark the occasion.

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith, who helped broker another seminal deal in January with the New Decade, New Approach document, paid tribute to political leaders here for getting Stormont back up and running to continue to the work laid out in the 1998 accord.

He congratulated DUP leader Arlene Foster, Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill, UUP chief Steve Aiken, Alliance's Naomi Long and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and their parties for "taking the leap to return to power-sharing and returning all the Good Friday Agreement institutions". "So good they did so in January given what was coming next," he added.

Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams marked the anniversary by accusing Fianna Fail and Fine Gael leaders of "refusing to recognise the rights of the Sinn Fein electorate" in government formation talks, just as unionist parties did in the run-up to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

"So, so much for the lessons of history. Having said that the Agreement has served all of us well. There are aspects of it, important dimensions of it that both governments have failed to honour, but most especially the British government," he said.

"We want to bring the Agreement to its complete fruition. For now it's worth looking forward as well as looking backwards.

"So thanks to everyone who played any role in putting together the Good Friday Agreement... And to all of those people who have kept the peace process alive since then. Let's keep on the road we are on."

Belfast Telegraph