Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Why optimism of Good Friday child Kerrie should be the impetus to never give up hope of bringing peace to NI

Editor's Viewpoint

Today we carry an interview with Lisburn student Kerrie Hope Patterson who was born just minutes after the Good Friday Agreement was signed 20 years ago.

Her parents gave her the middle name Hope in recognition of the hope those days brought. Kerrie said: "I love that my birthday is on the same day as history was being made in Northern Ireland."

Since then a great deal has happened, or hasn't happened. Many people are disappointed, and with good reason.

The continued political deadlock is frustrating people on all sides, who look on aghast at the absence of a power-sharing administration at Stormont.

Yet it would be wrong to drown ourselves in melancholy. Without using rose-tinted spectacles, it is realistic to point out the progress that has been made.

Since 1998, violence has decreased substantially and many lives have been saved, with countless injuries also avoided.

Despite the political deadlock, there have been significant strides in power-sharing and developments we would not have thought possible 20 years ago.

There has been widespread regeneration which is illustrated by the rising skylines.

Northern Ireland is now a major tourist attraction which has much to offer visitors, and many more are undoubtedly on their way.

Despite the misgivings, there is an opportunity to look on the bright side. The Good Friday Agreement was not perfect, but it was a necessary stepping stone to a better future.

The best comment on that future which can beckon us all is summarised by Kerrie Patterson, who rightly treasures her middle name Hope.

As she said: "Hope has a really nice meaning after all the Troubles that Northern Ireland came through, and to me it opens the door to a new start and a new beginning."

What a good way to start this week of commemorating a major milestone in our history.

Belfast Telegraph

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