How diplomacy brought peace to Northern Ireland: Reflections on The Good Friday Agreement and its impact on Brexit today
By David Byrne, Former Attorney General of Ireland
Thursday, July 20, 2017
6 pm – 8 pm
The Good Friday Agreement, signed in 1998, was a major international political triumph for the Northern Ireland peace process. Northern Ireland’s present devolved system of government is based on the agreement. It created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. David spoke about issues relating to sovereignty, civil and cultural rights, decommissioning of weapons, justice, and policing, which were central to the agreement. The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums held on May 22, 1998. David talked about his direct involvement in the complex negotiations and framed the agreement in an historical context as he worked alongside US Senator George Mitchell. Additionally, he commented on the impact of the Agreement on Brexit – the topic de jour in the European Union today.
David served as the first EU Commissioner for Health & Consumer Protection. A barrister by training, he was appointed Senior Counsel in 1985 and then Attorney General of Ireland in 1997. He is an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London and has been conferred with an honorary Doctorate of Laws by the National University of Ireland. He is Chancellor Emeritus of Dublin City University.
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