151. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the involvement of his Department’s officials in planning the commemorations for the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement; and if an all party group is being established to discuss same. (Question 9657/18 asked on 27 Feb 2018)
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): A programme of events, at home and abroad, is being developed to highlight this important anniversary and to mark the achievement of the Agreement, which continues to be the cornerstone of our commitment to peace and reconciliation. My Department is engaging with other Government Departments and, both here on the island of Ireland and through our overseas Embassy network, with a range of individuals, groups and institutions, who are considering and planning conferences, seminars, cultural responses, acts of commemoration and other initiatives to mark the 20th anniversary of the achievement of this seminal Agreement. The Government’s programme will include events in Dublin, Washington, London, and Belfast. These will include a revised production of Rising to Reconciliation, which was developed for the 18th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and uses poetry, images and music to reflect on the troubled journey towards peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland. Events to mark the people’s vote for the Agreement on the 22nd May are also under development.
While I do not propose to establish a dedicated all party group for the purposes of marking this anniversary, I would be happy to consult and engage with all political parties and other interested stakeholders and have asked my officials to follow up in this regard.
The events marking this important anniversary will provide an opportunity to reflect on the peace process, past and present; to remember the loss of life during the years of conflict; and to look back at all that has happened on the journey of peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland.
This journey is of course an ongoing one, and the continued imperative to work to realise the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement will form an essential part of the Government’s approach to the 20th anniversary.