The Good Friday/ Belfast Agreement 25th Anniversary
Swords or Ploughshares? – Spring 2023 Dialogue Session Invitation
Venue: Room G16, Irish School of Ecumenics/Loyola Institute Building, Trinity College Dublin
Date: 20 April 2023
Time: 2-5 pm
‘We reaffirm our total and absolute commitment to exclusively democratic and peaceful means of resolving differences on political issues, and our opposition to any use or threat of forces by others for any political purpose, whether in regard to this agreement or otherwise.’ (Declaration of Support, Section 4, Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, 1998)
The 25th anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement takes place this April and Swords to Ploughshares, Ireland (StoP) acknowledges the importance of this historic document. The above quotation is a reminder of the need to actively sustain peace by living up the commitment made in the Declaration of Support back in 1998. To mark the anniversary, we are holding an initial dialogue session in Dublin on 20th April, in partnership with Community Dialogue, Northern Ireland and the Centre for Post-Conflict Justice, Trinity College Dublin. We would like to invite you to participate in this event.
We feel there is an urgent need to make use of the anniversary by talking about what is now going on in contradiction to the Good Friday/ Belfast Agreement. Irish participation in EU militarism through PESCO, engagement with NATO’s ‘Partnership for Peace’, incentives for the development of an Irish Arms industry and the continued use of Shannon Airport by U.S. military make a mockery of neutrality and a rejection of alternatives to war. Meanwhile in Northern Ireland the UK government is offering incentives for arms manufacturers that are completely at odds with the spirit of the Agreement.
How can Ireland’s neutrality be valued and made active to allow us to play a role in the pacific resolution of disputes beyond the 25th anniversary of GFA? This session is an opportunity for those who are active on these issues to get together to discuss how we see things and suggest a strategic course of action and broaden the conversation. We also want to amplify our voices, bring a greater public awareness to these issues and decide how to progress this with a second session in May.
We hope you can join us on 20th April. Please note that this is a workshop aimed at facilitating dialogue among a limited number of participants directly invited to attend, so we ask you not circulate this invitation.
Please RSVP to us asap to let us know if you can attend. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this event.
Eamon Rafter (StoP Member)