The Belfast / Good Friday Agreement Event at ONIEB
On Wednesday 8th February, Queen’s University Belfast hosted a panel discussion to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement at the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels.. This event was a special opportunity for conversation and reflection on the journey of the peace process in Northern Ireland, bringing together key individuals who have been involved in the process for a panel discussion.
The event began with an introduction by Aodhán Connolly, Director of the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels, followed by opening remarks made by Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast. The first panel, on the theme of ‘Reaching Agreement – How the deal was done’, was chaired by Katy Hayward, Professor of Political Sociology at Queen’s University Belfast. She was joined by speakers Dermot Nesbitt, former UUP politician and senior negotiator in the negotiations leading to the Belfast Agreement; Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick, former leader of the SDLP, Minister for Social Development, MLA, MP; Monica McWilliams, former leader of the Women’s Coalition, Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission, MLA; David Ford, former leader of the Alliance Party, Minister for Justice, MLA; and Mitchel McLaughlin, former Speaker of the NI Assembly and Sinn Féin MLA.
For the second panel, Katy was joined by The Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Lord Murphy of Torfaen, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who took part in a conversation on the theme of ‘Guaranteeing Peace’. In his closing remarks, Chris Heaton-Harris reflected on Northern Ireland’s path to peace and stability, and expressed hope and positivity for steps being made to build prosperity there for future generations.
After the formal discussions ended, guests enjoyed the opportunity to network in ONIEB’s Narnia event space.