Congressman Richard Neal Statement on the Good Friday Agreement 25th Anniversary
We were honored to have Congressman Richard E. Neal visit the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England on Monday, April 10 to release the following statement regarding the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement:
“Twenty-five years ago, the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom signed the Good Friday Agreement, marking the end of the longest period of conflict in Irish history. It happened because everyone involved acted together in good faith, with both parties giving up something to come to this agreement. The Republic of Ireland relinquished Articles 2 and 3 of its Constitution, and the United Kingdom gave up the Border. The world was a witness to these proceedings.
“I have no doubt that my ancestors, who instilled a deep and emotional connection to this country, would be proud of the Ireland we have today. A strong, prosperous, and confident Ireland has firmly found its place on the world stage and used its voice, as always, to stand up for the less fortunate.
“One of my first speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives condemned the use of rubber bullets in the North of Ireland. My own heritage compelled me to do what I could, but many of the people I represent in Springfield, Holyoke, and Pittsfield would tell the same story. It was that story, bolstered by Americans all over the country, who kept the fortune of Ireland close to their heart. This, above all else, encouraged and invigorated me to continue our fight for peace.
“Today, on this distinguished occasion, we must remember that the Good Friday Agreement can and should be used as a template for peace around the world. Two generations have now grown up not knowing the violence of the Troubles or living with a hard border. As a guarantor of the agreement, the US has the indispensable role of continuing to uphold the principles embodied in the peace accord, ensuring no return to a hard border. The gains of this agreement have brought peace to the island of Ireland for twenty-five years, and we must continue our work to protect and strengthen these gains for future generations to enjoy.”
See news coverage of the event >