15 years on, what can we learn from the Good Friday agreement?

Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, which largely brough an end to three decades of discord and violence in Northern Ireland. It was a historic agreement, with historic consequences, in that it gave all parties a stake in the new Northern Ireland, and brought former foes, who had once been bitter enemies together, with a former IRA member (Martin McGuinness) serving as deputy First Minister to a Unionist figure who once would have been his mortal enemy. The fact that such a solution could be negotiated in spite of such violence and bitter hatred ought to be seen as a beacon of hope for those seeking to resolve even the most bitter and long running conflicts. It also demonstrates that when both sides are willing to give a little, agreement is possible.

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