THE upcoming anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement offers an opportunity for the people of Ireland to consider how to “build a shared island” the Taoiseach has said.
Announcing a cultural event which takes place this weekend, marking the 25-year anniversary of the historic peace deal, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar called for people to use the milestone to look forward as well as to the past.
Taking place at the Abbey Theatre on Sunday, April 2, the government’s Sharing Peace, Sharing Futures event will “celebrate a diverse set of voices and perspectives on this island”.
It will feature contributions from the likes of author Roddy Doyle, poet Paul Muldoon, the band Clannad and fiddle player Aoife Ní Bhriain.
Speaking ahead of the event, the Taosieach said: “The Good Friday Agreement was about creating a better future for all the people on these islands.
“For too long, the idea of peace and a path to reconciliation seemed an impossible aspiration.
“Twenty-five years ago, we achieved what some thought impossible.
“People chose to believe in the potential for peace and the promise of a better future. So it is absolutely right that now, in this anniversary year, we celebrate all those who took the decisive steps needed to make this happen.”
But he went to call on the people of Ireland to do more than just reflect on the past in the weeks ahead.
"This anniversary is also an opportunity to look forward together in hope,” he said.
“We should use this moment to focus particularly on reconciliation, and how we can build a shared island together.”
Alan Gilsenan, Creative Director of the Sharing Peace, Sharing Futures event, added: "In the twenty-five years since the Good Friday Agreement, artists across the whole island have conjured up things anew, inventing, questioning and reimagining in a shared space that moves us, challenges us, inspires us - but above all, includes us."
Coverage of the government’s Good Friday Agreement 25th Anniversary cultural event will be live streamed from the Abbey Theatre, on Sunda, April 2 at 6pm.
It will be available to watch on the RTÉ News Channel and streamed worldwide on the RTÉ Player. It also be available to watch on the RTÉ Player after the event.