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20 Years of the Good Friday Agreement

Welcoming the twentieth anniversary of the agreement, President of the Union of Students in Ireland Michael Kerrigan said:

“The Union of Students in Ireland today marks twenty years since the historic peace agreement in Northern Ireland.

USI is intensely proud of the role students played in building peace and in securing a yes vote in referendums North and South of the border. The dedication of NUS-USI to the ideals of solidarity, human rights and peace were decisive in securing an end to violence, all in the face of determined and fierce opposition from those opposed to the agreement.

The Good Friday Agreement has meant many things to many people – for some it was the hope of a future society of equals; for some it was a new dispensation for peace and democracy. For others around the world the Good Friday Agreement stands as a beacon of hope that even in deeply divided societies, communication between communities can realise peace and pave a way for democracy. For the students of Northern Ireland it means a life lived without fear of violence and the hope of prosperity and friendship for the future.

That commitment was not new to students in 1998. A quarter of a century before, student leaders from across Ireland and the UK came together to lay the foundations of student co-operation across these islands in what became known as the Bilateral Agreement.

Since then, NUS-USI has led the way in initiatives to unify and students of all political opinions and none in Northern Ireland for peace and a future built on mutual respect – their desire for that future and their determination to help form it, are undiminished.

On this historic occasion, recognising that the work of building peace is never over, we wish our colleagues in NUS-USI every success in their endeavours to foster the peace they helped secure; we hope that students striving for an end to violent conflicts around the globe find strength in the example of the Good Friday Agreement.”

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