New Jersey’s two U.S. Senators want to make sure the peace accords that ended the Troubles in Ireland are fully implemented.
To commemorate St. Patrick’s Day, Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker unveiled a bipartisan resolution with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in support of the full administration of the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements and arrangements to support peace in Ireland.
“The Good Friday Agreement was a historic accomplishment that established a framework for a sustainable peace,” said Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a press statement. “However, the work of the agreement remains unfinished…we are calling for renewed attention and action to implement the agreement’s provisions, including the passage of a bill of rights and accountability for past injustices.”
Good Friday History
“This should be a priority for all who support peace, accountability, reconciliation and prosperity for all those who live in Northern Ireland,” added Menendez.
The Good Friday Agreement is a pair of agreements signed in April 1998 that ended most of the violence associated with the political conflicts in Northern Ireland since the late 1960s—an agreement the U.S. played a major role in helping negotiations. The accord, addressing issues relating to sovereignty, civil and cultural rights, decommissioning of weapons, demilitarisation, justice and policing were central to the agreement, approved by voters in May 1998.
For Sen. Collins, the resolution continues the work of her predecessor, George Mitchell. Mitchell, appointed United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland by then President Bill Clinton from 1995–2001, played an instrumental role in the successful negotiation that brought stability to the British Isles.
“The inclusive power sharing system established by the Good Friday Agreement was a landmark achievement that established a framework for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland,” said Collines. “Over the past two decades, political leaders in Northern Ireland, along with the Irish and British governments, have made enormous progress, though important issues remain unresolved.”
Protecting the Accord
The bipartisan resolution calls for the protection of the peace forged under the Good Friday Agreement, urges continued attention and action to resolve injustices of past violence, reaffirms support for the right of all people on the island to self-determination, and encourages renewed efforts to preserve the rich language, literature, and arts of Northern Ireland.
“Our resolution encourages all parties to continue to work toward the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, as well as subsequent agreements that promote peace and stability on the island of Ireland,” said Collins.
The lawmakers stated the resolution underscores the great value the United States places on its relationship with both the United Kingdom and Ireland in addition to the U.S.’s steadfast support for the peaceful resolution of any and all political challenges in Northern Ireland.
Booker noted the resolution shows Congress is committed to continuing its unwavering support of the Good Friday Agreement and supporting all parties in upholding the provisions of the peace accord.
“The Good Friday Agreement was one of the most significant diplomatic achievements of the 20th Century, enabling a comprehensive approach to security, economic development, and governance,” said Booker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The continued success of this agreement is of critical importance to the entire island of Ireland, as well as the Irish community in New Jersey and around the world.”