Today’s political leaders need to recapture the spirit and courage of 1998 - Mary Lou McDonald TD
Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald is attending today’s event in Stormont, organised by Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey to mark the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Speaking in advance she said “Today’s political leaders need to recapture the spirit and determination that was seen on this weekend twenty five years ago.”
Teachta McDonald said, “This weekend we mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, an agreement that delivered peace and transformed Ireland. To this day, it stands as an historic, international success story in peace-making - a blueprint for the resolution of even the most intractable of conflicts. The agreement is a testament to what can be achieved when people come together in the spirit of hope. It made progress possible. It made change possible.
“Twenty five years ago political leaders showed huge courage not just in signing a peace accord but in establishing the power sharing political institutions. As a result of their work the Good Friday Agreement generation has grown up free of conflict, in a very different world full of hope and opportunity.
“We need to see that same courage and determination today. Today’s political leaders need to recapture the spirit and determination that was seen on this weekend twenty five years ago. It is almost a year since the Assembly elections took place and this weekend the world is looking on in disbelief as power sharing institutions continue to be blocked.
“We need to restore the political institutions. We need progress. We need ambition.
“There is huge international goodwill towards Ireland, a huge appetite for progress, for investment but the economic opportunities that exist will not last forever and will only be properly realised with functioning institutions in place. So let’s take this opportunity to work for all, to attract investment, to create jobs, to deliver change, to plan for the future.
“Twenty-five years ago, a generation wrote a ground-breaking chapter in Ireland’s story. Now is the time to write the next chapter - the reunification of our country. Here in our time, we can build the nation home.”