In his Regina Coeli address the day after Easter, Pope Francis commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, praying that the deal which brought decades of violence in Northern Ireland to an end would continue to inspire peace. Source: Crux.
Speaking to faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square for his address on Monday, the Pope said: “Today marks the 25th anniversary of the so-called Good Friday agreement of Belfast, which put an end to the violence which for decades troubled Northern Ireland.”
“With a grateful spirit, I ask the God of peace that what happened in that historic passage can be consolidated for the benefit of all men and women on the island of Ireland,” he said, and wished the world a happy Easter.
Signed on April 10, 1988, the Good Friday Agreement ended the decades-long violent conflict known as “The Troubles,” which led to the deaths of more than 3500 people, most of whom were civilians, and cemented sectarian divisions between Catholics and Protestants.
Political implications of the agreement included the Irish government’s willingness to renounce its constitutional claims to Northern Ireland.
Among other things, the deal also established power-sharing government between parties representing both the majority Protestant population and minority Catholic population, and it removed border security between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The deal also led to the eventual decommissioning of the weapons of the Irish Republican Army and Protestant paramilitary organisations.
Yet while most of the violence has ended, tensions remain 25 years later, with Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government facing ongoing complications, especially in the wake of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.
Pope marks 25 years of Ireland’s Good Friday agreement (By Elise Ann Allen, Crux)