The Good Friday Agreement, which ushered in a new era of peace of cooperation in Northern Ireland, turned 10 years old Thursday. Thatâ€™s a cause for celebration for Irish Americans in the area, many who left their home county because of poverty and violence linked to the long-standing sectarian conflict.
It’s also a cause for celebration for everyone else. Ireland’s peace provides hope for other nations that struggle with own deep-rooted sectarian conflicts and wars. Hereâ€™s a message from the U.S. Department of State about the anniversary, which captures the importance of the event and the lessons that can be learned:
â€œThe United States congratulates the people of Northern Ireland on the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. We recognize and applaud the many positive steps forward over the past 10 years that have led to a peaceful, more prosperous Northern Ireland, where local leaders from each community are governing together and achieving a brighter future for generations to come.
The 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement is a reminder to us all that in places rife with conflict, hope prevails. Where centuriesâ€™ old divisions exist, peace and reconciliation can succeed, and nothing can prevent courageous leaders and committed citizens from working together to achieve lasting peace for their people.
The United States welcomes the further strengthening of our relationship with Northern Ireland as we continue forward down the path of peace and prosperity for all the people of Northern Ireland.â€
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Thereâ€™s peace in Ireland, but that doesnâ€™t mean Irish Americans should put up their feet and relax, according to Gerry Adams, president of the Catholic-backed Sinn Fein party.
Adams said the Irish in the US should keep up the pressure to make sure that Northern Ireland follows through with power sharing that was outlined in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Some hardliners have been reluctant to hand over the reins of the police and courts to Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army.
But Adams believes cooperation and power sharing will continue with the help of Irish Americans. Sinn Feinâ€™s ultimate goal is a united Ireland.
Adams spoke to a small group of reporters from The Journal News, the Poughkeepsie Journal and Irish-American publications at the Niles Restuarant in NYC on March 14. He talked about Irish America, power sharing back home, and the role of Hillary Clinton in the Northern Ireland peace process.
Here is the full story.
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The letters and phone calls to spare Joe Byrne of Pearl River from extradition apparently did not help. A friend of the Byrnes reports that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice signed the extradition order from Ireland yesterday. Joe Byrne will be asked to turn himself in on or before Feb. 29.
Byrne is wanted in connection with a burglary charge in 1996 and a robbery charge in 1997, both in his native Ireland. His wife, friends and the local Irish community have fought to keep him in the US. They fear he won’t be able to get back in the country after he faces trial because he is not a citizen, though he has a green card.
Here is the story that ran about his case and the community’s efforts to stop the extradition.
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