It is time to recreate the spirit of 1998 and form an Executive now to support workers, families and communities and deliver prosperity for everyone.John Finucane MP
By John Finucane MP
Over recent days and weeks we have celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and a quarter century of transformative peace on the island of Ireland.
To have US President Joe Biden with us to celebrate those major achievements delivered by many people working together, was a special moment as we write the history of the next 25 years.
His historic visit further cements our close bonds of friendship and our strong partnership for peace and prosperity with the United States of America that has lasted for decades.
This week we continue to celebrate the positive changes that the signing of the Good Friday Peace Accord of 1998 helped deliver – such as helping to end years of conflict and regenerating communities beyond recognition.
This historic peace accord which was painstakingly negotiated at that time was made possible due to the vast and substantial contribution from the United States under President Clinton and Senator George Mitchell but also the huge contribution of Mo Mowlam, the Labour government, the Irish government and most of our local political parties, who all played a role in making this possible.
As we look back with pride at just how far we have all come, and all that has been achieved, we also look forward with hope, ambition, and opportunity for the next 25 years.
I welcome President Biden’s recommitment to this work through his appointment of Special Envoy Joe Kennedy III and I look forward to working with him now to deepen further US investment and economic growth to the benefit of all our communities.
We have developed close economic ties with US companies over the past two decades who have chosen the north as their gateway to Europe, creating thousands of good jobs.
Creating jobs, seizing economic opportunities and continuing to drive real change in our society for the next generation should be the joint mission for us all in political leadership as move forward.
The new deal between Brussels and London gives us a huge competitive advantage as a gateway to Europe for the sale of goods in the British and EU markets unimpeded and in fact, we have circumstances that are the envy of economies across the world.
We now have unique access to trade in the world’s biggest economic markets – that is an opportunity that cannot be missed.
We must use this opportunity to attract investment, create jobs for our young people, and together, deliver the change people demand and rightfully deserve.
Peace and economic opportunity are all connected, and the onus is on the two governments, political parties, particularly the DUP, to get back around the Executive table with the rest of us to deliver for the people.
We need a renewed commitment from all political leaders that we will work together, that we will share power together and that we have a government that will work in the interests of everyone.
I believe that the DUP is now at a crossroads and a moment of decision. I hope that the decision they make is the right one because it is unconscionable that we stay in this limbo and that things continue to drift.
As time ticks away, we are missing precious opportunities and I don’t think that we can collectively defend that nor should we try.
International investors who are ready to make the north their home won’t wait. Our businesses need stability, and they need political leaders at the wheel taking decisions in the best interests of people here.
Michelle O’Neill is ready to take up office as a First Minister for All and we are absolutely determined to work with others to make politics work, and to serve every single citizen who calls this place home.
It is time to recreate the spirit of 1998 and form an Executive now to support workers, families and communities and deliver prosperity for everyone.
- John Finucane is the Sinn Fein MP for Belfast North. Follow him on Twitter here.
- The event, “Good Friday 25 Years On – An Agreement for a Shared Future” takes place next Tuesday 25 April, 7pm, Grand Committee Room, Westminster. Register here.
- If you support Labour Outlook’s work amplifying the voices of left movements and struggles in the UK and internationally, please consider becoming a supporter on Patreon.