Northern Ireland Peace Process

CIPCR International draws much of the inspiration for its values and its work from the Northern Ireland peace process.  Many members of our team were involved either directly or indirectly with this peace process.  Individually and collectively we have learnt much from it.

Northern Ireland’s transition from the difficult past of ‘The Troubles’ through to a much more peaceful, stable and positive future, whilst by no means perfect, is still one of the best examples anywhere in the world in modern times of a successful peace process.

Many world leaders, politicians, statesmen and diplomats have cited Northern Ireland as an example that other regions in conflict can learn from:

“I applaud the work of all those involved in the Northern Ireland peace process and of all those who support and nurture peace. Taken together, their work not only serves as the basis for reconciliation between our peoples and communities, but it gives hope to other peacemakers across the world that through sustained effort, peace can and will prevail.”

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – Speaking during her historic visit to Dublin in 2011.

“If the world is to learn lessons about how to manage a transition from troubles and violence to peace, surely it can learn some of them from you – from your commitment, courage and imagination – in seeking solutions and fostering trust between communities which had been at loggerheads for decades.”

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan delivering the ‘Tip O’Neill Chair of Peace lecture’ at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland in October 2004

“I want to say how inspired we have been by the progress that has been made in Northern Ireland. Because it speaks to the possibilities of peace and people in long standing struggles being able to re-imagine their relationships”.

President Barack Obama – Speaking during his visit to Ireland in 2011.

“The agreement represents an accommodation that diminishes the self-respect of no political tradition, no group, no individual. No one is asked to yield cherished convictions or beliefs. All of us are asked to respect the views and rights of others as equal of our own and, together, to forge a covenant of shared ideals based on commitment to the rights of all, allied to a new generosity of purpose.”

John Hume speaking on the Northern Ireland peace process as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

“I know this from the Middle East peace process now, that I’m engaged in intimately, that one of the things that gives them hope is the success of the Northern Ireland process.  It’s a big symbol of change and possibility right round the world.”

Tony Blair – Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

“Northern Ireland should be an example of what peace can do for people. We must use the Northern Ireland success story as an inspiration for other parts of the world.”

Jose Manuel Baroso – President of the European Commission

“If there is one lesson to be drawn from the Northern Ireland negotiations, it is that there is no reason to believe that efforts to find peace will fail just because they have failed before. You have to keep the wheels turning…….”

Jonathan Powell, Chief of Staff to British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the Northern Ireland peace process, drawn from his book “Great Hatred, Little Room” (April 2008). Powell has written extensively about his practical experiences of the Northern Ireland peace process; some of his most valuable observations are contained in an article by him entitled ‘Security is Not Enough: Ten Lessons for Conflict Resolution from Northern Ireland’.

The people of Northern Ireland are still working on their peace.  But they have developed a significant story to share – one that may save lives in other parts of the world.  The ingredients that helped drive Northern Ireland’s peace process can be used to promote reconciliation and peace beyond its borders.”

Paula J Dobriansky – Former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global affairs and the Presidents Special envoy to Northern Ireland from 2007-2009

“After all the horror and bigotry of the past, since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 progress in Northern Ireland has been an inspiration to other parts of the world that the journey towards lasting peace can be completed.”

Peter Hain MP, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, addressing the Chatham House think tank in London in June 2007

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