Event: ‘On The Record: Reflections on The Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement)’
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the National Archives, Ireland present ‘On The Record: Reflections on The Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement)’ – a panel discussion to mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of The Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement).
The event will take place on Monday 3 April, from 2-4.30pm at PRONI (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland), 2 Titanic Boulevard, Titanic Quarter, Belfast, BT3 9HQ when we will convene a panel offering a range of perspectives on official state records relating to the Multi-Party Agreement and the British-Irish Agreement.
Miriam O’ Callaghan (current affairs presenter and broadcaster, RTÉ) will MC and Chair the event. At the start of the day a keynote presentation will be delivered by Glenn Patterson (writer and Director, Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University Belfast) who will speak about post-agreement Northern Ireland from a cultural perspective. The panel includes Professor Marie Coleman (historian, QUB), David Donoghue (former civil servant and writer), Amanda Dunsmore (artist), and Malachi O’Doherty (writer). Following individual presentations, the discussion will be opened to the floor (including an online audience) for a Q&A session moderated by Miriam O’Callaghan.
Panel members have been invited to consider a selection of state records held in the archives – released under the 20-year rule – relating to the negotiation of the Belfast Agreement and to use these documents to reflect upon the events and atmosphere of the time and its significance in our shared history. The panel will bring different perspectives to bear on the process and the agreement itself as historian, diplomat, journalist and artist, and speak to the importance of the public record in preserving our collective memory.
Marie Coleman is Professor of Twentieth Century Irish History and Head of History at QUB. She has advised a number of public bodies on historical commemorations and in 2020-21 was a member of the Northern Ireland Office’s Centenary Historical Advisory Panel. Among her extensive media commentary she recently covered the release of the 1997-98 state papers from PRONI and the NAI for a number of media outlets including BBC, UTV and The Irish Times.
David Donoghue spent a total of nearly 25 years working on Northern Ireland, Anglo-Irish relations and the peace process. This included several periods in the Department’s Anglo-Irish Division, a posting to the Irish Embassy in London and a four-year term (1995-9) as the Irish Joint Secretary at the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in Belfast. He was a member of the Irish Government team in the negotiations which delivered the Good Friday Agreement, on which he has published a book (“One Good Day”, September 2022).
Amanda Dunsmore works in art processes that explore representations of societal transformation. Her contextual portraits evolve through long periods of research and the work is often presented as a series of extensive socio-political / historical art projects. Amanda Dunsmore has exhibited widely in Ireland and internationally and her artworks can be found in private and public collections. She is a Lecturer in Fine Art at Limerick School of Art and Design, TUS, Ireland.
Malachi O’Doherty has had a long career in journalism and broadcasting. He is the author of several books on Northern Ireland, including Can Ireland Be One? (Merrion 2022) and The Year of Chaos (Atlantic 2021). Dr O’Doherty’s latest book is How To Fix Northern Ireland (Atlantic Books).
Miriam O’Callaghan is an Irish television presenter. She fronts RTÉ’s current affairs show Prime Time, hosts her weekly Sunday with Miriam slot on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sunday mornings and presents Saturday Night With Miriam chat show every weekend during the summer.
Glenn Patterson is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, of scripts for stage and screen, and a founding patron of Fighting Words Northern Ireland. Glenn has written four works of non-fiction including The Last Irish Question (2021), and ten novels, most recently Where Are We Now? (2020). He is Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast.