AOH set to hold GFA talk in city

Sean Pender, national board member, Ancient Order of Hibernians, who will be atttending an AOH conference in Derry next week. (2603MM01)

Sean Pender, national board member, Ancient Order of Hibernians, who will be atttending an AOH conference in Derry next week. (2603MM01)

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The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) will be hosting an event in Derry next week to mark 15 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The half day discussion event, which will take place in Da Vinci’s Hotel on Tuesday from 1.30pm will feature a panel of prominent speakers reflecting differing political opinions.

The event is being organised by Americans Dan Dennehy and Sean Pender, national board members of the AOH, who will be in Derry over the Easter period.

The conference will discuss the legacy of the historic Good Friday Agreement and its continuing impact today.

It will focus on the role played by Irish Americans in supporting and promoting the peace process and the relationships of successive White House administrations to the North.

Leading members of Sinn Féin including Martina Anderson MEP and Declan Kearney have already been confirmed as among those taking part and the panel will also include a unionist speaker.

Other speakers are likely to be added to the panel ahead of the event.

The organisers have said the conference will also look at the current campaign for a border poll and the impact of increased cross border cooperation.

Looking ahead to the event, Sinn Féin councillor Barney O’Hagan said it will examine the evolving peace process in the North. “The peace process is still continuing and has been copper fastened in many ways.

“Irish America played a huge role in the peace process and continues to have an important influence. This event will look at where we are 15 years from the Good Friday Agreement and consider where we are going in the future,” he said.

Irish Americans are credited with helping to develop the peace process in a number of ways. The decision to grant Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and veteran republican Joe Cahill visas to enter the United States is often cited as a major development in ensuring Irish American support for the peace talks which led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the subsequent establishment of power sharing institutions at Stormont. The Agreement was signed in Belfast on April 10th 1998 and came into effect On December 2 of that year following its endorsement by referenda held in the North and in the Republic.

Registration for the conference will begin at 1.30pm and the discussion itself will take place from 2pm