Peace Process book given the thumbs up

Martin McGuinness.
Martin McGuinness.

It’s a bit of a paradox but a book compiled in Derry on the peace process has republicans and loyalists in agreement.

Your Process Or Mine?’ was put together by Mickey Cooper from the Gasyard Trust with assistance from Lincoln Courts Youth Club, Pilot’s Row Youth Club, Newbuildings Youth Club and Youth First.

The book, which details both the republican and loyalist accounts of the peace process in the North of Ireland, has been given the seal of approval by high ranking politicians from both sides of the divide who experienced the signing of the Good Friday Agreement on April 10, 1998.

“We’ve had great feedback since the book was published a few weeks ago,” said Mickey Cooper.

“People like Mitchel McLaughlin from Sinn Fein and Billy Hutchinson from the Progressive Unionist Party have read the book and told me that they are very happy with how it has turned out,” he added.

The project started in 2012 and saw young people from communities traditionally associated with republicanism and loyalism respectively, come together to share and learn about the other community’s experience of the peace process.

“This project would not have been possible had it not been for the young people from Lincoln Courts, the Bogside, Brandywell and Newbuildings.

“The young people met with ex-republican prisoners and ex-loyalist combatants. They visited all of the different communities to find out about their respective history and they also brought all that they had learned together in a short film.”

Although the book and the short film were both officially launched in the Guildhall during the summer, thousands of extra copies were printed due to public demand.

“The story of the Troubles is something that many people in this city will need no introduction to but the history of the peace process is something that is still relatively new territory.

“Politicians from both sides have said that they believe the book is a fantastic guide to the who, the when and the what of that era in history,” said Mickey.

In keeping with the project’s regard for equal respect for both communities, the book includes both the republican and loyalist history.

On one side of the book is a cover detailing the republican story but turn the book upside down and flip it over and it reveals the loyalist story.

“The republican and loyalist histories both have equal amounts of pages and there really is no front or back cover to this book.

“I think it’s a diplomatic way of telling the story of both communities,” he added.

Next week an exhibition to complement the book will be officially opened in the Gasyard Centre.

The exhibition will present both the republican and loyalist stories in chronological order.

Mickey Cooper said: “There are exhibitions like this one in all of the communities that took part.

“Obviously we couldn’t include absolutely everything that’s in the book in the exhibition but when used together the book and exhibition give real insight into the peace process.

“In recent times, the Gasyard Trust, in partnership with communities from all over the city, has published books called ‘From Columba to Conflict’ and ‘The Prison Story’ - ‘Your Process Or Mine?’ is the final book in the trilogy.”

Although the ‘Your Process Or Mine?’ book is available to buy in Eason and Shipquay Books, Mickey sees it as a publication that will require updating in the future.

“The peace process in the North of Ireland is only 15 years old - it’s still an evolving story.

“There are all kinds of events that have happened in recent years that we could so easily include in the book and I definitely think in the future we will issue a revised edition,” he said.

‘Your Process Or Mine?’ is available to buy in Eason, Shipquay Books and the Gasyard Centre.

The project was supported by the Peace III Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and delivered by the North West Peace III Cluster.