Gerry Adams, the former President of Sinn Féin, was a key player in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that helped usher in peace in Northern Ireland.
Adams told the PA News Agency ahead of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement that the peace deal transformed lives and society in Northern Ireland.
“In terms of how it has worked out since, the first acid test is thousands of people are alive, who may otherwise be dead at this point," Adams said.
“There are half a million people born since the Good Friday Agreement. Unless they were personally affected, that’s half a million people who have no recollection of the tragedy and the terror and the difficulties that everybody went through at that time.”
He added: “Look at what’s happening in Syria, look at what’s happening in parts of Africa. Look at what’s happening in the Palestinian territories, look at what’s happening in Ukraine. That’s not happening here.”
Adams was speaking ahead of the "Reflections on The Good Friday Agreement: 25 Years of Peace & Progress" event which was being hosted at the Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York City on Monday, April 3.
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told an audience at a Sharing Peace, Sharing Futures event in Dublin's Abbey Theatre on Sunday night, April 2 that the Good Friday Agreement "opened the door for prosperity."
"I’ve lived most of my life with the benefits of peace. I’ve seen how it opened the door for prosperity… On behalf of my generation, I want to thank the politicians that went before us," Varadkar told the audience.
"Let us go forward in hope…to forge a shared future, a shared peace, for all of us, on a shared island."
Many thanks to all of the artists and guests who made Sharing Peace, Sharing Futures such a special event.
The performance, in partnership with @AbbeyTheatre, marks 25 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. It is available to watch on the @RTEplayer for 30 days. pic.twitter.com/gu0OFYwKvU— Irish Foreign Ministry (@dfatirl) April 2, 2023
Tánaiste Micheál Martin also addressed the event, stating that "difficult choices and hard compromises" resulted in the signing of the Good Friday Agreement 25 years ago.
"Today our island is in peace…that peace is imperfect but life on our island, in Northern Ireland is better. This is worth celebrating."