Dr. Jayne Brady, head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, poignantly used a line from “Derry Girls” while speaking at Queen’s University Belfast’s Good Friday Agreement conference today, April 19.
Dr. Brady said how she and US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Joe Kennedy III visited the “Derry Girls” mural in Derry last Friday, April 14.
“It made me think of the brilliant and very moving Agreement episode [of 'Derry Girls'] and something very poignant that Erin said: ‘Things can’t stay the same. And they shouldn’t. No matter how scary it is, we have to move on and we have to grow up because things, well, they might just change for the better.’”
Dr. Brady quoted "Derry Girls" while giving the opening remarks on the third and final day of QUB's 'Agreement 25' conference and just before Kennedy's keynote address.
Earlier in her remarks, Dr. Brady said: "Having the support of US Special Economic Envoy Joe Kennedy and the wider US administration is truly transformational.
"It has been my privilege to work so closely with Joe and his team over the last number of months to see firsthand his vision for our partnership, the impact which is already being felt here. Thank you, Joe."
In his address, Kennedy said in part: "There is a difference between being guided by the past and being held hostage by it. One can, and should, be proud to recognize the achievements that have been made while seeing there is a journey still ahead. That is a balance that Northern Ireland navigates today, though it has never been easy."
He added: "There can be no prosperity without peace, and there can be no peace without prosperity.
Kennedy said it is "our collective task" to ensure that the "benefits of prosperity and growth touch every single soul across this great place."
He continued: "If there is a place on this planet that is resilient, that is capable, that is clear-eyed and scrappy enough to take on this challenge, it is the shores we stand on today."
"You are building a Northern Ireland where the troubles of the past give way to the triumphs of tomorrow," Kennedy said.
Other keynote addresses on Wednesday included former US President Bill Clinton, QUB Chancellor Hillary Clinton, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.