Protecting and sustaining the Good Friday Agreement requires reform, says Long

Protecting the Good Friday Agreement and sustaining its institutions requires reform, Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said.

Naomi Long Good Friday Agreement

The Alliance Leader was speaking during the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. She said despite the pressing need for reform of its structures, the Agreement’s values and principles remain the only foundation on which to move society forward, but added it should not become the ceiling of our ambitions either.

“As we mark the 25th anniversary of this historic agreement, I want to pay tribute to all those who played a role in the Good Friday Agreement,” she said.

“Their hard work, sacrifice, compromise and courage helped transform our society, and the values and principles of the Agreement – power-sharing, inclusion, devolution, mutual respect and parity of esteem – are still enshrined in our politics today.

“As well as ending the vast majority of violence, the Good Friday Agreement played a major role in people being comfortable exploring the complexity of identity, be that unionist, nationalist, or crucially those who don’t identify as either.

“However, the Good Friday Agreement was not perfect. The structures created rigid identity politics, which gives less weight in the Assembly and Executive to those who don’t identify as unionist or nationalist.

“Reforming our institutions would not only level the playing field and reflect the positive change in our society, but would allow us to have a functioning Assembly and Executive no single party could collapse again.

"Without the changes proposed by Alliance, it is hard to imagine the long-term survival of the institutions. If we are to move forward into the next 25 years with the optimism and hope offered by the Good Friday Agreement, then reform of the institutions for a new generation is key.”