Andrews to sell signed copy of Belfast Agreement
An unusual signed copy of the 1998 Belfast Agreement has been put up for auction by former minister for foreign affairs David Andrews.
The final proposal with cover sheet memorandum was issued only to those present on the last day of discussions and carries the signatures of then British prime minister Tony Blair, then Northern secretary the late Mo Mowlam and other prominent political figures.
A spokesman for Whyte’s auctioneers and valuers said the company had been “sworn to secrecy” about the identity of the document’s owner but The Irish Times has established that it belongs to Mr Andrews.
He declined to comment yesterday.
The document is guiding at €3,000-€5,000 and is described by Whyte’s as “of extreme scarcity” and “an excellent opportunity to acquire one of Ireland’s most historically important documents”.
It is also signed by then taoiseach Bertie Ahern, former US senator George Mitchell, ex-SDLP leader John Hume, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and the North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
The auctioneer’s catalogue states: “This document is recognised as closing the long chapter of The Troubles in Ireland’s history.”
Also among those who signed were: Canadian general John de Chastelain who headed the decommissioning body; former minister of state for foreign affairs Liz O’Donnell of the Progressive Democrats; then SDLP deputy leader Séamus Mallon and Mr Andrews.
The auction will take place on Saturday, January 26th. It includes a memo with the title “Final Agreement” dated April 10th, 1998, from the Office of the Independent Chairmen (comprising senator Mitchell, Gen de Chastelain and the former Finnish prime minister Harri Holkeri, now deceased).
The memo states: “This is, in all likelihood, our last Memorandum to you. We take this occasion to thank each of you for your courtesy. It has been a pleasure to work with you.”