Gilmore warns of ongoing threats to Belfast Agreement
Remembering dead of Northern conflict ‘really important’
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore with Rev Bridget Spain and Rory Delany, chairman at the Unitarian Church, St Stephen’s Green, for the 13th annual service to commemorate the more than 3,500 people who died as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said yesterday he believed “we need to recommit ourselves to what the Good Friday agreement was about”.
The 15th anniversary of the agreement is April 10th next.
He said risks to the peace process remained and were clear “over the past number of months . . . We have seen evidence of dissident republican activity, which has no place on this island. We have also seen some street violence, which recalled some of the past.
“The numbers involved are very small but they are a reminder to us that we have to continue our work . . . and we are continuing our work.”
Mr Gilmore was speaking at the Unitarian Church on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green, where he took part in reading the names of more than 3,500 people who died in the Troubles.
An annual act of commemoration that has taken place every Good Friday since 2000, it is the only religious service of its kind in Ireland.
Mr Gilmore was the first Minister for Foreign Affairs to take part in it. He read for about 20 minutes, beginning in alphabetical order with Anthony Abbott, a soldier from Manchester shot by the IRA in 1976 at Ardoyne. Another name on Mr Gilmore’s list was prison officer David Black, murdered by dissident republicans last November.
“I think this is a really important thing to do,” Mr Gilmore said afterwards.
He felt the service had “a lot of potential”. There were “still issues about dealing with the past and how we deal with it”, he said, but “the importance of it is to remember. It is a very moving ceremony.”