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RTÉ to mark Good Friday Agreement 25th Anniversary


RTÉ to mark Good Friday Agreement 25th Anniversary

RTÉ to mark Good Friday Agreement 25th Anniversary

RTÉ will mark the Good Friday Agreement’s 25th Anniversary with a number of landmark documentaries, special live news and current affairs broadcasts, podcasts, and digital and archive content across the coming weeks, exploring its significance and its relevance today.

The Agreement, a landmark two-part documentary presented by Miriam O’Callaghan, will be broadcast across two consecutive nights on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player, beginning on Monday 3rd April at 9.35pm. Examining the intense negotiations leading to the North’s comprehensive political settlement in April 1998 and the critical referendum campaign in the weeks that followed. Produced for RTÉ by Fine Point Films, in association with Queen’s University Belfast, the series is directed by Trevor Birney and includes interviews with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Senator George Mitchell and other key figures in the negotiations.  The documentary series will take an in-depth look at the historic negotiations which led to the first island-wide referendum in Ireland since 1918, which was supported by an unprecedented 94% of the Irish electorate and over 70% in the North. The programmes put a spotlight on the events that led John Hume and David Trimble to share the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in advocating solutions to end conflict. Even today aspects of the Good Friday Agreement, such as a potential border poll, are under renewed scrutiny by politicians and people alike. RTÉ One will premiere the feature length documentary, The Secret Peacemaker at 10.30pm on Easter Sunday, the extraordinary true story of Irish priest Fr Alec Reid’s secret mission to help stop the killing in Northern Ireland. The new documentary tells the inspiring story of the agreement’s earliest and unlikeliest of architects, the Tipperary-raised Redemptorist priest Fr Alec Reid. In 1988, Father Reid was first seen by the world as he was photographed trying to save the life of a dying British corporal in the horrific aftermath of an IRA funeral. The haunted face of Father Reid as he delivered the Last Rites became symbolic of the thirty-year-long conflict. But unknown to most, the photograph also captured a secret peacemaker at work. In Fr Reid’s jacket pocket were the first documents of a fledgling plan that would help end The Troubles.  RTÉ News programmes and journalists will provide comprehensive coverage in English agus as Gaeilge, of the anniversary with wide-ranging reports and personal accounts giving insight across the week leading up to Good Friday including political developments and expert analysis from RTÉ News’ Northern Editor Vincent Kearney and Northern Correspondent Conor Macauley, in addition to the current news events each day.

news2day, RTÉ’s news programme for children will look to make the events of 25 years ago understandable to viewers of all ages with a special explainer video, as well as reporting on the lives of young people living on both sides of the border today. Prime Time will mark the anniversary by focusing on the past, present and future for Northern Ireland, including live studio debate, reports on those affected most by the Troubles and the gains of the intervening years. On Tuesday 4th April the programme will feature exclusive interviews with both former President of the United States Bill Clinton and former First Lady and later US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

On Thursday April 6th Miriam O’Callaghan will present a special extended Prime Time from Belfast. She reports from both sides of the giant peace walls which separate communities in  Belfast, speaking to both Unionists and Nationalists who live under their shadow, to understand why 25 years on from the Good Friday Agreement, there is still little appetite to remove them. Prime Time journalist Louise Byrne meets the first baby born in Northern Ireland after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, as she and her parents reflect on how the deal has impacted their lives. And in North Belfast’s Ardoyne area parents of the children who will write the next chapter of Northern Ireland’s history share their thoughts on the so-called peace dividend. Security Correspondent Barry Cummins reports as victims of the conflict are left in limbo as a result of UK government bill which would end investigations, and on the ongoing trauma that holds back the injured and the bereaved.

The Week in Politics will see many sides of the political divide in Northern Ireland join together in a special programme broadcast live from Queens University Belfast on Sunday 2nd April to mark the anniversary presented by Aine Lawlor. Coverage of the Government’s Good Friday Agreement 25th Anniversary cultural event will be live-streamed from the Abbey Theatre, on Sunday 2 April at 6pm. The event, featuring spoken word and music performances, will be available to watch on the RTÉ News Channel and worldwide on the RTÉ Player. RTÉ will broadcast a multi-denominational service on Holy Thursday, marking the 25th anniversary of the agreement, as a diverse group of religious and community leaders, peacemakers, activists, survivors and family members of victims of the Troubles come together. The service will begin available on Thursday 6th April to watch on RTÉ One from 4.40pm and to listen to from 7.00pm on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.

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