OPINION: A significant week in our history - GFA 20 Years

20 years ago, a blueprint for peace was designed when the signing of the Good Friday Agreement took place, marking the end of a 30 year conflict. 

The Troubles saw unjustified hardship, brought upon the nationalist community across the North, by a cruel foreign power, repressing the dignity and basic rights of innocent civilians.

This week also portrays another significance, 9th April marks 37 years since Bobby Sands was elected MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone. 

We have come a long way from these two momentous occasions which changed the course of Irish history in their own right and each contributed in their own way to deliver a society driven by equality and social justice. However, there is so much more left to achieve to ensure that our society is built on these principles. 

The struggle for an independent socialist republic, has been fought for fearlessly and courageously by Irish Republicans over the course of 800 years, a cause of which many fought and died for.

This is NOT so that the LGBT community's right marriage equality could be repressed, resources could be taken away from Gaeilgeoirí to speak their native tongue and heartbroken families could be denied legacy funding to find out what happened to their loved ones killed during the conflict.

The Good Friday Agreement was NOT signed so that 20 years later, things that were already agreed on are still not implemented and the appetite for a border poll on a United Ireland is still being blatantly ignored. 

Now more than ever, the democratic voices of the citizens of the North need to be adhered to and respected. Irish unity is within out grasp. Lets grab it. 

To quote Bobby Sands, "it's that undauntable thought my friend, the thought that says I'm right."

By Niamh Aherne 

Ógra Shinn Féin