Page last updated at 10:15 GMT, Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday Agreement negotiators

By Johnny Caldwell
BBC News

The leaders of eight political parties in Northern Ireland, of various sizes and with the notable exception of the DUP, negotiated the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 under the chairmanship of former US Senator George Mitchell.

Of the eight politicians in question, one runs a country pub, another a substance misuse prevention programme and two can be found in the House of Lords. Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine died at the start of 2007 after suffering a heart attack.

Click on their surnames below to refresh your memory about the people who will be forever associated with this historic document, and to find out what they're up to now...



Party - Social Democratic and Labour Party (nationalist)

Current occupation - Retired

Looking back - "The agreement, from the SDLP's point of view of course, was totally based on principles that we had been putting across over the years. Our analysis of the problem was very consistent throughout the 30 years, given that the problem didn't change and neither did our approach to solving it. The problem was not just about relationships within Northern Ireland but also about relationships within Ireland and between Ireland and Britain."

Something else - Trained for a time to be a priest but did not complete studies.


Party - Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (cross-community)

Current occupation - A commissioner on the Independent Monitoring Commission and Liberal Democrat peer

Looking back - "It was imperfect. We should have linked prisoner releases and weapons, inserted sunset clauses for the transitional arrangements, and agreed a better form of power-sharing. Still, the euphoria of that Good Friday was justified. It changed our history for the better."

Something else - Became Ireland's first consultant psychotherapist in 1988. There is a Lib Dem peer called Lord Alliance (John Alderdice is known as Lord Alderdice).


Party - Women's Coalition (cross-community)

Current occupation - Chief Commissioner for Human Rights in Northern Ireland

Looking back - "I came home to my two young boys who wanted to know what all the excitement was about. 'Did this now mean there would be no murders,' they asked. 'Would the riots they witnessed every summer now stop?' Tired as I was, I had to explain to them that the agreement would not spell the end of sectarian hatred and, like them, it would probably need a lot of nurturing."

Something else - Currently on leave from the University of Ulster where she is professor of Women's Studies. Despite having two assembly seats at one stage, the Women's Coalition was wound up in May 2006.


Party - Progressive Unionist Party (loyalist)

Mr Ervine, 53, died in hospital after suffering a heart attack and later a stroke and a brain haemorrhage in January 2007.

Tribute - "He had seen the worst and he wanted the best for the future," said Good Friday negotiations chairman George Mitchell. "I found him always to be very impressive, very committed to not returning to the difficult past which he and others had lived."

Something else - One of the most articulate voices in Northern Ireland politics, the former Maze prisoner was dubbed "Dictionary Dave".


Party - Sinn Fein (republican)

Current occupation - MP, MLA and author

At the time - "Mr Trimble is part of my world. I am from Ireland. It is a very small island. There are five million of us and two of us are David Trimble and Gerry Adams. It isn't about us."

Something else - Was a barman before entering full-time politics. In an interview last year Mr Adams revealed that he doesn't own a credit card.


Party - Ulster Democratic Party (loyalist)

Current occupation - Project manager with Lisburn-based substance misuse awareness programme Ascert

At the time - "Unfortunately we have people like (Ian) Paisley and (Bob) McCartney here doing everything they can to unstitch the agreement. These people who are arguing against this agreement are people who abdicated their responsibilities at an early stage, and have done nothing to contribute towards providing any kind of alternative."

Something else - The Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) enjoyed little electoral success and was dissolved in November 2001.


Party - Labour Party of Northern Ireland (socialist)

Current occupation - Publican/still politically active

Looking back - "The thing that stands out most for me is the influence that Nelson Mandela had on David Trimble in South Africa. This is the first time I think I had seen him relax."

Something else - Party was smallest involved in Good Friday negotiations.


Party - Ulster Unionist Party (unionist)

Current occupation - Tory peer in the House of Lords

At the time - "I know that we rise from this table with the union stronger than when we first started here. With the exception of one party, the consent principle has been accepted by all and soon I trust we shall see it enshrined in the fundamental law of the Irish Republic."

Something else - Made headlines recently after he rebuked US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's claims she had played a significant role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland.

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