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1998: Lifting the 'burden of history'
British Prime Minister Tony Blair called it a triumph of courage, and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said it drew a line under a "bloody past".

The historic Good Friday Agreement was finally signed on 10 April 1998, after two years of peace talks in Northern Ireland - and 36 hours of intense last-minute negotiations.

The accord was later resoundingly endorsed by referendums north and south of the border.

But the Northern Ireland Assembly, which was central to the peace deal, has been suspended four times since its election in September 1998.

Your comments

I'm not from Northern Ireland or London but I have grown up with the Troubles a permanent fixture on the headlines.

From a very early age I've always wanted peace and I remember feeling proud of John Major's bravery in his secret talks with the IRA.

The Good Friday Agreement filled me full of hope that Northern Ireland could see peace for the first time in my life, and I also hoped it would mean an end to Britain being a target for terrorists. That wish is still to be fulfilled.
Tucky, UK

I thought, "Yes. They've done it - they've finally agreed." And look at all they've achieved since. It's less than perfect, but Sinn Fein are talking face-to-face with the Ulster Unionist Party.

This latest suspension is just another hiccup - the process will succeed
Michael Coates, Wales
Historic reforms have taken place, the Royal Ulster Constabulary had become the Police Service Northern Ireland, the whole province is being slowly demilitarised, on both sides of the divide.

Apart from the hardline hold-outs everybody accepts that there can be no going back to the previous state of affairs. This latest suspension is just another hiccup, the process will succeed.

It will be along hard road but they will get there, because look at the alternative. Good luck to you all.
Michael Coates, Wales

I was doing my mock examinations in St. Gabriel's School. I was 15, and I remember thinking that we were in a position to build a society and a country in which I could actually come from.

It was a great feeling - I hope the executive gets running again.
Marty, Belfast

I can't help feeling somewhat cynical now
Dave Slater, Scotland
I remember thinking, "At last..." or something along those lines, and that this was a truly historic day. I even videotaped the evening news programme for posterity.

I know I am at a distance - created by the media as much as geography - but I can't help feeling somewhat cynical now as I come across that video in my collection. What happened in the meantime? Where's our brave new world, where's the Easter hope that was produced on Good Friday? Can the Assembly, peace process, and harmonious living be resurrected again?

And why does Blair feel that he has to be in the thick of conflict and oppression situations on the world stage when there are sufficient issues at home? Northern Ireland, homelessness, poverty... The list goes on.

Sorry to be so gloomy!
Dave Slater, Scotland

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Tony Blair (L) and Bertie Ahern (R)
The agreement is a triumph for both leaders


A copy of the Good Friday Agreement
Every household in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland received a copy

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