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GFA symposium at Cooper Union

By Ray O'Hanlon

It caused discussion when it first saw the light of a Belfast day fifteen years ago and it still generating argument and discussion today.

The Good Friday Agreement, more formally known as the Belfast Agreement, is fifteen years on the job this year and to mark the anniversary the man who steered it to political birth, former United States Senator George Mitchell, is headlining a symposium on Thursday, May 23 at Cooper Union in Manhattan.

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That day marks the exact 15th anniversary of the ratification of the agreement on May 23, 1998 in which the people of Ireland endorsed the pact in separate referenda on each side of the border.

In addition to Mitchell's address, there will be a panel discussion that will feature, among others, members of Congress Richard Neal and Joe Crowley. Also lined up for the panel discussion is Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice.

Admission to the symposium is free but because of limited seating in the Cooper Union Great Hall/Foundation Building, tickets are being issued by organizers.

The event, which will run from 6 to 9 p.m. is being sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Brehon Law Societies, Irish American Unity Conference, additional Irish American organizations, and the Cooper Union Office of Continuing Education.

The Good Friday Agreement is the underpinning for the power sharing government in Stormont currently being led by the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin.