Making Good on the
Good Friday Agreement:
Northern Ireland’s Struggle to End Sectarian Warfare 

LECTURER: Tim Phillips 

Beyond Conflict’s Co-Founder, Tim Phillips, worked in Northern Ireland for over a decade. Through a series of initiatives, many deploying the shared experience methodology, Beyond Conflict coordinated a ten-year, multi-party process, moving the senior leadership of Sinn Fein, the Democratic Unionist Party, and all other key political parties from resistance and enmity to trust, alliance, and partnership. All participants ultimately embraced and signed the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement.


We moved from Ambassador Rasool to Tim Phillips, who talked with us about Ireland, particularly Northern Ireland. He gave us five dates: 1066, the Norman conquest of England and nearly immediate invasion of Ireland (followed by the slow spread of Norman rule throughout the island, where the last holdout was Ulster in the North); 1649, the invasion of Ireland by Oliver Cromwell, and the “final” subjugation of Ireland; 1847, the depopulation of Ireland as the result of the potato famine and related British policy; 1916, the Easter rising and the beginning of an open battle against Britain for independence; and, finally, 1998, the year the Good Friday Agreement was signed, ending (some of) the Troubles of Northern Ireland. His point was that all this history of struggle and resistance is always present in Ireland, and particularly in the North. To the British and Protestant Irish in the North, the Troubles were an on-going, organized crime wave. To the Catholics and their Unionist supporters in Eire, they were a legitimate liberation struggle.In circumstances like these, truth commissions are not an appropriate model for reconciliation.  Keep Reading.




Joshua Hammer, “In Northern Ireland, Getting Past the Troubles”, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2009

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. “Dealing with Northern Ireland’s Past: Towards a Transitional Justice Approach.” 31 July 2013.

The Proposed Agreement on Dealing with the Past, unsuccessfully brokered by Richard Haass. (Dec. 31 2013)

David Mitchell, “Good Friday and the wait for a new politics in Northern Ireland”, OpenDemocracy, 15 April 2015

Tim Phillips, “Finding Peace in Northern Ireland.” WBUR Cognoscenti. Jan. 16th 2014.

Tim Phillips and Donna Hicks. “The Dignity of Dealing with the Past.” GlobalPost.