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Call for diversity of voices in Good Friday Agreement commemorations

Published: Thursday, July 06, 2023

The commemorations of the Good Friday Agreement have been dominated by men, with little consideration given to the various communities who paid the highest price in the conflict, such as working-class communities, women, and young people. That’s according to some participants in the National Women’s Council (NWC) All-island Women’s Forum, which meets today (Wednesday) in Newry.  

Rachel Coyle, NWC Head of Campaigns and Mobilisation said:   

“Women have been historically underrepresented in peacebuilding and decision-making spaces. The 25th Anniversary of the GFA was an historic opportunity to reflect on its significance for communities, particularly working-class communities, who either were not included or have been written out of the peace process. Today we will reflect on the successes and limitations of the Good Friday Agreement through the lens of women and people from diverse communities on this island without whom peace could not be maintained.” 

The Forum today will open with a presentation of evidence gathered by the NI Women’s Regional Consortium , set in the context of the budget crisis in Northern Ireland, on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on women.  Elaine Crory, Women’s Sector Lobbyist at the Women’s Resource & Development Agency, said: 

“The evidence gathered by the Women’s Regional Consortium through focus groups is harrowing, bleak and rings true in all communities in NI right now. This situation has been worsened by the lack of a functioning Executive and will now be worsened again with dramatic cuts from every government department. In this context it is vitally important that we listen to the voices captured in this research.” 

Today’s meeting in Newry is the forum’s third in-person meeting of 2023, and will hear from panellists Eileen Weir of the Shankill Women’s Centre, Eileen Chan Hu of CRAICNI, Caroline Munyi of AkiDwA and Nicole Parkinson Kelly of the Northern Ireland Youth. 

The attendees hope to build solidarity across the island in the face of the ongoing cost of living crisis, while also exploring the development of an all-island approach in responding to policies that adversely affect women. 


For comment: Rachel Coyle 

For more information, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator,  sineadn@nwci.ie 


The work of the All-Island Women’s Forum has been important in developing the role of women in peacebuilding and leadership in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.  The All-Island Women’s Forum seeks to address the historical lack of women in these spaces by hosting a platform of 40 members with equal membership from the north and south.    

Other agreed upon areas of work are increasing women’s representation in peace building and reconciliation, and political and civic life, deepening north-south relations, and addressing violence against women and girls. 

What: NWC All-Island Women’s Forum event Celebrating the Spirit of the Good Friday Agreement: Making Space for Diversity. 

Where: The Graduate, East Building, South Regional College, Newry East Campus, Newry 

When: 5 July, 11am to 3pm 

About NWC  

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters. 

This year we celebrate 50 years since our foundation with a special calendar of events and campaigns. 

The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.  

We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity. Find out more on www.nwci.ie