Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is hosting a historic new podcast to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
As I Remember It tells the story of the Good Friday Agreement through the eyes of those who negotiated it – marking the first time they have come together to reflect on the agreement and the 25 years that followed.
Produced by Newstalk, the podcast will hear from many of the main players, with Ahern talking one-on-one with the likes of former US President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US Senator George Mitchell.
Launching on all streaming platforms on February 23rd, As I Remember It is a nine-part series that will see three episodes released each Thursday for the next three weeks.
The first three episodes cover the path to peace, the efforts required to get both nationalists and unionists to the table and the ‘grand standing’ endured by US Senator George Mitchell following his appointment as chair of the all-party talks.
All the while, Ahern will recount his memories of the time providing both colour and context to some of the most important moments in modern Irish history.
Speaking about the podcast, Bertie Ahern said: “As we approach the 25th anniversary of the historic agreement, I believe reflection on the past is important.”
“I have been very privileged to speak with many colleagues who were responsible for creating the Belfast Good Friday Agreement and creating a process that has delivered an incalculable benefit here in Ireland and in the United Kingdom in terms of the reduction in violence and deaths.’
“The generations who are now growing up in an environment of imperfect but perpetual peace are the real treasures that this agreement can point to in my view.
“We should hold this generation up as our greatest triumph. We also have a duty to them though, to allow this new generation to learn how and why key decisions were made by the people who made them.
“I think this is an important piece of historical work by Newstalk and is an honest attempt at capturing those important voices who were key to delivering the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.”
No holds barred
A no holds barred account of a defining moment in global politics, ‘As I Remember It’ hears from John Hume Jr on the day his father went to meet the IRA, David Trimble’s solo run and how, according to Gerry Kelly, the British approach changed overnight following the election of Tony Blair.
The podcast will also hear from former NI First Minister Peter Robinson, former Deputy First Minister Mark Durkan, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly, John Hume Jr, Liz O’Donnell, Jonathan Powell and Monica McWilliams of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition as they recount the part they played in the Good Friday Agreement.
Newstalk Managing Editor, Patricia Monahan said: “This was one of the most significant moments in our country’s history and it is important that how it came about is officially recorded in this way. The substance of the agreement is still very relevant today and as the talk station serving a new generation of listeners we believe ‘As I Remember It’ will be instrumental in giving younger audiences a clear understanding of the agreement and insight into how it came about.”
The overriding sentiment of the podcast is one of hope and conviction with Blair commenting that they “were prepared relentlessly to stay up through the night and keep going. Ultimately, it was just determination to drive this thing through.”