New book on the Good Friday Agreement coming out in April 2018
By Siobhán Fenton
I’m very excited to be able to announce that my first book will be published by Biteback in April 2018.
It will be published to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and considers the current state of Northern Ireland’s peace process.
While the signing of the Good Friday Agreement was a historic event which brought an end to decades of conflict, Northern Ireland remains a deeply troubled society twenty years on. At the time of writing, the region has been without a government for a year, as the DUP and Sinn Féin are refusing to share power. A majority of people continue to live in either ‘Catholic’ or ‘Protestant’ neighbourhoods. Brexit poses unprecedented challenges to the peace process in unsettling hard-won arrangements for the border and Northern Ireland’s relationship with the Republic.
The Agreement left no mechanism for dealing with unsolved murders from the conflict, meaning hundreds of legacy inquests are making their way through the courts only now, raising complex legal and ethical questions as many alleged culprits are too elderly to participate in trials or be imprisoned if found guilty. Allegations of state collusion remain unaddressed and the British government continues to consider giving an amnesty to British soldiers accused of killing Northern Irish civilians.
Furthermore, for all its focus on human rights the Agreement solely considered oppression on an anti-sectarianism axis while failing to implement protection for other marginalised groups. Women continue to be arrested for ‘committing’ abortions and marriage equality is denied to LGBT couples.
Twenty years on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, it is no longer enough to merely say the treaty brought peace to Northern Ireland. Instead we must ask what kind of peace did it create, how stable is it, and on which compromises is it based? Has the Good Friday Agreement been outpaced by local and global politics to the point where it is no longer capable of facilitating the peace it helped create?
The book will be published at the beginning of April and will be available in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Exact publication date and title TBA.
About the author
Siobhán Fenton is a journalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She writes primarily about Northern Irish politics and her writing has been published by The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Spectator and Prospect, as well as being featured on BBC Radio 4.
She was educated at Rathmore Grammar School Belfast, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.
This is her first book.