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Seán Ó hUiginn was probably the most important voice speaking on behalf of the Irish state through the years leading up to the Good Friday Agreement.
Here the former ambassador gives his unique view of the long run-up to the negotiations that led to the final peace agreement that was signed in 1998. This fascinating and wide-ranging conversation mixes historical insight and analysis with descriptions of the pragmatics of negotiating an end to a bloody conflict that dragged on for decades.
The whole gamut of Irish-British relations of the last 100 years is covered here, from American involvement to British collusion with paramilitaries, and from partition to Brexit.
Former Ambassador Seán Ó hUiginn met Feargus Denman at Belvedere House in central Dublin for our interview.
Seán Ó hUiginn led Irish diplomats in Northern Ireland from 1987 to 1990 at the Anglo-Irish Secretariat. He was then head of the Anglo-Irish Division in Dublin from 1991 to 1997. By his retirement in 2011, he had also served Ireland as its ambassador in five different countries, including in the United States of America, in which capacity he saw the Northern Irish peace process come to fruition.