On Wednesday 16 June, Forward Thinking held an online workshop with Pat Hynes.
Pat Hynes is the Community and Political Dialogue Programme Manager at the Glencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation. He has been involved in politics for over 25 years and throughout the 1990s, he worked with various government ministers in the early years of the Irish peace process, later participating in Glencree’s Political Dialogue workshops leading up to the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. His international work has seen him focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as working with the United Nations.
Pat provided a historical background to the conflict in Ireland and shared insights from his involvement in the process that led to the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. The discussion also focused on the current impact of Brexit which Pat highlighted has been a profound disruption to the delicate balances of the peace agreement.
The participants were also able to discuss Pat’s experience in the Middle East region, exploring in particular lessons from Ireland that could help to inform future decision making in the Israeli-Palestinian context.
This meeting was the fourth in a series of workshops focused on conflict resolution and international politics that have been developed by Forward Thinking in response to needs highlighted by young people with whom we work. The aim of these meetings is to ensure that those with whom we work that have an interest in conflict resolution are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to create positive change.
Pat is a former member of the Fianna Fail National Executive and a former Vice Chairman of the party’s youth organisation during the 1990s. Politically active for over twenty-five years, he participated in the Glencree Political Dialogue Program for over 12 years from 1994 and worked with the Irish government unofficially in the back channels of the peace process. He also participated in Glencree’s Middle East Programme between 2003 and 2007 which was supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs.