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U2 Various Dates

Various Dates: 1990-1999

: Waterfront Hall - Belfast, Northern Ireland

View all performances at Waterfront Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

U2 heads North to back Trimble and Hume at Ash rock concert

(published on 1998-05-19)

Source: IrishTimes

U2 heads North to back Trimble and Hume at Ash rock concertBy THERESA JUDGE

BELFAST -- Mr David Trimble and Mr John Hume will make a joint appeal for a Yes vote in Friday’s referendum at the end of tonight’s rock concert featuring U2 and Ash in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.

Bono yesterday confirmed that members of U2 would join Ash on stage to back the Yes campaign. "The referendum is such an important moment for all of us. A couple of us are going to Belfast to go to the Ash gig to highlight and support the Trimble/Hume Yes campaign. And you never know, we might play a song with Ash," he said. More than 2,000 sixth-form pupils from schools all over theNorth have been invited to the free concert. The vocalist with Downpatrick band, Ash, Tim Wheeler,said people should vote Yes for a better future, as a No vote offered no hope.

On the campaign trail in Derry yesterday, Mr Trimble confirmed that he would be appearing at the concert. "I’m delighted that groups of such eminence as U2 and Ash are coming specially to Belfast to have a concert in support of the Yes campaign, and John Hume and myself are very much looking forward to being there." Northern Ireland’s largest public service union, Unison, which has30,000 members, opened its campaign for a Yes vote yesterday.

Ms Inez McCormack, the union’s regional secretary, said people should approach the BelfastAgreement in hope rather than in fear. "The question is not whether this agreement will work, buthow can we make it work?" Unison is not taking any stance on the constitutional issues in theagreement, but has welcomed the fact that a broad, cross-party, cross-community agreement hasbeen reached. "We were asking for an accommodation for years. Politicians have now done that. You cannot leave them hanging out to dry," Ms McCormack said.

She said she believed it was wrong to play on people’s fears, as some in the No campaign had been doing, but stressed that while it was important that people voted Yes, it was equally important not todemonise those who voted No.

New Dialogue, a cross-party British-Irish peace group based in Britain, also called for a Yes vote yesterday at a joint press conference in Belfast with the Peace Train Organisation and Families Against Intimidation and Terror (FAIT).

The British Labour MP, Mr Harry Barnes, of New Dialogue, said the agreement represented the onlycentre ground that could be constructed in Northern Ireland. Fears over the early release of prisonerswere understandable, but it was a mistake to focus on this issue. "With the agreement, we can establish a situation where peace and progress begin to be possible."

Mr Glyn Roberts, of FAIT, said people who were concerned that paramilitary groups would not have to decommission weapons under the agreement should ask themselves if they would do it without theagreement. "The only way is to give the provisions in the agreement a chance to deliver."

Mr Roberts added: "Does anybody think we are going to find a new agreement that will be acceptable to nationalists and unionists? This is the only show in town."

Mr Eddie McGrady, of the SDLP, has appealed to voters to focus on the central issue of how the North is to be governed rather than short-term issues such as decommissioning and prisoner releases. MsEileen Bell, of the Alliance Party, said people should think seriously of the consequences of a No vote.


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