HONORARY doctorates have been presented by Dublin City University to David Trimble and Seamus Mallon to mark the 15th anniversary of the Peace Process.
The former First Minister and Deputy First Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly were conferred with Doctorates of Philosophy at The Helix in Dublin.
Amongst those who attended the ceremony were former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and former Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern who was also involved in negotiations leading up to the Good Friday agreement.
Chancellor of the university, Martin McAleese said that to those who endured the Troubles, the achievement of the Good Friday Agreement remains a cause of celebration and "a roadmap to a future of peace with parity of esteem."
"Many thought such an agreement could never be hammered out," he said.
And despite the "ups and downs...these fifteen years have been manifestly better than any of the years which preceded them," said Dr McAleese.
Mr Mallon said the people of Northern Ireland "belong together."
Over the past 30 years, he and David Trimble "saw at first hand the futility of violence, the awfulness of human suffering and concerted attempts to tip Northern Ireland into outright civil war."
However he said the term the Peace Process "fails to address the human elements from which people across the planet and across all ages have ground out their identities."
"Religion, nationality, race, class, gender, civilisation, the very seed-beds of conflict will not be addressed solely by the absence of war," he warned.
"It is the 'them and us' syndrome which asks the simple question to which there is no simple answer," he said.
"How do we live on a small piece of land with those whose identities are different from ours?"