Tommy Sands - © Elm Grove Music
The week of the Good Friday Agreement was a very tense time. The politicians were under severe pressure. They were worried not about their opponents but about their supporters.
It was like two trains meeting on a narrow bridge and neither driver wanted to give way because they didn’t want to let down their passengers. It was only when the passengers got up and went to the driver and said ‘look it’s alright you can go back a bit because we all want to go forward’. It was only then that the political landscape began to change.
The TV didn’t help much either. Television can’t deal with Peace very well. If you put a calm sea and a blue sky on a TV screen and hold that shot for more than five seconds people will be getting their remote controls searching for storms. For TV is about moving pictures not still ones. My friend Vedran Smailovic, the cellist of Sarajevo, was sitting at home with me discussing these things. We decided to create a storm for the six o’clock news. With Protestant and Catholic children from Dundrum in Co Down, Robbie Dinsmore, Roy Arbuckle’s Different drums and my late great friend Davy Hammond we headed with a new song for Stormont Castle. The Talks were faltering so we just needed the chorus to be heard to Carry on with talking.
When the Politicians inside heard us they came out and joined in the chorus. John Hume, David Trimble, Gerry Adams, David Ervine and all the others. Later Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon would describe the sound of the children singing as "a decisive moment".
We are standing by this castle fine
Carry On Carry On, You can hear the People singing,
All the lonely years of sorrow
In the Bogside and the Waterside
Don’t betray your children’s birthright