W&G Baird reflects on its Good Friday Agreement print run
HUNDREDS of thousands of copies of the historic Good Friday Agreement document started landing through letterboxes on to people's doormats 25 years ago, within weeks of the peace accord being signed.
And amid all the commemorations and reflections over recent days, those basking in playing their own unique role back in 1998 is W&G Baird, one of the oldest trading companies in Northern Ireland.
For it was Bairds which printed the 36-page brochure which was distributed to government officials, political parties, and the public in Northern Ireland, the Republic, and Britain.
The agreement was signed on April 10 by the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, along with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and most of the political parties in the north
Patrick Moffett, managing director of W&G Baird, said: "This is a proud time for the entire team at W&G Baird. Twenty five years ago, our print presses worked tirelessly to print the 36-page landmark document that laid the groundwork for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, following 30 years of The Troubles.
“I remember the day the job was on the presses.It was a huge honour but we did feel the pressure to get it just right.
“I was handed the very first copy, hot off the stitching line by our pre-press manager Gary Hull.
“He was meticulously checking that all the pages were in the correct order before running such a massive job.
“I gave it the full once-over, triple-checked all was present and correct, and swiftly told him to keep it hold of it! And then I completely forgot about all about it. Luckily, Gary filed it away somewhere safe!
“When the anniversary of the Agreement came up in conversation a few weeks back, Gary reminded me of the story and brought the copy he kept safely, to me. I had no idea we still had it.”
He added: “Over the years, we have printed many important documents, but the Good Friday Agreement remains the most significant.
“W&G Baird has evolved from a single letterpress in 1862, when the two Baird Brother set up the firm, to today, using the most sophisticated printing technology, including robotics and specialist finishing equipment.
“We have a team of over 90 staff based in Antrim, and operates one of the country's largest 24/7 sheet-fed print rooms using the most advanced equipment in the sector.”
WG Baird provides lithographic printing, digital printing, and large-format printing for all sizes of jobs.
The company has invested heavily in state-of-the-art printing equipment, which allows it to produce high-quality prints quickly and efficiently. This investment in technology has also enabled W&G Baird to offer a wide range of printing services, from small-scale digital printing to large-scale lithographic printing.
The original copy of The Good Friday Agreement printed by W&G Baird is proudly displayed in Patrick Baird's office.