It was originated by the fact the IRA would traditionally bury old weapons in haystacks. A return to war would have been preferable to them to handing the weapons in (equalling surrender), and this had bedevilled progress in the talks. Creative solutions really do have their place.
But the GFA nearly didn’t make it past day one of the peace talks. I was standing just behind John Major and the Irish Taioseach John Bruton at Stormont’s uninspired Castle Buildings when the negotiations started. But by lunchtime, I watched Paddy on the phone to the Prime Minister, newly flown back to London, saying he’d better prepare a statement to the House in case the talks collapsed – over the issue of having an American chairman. It was David Trimble who rescued the situation. Senator George Mitchell went on to do an amazing job, requiring far more patience than that of one saint, especially with all the filibustering that went on.