In light of the number of Brexit-supporting politicians and journalists in Britain now expressing open hostility towards the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, it comes as no surprise that the Democratic Unionist Party has taken the opportunity to move against the foundations of the multistranded peace deal which ended thirty years of conflict or so-called Troubles in the British-controlled north-east of Ireland. From Sam McBride in iNews:
A senior DUP MLA has said that he sees little prospect of Stormont returning this year and hinted that there may be changes to the Belfast Agreement before that happens.
In evidence to the Commons’ Northern Ireland Affairs Committee TODAY, Simon Hamilton said that there was now a serious breakdown in trust between his party and Sinn Féin after talks to restore devolution collapsed three weeks ago.
The former Stormont finance minister’s comments are significant because he is seen as one of the DUP’s most moderate pro-devolution voices…
Mr Hamilton also set out arguments to reform the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, although he was vague about what precisely the DUP wants to see changed.
The DUP, of course, actively campaigned against the Washington-brokered treaty during simultaneous north-south referendums in May of 1998, and only latterly joined the regional power-sharing arrangements with Sinn Féin in mid-2007. It seems that the pro-union party views the House of Commons in London as a suddenly favourable front in its ongoing decades-old war with Irish nationalism. A not unreasonable position to take, given the grotesque parliamentary alliance negotiated between the Democratic Unionists and the UK’s governing Conservative Party in June 2017. According to BreakingNews.ie:
The DUP has demanded amendments to a “cornerstone of the Belfast Agreement” in a bid to give extra protections to veterans.
The party’s leader Arlene Foster watched on from the visitors’ gallery in the House of Commons as chief whip Jeffrey Donaldson warned the Government benches that greater protections for ex-service personnel in the North formed “part of the confidence and supply deal”.
In an opposition day debate, Mr Donaldson told MPs there was still a “culture of fear” among veterans in the country and proposed a number of moves to remedy this.
Mr Donaldson, backed by his nine other colleagues, called for section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to be amended to include provision for the armed forces.
Defence Minister Mark Lancaster resisted the calls, however… “Let’s not forget, as has been mentioned, beside the instruments already in place there is section 75. I listened very carefully to what he had to say, but it is a cornerstone of the Belfast Agreement.”
Both the hibernophobic DUP and the xenophobic Tory backbenches are determined to bring about Britain’s exit from the European Union, no matter how calamitous the circumstances or results. But for the Democratic Unionists the creation of an isolationist United Kingdom, the emergence of a visible frontier around the UK-ruled Six Counties or the wrecking of the existing Good Friday Agreement are simply a means to another, more important end: the survival of the last British outpost on the island of Ireland.
Did anyone expect something different after the impact of the ‘Troubles’ wore off, and who is going to do something about it?
Plenty Dissidents and nutter who were to young during the past conflict are champing at the bit to take us back but only thing stopping them is support for peace and the good Friday agreement but with the antics of the DUP Loking to dismantle it that support is getting less and less . who wants another 40 odd years of killing and mayhem in all sides .
” the last British outpost on the island of Ireland.” the “last English outpost” please, if you don’t mind.
However, the EU is currently putting the kibosh on May and the DUP, by affirming that there will be no more progress on talks until the UK (i.e. England) come up with a realistic proposal for the preservation of no Irish border, with the inclusion of cakes or cherries, whether eaten or not, forbidden. Yippee!!!
Britain is England, and England is Britain. Apparently. So, British outpost might be ok?
Well, it has ended as I feared it might. The DUP are nasty, racist, xenophobic nutters, and so are most of those who support them,. It is clear that under no circumstances are we going to get any change whatsoever, from all this, and that the old hardliners are back on complete control of the Unionist community. Bluntly, there is now no hope of any further progress by consent, in the North. That leaves the (Now) majority Nationalist community in the North, stranded. Within a decade, or less, they would have had a decisive majority of votes, and something could have been done. but the openly brazen rigging of the electoral districts in the North, by the electoral commission, has sealed that off, for another 20 years.
So: What must be done?
Firstly, prepare for the worst. The Irish government must prepare for the now very high risks of the entire peace process collapsing, and the consequences that flow from this. I think the irish Government needs to simply veto any agreement on BREXIT, until we get what we can, from this mess. They should demand a pre-Brexit referendum in the North, (as the treaty provides for) and voting to be decided, on a county by county basis, and those who vote yes, transferring to the South. Those who vote No, must be made to understand that it will bring severe consequences to them. They must be isolated from the south, and expect nothing by way of aid, help, or anything else that would make their life tolerable. if they want a hard border, let us give them one. A border that is like the one dividing Cyprus, and the Irish Government is under no legal obligation to be nice to the Neo-fascist Unionist community. Let them suffer. They should be treated in the harshest terms, given zero room or accommodation, from the South, and essentially, isolated and left to fend for themselves. Above all, a renewal of the war must be avoided. But all of this is a bitter draft to swallow. But I now see any other way of doing things. let the Unionist loyalist community be forcwed to face the consequences of their behavior. perhaps, in 50 years, things might change. But in the meantime, hardball must be played, and on no account must any Irish government agree or facilitate in any way the UK BREXIT. We must be utterly intransigent. sanctions must be invented, and an absolutely solid policy of no concessions, or compromises etc made. What a tragedy. All those irish patriots that gave their lives, and for what?……I weep.
the Irish Government should cancel all Irish held passports of Unionist community in the north
But all qualifying persons born on the island of Ireland are citizens of Ireland by right of birth. I would not want to move away from that. In any case, how would you define what a “unionist” is? Religion, surname, some other form of declaration? That would be a dangerous and arguably futile road to go down. We are all Irish.
In any case, unionists using Irish passports is a very good thing. We need more of it, not less. We need Irish government services’ centres in Belfast, Armagh, Derry and Enniskillen providing these sort of things.
County by county vote? With the no voting counties being left to suffer? And what for the nationalist communities that reside in those no voting counties? Or the protestant people that don’t want this mess. Are we setting up refugee camps again. I guess a 29 county Republic is good enough
In the real world ‘good enough’ is generally the best anyone can hope for.
Repatriation is. Not an answer.