Honour our Belfast Good Friday Agreement – By George Madden

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Joint London-Dublin rule must be imposed if the DUP, UUP and Alliance parties refuse to promptly timetable implementation of all outstanding aspects of all previous compromised-based agreements.

It’s time all Northern Ireland citizens, journalists and commentators refamiliarised themselves with the core objectives and founding pillars of our unique 1998 Good Friday Agreement and addendum agreements:

The constitutional status of Northern Ireland was not ‘settled’ but rather placed in a formal state of flux and the pathway to its final resolution clearly stated and agreed i.e whenever there was a successful simultaneous referenda for unity in the North and South of Ireland.

The British government sold the Irish nationalist community the GFA’s Strand Two all-Ireland provision as the peaceful political route to gradually integrating and reuniting our undemocratically partitioned country.

The British government pledged, in 1998, henceforth – as the sole governing power with sovereign control, it would act with ‘rigorous impartiality’ and protect not least the ideological aspiration of the Irish nationalist community to reunite our nation and country.

British unionist parties agreed, NI statelet institutions would henceforth accord GFA ‘parity of esteem’ to Irish nation(al) identity, culture, history, heritage and politics.

All political parties were henceforth obliged to faithfully govern Stormont and all local Councils pursuant to all GFA principles and provisions.

In my opinion, what needs to happen going forward is not least the following changes to the governance and operating procedures at Stormont and all local Councils:

  1. Stormont ‘Other’ designation any party requesting this designation must produce a manifesto that proposes an alternative to NI’s pro-UK Union(ist) constitutional status quo (how else could the SoS ever accurately monitor the unionist versus nationalist cohorts?).
  2. Petition of Concern limit use to genuine equality and anti-discrimination issues and require the authorisation of any use by both the NI’s SoS and the RoI’s Tánaiste.
  3. Enact a Bill of Rights and create a new Commissioner with the power to intervene when breaches have been detected at Stormont and local Councils.
  4. Enact an Irish language Act modelled on the Welsh language Act, including creating a new Commissioner with the same powers as the Welsh Commissioner.
  5. Employment Funding – agree a PfG to rectify employment underinvestment in predominately Irish nationalist working-class districts.
  6. Housing Shortage agree a PfG to tackle the chronic housing shortage in mostly Irish nationalist working-class districts.
  7. Educational under-achievement agree a PfG to tackle the fact it’s mostly Irish nationalist children who fail to achieve the UK national minimum standard of education.
  8. Identity and Culture dust off Stormont’s various reports on Culture, Emblems and Flags etc and timetable a programme for implementing GFA parity of esteem.

It’s time the DUP, UUP and Alliance parties were robustly interrogated on the above and below issues.

Have NI’s British unionist politicians sought to faithfully uphold or undermine Strand Two of our GFA peace treaty? Irish nationalists like myself contend the truth of this must be confronted or our GFA is dead and should be formally buried.

Where’s the promised Bill of Rights? Blocked by British unionist politicians?

Where’s the Irish language Act modelled on the Welsh language Act, as promised in the Saint Andrew’s Agreement? Blocked by the DUP and UUP and which model is opposed by the small ‘u’ unionist Alliance Party?

Where’s NI state institutions manifestation of GFA ‘parity of esteem’ for Irish nation(al) identity, culture, history, heritage and politics? Blocked by the DUP and UUP and not meaningfully supported and/or actively undermined by the Alliance Party?

It’s time the mainstream unionist DUP and UUP parties and the more marginal small ‘u’ unionist Alliance party stopped referring to as ‘toxic’ and ‘divisive’ the Irish nationalist quest to hold a referendum to reunite our nation and country. This type of demonisation is anti-GFA and must end!!!

Finally, Sinn Féin and the SDLP must face the reality that anger caused by poor NHS services and a temporary Brexit-related bounce for Alliance does not equate to permission from the Irish nationalist community to cease demanding the DUP, UUP and Alliance parties timetable full implementation of all outstanding aspects of all our previous compromise-based agreements.


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