Episode 7 – Hidden History of the Troubles – the Good Friday Agreement

Here’s the 7th and final episode of the BBC Spotlight series.

Longer than the others, it deals mainly with the talks leading up to the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, which was overwhelmingly supported by the people of Northern Ireland, but not by the DUP.

Interestingly, one of the questions asked by Republican leaders as they embarked on their negotiations with the UK Government of the time was

To what extent can we rely on their committments?

Comment: Not very far. Perfidious Albion didn’t earn her moniker for nothing!

Here are some of the ways the UK Govt, together with Unionist-led Stormont administrations, have since violated the fundamental principles of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement :

R E F U S A L S  

a) to recognise Irish citizenship of Irish citizens in Northern Ireland (see Emma daSouza’s case) by neither introducing, nor processing, the relevant legislation through Westminster parliament

b) to implement the Irish Language Act, thus breaking the UK’s committment to the 1992 EU Treaty, the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML),  which protects and promotes historical regional and minority languages in Europe

c) to remain neutral  by i) failing to  ensure Loyalist paramilitaries disarmed, thus ensuring a permanent threat of sectarian violence and murder is held over Catholics, Nationalists and Republicans, their friends and families

and ii) blatantly forming a supply and demand arrangement with pro-Brexit DUP, after PM May’s 2017 election resulted in a hung parliament

d) to specify criteria for a unity referendum, which  effectively suspends this provision indefinitely at the will of the Brit Govt and bolts the door to a United Ireland

e) to confirm the UK has “no selfish strategic or economic  interest” in NI, by stating that in the event of a unity referendum (border poll)  the UK would campaign for the union. Everybody saw how that played out during Scotland’s 2014  Independence Referendum

f) to implement a NI Bill of Rights

g) to ensure justice for  the families of victims

h) to maintain the 50:50 ratio in PSNI recruitment

These are major examples of violating the fundamental principles of the GFA that come immediately to mind. There have no doubt been many others, small and large,  over the past 21 years. All indicate the UK government and Unionist Northern Ireland do not seem to consider themselves bound by the GFA and appear to have no intention of implementing it.

Remember: Many of the GFA provisions served to  remedy the injustices that caused the Troubles in the first place

 

 

 

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