Tag Archives: Good Friday Agreement

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary; Tánaiste Simon Coveney

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary asked Tánaiste Simon Coveney about the Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU this morning – but rejected by the DUP.

He specifically asked if Mr Coveney could confirm the deal will ensure there are no border or customs checks on the island of Ireland.

He also asked if he could confirm the Good Friday Agreement is “intact” by way of this deal.

And he asked if members of the Irish government – Mr Coveney himself, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar or any of their officials – “engaged” with members of the Democratic Unionist Party in “recent days” to “see if the Irish Government can assuage their concerns, whatever they are, around this deal”.

Mr Coveney said he urged caution and while there is an agreement between UK and Brussels, “that isn’t the end of the process”.

But he said the deal recognises “all of the issues we have been raising over the past three years”.

He said it will “protect” the people on the island of Ireland, and peace and trade on the island.

He added:

“It will ensure that there are no checks, whether they be sanitary and phytosanitary, whether they regulatory cheeks, whether they be live animals, or indeed whether they be customs checks in the context of goods travelling and being traded north and south, and south and north. I think that is a very significant achievement.”

He also said:

“The bit that has changed in the Withdrawal Agreement relates to Ireland. Much of the Irish protocol remains the same on issues like the CTA and so on. But the provisions which were previously referred to as the backstop have changed.

“But we have always said that if we can replace the backstop with something else that does the same job on the key issues that I outlined earlier in terms of protecting the peace process preventing a hard border and protecting  Ireland’s place in the EU single market and customs union, if we can achieve that, then we will always look favourably on a new approach.

“As long as the outcomes were guaranteed and I believe they are. And that is why I think this is a deal that is worth supporting because it protects core Irish interests.”

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Earlier: Done Deal

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

This morning.

The Court of Appeal in Belfast rejected an appeal by a Northern Irish rights campaigner against British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy.

Lawyers for Raymond McCord had said that a no-deal Brexit on October 31 would breach the Good Friday peace agreement that ended three decades of violence on the island of Ireland.

However, Declan Morgan, chief justice of Northern Ireland, dismissed the case today, saying “it is not appropriate for this court to examine the possible outcome of the [Brexit] negotiation on the basis of political rhetoric.”

Northern Ireland court dismisses no-deal Brexit challenge (Politco. eu)

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

The Irish and British governments will today formally sign an agreement about the reciprocal rights UK and Irish citizens will continue to enjoy in the neighbouring jurisdictions after Brexit.

The Memorandum of Understanding will be based on the range of rights and privileges that currently apply in the Common Travel Area agreement between the UK and Ireland.

Irish-UK post-Brexit reciprocal rights deal to be signed in London (RTE)

Thanks Bebe

Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern (right) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, at Castle Buildings, Belfast on Friday, April 10, 1998

FIGHT!

RollingNews

Thanks Spaghetti Hoop

Uh oh.

Nat writes:

Trolling level: Brexiteer…

FIGHT!

Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney speaking at the launche ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ public information campaign at Government Buildings last month

Otis Blue writes:

Are you still trying to work out why the Good Friday Agreement matters in the Brexit negotiations? Read on…

Rollingnews

00004371Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair in Belfast, 1999

Further to concerns at the legality of ‘letters of comfort’ sent to IRA suspects on the run.

Selective outrage?

Eamon Delaney writes:

[Former British Prime Minister Tony] Blair is rightly adamant that without the letters of comfort the IRA ceasefire would never have endured. “The issue of OTRs ( On the Runs) was absolutely critical to the peace process and at certain points became fundamental to it…,” Blair told the MPs who have been investigating the scheme. “And I think it is likely that the process would have collapsed.”

Now, however, the UK police no longer believe the Blair letters afford these suspects any protection and are apparently keen to seek prosecutions, most especially for high-profile IRA actions in London in the 1980s. However, if such suspects were arrested and tried it would quite likely cause a major crisis in the peace process as the letters from Blair were clearly and understandably taken as immunity documents by wanted IRA members known as the OTR’s, or ‘On the Runs.’ This is what they would have expected as part of signing up for a lasting settlement.

The move is particularly ironic given that this week we have also seen some devastating revelations about collusion during the height of the Troubles between Loyalist killers and the British security forces. According to Leslie Thomas QC, a lawyer presiding at a double inquest in Belfast, loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for up to 80 deaths between July 1972 and June 1978 in Northern Ireland’s ‘murder triangle’ in counties Armagh and Tyrone, and the UK security forces may have colluded in many of those murders.

Most of the atrocities were carried out by the so called ‘Glenanne Gang’ of UVF gunmen with the alleged active involvement of soldiers and police officers. The gang operated out of farms in Armagh and Tyrone in the mid-1970s when the Troubles were at their worst. Now the families of the victims, supported by Leslie Thomas QC, are calling for a full inquest.

These allegations, although sensational, only confirm the now widespread belief that there was often extensive collusion between loyalist gangs and the British security forces during the conflict. Only this week, Anne Cadwallader, the author of “Lethal Allies,” a devastating 2013 book about the subject, testified in front of a Congressional Committee in Washington about the deep extent of this British collusion.

“If what we say is right, this is the biggest involvement of state agents in mass murder on what is technically British soil,” said Leslie Thomas in Belfast about the latest allegations. “Then we say that what the families of the bereaved want, quite simply is the truth to come out: they want justice.”

However, the British media and establishment has virtually ignored these allegations, and focused predictably on the On the Runs, especially since the Blair government’s Letters of Comfort involved an undoubted deal of official secrecy and subterfuge. There is also the fact that the ‘guarantees’ were issued by a Labour Government and not a Conservative one. In UK politics, especially at the moment, party partisanship can often come before what’s actually good for Northern Ireland, or even the UK.

However, the broader picture here is a selectivity of outrage and seeking of justice about certain parts of the Northern Ireland conflict, but also the dilemma of how much of the past should be left in the past, including the non-pursuit of suspects for past crimes

RUN!

Real potential for peace process to unravel over IRA On the Run arrests (Eamon Delaney, Irish Central)

(Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

902967339029674190295759902967349029673590296737902957579029673690296739Scenes from Castle Buildings, Stormont, Northern Ireland,following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement 15 years ago today.

Dobson could have shown a leeetle more empathy.

From top: Liz O’Donnell and David Andrews: John Hume; Lucilita Bhreatnach, Martin McGuinness and Martin Ferris; Ian Paisley; Jim Gibney and Mitchell McLaughlin; Mo Mowlam; Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern; John Taylor; Liz O’Donnell and Bryan Dobson.

(Eamon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)