independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Good Friday pact flawed and elitist, says top historian

THE Good Friday Agreement is "flawed and elitist" but will not be derailed by the forthcoming 1916 commemorations or the threat from dissidents, according to leading historian Professor Paul Bew.

The Queen's University academic, who is also a House of Lords life peer, told the 20th annual Burren Law School that the now 15-year-old Belfast Agreement "ended the Cold War" within the Island of Ireland.

"The Good Friday Agreement was an elitist, top down process which explains its inadequacies but also explains why it continues to work," said Prof Bew.

"This (the GFA) is a stable process, there is no ambiguity in it, it is perfectly clear what the rules of the game are," said Prof Bew, who added that the weakness of the agreement was that it didn't reflect an "upward thrust" from the people in Northern Ireland.

"That's why we still have peace walls," said Prof Bew, who said that the 2008 financial crisis was the first serious Irish disaster that could not plausibly be blamed on the British.

Irish Independent

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