Monday 18 June 2018

Sinn Fein has duty on Brexit vote

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA
Editorial

Editorial

As the various twists and turns on Brexit continue to offer little by way of clarity, an argument is beginning to emerge from the more strident wing of the UK Conservative Party that the Good Friday Agreement has outlived its usefulness and should be dispensed with, an outcome which would, of course, help facilitate the hardest of hard Brexits and would be detrimental to this island's interests, North and South.

This argument should be roundly rejected by all political leaders on the island of Ireland and publicly by the UK government, certain members of which seem to be determined to wreak untold and not just economic havoc on this island in pursuit of their ill-thought-out position of departure from the European Union.

In a speech in New York last week, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, strongly defended the Belfast Agreement, stating that the Government would not give credence to those who had, he said, glibly claimed the Good Friday Agreement to have failed or outlived its utility. While the operation of the agreement has at times left a lot to be desired, it is not true to say that the document itself has entrenched sectarianism in the political process. Rather it is the intransigence of the main political players in Northern Ireland which has done so, that is, both the DUP and Sinn Fein, and latterly Sinn Fein with its untimely insistence on a standalone Irish Language Act. However, both parties have a duty to make the agreement work as expected by the peoples of Ireland.

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