Letter: Henry Patterson over-complicates demand to restore Article 6 of the Acts of Union to its pre-protocol status

A letter from Dr Paul Kingsley:
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Professor Henry Patterson has contributed a very thoughtful article to the News Letter (Legalistic attempts to ‘restore’ Article 6 of the Act of Union would be a disaster, January 29).

However, he over-complicates and mischaracterises the demand to restore Article 6 of the Acts of Union to its pre-protocol status.

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This demand is not focused on taking us back to 1801, 1920, 1933, 1942, 1958, or 1965.

It could be seen as incorporating the more modest demand to take us back to the time immediately before 8 February 2023. That was the date on which the Supreme Court delivered its written judgment that Article 6 was “subject to” the protocol, and that there was a “subjugation” of that article (par.68).

The judgment also stated that “The Acts of Union and article VI remain on the statute book but are modified to the extent and for the period during which the Protocol applies” (par.67).

Restoring Article 6 to its pre-protocol status would be achieved if the Supreme Court could make a declaration that this article was no longer subjugated on the grounds that the offending parts of the protocol had been removed.

This modest and entirely reasonable demand cannot, of course, be invalidated by pointing out what happened decades ago.

Dr Paul Kingsley, Belfast