No wonder Baroness Hoey feels so betrayed by the outworkings of the 1998 Belfast Agreement

News Letter editorial of Tuesday March 15 2022:

By Editorial
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 1:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 2:45 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Today in this newspaper (see link below) the former Labour MP Kate Hoey recounts how she campaigned in favour of the Belfast Agreement in 1998, alongside David Trimble.

Baroness Hoey believed that “central to the agreement was the principle of consent”.

As did so many of us.

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What we have seen over the last 24 years is a subtle but relentless pushing by nationalism for more, always supported by partisan Irish government ministers such as Simon Coveney (who, along with Leo Varadkar, when Sinn Fein kept down Stormont for three years until there was an Irish language act, made clear that Northern Ireland should indeed have such Gaelic legislation).

We have seen UK ministers, who are relentlessly scolded in Brussels and Washington by their counterparts in Dublin for London’s handling of the legacy of Irish terrorism, decline to hit back openly and bluntly at such audacity from a country which over 25 years refused to extradite IRA murderers.

Central tenets of the 1998 settlement have being discarded, including the three strands in the 2020 Stormont restoration deal (this newspaper during the talks repeatedly gave warning as to the risks to the strands, and yet Julian Smith was installed by Boris Johnson as secretary of state, then gave Mr Coveney joint control of a deal which delved deep into policy areas that should be solely the reserve of local politicians).

Last year NI was not even allowed a centenary celebration, beyond paltry events such as an anniversary service so apologetic the words Northern Ireland were barely mentioned.

And now, a Belfast court has confirmed that the Act of Union is impliedly and partially repealed by the atrocious Northern Ireland Protocol.

Meanwhile, protocol apologists tell us we are still in the UK so the loss of control over trade rules has no major constitutional implication, despite the massive implications of it.

No wonder Baroness Hoey feels so betrayed.

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