Villiers must reject Dublin meddling over ‘human rights’

Morning View
Morning View

In his speech yesterday to the Irish senate on the possible repeal of the Human Rights Act, Dublin’s foreign minister mentioned that he will be meeting Theresa Villiers next week.

Charlie Flanagan did not emphasise that he intends to congratulate the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on her re-appointment, or her government’s new mandate, but that he will “underline to her the importance which the government attaches to human rights in the context of the Good Friday Agreement, and also a number of the particular concerns that you have expressed here today”.

In other words, he will tell her that Dublin does not want London to repeal the UK’s Human Rights Act (HRA).

For good measure, Mr Flanagan expressed disappointment that a renewed commitment to a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland was not in the Stormont House Agreement.

Ms Villiers is a very polite woman, so it is to be hoped that she can find a diplomatic way of telling Mr Flanagan, in effect, to get lost.

This is not the first time Dublin has meddled over a Bill of Rights for the Province, as is wanted by republicans (and the human-rights-for-murderers brigade). In 2012, the then foreign minister Eamon Gilmore had the nerve to use his invitation to address the Alliance Party to demand such a bill.

There is other meddling too. The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has demanded an inquiry into the murder of one Troubles victim, Pat Finucane, when most terror victims died at the hands of an IRA that often found haven in the Republic.

And it was Mr Flanagan who announced that his government is to re-open the ‘Hooded Men’ case.

We again suggest that Ms Villiers and David Cameron give Dublin a jolt for once and tell it to keep its nose out.

If the UK decides to repeal the HRA, to re-calibrate the interaction between international and domestic law on rights, so be it. And any such reform must apply to all the UK.