With Brexit looming, it is increasingly important for Irish citizens in NI to retain their rights as Europeans

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor
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I object strongly to J. Martin’s assessment of the Good Friday Agreement as being somehow a tool whereby nationalists can achieve their objectives (‘Unionists are letting nationalists advance behind the 1998 agreement,’ June 28).

The GFA is a document, put together after a decade of difficult negotiations and wholeheartedly endorsed by the people of Ireland north and south.

It belongs to all the people of Northern Ireland.

The ‘advancement of nationalist demands’ sounds like a threat whereas the issues raised are completely non threatening to unionists.

The great thing about the GFA in my opinion is that it is a compromise. It recognises that we are a deeply divided society and it fully recognises the legitimacy of both main identities in the north.

With Brexit looming, it is increasingly important for Irish citizens resident in Northern Ireland to retain their rights as European citizens.

Seeking to have these fundamental rights guaranteed in no way diminishes the status of the British unionist population of Northern Ireland.

On the second point of whether voting rights for the presidential elections in the Republic should be extended to Irish citizens living outside the state, this is something that a lot of other European countries already allow for their citizens and should have happened a long time ago in my opinion.

I would not expect unionists, even if they are now holders of an Irish passport for practical purposes, to be at all interested in voting for the next president of Ireland but for Irish citizens living in the six counties of Northern Ireland it would be very much welcomed.

It is completely within the spirit of the GFA that this should happen. Unionists need to understand that being generous to their nationalist neighbours in no way diminishes their rights as British citizens.

It is misleading and downright irresponsible to imply that the GFA is a nationalist document. It is a blueprint for a shared future and should be cherished by all and not sectarianised.

Stephen Steger-Hoey, Portrush