Sinn Fein has abused the concept of human rights by setting up such rights as pre-conditions for the return of Stormont, an expert says today.
Professor Brice Dickson, former chief commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), criticises republicans for refusing to re-establish devolution until the conferment of gay marriage and Irish language rights is guaranteed first.
“The party seemingly won’t even agree to establish the Executive and Assembly on a time-limited basis to see if those rights can be agreed therein by a certain deadline,” he writes in today’s News Letter (see link below). “To me this is an increasingly indefensible position, and for three reasons.
“First, it is counter-productive to be demanding those rights while denying people a much more basic right — the right to government.
“The absence of government in Northern Ireland during the last 28 months has had a hugely more deleterious effect on people’s well-being than the absence of same-sex marriage or an Irish language act.
“Second, of all my friends and acquaintances who are gay and/or speak Irish ... resent those rights being used as bargaining chips in some larger political game.”
He also points out that Sinn Fein supported NIHRC advice to government on a Bill of Rights in 2008, which “included neither” a right to gay marriage nor a right to use Irish.
Professor Dickson’s article in full is here.
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