Good Friday Agreement under threat – Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has warned that the communiqué agreed last Friday means that Irish citizens living in the North will be stripped of their right to access the European Court of Justice after eight years.
The Sinn Féin leader said that when taken with the British government’s determination to scrap the Human Rights Act and end its involvement with European Convention on Human Rights that these actions are a direct attack on the human rights safeguards of the Good Friday Agreement.
Speaking during pre-EU Council statements in the Dáil today, Deputy Adams said:
“Last Friday’s communiqué recognises the unique and special circumstances of the North, the importance of the peace process, and the need to ensure no hard border.
"The Communique also asserts that the Good Friday Agreement will be at the heart of any eventual agreement. But there are also some very important contradictions in the communiqué, including about the Good Friday Agreement.
"Paragraph 53 of the communique states that there will be no diminution of citizen’s rights caused by the departure of Britain from the European Union. However, when I pressed the Taoiseach on a number of occasions on the communiqué’s possible impact on the rights of Irish, and therefore EU citizens living in the North, and in particular whether they would have access to the European Court of Justice, he wouldn’t answer and didn’t answer. There was no clarity.
"It took until yesterday, Tuesday, to get that clarity. And then we learned that after am eight-year period the British will not allow the European Court of Justice to apply to the North. And the Taoiseach has apparently agreed to that.
"In his statement today the Taoiseach said under the Good Friday Agreement people in the North have the right to Irish citizenship, which includes the right to European Union citizenship and that that has to include access to European institutions. Yet the Irish government has signed up to an agreement which will strip Irish citizens living in the North of their EU rights.
"The Good Friday Agreement is the defining document and agreement which sets out the relationship between the people of this island and the people of these two islands and that includes the people in the North who the Taoiseach said an Irish government would never leave behind again.
"We need to be very clear about this. I could give ten examples of agreements in the last 20 years that the British made and have not honoured and have poked holes in in the intervening period.
"The British government is also planning to withdraw from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; and to repeal the Human Rights Act, by which the European Convention of Human Rights is incorporated into British law.
"These decisions directly threaten the role of the European institutions and the Human Rights elements and safeguards which are fundamental to the Good Friday Agreement.”