'Role of Irish America crucial in defence of the GFA' - Kearney
Writing in his latest blog, following a recent trip to San Francisco, Sinn Féin National Chairperson, Declan Kearney, has called on Irish America to mobilise in defence of the Good Friday Agreement.
He noted that nearly 6,000 miles from Ireland the same issues were being raised by Irish Americans in terms of the lack of unionist leadership: Brexit and denial of citizen’s rights.
During his trip to San Francisco and Sacramento, Declan Kearney met senior local politicians including State Governor Jerry Brown and current San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell.
In a statement he said:
"Everyone I met grasped the gravity of the political crisis in the north.
They understood the threat to the GFA, and instinctively got the catastrophe of Brexit.
The irrefutable strategic lesson to be learned about the north of Ireland from the period since 2010 particularly, is that the political and peace processes cannot be taken for granted.
This existing crisis is the combination of 20 years ‘push back’ against the GFA by political unionism.
The DUP specifically, is now emboldened in its opposition because it believes (correctly) that the British Tory government has its back.
The DUP decision to pull away from the definitive accommodation and very advanced draft agreement arrived at with Sinn Féin on 14th February, raises fundamental issues about leadership authority, decision making, and commitment to genuine power sharing within that party.
Many within Irish nationalism are saying that it would be preferable to have the political institutions re-established on the correct terms, but 20 years after the signing of the GFA they are also asking if political unionism has squandered its chance to share power with Irish nationalists as equals.
The political crisis is deepening.It is not an option to stand back and spectate as a full-blown vacuum unfolds.
That must be prevented.
This is a crucial juncture for the Irish peace process and future of the GFA.
The political advances of the last 20 years must not be allowed to be reversed or squandered.The influence of Irish Americans is now once more essential to entrench and defend the peace process.
Irish Americans need to be launching new campaign initiatives within and beyond the diaspora.
They need to be energetically lobbying US politicians and the Administration itself to become more engaged and interventionist in defence of the GFA, and in opposition to the negative repercussions of Brexit.
Those who have invested so much in the peace process and vision of the GFA must act together.
The future of the peace process and GFA requires Irish Americans to once again refocus and remobilise their significant political and civic influence across the United States.