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Progressive voices must defend the Good Friday Agreement – Adams

24 March, 2018 - by Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams is in London today addressing a conference: ‘After Brexit – the Prospects for a United Ireland’.

Teachta Adams said:

“Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, the Good Friday Agreement remains under grave threat. The Tory government intends to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; to withdraw from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; and to repeal the Human Rights Act. These measures threaten the core Human Rights elements and safeguards of the Good Friday Agreement.

“For its own narrow, party political, and selfish reasons, the Tory government has actively encouraged the most negative, intransigent, and sectarian elements of political unionism to attack and undermine the Good Friday Agreement. No one should be surprised by this. This is the historical record of British Conservatism’s relationship with Ireland and its disgraceful exploitation of unionism.

“It is therefore critical that progressive elements in Ireland and Britain unite to defend the Good Friday Agreement. Our responsibility must be to ensure that all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement are implemented in full.

“Why should language rights or marriage equality or legacy rights that are taken for granted elsewhere on these islands be denied to citizens in the North of Ireland? Human rights should be inalienable and not subject to prejudice and discrimination.

“And in this respect the Irish government, as a sovereign guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, must protect the rights of all citizens on the island of Ireland both in relation to Brexit and to the future of the Good Friday Agreement.”

The Louth TD concluded:

“The Good Friday Agreement commits a British government to hold a referendum on unity and to legislate for a united Ireland should a majority vote for that outcome. Sinn Féin believes that there should be a referendum on Irish unity within the next five years. Progressives and democrats need to demand that the British and Irish governments agree a date for such a referendum.

“We also need to plan for that referendum and to agree the new political strategies that will be required to win it.

“After almost 100 years of a failed partitionist system and centuries of British involvement in Irish affairs, it is time for the Irish people, all of us on the island of Ireland, to shape out our own future.” 

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