Architect of Good Friday Agreement slams EU, Irish Government and President Biden for attacking “rights and livelihoods” of Northern Ireland citizens
The Northern Ireland Protocol must be scrapped or there is “real potential for those who have engaged in past violence to take action again into their own hands”, the architect of the Good Friday Agreement warns today.
Lord Trimble criticises the Northern Ireland Protocol for shattering Northern Ireland’s constitutional relationship with the UK and warns it is damaging its fragile economy.
Writing for the Irish Times, he explains how the Protocol “amounts to a seismic and undemocratic change in the constitutional position of NI and runs contrary to the most fundamental premise in the Good Friday Agreement.”
He accuses the European Union, the Irish government, nationalist parties in NI, UK politicians, and even President Joe Biden of hiding behind the Good Friday Agreement:
“They believe, by invoking the hard won Agreement that I helped negotiate 23 years ago, they can justify the indefensible attack on the rights and livelihoods of all NI citizens that the unprecedented and unreasonable NI Protocol requirements impose on the part of the UK in which I live.”
Lord Trimble, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work leading to the Good Friday Agreement, goes on to warn that failing to tackle the issues of the Northern Ireland Protocol could lead to violent repercussions:
“But rather than the NI Protocol protecting the GFA, the fact is it is pulling it apart. I fear that tensions are once again starting to rise. We have already seen the threats to inspectors at NI ports. The democratic mandate of the Stormont Parliament has been called into question. People’s livelihoods and the NI economy are reeling from the Protocol’s pettifoggery.”
“If the genuine grievances and resentments caused by the Protocol are not addressed politically, then there is real potential for those who have engaged in past violence to take action again into their own hands. As someone who loves my country, and made real personal and political sacrifices to bring peace and normality to it, I implore my own government, the Irish government and the EU to stop playing fast and loose with the hard won arrangements in the GFA.”
The premise that Lord Trimble is referring to is the fundamental principle of consent. He states that Northern Ireland has been “annexed by the EU and is subject to EU laws and an EU court without any right of dissent.”
He discusses how he feels like he has been “personally betrayed” by this change to the status of NI due to the huge personal sacrifices he made to persuade citizens of NI to vote for the GFA.
His piece in The Irish Times follows on from the Centre for Brexit Policy’s report earlier this month, ‘Correcting the damage caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol’, which explained that a system of Mutual Enforcement was the solution to the Northern Ireland border problem.
The Centre for Brexit Policy’s report included a foreword from Lord Trimble, explaining how a combination of poor UK negotiation and crafty EU planning led to the Good Friday Agreement being used as a Trojan Horse to undermine the UK’s attempts to regain its sovereignty.
In both the Centre for Brexit Policy’s report and his article, Lord Trimble insists that an ‘invisible border’ can be restored to the natural Irish land border. Under the Mutual Enforcement solution he supports, there would be no hard border, no border down the Irish Sea, and no threat to the Good Friday Agreement.
Lord Trimble was published in The Irish Times on Saturday 20th February 2021: link
Notes to Editors
Click here to read the report.