DUP MPs insist Brexiteers are RIGHT to say the Good Friday Agreement has “failed” after Irish minister slams Euro-skeptics for “irresponsibly” attacking the peace accord

Posted By: February 21, 2018

Tim Sculthorpe. Daily Mail. England. Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Senior DUP MPs today endorsed claims from some Brexiteers that the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland had failed.
Jim Shannon and Sammy Wilson said Sinn Fein’s refusal to form a power-sharing executive proved the 1998 peace accord no longer worked.
The claim came amid warnings from Brexiteers the peace accord was being manipulated by Republicans who wanted a united Ireland after Brexit.
In an update to MPs in the Commons, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said she would soon have to take steps to set a new budget for the province of London.
She hinted fresh elections could be ordered in an attempt to end the 13-month stalemate and insisted the Government wanted to preserve the Good Friday Agreement. 

 Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney branded the claims ‘irresponsible’ today and Brexit Secretary David Davis was forced to say the UK Government still backs the agreement.

 The intervention of the DUP MPs—who help prop up the Tory Government in Westminster—will fuel concern the UK could walk away from the deal.

 The DUP did not support the Good Friday Agreement when it was signed and opposed it in a referendum. The party later endorsed it and led the power-sharing government it created. 

 Mr. Wilson, the DUP MP for East Antrim, told Politics Home that critics of the Good Friday Agreement ‘are right.’

He said ‘wreckers’ in Sinn Fein had used it to bring the assembly down and ‘refuse to allow it to be reformed unless others give in to their blackmail demands.’

 And he added: ‘The Tories are only saying what we have been arguing for – changes which make the assembly sustainable, which means no more wreckers’ veto.’

 Stramgford MP Mr. Shannon said: ‘If Sinn Fein can hold back where we are as a protest to move forward then in real terms the Good Friday Agreement as it was has failed.

‘Therefore its value has to be considered and looked at for the future.’

 David Davis  insisted the UK government still backs the Good Friday Agreement after Brexiteers were accused of undermining the accord

At his Road to Brexit speech in Vienna, Mr. Davis said he was not ‘conscious’ of anyone talking down the Good Friday Agreement, insisting ‘certainly nobody in Government is.’

He said that ‘everything we are doing is aiming towards ensuring we meet every aspect’ of the agreement.

 Mr. Coveney said talking down the 1998 peace deal to further the Brexit agenda was ‘irresponsible.’ 

 Writing on Twitter, he said: ‘Talking down (the) Good Friday Agreement because it raises serious and genuine questions of those pursuing Brexit is not only irresponsible but reckless and potentially undermines the foundations of a fragile peace process in Northern Ireland that should never be taken for granted.’

Mr. Paterson, a former Northern Ireland secretary, recently retweeted a commentator’s suggestion that the agreement had outlived its use.

Brexiteers including ex-Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson left) and Labour’s Kate Hoey (right) have suggested Sinn Fein is holding up talks in Stormont to pursue a united Ireland inside the EU

He also tweeted that Northern Ireland deserved good government, and health services were falling behind the rest of the UK without a devolved executive.

The agreement was signed almost 20 years ago by the British and Irish governments and enjoyed support from most of the major parties in Northern Ireland. The DUP – now the leading unionist party and Theresa May’s ally in Westminster – opposed it at the time.

It enabled the formation of a ministerial executive and assembly at Stormont.

Ms. Hoey said her questions over the future of the Good Friday Agreement were nothing to do with Brexit.

“Hiding head in the sand over the viability of sustainability of mandatory coalition is reckless and wrong,” she said.

Mr. Hannan said he had been arguing long before Brexit that the agreement needed to be changed.