Unionist Credential

Posted By: February 17, 2021


Letters to Editor. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, February 17, 2021.

By Denis Haughey. (Former MLA Mid-Ulster) Cookstown, Co Tyrone

In the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA-1985) and the Good Friday Agreement (GFA-1998), the British government entered into solemn undertakings to govern Northern Ireland with strict impartiality between the unionist and Irish national traditions. The AIA and the GFA are international treaties, entered into with the Irish government, and registered with the United Nations. Serious breaches of such undertakings are actionable under international law. In ballyragging the British government to “stand up for the Union” and to “display their Unionist credentials”, Unionist leaders are urging the British government to weigh decisively into current disputes about the Brexit agreement’s Northern Ireland Protocol on the unionist side. If the British were to do that they would be dishonoring undertakings freely given in the AIA, the GFA, and the EU Brexit Agreement. For the British to dishonor agreements, and break international law, would not surprise; they have in recent weeks threatened to do just that. But unionists cannot, on the one hand, claim that the NI protocol breaches the GFA, which it doesn’t -– and on the other hand, urge the British government to breach all three agreements, to protect the unionist interest and disregard the Irish National interest. The Irish government and all parties of the Irish national tradition must insist that the British honor legally binding international obligations, and consider our options if they don’t.