Aspiring to a united Ireland a crime against international law?

Dermot Nesbitt of the UUP believes “the aspect of treating nationalist/republican aspirations for a united Ireland as equal to the unionist position is a crime against international law and without precedent”. The comment comes as a response to the British Government over its ‘plan B‘ strategy for “joint stewardship” of Northern Ireland with the Irish Republic. Hold on to your hats for the upcoming “international campaign” Ulster Unionists are planning to embarrass Tony Blair over this.

Nesbitt has been asked UUP leader Sir Reg Empey to spearhead the campaign to “expose” the Government.

“The task is extremely difficult – the governments have the power while citizens’ power is weak, ” said Nesbitt.

“Only by a process of exposure and possible embarrassment is there any chance of success. Such is the power of government today.”

  • Overhere

    “the governments have the power while citizens’ power is weak”

    Simply because the unionist politations will not get their finger out of the pie and actually do some work for the money their earn.

    Another example of blame everyone else but take no personal responsibility themselves.

    Looks like the unionists simply cannot roll that stone back and open their exit from the tomb

  • Henry94

    If he thinks there is something illegal going on he should take a case. I’m sure the lawyers would enjoy the money and the laugh.

    This is a party out of ideas but still wanting attention.

  • Crataegus

    Embarrass Tony he has got to be kidding, to feel embarrassed you need a conscience.

    I certainly did not vote for anything like plan B and wouldn’t Plan B is a cop out. It avoids the real issue here that be it in UK or Irish context it is in the best interests of everyone here to cooperate and we simply have to resolve that issue HERE IN NI first or the underlying problems will run and run and run. Plan B will mean this festers for another 100years it avoids the issue.

    Need a proper Assembly with greater power and it is in the interest of Nationalists as well as Unionists, if it works it is in the interests of everyone in NI. Looked at from the context of a possible united Ireland what would current Unionists be likely to accept? A working Assembly may hasten an agreed United Ireland but more importantly it should build trust.

    Form a Nationalist perspective, and assuming a united Ireland, after the initial euphoria was over do you think Dublin would treat Derry much better than London currently does? Yes useful to have the old hinterland issues resolved, but the county towns of Ireland are secondary to the needs of Dublin. A local power base may prove very useful.

    The question should be who is not operating to the conditions of the agreement, and why, and should the rest move on without them. To go down any other route is both interference and enables the governments to be used by whatever interests. It is utter folly and reopens Pandora’s box.

    Local politicians have the opportunity of power and ministers should simply set reducing departmental budgets and force either reductions of services of job cuts. They should step away from trying to run this place and let us all come to terms with the real consequences of political grid lock and then lets see what the next election brings.

    Oh and when we do have another election what about a contract for all prospective candidates based on the agreement which so many voted for.

  • Rory

    Accepting parity of conflicting aspirations a “crime against international law”? What, I wonder,is the penalty for breaking this law – confinement at the end of the rainbow perhaps?

    It all sounds decidedly bonkers.

  • IJP

    Are Unionists ever going to wise up?

    The British Government can do whatever the hell it likes in Northern Ireland – because of the very ‘parliamentary sovereignty’ that Unionists support, and because Unionists themselves opt out of the British party system which would give them influence on all this in favour of parochial tribal politics.

    The result of this is already de facto joint sovereignty. And if the British Government wishes to extend this, it has every right to do so – that’s what membership of, without participation in, the British State does for you!

    ‘Unionists’ will never get anywhere until they realize what a farce ‘Unionism’ is.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    This all sounds about as likely to succeed as Dermot’s previous campaign over job discrimination. Even if he had a point, it was killed off because no-one could understand what he was on about.

  • fair_deal

    I dislike sweeping statements like this.

    What international law is supposed to be being breached? Also unprecendented doesnt necessarily mean it is illegal.

  • Brian Boru

    The GFA is international law. It could be argued then that the refusal of Unionism to work it is a breach of international law. The agreement allows for North-South bodies. By setting more up, perhaps the 2 govt’s are respecting international law more than the Unionists.

  • English

    How does it break international law? The Union is a British domestic matter, based on the fact that the Union is founded on English political and economic domination of the lands of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Scotland and Wales have consistently obeyed the wishes of London, whereas Northern Ireland has been persistently bothersome to the Union.

    Northern Ireland is certainly foreign in it’s behaviour compared to the mainland, but I suppose that is because it is foreign as it refuses to follow London’s instructions since it’s inception.

    England can do whatever it wishes to it’s colonies at the end of the day, but would like to remain on good terms if possible.

  • I have a spare fencing post going, if that’s any use to the UUP front bench. I mean, it’s bound to have a higher IQ than 9/10ths of them, doesn’t it?

  • Ken A. Biss

    Even if they engaged a top-flight constitutional lawyer (like Mary Robinbson or Mary McAleese, to mention two), they would only succeed in making themselves look foolish. The GFA is itself part of international law and the British Government would only be in breach of it is it failed to implement the measures the Agreement calls for, in which case the Dublin Government would be the complainant. That is highly unlikely as long as the British continue, however gradually, with implementation. The rejectionist Unionists really need to get a life!

  • The GFA is international law. It could be argued then that the refusal of Unionism to work it is a breach of international law

    Then Peter Hain is breaking international law by altering aspects of the agreement

  • English

    The thing that should worry Ulster Unionists is that in this particular instance politics is about compromise between all concerned, especially because the Unionists have no power in real terms to frighten anybody. They know this, and that is why they can only clutch at straws like this. What the UUP should be doing is acting as the honest broker in order to get the best deal out of a bad situation for Unionism.

    What they are doing instead by making such statements is making themselves look foolish and making themselves even more unpopular. Is it any wonder the DUP have more MP’s?

  • lib2016

    English,

    “…Unionists have no power in real terms…”

    They don’t in fact know this. That’s one of the reasons why ‘Slugger’ is such a useful resource in reminding us that seemingly reasonable people like our unionist neighbours make UKIP look like pinko internationalists in the extent to which they have become detached from reality.

    The average unionist, if we are to judge from their posts, thinks that Margaret Thatcher was a ‘wet’, that the EU is a Papist plot, and that unionism generally is leading Norn Ireland towards a multicultural and tolerant future against the ignorant and narrowminded insularity of the rest of this island.

  • woofmcdog

    here here LIB2016

    and to think Mr Nesbitt is the groovey thoughtful side of Unionism.

    God help us.

  • TAFKABO

    The average unionist, if we are to judge from their posts, thinks that Margaret Thatcher was a ‘wet’, that the EU is a Papist plot,

    Care to cut and paste a sample of posts from a range of unionist contributors that would support ts claim?

    I’ll not hold my breath waiting.

  • Brian Boru

    “Then Peter Hain is breaking international law by altering aspects of the agreement”

    FYU not if its interpreted as part of a “review” of the GFA which is allowed therein.

  • joinedupthinking

    Such a ridiculous proposition from Dermot. Even more ridiculous is us giving it any credence. The GFA was an agreement between two sovereign states. As two sovereign states they can agree any changes to it they like.
    End of story.

  • circles

    I’m really sorry for unionsits at the minute, and I don’t mean to patronise. On one hand theres screamin Lord Reverend and on the other this desperate clutch for invisible straws.

    I’m really sorry guys – maybe it really is time to vote for Mr Big Words Ervine.

  • Brian,

    FYU not if its interpreted as part of a “review” of the GFA which is allowed therein.

    You have misunderstood me. I am not talking about any type of “review”. I am talking about the way Hain and the Labour Govt have been disgracefully changing the terms of the GFA to suit themselves. I am particularly referring to cross border bodies.

    Was part of the agreement not that if the bodies were to operate they were to have a Unionist Rep off the executive present?

    Now that the executive no longer exists these Unionists are no longer in attendance. Therefore by following the agreements terms these bodies should also have been suspended, yet they were kept on: is this not a clear breach of international law?

  • Brian Boru

    Fermanagh I am not aware that existing North-South bodies were to disappear when the North-South Ministerial Council stopped functioning. I think you are confusing the North-South Council (suspended since 2003) with the cross-border bodies established by the elected assemblies of NI and the Republic. The latter should remain because it is what the people of the Republic expected when voting to remove Articles 2 and 3. We didn’t do it for nothing you know.

  • I think you are confusing the North-South Council (suspended since 2003) with the cross-border bodies established by the elected assemblies of NI and the Republic.

    Nope, previous SOS Paul Murphy even stated in London not so long ago the the continuation of these bodies were going against the terms of the GFA

    BTW, the GFA was for the people of Northern Ireland…

  • Brian Boru

    I don’t see it that way sorry. Enough of the naysaying please. Onward march with more North-South nirvana if the Unionists won’t return to govt.

  • Dave

    ‘Unionists’ will never get anywhere until they realize what a farce ‘Unionism’ is.

    Posted by IJP on Apr 17, 2006 @ 12:41 PM

    That being the case, then you are not for the status quo, therefore you are for either:
    A united Ireland or an Independenet Northern Ireland, if this not the case it would be fair to say you are not a unionists. Just exactly what is your political position?

  • elfinto

    Has Dermot Nesbit lost his marbles altogether?

    Go on Dermie, attempt to criminalise me!

    I’ll wear no convict’s uniform, etc, etc.

  • Dave

    FAO Lib 2016

    “The average unionist, if we are to judge from their posts, thinks that Margaret Thatcher was a ‘wet’, that the EU is a Papist plot, and that unionism generally is leading Norn Ireland towards a multicultural and tolerant future against the ignorant and narrowminded insularity of the rest of this island.”

    If i were to judge Republicans/Nationalists
    by “their posts” I would be of the belief that the third reich had returned, come to think of it many republicans have stated that IRA/SF members were by their actions reminded them of the brownshirts.

    If you wish to embarrass these er… republicans yet again by asking me to provided proof of any such statements, then all I can say is that the ball is in your court?

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all, I’m sure in the law…it would be considered treason against the crown. And those working towards the goal of United Ireland in the north are conspiring to commit treason. Interesting….

  • IJP

    Dave

    This is the very attitude that too many people fall for.

    ‘Unionism’ is not about ‘maintaining the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland’, it is about defending Protestant-British interests in Northern Ireland. Just watch the rhetoric closely and you will see that – and you will see that ‘Unionists’ do precisely nothing to promote a genuinely inclusive Northern Ireland.

    ‘Nationalism’ is not about ‘attaining a united Ireland’, it is about defending Catholic-Irish interests in Northern Ireland. Just watch the rhetoric closely and you will see that – there is no serious attempt to engage seriously with what would be required to incorporate the British tradition into any all-island state, it’s all about ‘50% + 1’ (as if that solves everything).

    Both of these are therefore nationalistic and tribal. They identify with ‘communities’ of people rather than with the land mass and all the people who occupy it. And they are in consensus with each other – both promising ‘victory’ for their side without daring to put forward the obvious point that ‘victory’ for one ‘community’ over the other ‘community’ is hardly the way forward for a shared, stable society.

    If you are serious about ‘dialogue’ (the listening as well as the talking), about a ‘shared future’, about ‘cross-community’ outcomes, about ‘equality’ and about ‘human rights’, you cannot be nationalistic or tribal – you are either in favour of these things, or you’re not, there can’t be exceptions. But you’ll note that both ‘sides’ are in favour of them only where they suit their own ‘community’.

    I am in favour of any of the following:
    – an inclusive Northern Ireland with universal world-class human rights and equality provision which encourages genuine political debate on the issues that really count (environment, health, education), run by a devolved government and politically incorporated into the UK in such a way that people resident within it can aspire to the highest civic and political offices in the UK;
    – an inclusive all-island ‘Commonwealth of Ireland’ state with universal world-class human rights and equality provision which encourages genuine political debate on the issues that really count (environment, health, education), and which incorporates the British tradition into its political, civic and social make-up in such a way that it is both stable and fully independent;
    – an inclusive independent northern Irish state with universal world-class human rights and equality provision which encourages genuine political debate on the issues that really count (environment, health, education), and which incorporates both the British and Irish Gaelic traditions on the island in such a way that it is both stable and fully independent.

    Any of these is preferable to being an unwanted basket-case economy on the fringe of a state that doesn’t want us, or being incorporated into a state whose traditions (and, frankly, myths) are utterly alien and indeed in opposition to those of a fifth of its population.

    Which one of the above three is the right one we have to decide together – but that won’t happen while we’re only interested in our own ‘community’ at the expense of everyone else with whom we have to share this region.

  • Harry

    It is preposterous to describe your neighbours as “utterly alien” after being here for 400 years. I wonder where the fault for that lies?

  • himself

    Was the famous quote from David Trimble overheard by the media during the 1998 talks, when asked who to send in to negotiate something important not go something like this:

    “anyone but Dermot!”

  • lib2016

    Taf,

    Rather than ‘cut and paste’ from all the available nonsense I’d prefer to point at the total idiocy of Mr. Nesbitt’s comments, which is after all the point of this thread. Having failed in it’s object of criminalising the IRA, unionism is now proposing to criminalise every republican since 1916. Given the week that’s in it this has to be the daftest notion unionists have come up with yet.

    BTW – would you like to ‘cut and paste’ all those anti-racist comments from unionist politicans on recent happenings in the Village? Just to show how nice and progressive they really are!

    Dave,

    Germany is the leader of modernday European democracy. Don’t let the British obsession with spinning their failed attempt at holding onto their position at the centre of an imperial tyranny into ‘the defence of liberal democracy’ fool you. The Brits will shaft Irish loyalists as they have shafted Empire Loyalists right around the world. Put simply, your community has nothing to offer anyone in Britain and they are about to dispose of you.

    Unionists need to negotiate their position now while they still have something to offer the rest of this island. Otherwise nationalists face having to take over the care of an aging uneducated loyalist population. This is the time to give your children a decent future they can be proud of, here in Ireland rather than abroad as part of the unionist braindrain.

  • PaddyReilly

    This all depends what he means by International Law. If it is the European Convention on Human Rights, then means exist to rectify the breach. As he does not mention which Article or Protocol he believes has been breached, it is impossible to comment on his case.

    But as for International Law proper, most textbooks on the subject begin by making the point that International Law is not law in the sense that other legal systems are. This is because there is no means of enforcing it. Rather, it is a series of rules that sovereign states may find convenient to follow, or may, if they choose, ignore, except, perhaps, when there is a risk of invasion.

    If the UK and Irish Republic both conspire to breach the treaties made between them, then there is no court which can force them to do otherwise.

  • joinedupthinking

    “Otherwise nationalists face having to take over the care of an aging uneducated loyalist population.”

    A more contemptuous, elitist, fascist, sectarian comment it would be hard to imagine. On a par with something the white supermacists in S. Africa or the USA would have come out with.
    Easter and memories of 1916 really do raise the blood in some and bring to the surface an accurate articulation of the reality of Irish “republicanism”.

  • PaddyReilly

    IJP

    < >

    Many European states have, in the last few decades, experienced an influx of hundreds of thousands of British settlers. It’s no big problem: you just increase imports of marmite. Are you sure that you are actually talking about British?

  • lib2016

    Unionists have finally caught on to what Gerry Adams warned of years ago in his first speech at Stormont and have joined in the call for loyalists to build a respect for education into their community ethos. They’ve even gotten a grant for it.

    Presumably you would also define Garret Fitzgerald as ‘contemptuous, elitest, fascist, sectarian’ for his comments in the Irish Times on the need for Ireland to continue building on it’s lead over Britain in the education stakes.

    You can listen to good advice and work out why Catholics with honour degrees are taking over the Civil Service or you can spout rubbish like the DUP appear to prefer. Your choice entirely, friend.

    PS Incidently the Equality Commission are the people who quite rightly first raised the threat of Catholic women taking over the Civil Service completely. That would not be in anybody’s interest. Republicans want an Ireland of equals, whether you believe that or not.

  • joinedupthinking

    “Republicans want an Ireland of equals, whether you believe that or not.”

    I’ve seen too much of “republicans” at first hand and the base sectarianism that drives them to believe that aul guff.
    On Garret FitzGerald’s piece – I didn’t know “republicans” now took their lead from him -would that be the same Ireland that has the lowest average IQ in Europe? Or is it only some stats you gobble up. Everything Irish for you and Adams etc. must be measured against Britain -a sign of deep insecurity and a feeling of inferiority.

  • smcgiff

    ‘would that be the same Ireland that has the lowest average IQ in Europe?’

    Joinedupthinking? I’d settle for mere consciousness.

    Whaddia on about? Do you refer to the Belfast academic’s study that placed Ireland (North and South) some 3 IQ points behind Britain? The same academic that said women were 5 IQ points below men?!? Even so, Ireland was nowhere near the bottom – That honour went to some country in the Baltics.

  • joinedupthinking

    smcgiff

    Merely in response to our “republican” friend gloating at, as he sees it, the stupidity of Protestants and quoting, of all people for him, Garret FitzGerald’s waffling about Ireland’s supposed lead over Britain in “the education stakes”.
    I would have thought, given his professed politics, he should be more concerned with the plight of the substancial number in Ireland who leave school with barely any educational qualifications. Also heavily reported the other Saturday in the Irish Times.

  • Mustapha Mond

    IQ tests attempt to measure the unmeasurable, and have on numerous occasions been found to be deeply flawed. Quite a few “intellectuals” only managed average scores on these sort of tests.
    IMO they should only be used for fun, rather than any serious scientific study.

  • barnshee

    “IQ tests attempt to measure the unmeasurable, and have on numerous occasions been found to be deeply flawed. Quite a few “intellectuals” only managed average scores on these sort of tests.
    IMO they should only be used for fun, rather than any serious scientific study”

    Yea the bastards thems the wans keepin me out of bean a docter a lawer an an accountanant with all their auld 11+ tests an gcses an alevels an onners degrees. Sure i cuda been anyhing if it wasnt for all them tests -the bastards

  • Richard James

    “It could be argued then that the refusal of Unionism to work it is a breach of international law. ”

    Brian Boru, I’ve explained this to you before. In order to elect OFM/DFM cross-community support is needed. No part of the GFA compels any party to support the election of OFM/DFM. Likewise if d’Hondt was to be exercised then parties can refuse to nominate Ministers. The reason an Executive cannot be formed is precisely because of the conditions set down in the GFA at the insistence of Nationalists. And the only way to get around that would be to concede to the DUP the need to renegotiate the GFA :o)

    Also Unionists were acting illegally in refusing to form an Executive then don’t you think somebody would have taken us to court by now?

  • joinedupthinking

    Mustapha Mond

    There speaks somebody who probably scored about 25. So, they have to be a load of aul ballox anyway.

  • middle-class taig

    IJP

    “I am in favour of any of the following:
    – an inclusive [whatever]… which encourages genuine political debate…”

    Is this inclusive debate to be achieved by refusing nationalists and republicans access to the debate? Lock them out of the hall perhaps?

    Just wondering….

  • Mustapha Mond

    Barnshee
    Wah?
    There is a world of difference between an IQ test and a proper academic certificate… if that is what your saying.

    Joinedupthinking
    It was 26 actually. And they are a load of aul balleeks, I cannot think of anyone who would take an IQ test as a scientific measure of a persons intelligence… must be due to my low IQ eh? to extrapolate from your petty ad hominem.

  • barnshee

    Mustapha
    Any relation to my old friend Mustapha Pee?
    But I digress

    IMHO (and experience as a Teacher/trainer)the 11+ is a fairly good predictor of the potential for academic/professional sucess.

    Over (in N I) some 60 years the actual test has changed “shape” , but always has the purpose of testing literacy and numeracy in an examination setting- put crudely how well can the candidate ,acting on their own and in a time limited environment, think clearly, work accurately and write legibly??

    These are the skills necessary for success in further study and dare I say it in employment.

    Candidate rates of success are functions of ALL examination systems Degrees are awarded in classes
    A level and GCSEs are awarded in grades (in the bad old days pupils were examined at 14/15 in the old “junior Certificate” and had their scholarship withdrawn if they “failed” ) If testing at these levels is fair why is it not fair at 11+ level?

    Perhaps you could enlighten me of the ” world of difference between the an IQ test and a proper academic certificate”…

    I hold both, they were both obtained by sitting a formal exams. Both exams had distinct similarities -I had to use and display the skills and knowlwdge I had acquired and my results were graded accordingly.

    There is an annual review procedure available to all pupils who “fail”- which allows tranfer to a more approprite school where their performance merits it.

    As Winston Churchill nearly said “the 11+ is not terribly satisfactory its just that the alternatives are so much worse”

  • lib2016

    joinedupthinking,

    Like most people I try to keep my posts reasonably short and don’t try to include every possible point however….

    Although more Catholic children (as a percentage of the whole) leave school without qualifications the fact is that Protestants also have fewer (as a percentage) children with degree or better qualifications. Moreover there are claims that qualified Protestants tend to emigrate.

    This has definite repercussions. For example, Amazon recently moved their European headquarters from the South of England to Cork because they couldn’t get enough suitably qualified people in the South of England.

    It is not in the interest of anybody in the North of Ireland for any part of our community not to reach their full potential, or that having reached their potential they don’t stay here. We need all our resources, Catholic and Protestant if we are to attract the multinationals.

    Experience in the South suggests that educational change on the scale needed will take twenty years so this is not about grabbing some short-term advantage for nationalists. It is about seeing that all our grandchildren have jobs.