How Paisley became Trimble…

With the historic anniversary of the Belfast Agreement coming up this week, the Irish Times has been running a series of OpEds on the subject (all subscription locked, I’m afraid). Yesterday, Peter Robinson tried to make a fist of arguing that the Belfast Agreement had failed (‘cast into a Sadducee’s grave’, if I recall his exact words of November 2003) and that there was no just cause for a ‘celebration’ as such. It contrasts with Gerry Adams’ contention that the Agreement had delivered change. Winners get to write the history, as one DUP source told Frank MIllar. Millar’s own take is that for all that the DUP finished a deal that Trimble began, the measure of the latter’s success lies in the precise continuity of Paisley to Trimble’s course.

…it is only as Paisley prepares for retirement that we may fully appreciate that what started out as Trimble’s story of challenge and change became a tale of two bitter adversaries who trod a strikingly similar path and would meet not dissimilar ends.

The Belfast Agreement offered Northern Ireland peace and triggered a unionist civil war. In 1998 Trimble gambled everything to secure the agreement, and Paisley subsequently fought him and his Ulster Unionist Party to destruction. Yet it can be argued that the real story of their respective leaderships is one of remarkable continuity.

Both men in the end answered to the same imperatives – to end the dangerous estrangement between Northern Ireland and its senior partner in the British Union, and to seek to secure the Union by making the concessions necessary to reconcile the North’s growing nationalist and republican minority to the reality of it.

Though there were significant differences between the Belfast Agreement and the one signed at St Andrews in November 2006 – not least the decommissioning of the IRA and acceptance of Policing by Sinn Fein, Millar notes:

However, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern spoke for the rest of the parties when asserting that the alterations to the 1998 accord were “Good Friday compliant”. In any event, the internal unionist argument was lost on a wider public watching mesmerised on March 26th, 2007, as television stations around the world broadcast the once unimaginable image of Paisley sitting alongside Adams.

Their encounter was public confirmation of a deal already done. And on May 8th, 2007, Paisley accepted nomination as co-equal First Minister in a new powersharing executive alongside Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. As if to underline that there is little sentiment or lasting gratitude in politics, missing from all official guest lists that day were the original first and deputy first ministers, Trimble and the SDLP’s Séamus Mallon, without whose efforts none of it would have come to pass.

And later:

Yet if Trimble had not embraced the concept of powersharing at Executive level and been willing to absorb the shock of RUC reform, there would have been no accommodation with the SDLP, much less Sinn Féin. Had it not been for the original Ahern/Trimble engagement leading to the abandonment of the Republic’s territorial claim to Northern Ireland, we would never have witnessed Paisley’s subsequent eye-watering trip to Dublin.

And above all, if Trimble had not been persuaded of the need to provide an alternative political route for republicans seeking a way out of conflict – a decision branded by Paisley as the ultimate in a long line of sell-outs – there may well have been no peace at all.

History, he argues, will draw its own verdict. Now ‘the Doc’ is himself fading out, the continuity between the two is, perhaps, all the more pronounced.

,

  • willowfield

    The DUP proved more adept at the implementation of the Agreement (finishing off Trimble’s work on decommissioning and getting Provo support for the police), but they certainly didn’t replace it with a new one. Everything else remains as was, with some procedural changes.

  • “with some procedural changes”

    Such as removing the requirement that the largest block in the Assembly provide the FM.

  • willowfield

    Indeed: an incredibly cynical – but dangerous – change to the DUP’s short-term electoral advantage, but potentially to unionism’s medium-term disadvantage.

  • Robinson might be shocked to know that his boss soon will not be looking so much at a Sadducees grave as an upside down cross:-

    A prophecy was fulfilled at the reconvening of Stormont on May 8th 2007 with Ian Paisley being elected First Minister and Gerry Adams decided not to be part of the government: “[The second beast, i.e. Paisley] exercised all the authority of the first beast [i.e. Adams] on his behalf [i.e. because Adams remained outside government], and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed [Adams was shot and seriously wounded in 1984]” (Rev 13:12).

    For more click on my name below and follow links.

  • Turtly British

    This ‘the DUP are only implementing Trimble’s deal’ cr*p is *SO* stupid. The whole point about Trimble’s useless, unworkable deal was that it was precisely that – he couldn’t make the useless thing work. There is no alternative reality where, with a better wind, Trimble would have discovered the superhuman abilities (he for some reason decided to hide in this one) necessary to give effect to something impossible. That’s, after all, why he couldn’t, and didn’t.

    Now if you want to write a “what if?”, take, as your kick-off, Trimble coming back with a deal that he could make stick. It’ll be an interesting counterfactual, but the whole point is – he didn’t bring back such a deal, precisely because he wasn’t up to bringing back such a deal.

  • willowfield

    What’s the difference, Turtly British, between the Belfast Agreement and what the DUP are administering now?

  • 6countyprod

    Ian became Jerry’s dancing partner after the demise of David. But Ian changed the dance routine, and Jerry could no longer dance rings around his partner.

    Way to go, Big Man!

  • qubol

    is john o’connell for real?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Both the GFA and the STA, in my (non legal) opinion, concede soverignity to ROI. It would be interesting for a demonstrably neutral constituitonal lawyer or a university to compare the STA and GFA in this regard.

  • Thomas W Hogg

    Trimble was a no good lundy sellout who went into government with Sinn Fein 3 times!

    My wonderful party only did it once, and even when the IRA continued to terrorise (Paul Quinn) we stuck to our hardline guns and made excuses so that we can stay in power.

    But Trimble went in to govt with Sinn Fein twice more than us so he’s a Lundy

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Interesting Sammy. It would be useful if you could unpack how you come to that conclusion?

  • slug

    “Such as removing the requirement that the largest block (=designation-Slug) in the Assembly provide the FM.” Posted by Chekov on Apr 08, 2008 @ 03:00 PM

    “Indeed: an incredibly cynical – but dangerous – change to the DUP’s short-term electoral advantage, but potentially to unionism’s medium-term disadvantage. ” Willowfield

    Checkov and Willowfield: though I initially thought the way you did, I would now suggest that people relax about this. Do we really like this ethnic designation system anyway? Nearly everywhere in the world the largest party (not the largest ethnic group) supplies the FM and we should not fear such a system. Why put a bar on a nationalist being FM when they get the largest party? The FM has no greater formal power than the DFM its a symbolic thing.

    I have no problem in principle with the largest party having the FM and I DO have a problem with it being reserved for whichever ethnic group is largest. In fact I have a problem with designation altogether and hope we can eventially move away from it.

  • percy

    John O’Connell there’s a tip for you in the following:
    When Aleister Crowley and his acolytes gathered together to explore inner space and consciousness raising; they became aware of the ego’s attempt to glorify itself; so as they took ippisimus vows of Kether, (Kether which as you’ll know is the highest part, indeed the crown of the mystical Kabalah or the Tree of Life)
    anyway they agreed that they would cut themselves slightly if any of them mentioned or began a conversation with “I”.
    This was to guard against the ego.

    Having read your introduction on your website, the whole thing is I,I,I; how great you are, how special you are, and so on.

    This is proof, in fact that you, my little corkscrew, are one of the many false prophets we were warned about:
    “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect –- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time” (Matthew 24:10-13;24 NIV).

    Now begone.

    Hope this is ok admin, someone has to tackle this whacko

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    SadMin

    The adminsitration of the government of Non Iron requires ministerial cooperation with ROI in a range of economic and social areas as set out in the GFA/STA.

  • willowfield

    Sammy McNally

    Both the GFA and the STA, in my (non legal) opinion, concede soverignity to ROI. It would be interesting for a demonstrably neutral constituitonal lawyer or a university to compare the STA and GFA in this regard.

    They don’t concede sovereignty anymore than the Foyle Fisheries Commission (or whatever it was called), or the old Belfast-Dublin railway company did.

    If, though, sovereignty was conceded to the ROI, by the same token, the ROI also conceded sovereignty to the UK.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willowfield,

    “If, though, sovereignty was conceded to the ROI, by the same token, the ROI also conceded sovereignty to the UK. ”

    that was precisely why I suggested it required a non ideological input because the constitutional importance of these links is open to debate.

    In my (republican lite) opinion the “council of the isles” or whatever it is called was a sop to Unioinists to help them swallow the north south ministerial council. Unioinsts can try to underlplay and footdrag on ministerial meetings but they have signed up to this constitutional link. (Of course they get a bit of papish cash which also helps the ROI medicine go down.)

  • willowfield

    The north-south bodies were a sop to nationalists and, of themselves, are of little practical importance. The relegation of the north-south bodies to practical and sensible co-operation was a unionist negotiating success.

    They don’t concede sovereignty, since they cannot make decisions without the separate authority of the Assembly and the Dáil.

  • willowfield

    “are of little practical importance” should read “are of little constitutional, political or practical importance”

  • Percy

    Having read your introduction on your website, the whole thing is I,I,I; how great you are, how special you are, and so on.

    What is on my website is the Truth, and it has nothing to do with ego other than in the sense that everyone has one and it really is a matter of being aware of that.

    This is proof, in fact that you, my little corkscrew, are one of the many false prophets we were warned about:
    “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect –- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time” (Matthew 24:10-13;24 NIV).

    You flatter yourself, Perci. Maybe I am special and you’re just not one of the elect. What signs have I given you anyway. I’ve simply directed you to an interpretation of the Book of Revelation dealing with the second coming.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows,

    “The north-south bodies were a sop to nationalists and, of themselves, are of little practical importance.”

    constitutionally I would say they are of real importance as it is a condition of office that Ministers cooperate with Ministers in ROI. Unionists are constitutionally obliged to operate these bodies in areas offering mutaul benefit to both parts of the country or the executive will be collapsed. This is constituitional recognition of Ireland as one country and rather strangely agreed to by Unionists in return for the totally worthless articles 2 & 3.

  • percy

    John
    I just think you need a little help is all
    God Bless

  • PaddyReilly

    John O’Connell

    Could I ask you how you go about publishing your own books? Who does your printing and what does it cost per book?

  • Percy

    Which is it that has you in a spin? Adams or Paisley? Antichrist or false prophet? Their names really do come out at 666. I didn’t make it up. Get over it!

    Click on my name for more!

  • Paddy Reilly

    You type it first. Then have it put on a printable format for the printer (£50-£200)

    Then send it to printer Antony Rowe Ltd in Sussex who’ll charge £100 set up and £1 per book cover + £.01p per page.

    It’s very simple.

  • Dewi

    Just finished that Powell book – what a ten year tale of tortuous wordplay with so little meaning to the words – but a dedication and commitment by some noble people to create a peace.
    Love the Ahern “Good Friday Compliant” phrazse by the way….
    Paddy – Paid ag annog y dyn ymlaen.

  • PaddyReilly

    John O’Connell

    Thanks for info. I plan to bring out my own history of the conflict in Ballyjamesduff. What is a “printable format for the printer”?

    Dewi: paham na?

  • “finishing off Trimble’s work on decommissioning and getting Provo support for the police”

    Surely that work was done by Haass and Reiss following 9/11; IMO the Unionist input was very limited.

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy McNally

    there are no North/ South bodies with executive powers so there is no issue of soverignty. Long term, strand 2 will advance the cause of Irish nationalism as much as the dumped articles 2 & 3 did. (Unless the Cork based Safe Food is a carefully constructed republican front organisation)

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dewi,

    Mae Duw yn symud mewn ffyrdd dirgel.

    p.s. Saracens are half way up the Premiership table and they beat the shit out of Ospreys – arguably a stronger team than Wales ( paraphrasing Western Mail ).

  • “Both men in the end answered to the same imperatives”

    I suspect they were both ‘forced’ by the two Governments and opted for devolved government with SF, a parapolitical organisation that wouldn’t get seats in government in London or Dublin.

  • PaddyReilly

    Ond am y rhai llwfr hynny sydd ddim yn credu, a phobl ffiaidd, llofruddion, pobl sy’n anfoesol yn rhywiol, chwaraewyr rygbi, y rhai sy’n ymarfer dewiniaeth ac yn addoli eilun-dduwiau, ac sy’n dweud celwydd – y llyn tân sy’n llosgi brwmstan ydy eu lle nhw! Dyna’r ‘ail farwolaeth’.
    Da 21:8

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    “there are no North/ South bodies with executive powers so there is no issue of soverignty”

    if there is a constitutional requirement to operate these bodies with another jurisdiction then there is an issue of soverignity even if the execution of these joint decisions take place seperately as implemented by the respective ministers.

  • Paddy Reilly

    PDF is a printable format.

  • Dewi

    Paddy & Sammy – Mae’r ddau ohonoch mor wallgof a’n gyfaill. O ddifrif, mae gen i Dad a Brawd sy’n dioddef ac mae sylw yn gallu ysgogi’r breuddwydiau twp (rwy’n cymryd gofal i beidio defnyddio geiriau sy’n hawdd i gyfieithu)

    And Sammy- I’m a Cardiff City Fan! (Now where do they play ? What shape is the ball ?)

  • Dewi

    “chwaraewyr rygbi, y rhai sy’n ymarfer dewiniaeth”

    Newydd sylwi ar hynny – da iawn!!!

  • willowfield

    Sammy McNally

    constitutionally I would say they are of real importance as it is a condition of office that Ministers cooperate with Ministers in ROI. Unionists are constitutionally obliged to operate these bodies in areas offering mutaul benefit to both parts of the country or the executive will be collapsed.

    The very limited nature and powers of the bodies diminishes their constitutional importance to that of a sideshow.

    This is constituitional recognition of Ireland as one country …

    It’s not. On the contrary: it recognises explicitly the two jurisdictions.

  • abucs

    Before anyone cedes any sovereignty, they’d have to go to Brussels to ask for it back !!!

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Ian became Jerry’s dancing partner after the demise of David. But Ian changed the dance routine, and Jerry could no longer dance rings around his partner.

    Way to go, Big Man!”

    Surely the Big Dupe opposes dancing…
    and the use of the word “partner” tells us all we need to know about this ignominious end to his career. Now the historians will have to examine the great issue- which wife oushed the husband harder to sell out for a place in the establishment: Daphne or Eileen?

  • judewhyte

    I think you will all agree there are some” mental health issues “on this site re some of the contributors all welcome i am sure but none the less a bit weird

  • Philip McNeill

    From Thoburn v Sunderland City Council [2002] EWHC 195 (Admin) it can be inferred that the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which implemented the Good Friday Agreement, is a constitutional statute: the first amongst equals. This suggests that although, in theory, the UK Parliament is supreme, whereby the Stormont Assembly is subordinate in law-making authority to the former, an additional requirement of an explicit repealing Act at Westminster would be a referendum in this province; only then would the Northern Ireland Act of 1998 be null and void. This may go to explain why the St. Andrews Agreement etc were mere smoke and mirrors and was described as the GFA for slow learners.

    As for evangelicals making analogies of our leaders to Revelations then that is a matter of faith but what is fact that for 40 years the Dr (sic) said ‘no’ then when he was in power he said ‘yes’. Why? It doesn’t take rocket science: why does one join a political party for instance but to gain power. Only pressure groups can enjoy the luxury of having a full set of transparent principles and morals. Democratic politics is the art of what can be achieved by compromise.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows,

    “This is constituitional recognition of Ireland as one country …

    It’s not. On the contrary: it recognises explicitly the two jurisdictions”

    Oh yes it is. I do love a good debate.

  • George

    Both men in the end answered to the same imperatives – to end the dangerous estrangement between Northern Ireland and its senior partner in the British Union, and to seek to secure the Union by making the concessions necessary to reconcile the North’s growing nationalist and republican minority to the reality of it.

    Has there really been an end to the “dangerous estrangement”?

    Is the North’s “growing nationalist and republican minority” reconciled?

    If these were the imperatives, then I fear we are staring failure in the face.

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy McNally

    If believing that the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission negates the Union helps you sleep at night (and others from murdering their neighbours) well and good.

    However I would point out that those working in the North/ South bodies are paid different rates depending on which country they reside, they have different rules pertaining to expenses depending on which country they operate and the bodies themselves are subject the the audit rules of the two countries in which they operate.

    So, in the spirit of your love of high debate, oh no it doesn’t.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    Under the North South Ministerial Council Northern Ireland Ministers are obliged constitutionally to cooperate with their southern counterparts in aspects of the following areas Health, Transport, Education, Agriculture, Tourism, Environment. (Very Life of Brian). This is on top of the funny fisheries arrangments etc you mentioned above as well as the Trade and EU programme management (north south bodies) you neglected to mention.

    Oh yes they (constitutional links) are (important).

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy McNally

    “Under the North South Ministerial Council”- what does that mean? Are you suggesting that the NSMC can direct how ministers behave? If you are you are mistaken.

    The North South Bodies are:

    InterTrade Ireland
    Waterways Ireland
    The Language Body (Foras and the Ulster Scots Agency)
    Special European Union Programmes Body
    Safe Food
    Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission
    Tourism Ireland Ltd.

    None of the above have executive authority, all are subject to the control and accountability of both countries in which they operate. Please explain the constitutional importance of SEUPB.

  • Jim Allister has posted three items on his blog today that relate to the 1998 Agreement and succeeding agreements.

    An inescapable conclusion from Jonathan Powell’s book on “the Peace Process” is the wholesale lack of morality which characterised government dealings with the terrorist IRA.

    Both governments were, are and will be IMO prepared to do almost anything to contain the ‘virus’ to here. Yet Jim seems to have faith in their ability to change otherwise why are he and TUV backing ‘Direct Rule’?

  • Dewi

    Nevin – I’d truly love to hear your plan.

  • Introducing Tourism Ireland

    What control does Nigel Dodds, the DETI minister, or the DETI committee have over TI actions or inactions? Do any fair employment rules apply?

  • Dewi, I thought folks were bored with my proposals!!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    the North South Ministerial Council
    http://www.northsouthministerialcouncil.org/index.htm

    it’s remit

    http://www.northsouthministerialcouncil.org/index/areas-of-co-operation.htm

    This is in addition to the North South bodies of which you speak and Unionists are constitutionally obliged to participate.

  • dewi

    Nevin – come on ! – On a wonderfully grand strategically visionary level!

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy McNally

    whatever.

    No link to any executive power exercisable by the NSMC.

    No link to any power the NSMC has to direct ministers.

    What about a link to the “constitutional obligation” to particip[ate in North South bodies?

    I won’t hold my breath.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sammy,

    As BL suggests, that is a long, long way short of passing sovereignty to the Republic. Europe is a powerful bind on both legislatures. The bodies you are mentioning are either purely consultative, or cross border quangos that are separately accountable to whichever territory they operate within.

    The EU on the other hand has teeth which bite north or south. Plan B is long gone and left the station, notably without Northern Ireland on board. See the Taoiseach’s recent valedictory remarks.

    Getting back to the original topic…

  • BL, the obligation to participate or be represented is detailed here.

    NSMC ministers allocate EU funds – or at least whatever is left after their own ‘bit of a do’. I stumbled on such an event on the Causeway Coast on the evening of Stormontgate. The ministers were Empey, Farren and Parlon.

    I put up the TI link and it would appear that Nigel Dodds hands over one third of the funding but that would seem to be about the limit of his control.

  • BonarLaw

    Nevin

    the NSMC does not have funds to allocate nor does it have any executive power to divvy up the Euro millions.

    The duty is to attend and participate in the NSMC and the BIC not as Sammy suggests to work the North South Bodies.

    In the vein of Micks’advice Trimble has penned this for the Daily Telegraph.

    Of particular note is “I think they [the DUP]are continuing to pursue our objectives in more favourable circumstances.” It can be argued that all unionist parties have the same objectives and that the favourable circumstances resulted from the DUP approach to the process.

    Discuss.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner, Mike

    “Both the GFA and the STA, in my (non legal) opinion, concede soverignity to ROI.” ( my earlier comments ).

    This same arguement was advanced by the DUP pre-STA.

    The constitution of Non Iron (GFA/STA) explicitly compels Unionists to co-operate on a range of areas from Health to Transport ( see above ) as a condition of office – I would call that a dimunition of soverignity of the UK in Non Iron to ROI.

    It’s relevance to the topic Mike is that although the Paisley condemned these arrangements they still ( after modiifcation ) compel Unionists to cooperate with ROI and he has adopted ( because of further fear of loss of soverignity ) signed up to it – exactly as Trimble did.

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy McNally

    The GFA has no legal force. What you need to be looking at is the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as ammended by the Northern Ireland (St. Andrews Agreement) Act 2006.

    The legal obligation is to attend and participate at the NSMC and BIC.

    If Unionist attendance and participation at the NSMC passes soverignty to the Irish Republic does Irish participation in the BIC pass soverignty to, say, the Isle of Mann?

  • BL, the final divvying up took place in the Marine Hotel Ballycastle on 9 October 2002; the slap-up do was held the evening before in the Giant’s Causeway Hotel.

  • BonarLaw

    Nevin

    given your eye for detail I am surprised you seem to be confusing the NSMC and SEUPB.

    BTW “slap-up” and “Giant’s Causeway Hotel” are phrases seldom used in the same sentence.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    As mentioned previously it depends on the remit of the respective bodies – the NSMC compels Unionists to cooperate on a predefined range of areas – this is not the case in the BIC where participation on a subject area is optional.

    If you look at what another (currently elected) Unionist politican says on this subject i.e. Jim Allister he will say soverignity has been lost.

    As I mentioned above this is a constitional legal arguement but in practical terms soverignity has been lost by Non Iron and gained by ROI and that is why ROI governement is happy to dole out cash to Non Iron.

    re. relevant legislation: “The North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) was established on Thursday 2 December 1999 on the entry into force of the British-Irish Agreement, which was signed by the British and Irish Governments as part of the Agreement reached in the Multi-Party Negotiations on Good Friday in Belfast on 10 April, 1998 (“the Agreement”).

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy Mc Nally

    whatever

  • BL, the three ministers were involved in the ‘divvying up’ process; they weren’t just there to hear the reports.

    The ministers ate separately from their officials. IIRC Sean’s choice was scampi thermador!

  • BL, perhaps I should add that AIIC/BIIC ‘varnish’ doesn’t always do what it says on the tin. It may state that Dublin has a consultative role in, say, policing but you’ll find that London and Dublin officials are involved in policy and day-to-day decision making.

  • Douglas

    Surely the question of whether or not NI ministers are obliged to co-operate with those from the RoI is beside the point when it comes to UK sovereignty? Any obligations are ultimately imposed on NI by British legislation; in British constitutional law, if Westminster chooses to repeal the relevant clauses it could do so without impediment. (Recent court judgments suggest ‘implied repeal’ won’t work – constitutional Acts need to be expressly repealed – but there’s certainly no need for a Northern Irish referendum.

    Admittedly, this would probably place the UK in violation of its international, treaty obligations – a position in which sovereign states can be and have been in the past. That doesn’t make it impossible for Westminster to break its obligations; courts throughout the UK would uphold the relevant legislation. It remains the case that NSMC participation is required at the behest of the British state and could ultimately cease to be a requirement by the same means.

    I’m not opposing NSMC activities – all-Irish cooperation in several areas seems sensible – but the bottom line, as matters stand, is that a) nothing can be done in the NSMC without the NI Executive and Irish Government’s concurrent say-so’s and b) if NI ministers are obliged to participate in the NSMC (though not to agree with their Dublin counterparts), they’re legally obliged by virtue of a British Act of Parliament. UK sovereignty over NI remains; the UK has agreed to co-operate with the RoI in several fields, not made over its ultimate right to decide.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Douglas,

    I take your point.

    But…

    Although there may be an element of dancing on the head of a constutional pin the statement “they’re legally obliged by virtue of a British Act of Parliament” surely would be more correctly stated as “they’re legally obliged by virtue of a British Act of Parliament and an international treaty”. International treaties have legal implications in international law. The question of whether Britian might decide to break such an international treaty is a seperate one. They have via the treaty and their domestic law ceded soverignity over certain areas to a foreign jurisdiction as set out in the the GFA/STA which is effectively part of the constitution of Non Iron.

  • Sammy, sovereignty isn’t being ceded, according to the 1998 Agreement:

    “Each Government will be responsible for action in its own jurisdiction.”

    “.. the power of the sovereign government with jurisdiction there shall be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people in the diversity of their identities and traditions ..”

    “There will be no derogation from the sovereignty of either Government.”

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy McNally

    did your local Provo sell the Agreement to you on the basis that soverignty has been ceeded?

    Are you wondering why 10 years on there no evidence of impending anschluss?

    Perhaps you need to believe that InterTrade Ireland is indeed an embryonic 32 County Socialist Republic?

    The legal obligation (via a UK Act) relates to participation in BOTH the NSMC and BIC. If your (as you say “non legal”) opinion was correct that obligation would also ceed soverignty to the various participants in that Council. That, like your main premise, is simply wrong.

    My last word on this goes back to the point I made earlier- look at the legislation. Section 5 (6) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 for example:

    “This section does not affect the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Northern Ireland”

    Nothing there saying except in matters where soverignty has been ceeded.

  • Douglas

    Sammy,

    You’re correct that the British-Irish Treaty of 1998 imposed obligations on the British government in international law – but, while I accept it sounds pedantic, there’s a difference between international obligations taken on by sovereign states and actually ceding sovereignty.

    Membership of the EU is a similar case in some ways: the UK has, in joining the EU, agreed to pool elements of its sovereignty with other EU members – but it hasn’t agreed to *cede* that sovereignty. Sovereignty is, in a sense, ‘on loan’; if the European Communities Act were repealed and the UK unilaterally terminated the effect of EU law in the UK, no British court would deny Parliament’s action.

    North/South cooperation comes, in this sense, under the same heading; sovereignty is only ceded when the UK *cannot*, as opposed to ‘should not’, ‘may not’ or ‘would be seen as in breach of international law if it did’, rescind the arrangement. Unless and until that changes – at which point sovereignty would be divided between different authorities – the UK’s ultimate sovereignty over NI is unaltered.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    I have already addressed the difference between the BIC and the NSMC.

    If the DUP – currently the largest party are to be taken at their word – the GFA ceded soverignity to ROI. Were they/are they wrong about that? They now claim that the modifications via the STA have reversed that. Are you agreeing with that?

    My initial point was that this would be an interesting point for clarification by a neutral constituitional lawyer(s).

    re. the local Provo’s analysis – their analysis of the situation in Non Iron was largely accepted by HMG governement who duly put them into governement.

    Leaving aside constitutional matters the gfa/sta were about the de-britification and the re-irishification of non iron and you dont need to be a constitutional laywer to see that.

    Douglas,

    if you are suggesting that soverignity has been loaned to ROI then as long as the Englezes dont ask for it back then I for one will be happy with that.

    Nevin,

    as a matter of interest which particular document and section etc did you get the following line from “There will be no derogation from the sovereignty of either Government.”

  • Sammy, google with the sentence and it will take you to here in the 1998 Agreement.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Nevin,

    thanks for that – interestingly it relates to the BIC and not to thr constitutionally contentious part of the agreemenet covering NSMC?

    Do you not think that the view of an independent constititional laywer on GFA/STA would be worthwhile as many views ( including my own ) are driven in part by ideology?

  • Sammy, take a closer look. It refers to the BIIC and to the totality of relationships not just to the BIC.

    I suspect a lawyer could demonstrate any particular point you wished to make as this document was put together by a committee 🙂

  • Butterknife

    Here is the Nothern Ireland Act 1998 that implemented the GFA.
    Complare and contrast with the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2007. Seems the DUP did a very good PR trick.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Nevin,

    re. Laywer – I suggested a neutral one, Im not looking for a predetermined outcome.

    re. soverignity statement. The BIC/BIIC is strand 3, the NSMC is strand 2.

  • BIIC: BRITISH-IRISH INTERGOVERNMENTAL CONFERENCE
    1. There will be a new British-Irish Agreement dealing with the totality of relationships. ..

    There will be no derogation from the sovereignty of either Government.

    STRAND 2 1. Under a new British/Irish Agreement dealing with the totality of relationships, and related legislation at Westminster and in the Oireachtas, a North/South Ministerial Council to be established”

    Sammy, it seems to me that Strand 2 is a subsection of the new agreement and there will be no derogation of sovereignty under this new agreement.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Nevin,

    good spot – that certainly backs up what you posted earlier re. that statement.

    My substantive point remains that obliging Non Iron ministers to cooperate in selected areas with their ROI counterparts is a diminution of British soverignity in Non Iron – and that I would like to see an neutral legal opinion on that issue.

  • Sammy, just a thought: “Could there be a mutual diminution of sovereignty, north and south?” They may have to meet but they also have to agree terms.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Nevin,

    looked at that way – that seems to be the case.