“‘New language’, my arse!”

At his Broken Elbow blog Ed Moloney has some fun with the same Detail report that Brian noted in his recent post – “another important waypoint in SF’s bewildering, extraordinary journey“.

I have read this piece several times. It is based on a speech given by SF MEP Matt Carthy and no matter how I hold it – up to the light, sideways, upside down or at various angles – it seems to be saying the same thing: the Good Friday Agreement is as good as it gets, folks!

So, no more pretence that the 1998 deal was a stepping stone to the all-Ireland paradise envisaged by the men of 1916 – a goal, incidentally, that I seem to remember both Messrs Adams & McGuinness a decade or so ago hinting, if not actually predicting, would be reached by the centenary.

And since that anniversary has come and gone and not only is the Border still intact but swathes of the Republic now seem to be on the British royalty’s routine visiting itinerary – rather like Stevenage or Birmingham – it is maybe time to come clean and admit the obvious about the state of the Union between Britain and Northern Ireland.

The only twist to the story is that the failure of the project is now being laid, or rather credited, at the door of the bankers. And we thought they were all evil,  selfish bastards!

Heh!  The associated Sinn Féin press release also noted

Recognising that the agreement of a significant section of Unionists would be required for the building of a United Ireland [Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy] said any referendum on unity “should not be seen nor portrayed as threat to any section of the community”.

Except that his party policy is, and they campaigned in the last two elections on the basis that, Sinn Féin would

Continue to campaign for an island-wide referendum on Irish unity

Which, as I’ve argued, would first require separate referendums, in Ireland and in Northern Ireland, to overturn the Principle of Consent – the right of self-determination of the people of Northern Ireland to decide the constitutional status of Northern Ireland – that is the fundamental building block on which the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and all that followed, is based.

[But that was for a different audience! – Ed]  Indeed.


For example, the Principle of Consent is now enshrined in the Irish Constitution – via the amended article 3.1.

It is the firm will of the Irish nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions, recognising that a united Ireland shall be brought about only by peaceful means with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island.

As I pointed out, to hold a valid island-wide referendum on Irish Unity, as Sinn Féin have repeatedly called for, the Irish Constitution would need to be amended first. Which would require a referendum of its own – in Ireland.

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