Former SDLP Leader, Mark Durkan speaking in Dublin tonight has suggested a renewal review of the Good Friday Agreement.
He told his audience;
“As the Brexit negotiations intensify, it’s welcome that the EU27 have continued to voice a strong commitment to protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts. It’s critical, however, that such a commitment extends to protecting it in its promise and potential as well.
“The full potential and flexibility of Strands Two and Three must be harnessed to protect and preserve relationships across this island and across these islands. It is the full prospectus of Strand Two for enabling, developing and delivering cooperation, common policies and actions including through joint implementation for mutual cross-border and all-island benefit which needs to be safeguarded and even nurtured in the coming negotiations.
“In spite of the narrow interpretation of the agreement by some, as a negotiator in the all-party talks and subsequently in fora which developed the outworking of the text, I was very clear that it’s terms were designed to deepen areas of co-operation, particularly relating to economic development.
“The Agreement is not a cherished treasure to be encased and remembered in sepia-tone. Its structures offer a toolkit for a lot of the creative, imaginative and flexible solutions that will be needed to minimise the damage which Brexit will cause.
“As we approach its twentieth anniversary, it’s clear that we should now have a renewal review to explore how its Strands can be deployed and developed to deal with the challenges facing us. With a spirit of renewal, we can find power in the agreement to drive continued partnership on this island and between these islands that guides the creation of future constructive relationships.”
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs