Sacrifice Good Friday Agreement for Brexit?
In Britain the voices of Brexiteers calling for the Good Friday Agreement to be revised are growing stronger. In their opinion it blocks the path to a hard Brexit. Signed in 1998, the agreement put an end to decades of conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. Commentators are horrified at the idea.
The threat of renewed conflict
The fragile peace in Northern Ireland would be in serious danger without the Good Friday Agreement, the Sunday Times warns:
“That 'mandatory coalition' was the essence of the devolved government for Stormont proposed in 1998. Neither side could move forward without the acquiescence of the other. If Sinn Fein, as the leading representative of the nationalist community, had its veto removed, as some are proposing, the alternative would be de facto majoritarian rule by the Democratic Unionist Party, representing unionists, that would take Northern Ireland back to the casus belli of the Troubles and 3,600 deaths.”
Not the way to be a reliable partner
If the British government sacrifices the Good Friday Agreement to the Brexit it would soon regret it, the Irish Times is convinced:
“The reality is that Brexit's true believers have only just woken up to the fact that the 1998 treaty, which is effectively a part of the UK's constitution, makes the hard Brexit they desire virtually impossible. ... The Brexiteers believe that a liberated Britain will sign fantastic trade deals with countries all over the world. It seems not to occur to them that a country that casually tears up the most important international treaty it has signed since 1972 will not look like a very reliable partner to anyone.”