2 June 2013 Edition
Editorial | Eagarfhocal
In recent weeks, the situation has been compounded with the British authorities charging Donegal republican John Downey and Belfast man Michael Burns – both supporters of the Peace Process – in a clear breach of commitments the British Government gave at Weston Park and in subsequent negotiations
THE British Government has broken its word.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have taken their eye off the ball regarding the Peace Process and are undermining the work of the Executive.
- Westminster has reneged on the Peace Dividend;
- Westminster has cut the Block Grant;
- Westminster has refused to devolve powers on Corporation Tax;
- Westminster has proposed significant welfare cuts;
- Westminster has broken its word on the status of people who would have come under the Good Friday Agreement releases of political prisoners.
Given the experience of Ireland, are we surprised? Maybe we shouldn’t be but, although the Tories may not like it, their predecessors in Tony Blair’s Labour Government gave cast-iron pledges – witnessed by the Irish and United States governments at St Andrews in 2006 – on these issues.
What will international audiences make of the ease with which this British Government can so blithely dismiss agreements made – and accepted and internationally affirmed – in good faith.
In recent weeks, the situation has been compounded with the British authorities charging Donegal republican John Downey and Belfast man Michael Burns – both supporters of the Peace Process – in a clear breach of commitments the British Government gave at Weston Park and in subsequent negotiations.
Westminster is showing utter contempt for its responsibilities and commitments to the people of the North of Ireland and the island of Ireland under the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements.
It is an arrogance that harks back to the Britain of Margaret Thatcher. It feeds the narrative of minuscule, unrepresentative groups with no popular support and whose raison d’etre is opposition to the Peace Process.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg need to reverse their disastrous course. They need to meaningfully re-engage with republicans by honouring the British Government’s commitments to the Irish Peace Process.