Where was the Unionist Opposition to Further Concessions to Republicans?

Responding to the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly report on the implementation of the Belfast and St Andrews Agreements Jim Allister said:

“The British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly was established in July 2012 and brings together members from the devolved institutions  in the UK as well as members of the Westminster and Dublin parliaments.  Jim Wells and Danny Kinahan are members from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

“A report produced by the Assembly’s committee on Sovereign Matters this week highlights both the degree of all-Ireland harmonisation which is taking place and further concessions which are expected of the Unionist community. What is remarkable is that the report was endorsed by the full plenary this week. There is no mention of any dissent, so did the Unionist members acquiesce in calls for more north/southery, a civil forum, greater provision for the Irish language and the report’s talk of an “all-Ireland economy”?

“The report highlights:

That “There has been intensive engagement on Strand Two of the Agreement between  the Northern Ireland Executive and Irish government with over 100 sectoral meetings having taken place since devolution was restored. This represents substantial political commitment on both sides”;

Engagement across North/South issues “is intensive and productive” and claims that:

“A prosperous all island economy is crucial to the ongoing success of the peace process” – making no mention of the fact that Northern Ireland is significantly better off as part of the UK the Report highlights the efforts to shackle us to the bankrupt Republic.

“Similarly, the Report notes that the St Andrew Review into the efficacy and value for money of the Belfast Agreement’s North-South Bodies is now completed and the “priorities for further cooperation” are now being considered.

“No such comments are made when dealing with the East-West dimension, the British – Irish Council.

“Additionally while the committee notes that there is no Irish Language Act they do point out that: “The position of the Irish language is one of the issues intended to be addressed by the proposed Commission on Identity, Culture and Tradition as outlined in the proposals which have emerged from the recent political talks in Northern Ireland led by Dr. Richard Haass and Dr. Meghan O’Sullivan.”

“It also renews calls for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland which reflects “the particular circumstances” of the Province rather than incorporating Northern Ireland in a UK wide Bill as well as making the case for the return of the civic forum.

“This report should act as a wakeup call to Unionists as to the direction of travel of the Belfast Agreement and the increased role of Dublin in our internal affairs.

“If Mr Wells and Mr Kinahan agreed to this Report how do they square that with their stand in Northern Ireland on these issues?”

Note to editor

The report can be accessed online here http://www.britishirish.org/full-potential-of-good-friday-belfast-and-st-andrew-s-agreements-yet-to-be-reached-bipa-committee/

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