The British Government - the root cause of the current crisis
A Letter from Ireland
It is summer in Ireland. It doesn’t last long so we have to make the most of it.
Ireland is glorious in good weather. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the bees are buzzing. We are a nation of overcooked people and underdone barbecues.
The good weather is to run until next week. Meanwhile, I will be back on the road.
A Sinn Féin delegation will be heading to Washington for three days of packed meetings and events.
This will be an occasion to discuss the outcome of the recent election, the challenges of re-establishing the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, and the opportunities for building a new and united Ireland.
We will meet with Congressional Leaders, members of the Administration, and supporters of the Good Friday Agreement.
British Prime Minister Sunak will also be in Washington next week to meet with the President. I am sure they have much to discuss. The war in Ukraine, policy towards China, the impact of climate change, the rise of autocratic states, the threat of AI, and the undermining of democracy and international law.
The British Government will also want to discuss a potential trade deal. The President, if he is true to form, will want to discuss Ireland, peace, and progress.
The visit by Prime Minister Sunak occurs against the backdrop of the Democratic Unionist Party continuing to block the operation of the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement. The people have been left without a democratic forum, a government, and functioning All Ireland bodies. The British have indulged the DUP and allowed this drift in the process.
When the Good Friday Agreement was signed twenty-five years ago, it was opposed by less than 29%. The minority was not allowed to block progress. The British and Irish Governments, as co-equal sponsors of the agreement, moved ahead in partnership.
Today the British have broken the partnership with the Irish Government. They have allowed a minority to block the functioning of the Agreement.
The self-serving, unilateral approach of the British Government is most evident in their dealing with the past.
It is continuing to legislate to ban the families of those killed in the conflict from accessing the courts, inquests, or judicial investigations. Actions that are opposed by victims, all parties, the Irish Government, International Human Rights Bodies, and the US Congress.
Their proposals undermine the Good Friday Agreement, ditch the Stormont House Agreement, and are a breach of international law. It is about continuing the covering up of their actions at the cost of truth and reconciliation.
The President knows that the unilateral approach by the British Government is the root cause of the current crisis. Speaking in the Dáil about our peace agreement, President Biden said, “I think that the United Kingdom should be working closely with Ireland in this effort — in this endeavor.”
Next week is an opportunity to remind the British Government of its responsibility to honor their agreements, abide by international law, and work as partners for peace and progress.
Have a great weekend, stay hydrated and I hope to see you along the road.
Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Féin Representative to North America. Each week he writes a letter from Ireland with news and analysis. It is featured in the weekly Friends of Sinn Féin USA Newsletter. Be sure you are subscribed to stay up to date.