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Identity still central to politics in Ireland

In the article entitled ‘Only solution for Irish border will be UK remaining in EU single market: Jonathan Powell’ (News, July 28), it is quoted that Mr Powell asserted that: “The Good Friday Agreement took the issue of identity out of Irish politics, a hard border puts it right back in”.

Identity is at the core of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. Identity is defined as being British, Irish or both.

It is enshrined into the institutional framework of the Assembly through the process of MLAs designating themselves as unionist, nationalist or other. Identity, therefore, forms a central part of the agreement.

He is, therefore, wrong to state that the agreement “took the issue of identity out of Irish politics”; it did not. Rather, it gave it a central place, purpose and function, in the formation of the Executive and on cross-community votes, which must be held for votes on the Programme for Government and budgetary matters. A cross-community vote can also be triggered by a petition of concern, requiring 30 members.

The decision of the UK to leave the EU, therefore, has nothing to do with it.

Cllr Richard Holmes (UUP)

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

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