Irish Foreign Minister hits out at criticism of Good Friday Agreement
A number of UK politicians have questioned whether mandatory coalition in Stormont is sustainable.
Simon Coveney, the Republic’s Foreign Affairs Minister, tweeted that the 1998 accord was being undermined in some political circles.
Mr Coveney said: “Talking down (the) Good Friday Agreement because it raises serious and genuine questions of those pursuing Brexit is not only irresponsible but reckless and potentially undermines the foundations of a fragile peace process in Northern Ireland that should never be taken for granted.”
Talking down Good Friday Agreement because it raises serious and genuine questions of those pursuing #Brexit is not only irresponsible but reckless and potentially undermines the foundations of a fragile peace process in Northern Ireland that should never be taken for granted— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) February 20, 2018
The British and Irish governments have reiterated they are fully committed to the Good Friday Agreement amid a deep political impasse in Stormont.
Mr Coveney’s tweet was directed at Labour MP Kate Hoey and Conservative MPs Daniel Hannan and Owen Paterson after they raised questions over the future of the 20-year-old accord.
With injury cannot be at NI Statement. @OwenSmith_MP @Andrew_Adonis et al must listen to Nobel Laureate Lord Trimble. Interim Direct Rule renews proper govt & services for NI citizens. Also gives time to discuss practical improvements to Belfast Agreement. https://t.co/MAuowLl1t7— Owen Paterson MP (@OwenPaterson) February 20, 2018
Mr Paterson, a former Northern Ireland secretary, recently retweeted a commentator’s suggestion that the agreement had outlived its use.
He also tweeted that Northern Ireland deserved good government, and health services were falling behind the rest of the UK without a devolved executive.
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley is due to update Westminster on the Stormont deadlock on Tuesday.
Nothing at all to do with Brexit. Hiding head in sand over viability of sustainability of mandatory co-alition is reckless and wrong https://t.co/f54XDIcUNx— Kate Hoey (@KateHoeyMP) February 19, 2018
The Easter agreement was signed almost 20 years ago by the British and Irish governments and enjoyed support from most of the major parties in Northern Ireland. Ian Paisley’s DUP opposed it at the time.
It enabled the formation of a ministerial executive and assembly at Stormont.
Ms Hoey said her questions over the future of the Good Friday Agreement were nothing to do with Brexit.
“Hiding head in sand over viability of sustainability of mandatory coalition is reckless and wrong,” she said.
Mr Hannan said he had been arguing long before Brexit that the agreement needed to be changed.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke by phone on Monday night after the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein clashed over the prospect of direct rule being imposed on Northern Ireland.
Both leaders expressed disappointment over the political impasse at Stormont.
The breakdown in powersharing came to a head despite optimism that a deal had been close on contentious issues such as the Irish language, marriage equality and the legacy of the past.