Charlie Flanagan: We must protect human rights in the North of Ireland
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Charlie Flanagan: We must protect human rights in the North of Ireland

THE British and Irish Governments must protect the human rights elements of the Good Friday Agreement, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has warned. 

Adressing the Seanad on the effect of the repeal of the UK Human Rights Act on the Agreement yesterday, Mr Flanagan outlined the importance of human rights in the North of Ireland as “one of the key principles underpinning the Agreement”.

“Protecting the human rights aspects of the Good Friday Agreement is not only a shared responsibility between the two Governments in terms of the welfare of the people of Northern Ireland,” he said, "but is also an obligation on them as parties to the international treaty, lodged with the UN, in which the Agreement was enshrined.”

The newly-elected British Government is expected to announce plans to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with a British Bill of Rights by the end of May, giving Britain jurisdiction to override some European rulings.

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The existing human rights laws in the North of Ireland predicate in the European Convention of Human Rights – which the Irish Government supports.

The Minister will meet with Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers next week, where he plans to reiterate the Irish Government’s stance on the importance of human rights to the Good Friday Agreement, he confirmed this week.