Fragile Northern Ireland misses ‘courage, commitment and leadership’ of peace treaty leaders

Fragile Northern Ireland misses ‘courage, commitment and leadership’ of peace treaty leaders

THE current political stalemate in Northern Ireland shows how fragile the hard-won peace in the region is, claims a leading charity representing the Irish community in Britain.

Darren Murphy, Chairperson of the Irish in Britain (IIB) organisation, and its CEO Brian Dalton have called on those in power in the North to channel the “vision and values” of their peace-brokering predecessors to ensure their achievements are protected.

“The 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement provides an opportunity to reflect on the immense contribution of David Trimble and John Hume, and in 2007 Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness,” they state in a letter penned this week, received by The Irish Post.

“Northern Ireland's power-sharing governance and cross-community institutions miss their courage, commitment and leadership,” they add.

“Today, Northern Ireland needs the vision and values of these sadly departed leaders to resolve the current absence in democratically elected self-government.”

Brian Dalton, CEO at Irish in Britain, is one of the signatories of the letter

The Northern Ireland Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly are the two democratic governing institutions created for the North as a result of the Good Friday Agreement.

Ironically, as the agreement anniversary approaches, both are out of action.

There has been no working Executive or Assembly in the North since May 2022, when, following Sinn Fein’s historic Assembly Election win, the DUP refused to take up its power-sharing roles until their demands on issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol were addressed.

As it stands that refusal continues and the power-sharing government has yet to reform.

Noting the ongoing instability in the region, the IIB leaders called for the current political leaders in the North to do more to protect peace in the region.

“The Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement is built on the principles of consent, cross-community power-sharing and respect for the identities and traditions of all the people of Northern Ireland,” they explain.

“The current representative deficit at the Stormont Assembly confirms the Agreement is not perfect - neither in the breach nor the observance - but in a world of flux and uncertainty the Good Friday Agreement delivered a hard won but increasingly fragile peace.

“The Agreement's imperfections serve to remind us that, in the end, it is all there is,” they add.

“Today, it is a shared and urgent responsibility of everyone on these islands to help realise the vision of the Agreement's signatories.

“To do this we must ensure our current representatives understand that the institutions that delivered the peace of the last 25 years have to be nurtured and restored to fully functioning health.”