A Letter from Ireland
By the time you read this and all being well, I will be back in Ireland. It was a great trip, and I got to see parts of America that I normally fly over.
Now it’s back to reality. The political process in the North and our peace agreements continue to be collateral damage for a dysfunctional British government. n
The British Prime Minister is under attack from his sacked Home Secretary. Their plan to deport all asylum seekers to Rwanda has been deemed illegal by their own Supreme Court. Instead of dropping these illegal and immoral plans, they are discussing ignoring the court and international law.
The ruling Tory party has continually suggested leaving the European Convention on Human Rights. Application of this convention into law is an explicit commitment in the Good Friday Agreement.
Any move to disapply it in the North would be a breach of the agreement. The fact that this is even under consideration tells you everything you need to know about this British Government. It does not believe itself to be bound by its own international agreements.
Against this backdrop of the latest crisis, the Government and Assembly in the North continues to be blocked from operating by the DUP. Two years ago the DUP crashed the operation of the North-South Ministerial Council and twenty months ago crashed the operation of Government. Over that period, there has been a consistent crisis in the British Government which has seen three Prime Ministers and numerous cabinet reshuffles.
What has been consistent is the failure of the British government to honor agreements or secure progress.
Instead of calling the DUP to account and working with the Irish Government to continue operation of North-South Bodies and an administration in the North, the British Government has indulged the DUP. Not surprisingly, the outcome has been a stalled process, no operating government, and the loss of confidence in institutions.
It is not too late for the British Government to return to a process that works and to which they have already agreed. Rebuild the partnership with the Irish Government and agree an alternative to insure the operation of all the institutions while we await the DUP to make a decision.
British governments come and go and unionists resist change, but the fact is, progress can be made. I was reminded of the fact when I learned of the death of Jerry Boyle in San Francisco. I had the honor of meeting with Jerry at Easter 2022. Although in ill health, he wanted to know about developments in Ireland. At the commemoration he laid a wreath in memory of the Irish Republican patriot dead.
He told me of taking leave from the US military while serving in Berlin to travel to Ireland to attend a Wolfetone Commemoration.
Jerry had spent a lifetime of support for Irish unity and was excited about the opportunities that lay ahead. To his family I offer my condolences. He was an inspirational beacon of steadfast commitment.
The current challenges we face are just a blip in the lifetime of activism of people like Jerry. We will prevail.
Have a great weekend.
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.