Press Release from Border Communities Against Brexit

Much has been said about whether or not the European Union is integral to the Good Friday Agreement.

The GFA was carefully crafted to create an interlocking and interdependence between the Assembly, the North / South Ministerial Council and the British Irish Council, and are so closely interrelated that the success of each depends on that of the other.

Let us tell you, loud and very clear, that membership of the European Union, by Britain & Ireland, was the golden thread that allowed the GFA to be stitched together in the first place, and those stitches have held that “Interdependence” together for the past 22 years.

The attack by the British Government on the European Union; which has the sole intention of dragging the North of Ireland out the European Union against our will, by reneging on promises, breaking international law, by these actions the British Government are ripping asunder the very fabric of our precious Good Friday Agreement.

We lived in a society that was ravaged by conflict, and all of the consequences of that conflict.

The conflict itself was born from a society that had at its core many injustices and democratic deficits.

The will of the people on this Island who voted in a huge majority for the Good Friday Agreement was to bring Peace, create a system of Government that had at its core, Equality, Rights and Equality of Opportunity. 

These principles have at their very core the founding values of the European Union, which are, Human Dignity, Freedom, Democracy, Equality, Rule of Law and Human Rights.

Our society before the Good Friday Agreement did not have these principles.

The remain vote delivered by the citizens in the North of Ireland and supported by the majority of political parties in the Assembly, was a further endorsement of those principles. 

Overarching all of this was the membership of the Single Market by Britain and Ireland, which had removed all barriers to trade on this island, which allowed alongside our Peace Process, our All Island Economy to plant roots, flourish and grow.

All of these key ingredients allowed those who wish to be Irish, to live on this Island; work and live wherever they wished, while those with a British Identity could be certain in their political future, that there would not be any constitutional change without a majority seeking to leave the UK.

The Internal Market Bill is unquestionably a full-frontal attack on the Good Friday Agreement.

Its attack comes in many forms.

Firstly, it attacks Devolution itself, by granting sweeping powers to the Secretary of State over the head of the Assembly and the Executive.

Secondly, it “disapplies” many parts of the Irish Protocol contained within the Withdrawal Agreement, which could well result in a Hard Border on our Island.

Thirdly, it seeks to prevent institutions such as councils and NGOs from taking legal action against any decision by the Secretary of State.

This by itself is extremely serious; especially as a society with a foundation of Government supposed to be based upon The Rule of Law and Human Rights, we now find ourselves under the control of a Parliamentary Dictatorship, with No Right to Legal Challenge in the Courts.

This full-frontal attack on our Rights, and on the Good Friday Agreement is completely and utterly unacceptable.

We as a society have gained far too much in the past 20 years to allow this to go unchallenged, our political system on this Island, our community and voluntary sector, our legal system, our business sector, our sporting and arts sector, must stand together as one, to fight back against this full frontal attack, by Boris Jonston and his Government on our Good Friday Agreement.

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