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Good Friday cop-out?

category down | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis author Thursday November 20, 2008 18:04author by Gerry Riceauthor email gerrice at btopenworld dot comauthor address 11 Newcastle Road, Ballynahinch, Co. Down. BT24 8NEauthor phone 02897562773 Report this post to the editors

The Northern Ireland Assembly was meant to be interdependent. After ten years there is no sign of its being interdependent. Why?

I cannot understand how or why, during these past ten years since the signing of The Good Friday Agreement, nobody seems to have recognised, identified with or acted upon arguably the most significant aspect of that Agreement, ratified by a massive majority of the people across the island of Ireland.
Paragraph 3, page 1, states, “We are committed to partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between these islands.”
This is what I stood for in the General Election in South Down nineteen years earlier. I stood for Interdependence on a budget of less than £200, the only person I believe to have done so in an election in this United Kingdom. At least three universities contacted me after the election to hear more about the notion of Interdependence.
Paragraph 5, page 1, goes on, “We acknowledge the substantial differences between our continuing, and equally legitimate, political aspirations ..... It is accepted that all of the institutional and constitutional arrangements ..... are interlocking and interdependent and that in particular the functioning of the Assembly and the North/South Council are so closely inter-related that the success of each depends on that of the other.”
The Assembly itself is quoted “in particular”, emphasizing that the present Northern Ireland Assembly, especially, CANNOT be interdependent as it is a unilateral entity controlled by the British Government. To be interdependent it must of necessity be bi-lateral and as such MUST be self-determined just as the British Government and the government of the Republic of Ireland are, in order to comply with the Agreement’s demands for “partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationships ..... between these islands.”

My one election advertisement stated:

"I seek a self-determined government for the people of Northern Ireland conceived of a bi-lateral declaration of Interdependence between,
1, the people of Northern Ireland and the people of Great Britain and
2, the people of Northern Ireland and the people of the Republic of Ireland,
based on my belief that,
Interdependence assumes a mutual need,
Interdependence needs a mutual demand,
Interdependence demands a mutual supply,
Interdependence supplies a mutual respect,
Interdependence respects a mutual right.
Interdependence - you already practice it, why not vote for it?"

After nearly thirty years the notion of Interdependence is now even more relevant, given the changed status of England, Scotland and Wales, and is a recipe for challenge and contemplation in all five jurisdictions.
Yours faithfully,
Gerry Rice.

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