Happy Birthday GFA

Carrier

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Seven years ago today, the Good Friday Agreement was signed. Some parties to the agreement saw it as a chance to bed-down the peace process and others saw it as a way of copper-fastening the union. The Republican Movement claimed it was a deal that would see a united Ireland become a reality.

So, on it's sixth birthday, has it moved us closer to the holy grail? Is it showing signs that it could? If so, how much longer will it take?
 


smiffy

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Carrier said:
The peace process is older than the GFA, and could continue without the accord.
You reckon? What is or was the "peace process" moving towards? I'd assume from its name, it'd have to some sort of agreed internal settlement within Northern Ireland. If not the GFA, then something very like the GFA. Otherwise I don't really see how you're going to have peace.
 

Carrier

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What is or was the "peace process" moving towards?
Like I said in the opening post - the GFA, because of it's ambiguities, is seen by different groups as a process towards different things.

I'd assume from its name, it'd have to some sort of agreed internal settlement within Northern Ireland. If not the GFA, then something very like the GFA.
I agree that the provisional leadership had an internal settlement along the lines of the GFA in mind throughout the peace process and it's build-up but that doesn't mean that the peace process couldn't remain in place beyond it. As it stands, very little of the GFA is in place and this shows no signs of changing - yet the cease-fires are holding. Do you think that if the GFA did totally collapse that the provisionals would go back to war? I think the apetite for conflict is gone from that organisation. Also, whose to say that it's demise wouldn't see the onset of a settlement that holds more for nationalists?
 

Carrier

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The first thing I'd do would be make you High King of Ireland. :wink:

I'm a republican so I'd like to see a nation-wide vote on a united Ireland. I think the some positives could be taken from the GFA though. The Assembly could be retained as a regional parliament as part of a federal system. Some of it's mechanisms for cooperation between the British and Irish governments should also be retained.

I think the GFA's most important role will ultimately be that it has shown us that internal settlements don't work - because unionism will use their veto to pull them down if they contain any trace of green.
 

Gladstone

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And if the Loyalists started bombing civilian targets in Dublin as the IRA did in London would you think it was worth it for a line on a map?
 

Carrier

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First of all, you don't know that a sustained loyalist campaign would come about and steps could be taken to minimise any violence - through winning over the middle-ground of unionism through various concessions and through security measures. Secondly, this isn't about a line on a map - it's about the Irish people being denied the right to decide their own future free from foreign interference and about permenantly protecting the hundreds of thousands of Irish people who were abandoned to live under British rule in a statelet that has discriminated against them, persecuted them and murdered them.
 

Carrier

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The Irish are still being denied the right to decide their own future free from foreign interference. Also, the fact that Catholic males are twice as likely to be unemployed in the North than their Protestant counterparts would seem to indicate that discrimination still exists. Also, just because the last few years has seen a reduction in state-sponsered attacks on Catholics that doesn't mean they wont begin again.
 

BOULD THADY

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Carrier wrote"Also, whose to say that it's demise wouldn't see the onset of a settlement that holds more for nationalists?" Don't be fooling yourself. The GFA is the only game in town, established by a referendum, it can only be changed by referendum.If the parties in the north refuse to reach agreement then the two Governments will impose direct rule in accordance with the terms of the GFA
 

Carrier

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Don't be fooling yourself. The GFA is the only game in town, established by a referendum, it can only be changed by referendum.If the parties in the north refuse to reach agreement then the two Governments will impose direct rule in accordance with the terms of the GFA
Can you get the lotto numbers with your crystal ball? People said the same about Sunningdale. Anyway, if the GFA doesn't work it doesn't work. The pro-agreement parties and the governments will only beat a dead horse for so long. The Irish Government showed the level of importance it attaches to this deal when it proposed changing one of the articles of the Constitution brought in as part of the GFA (without even consulting northern parties), when it refused to release all qualifying prisoners and when it failed to review the Offences Against the State Act in any real way.
 

horseface

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the GFA, because of it's ambiguities, is seen by different groups as a process towards different things.
Isn't that intrinic to all democracy. Different groups pursuing different goals, but all agreeing on the rules of the game.

A party Fine Gael would presumably see the Irish constitution as a vehicle for different goals than say, the Labour Party.

OK, bad example.
 

Bogwarrior

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Gladstone said:
Sunningdale didn't have broad support the GFA does.
Sunningdale wasn't put to referendum, was it?
 


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