The Northern Ireland Peace Agreement is Crumbling

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Source: Counterpunch

Northern Ireland is turning into a failed state in a permanent condition of crisis, something which is being ignored by Boris Johnson as he and his ministers strut about the capitals of Europe giving speeches about defusing the crisis in Ukraine.

Yet when Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), pulled it out of the devolved government in Northern Ireland last week, collapsing the power sharing administration, Johnson made no comment. That should not have caught anybody by surprise, as the British Government’s actions and inactions over the past couple of years had already gone far to degrade the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement of 1998 which brought an end to the violence.

Given that Sinn Féin is likely to emerge as the largest party in May’s Assembly election, and the DUP is opposed to the Northern Ireland Protocol, a power sharing executive in Belfast may never be resurrected. The delicate compromise between unionist and nationalists, Protestants and Catholics, which was one of the historic successes of British diplomacy, is falling apart and the British Government shows little sign of taking notice.

Alan Whysall, an ex-civil servant at the Northern Ireland Office now at the Constitution Unit, a blog on the politics of Northern Ireland, writes that the “Westminster government has, over the last two years, appeared to many to have been willing to see division develop over the Protocol for its own reasons. It has seemed to move far from the traditional role of successive British governments of working to foster constructive politics in Northern Ireland, in close partnership with Dublin.”

Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso).

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