OPINION: Why the NI Act 1998 should be repealed and the Belfast Agreement torn up

By Jamie Bryson

In a recent social media debate with Queens University lecturer and Alliance Party member Duncan Morrow, which was respectful and dignified, a dispute arose over the Belfast Agreement and whether it could be overridden. I argued that it could, and indeed should, and Mr Morrow argued that it would be in breach of international law and could not therefore be overridden.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
Join over thousands of readers who are receiving our newsletter and being kept up to date with the latest news from the community
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

BA

Mr Morrow’s key points can be summarised as follows;

(1) That sovereignty over Northern Ireland rests with the people of Ireland, North and South, alone.

 

(2) That the British Parliament would be in breach of international law if they were to repeal the Northern Ireland Act 1998, and as such unilaterally override the international treaty underpinning the Belfast Agreement, which of course was given practical effect by the aforementioned Act.

 

(3) That the Belfast Agreement is the only basis for governance in Northern Ireland and we can not countenance any departure from the provisions laid out in the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

 

If I have surmised any of the above points wrong, then I am sure Mr Morrow will correct me within any rebuttal that he provides

 

In relation to (1) it is quite clear that Mr Morrow’s assertion appears to suggest that no change to the Belfast Agreement can be made without the consent of, as he would word it, the people of Ireland, North and South.

 

I would presume the outworking of his assertion is that such consent could only be given either via a legislative consent motion, or a North and South referendum.

 

This, of course, is plainly incorrect. The Northern Ireland Act 1998 has already been amended at St Andrews without either a legislative consent motion in the Northern Ireland Assembly, or a North and South referendum.

 

The Northern Ireland Act 1998 itself is extremely clear at Section 5 (6). British Parliamentary sovereignty is fully retained. Therefore the sovereign British Parliament is free to legislate over any issue pertaining to Northern Ireland, and this includes repealing the Northern Ireland Act 1998 if it so wished.

 

On this point it is important to debunk the myth that the Northern Ireland Act 1998 is a ‘constitution’. This gives it the status of a holy writ that is politically sacrosanct. It is, quite simply, a piece of legislation. And like every other piece of legislation it can (and has) been amended, and if it was the will of Parliament, it could be repealed.

 

I will concede that the Northern Ireland Act 1998 is underpinned by an international treaty, but in the same vein international treaties are not binding forever and a day. It would be absurd to suggest that any treaty is binding forever.

 

They can be overridden, which brings us to Mr Morrows other key theme, outlined at (2) above, namely that repealing the Northern Ireland Act 1998 would be in breach of international law.

 

The British Government can override any treaty, at any time. This can be done via a Royal Prerogative. Those hostile to Brexit have already tried to litigate this point, submitting that a legislative consent motion from the Northern Ireland Assembly was necessary to allow such a Royal Prerogative to take effect. This was dismissed by the High Court.

 

So, if as I presume it would be, Mr Morrow’s argument is that the Northern Ireland Act 1998 could not be repealed, or a Royal Prerogative to override the Belfast Agreement could not take effect without a legislative consent motion, then this argument has already been tried, and failed, in relation to Article 50.

 

The third key tenet of Mr Morrow’s argument de-facto bestows the status of a holy writ upon the Belfast Agreement. Placing it above challenge, or change. This has no basis. I have previously alluded to the fact the Belfast Agreement, and subsequent Northern Ireland Act 1998, whilst being underpinned by an international treaty, is not set in stone. It is, at its core, a piece of legislation that can be repealed.

 

The logic of Mr Morrow’s overall argument would mean that given the international treaty is signed by the British and Irish Governments, that responsibility for Northern Ireland, if the institutions given effect by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 floundered (as they have), would rest with the two governments in some form of joint-authority.

 

This would stretch the Belfast Agreement into the territory that many unionists always feared it would reach. It would be a fundamental breach of Parliamentary sovereignty and a gross betrayal of the British people.

 

The resolution to our current impasse is the repeal of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and responsibility for Northern Ireland left to reside firmly with the mother Parliament.

 

If Sinn Fein then wish to engage in talks they can do so, but only from a position whereby the Northern Ireland Act 1998 has been repealed and total control over Northern Ireland resides with Westminster.

 

No return to the status quo indeed!


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Unionist Voice than ever but unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can.

The Unionist Voice is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias. No one edits our Editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important because it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

f everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support the Unionist Voice– and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Support Us

33 Responses to "OPINION: Why the NI Act 1998 should be repealed and the Belfast Agreement torn up"

  1. Lester  August 19, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Thanks, it’s very informative

    Reply
  2. Velma  August 28, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    It works quite well for me

    Reply
  3. Laurie  August 28, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks for the great guide

    Reply
  4. Meredith  August 28, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    It works really well for me

    Reply
  5. Santos  August 29, 2018 at 2:31 am

    Thanks for the excellent article

    Reply
  6. www.blackberry8800series.Co.uk  August 29, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Thanks, it is quite informative

    Reply
  7. Elaine  August 29, 2018 at 8:29 am

    I like the article

    Reply
  8. Gustavo  August 29, 2018 at 10:46 am

    This is actually useful, thanks.

    Reply
  9. Johnny  August 29, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    I enjoy the report

    Reply
  10. http://geolorean.com/  August 29, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    I spent a great deal of time to locate something like this

    Reply
  11. Johnson  August 30, 2018 at 7:39 am

    It works really well for me

    Reply
  12. www.smartcity24x7Nyc.com  August 30, 2018 at 8:19 am

    It works quite well for me

    Reply
  13. Www.Yaleclubbeijing.Org  August 30, 2018 at 10:46 am

    It works very well for me

    Reply
  14. Thanks to the great manual

    Reply
  15. Leonida  September 2, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    I enjoy the article

    Reply
  16. Minda  September 2, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    This is actually useful, thanks.

    Reply
  17. Pilar  September 2, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks, it’s quite informative

    Reply
  18. Vern  September 3, 2018 at 5:01 am

    This is truly useful, thanks.

    Reply
  19. Alejandro  September 3, 2018 at 6:25 am

    Thank you for the excellent post

    Reply
  20. Jasmine  September 6, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks for the terrific article

    Reply
  21. This is truly useful, thanks.

    Reply
  22. Sean  September 8, 2018 at 5:32 am

    Thank you for the wonderful article

    Reply
  23. Thelaunchconference.Com  September 8, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    This is truly useful, thanks.

    Reply
  24. Moshe  September 15, 2018 at 8:03 am

    I enjoy the article

    Reply
  25. Jarrod  September 16, 2018 at 8:37 am

    This is actually useful, thanks.

    Reply
  26. match online dating  November 1, 2018 at 9:52 am

    I travel all around the world for work, and it used to be really lonely. Now I can go onto Tinder and have a date lined up in a new city before I even get out of the airport!

    Reply
  27. SannyDearm  December 11, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Nice posts! 🙂
    ___
    Sanny

    Reply
  28. SannyDearm  December 16, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Look my site is good
    ___
    http://davesdevotional.org

    Reply
  29. SannyDearm  December 27, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Look my site is good
    ___
    http://afcmarseille.com

    Reply
  30. AndyDearm  December 28, 2018 at 1:12 am

    http://afcmarseille.com

    Reply
  31. charmdatereviewsekc  February 13, 2019 at 3:12 am

    Birth control device Essure won’t be sold in the united states aft

    (fox news) Bayer will no longer publish also produce the Essure forever birth device in the usa afterward December 31, the corporate known Friday.

    Essure, one neo precise long lasting mode of birth control for available in the states, [url=http://www.charmdatereviews.com/flirt-with-russian-girls-for-marriage-eye-contact/]russian webcam chat[/url] is usually put inside fallopian ink cartridges, from which scar tissue formation versions in addition to the designs a filter to close ejaculation outside of reaching out to your fertilizing ovum.

    you’re able to send scenario employs america food and prescription drug Admnearistration’s persevering well being and safety movement April, with required which experts claim quick sales as well as everyday use of predominantly Essure come to be limited, food and drug administration Commissioner dr. Scott Gottlieb announced Friday following Bayer news.

    “the device is considered tied to life-threatening perils for instance continual irritation, Perforation from uterus and also fallopian pontoons, as well as migration together with the coils inside pelvis quite possibly stomach, based on Gottlieb.

    of the FDA’s April pursuit was a “Unique variety of reduction” which contains it imposed a great deal more requirements “use a reasonable self-belief in headset’s well-being furthermore practical use, Gottlieb shown.

    medical professional. Yesmean Wahdan, a helpful obstetricilocated at/gynecologist us Bayer well being events, girls health and fitness, believed in a article Friday that an additional “Made an internet business decision-making to assist you you should stop product or service as well as division due to a diminish in,

    Courtney Mallon, A speaker for the Bayer, says i would say the “voluntary discontinuation” certainly not suggestive of safety issues and that business is “engaging in intimately with all the current federal drug administration and are covered by calculated a sluggish relax methods to ensure that individuals and suppliers are unquestionably in the correct fashion backed up,

    Bayer reiterated Friday that “the blessing threaten report of Essure hasn’t re-structured, and that we in order to support our product’s high standards and efficiency, which were established after an all-inclusive internal system of a study, undertaken on Bayer then independent medical scientists, implying even more than 200,000 ladies in the last two many decades,

    excellent has been made welcome merely women who have encouraged on the device.

    “Seven too long years of fighting with each other to get Essure far from land demand comes with also paid, replied Angie Firmalino, so, who formed a zynga audience in 2011 named Essure matters and therefore started a sod beginnings migration of girls touting on the device.

    specific federal drug administration insurance quotes the fact that Essure has been used by in excess of 750,000 clients globally since it was initially licensed by the group to do with don’t forget national 4, [url=http://www.charmdatereviews.com/wanna-get-hot-sexy-ukrainian-women-for-dating-and-marriage/]ukrainian women[/url] 2002. a new personal self explained “studies strongly recommend, your girlfriend looked into the general public studies on your Essure since shown the girl investigations on clinics, daily life to solicitors when helping argue from the product.

    “the women gifted a approach to your information, coupled with Bayer, at long last, heard exactly what needed to be since do you know be done needed to, Tomes thought.

    medical professional. christopher e. Zahn, vice chairman coming from the america fe college of healthcare professionals [url=http://www.charmdatereviews.com/tag/russia-webcam-chat/]kiev girls[/url] coupled with Gynecologists, celebrity fad in a statement Friday that the protection info on hysteroscopic sterilization, the exact fallopian water pipe tactic how Essure functions, “have not changed.

    Reply
  32. AustDick  April 18, 2019 at 4:52 am

    Order Cheap Amoxicilina Flemoxon In Germany Free Shipping [url=http://tadalaffbuy.com]cialis prices[/url] Cheap Diflucan Online

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.