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(GFA p.30) The two Governments:
(i) recognise the legitimacy of whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people
of Northern Ireland with regard to its status, whether they prefer to continue to support the
Union with Great Britain or a sovereign united Ireland;
(ii) recognise that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the
two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of selfdetermination
on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to
bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved
and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of
Northern Ireland;
(iii) acknowledge that while a substantial section of the people in Northern Ireland share the
legitimate wish of a majority of the people of the island of Ireland for a united Ireland, the
present wish of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, freely exercised and legitimate, is
to maintain the Union and accordingly, that Northern Ireland's status as part of the United
Kingdom reflects and relies upon that wish; and that it would be wrong to make any change in
the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people;
(iv) affirm that, if in the future, the people of the island of Ireland exercise their right of selfdetermination
on the basis set out in sections (i) and (ii) above to bring about a united Ireland,
it will be a binding obligation on both Governments to introduce and support in their respective
Parliaments legislation to give effect to that wish;

Regarding the right to self-determination, two qualifications are noted by the legal writer Austen Morgan. Firstly, the cession of territory from one state to another state has to be by international agreement between the UK and Irish governments. Secondly, the people of Northern Ireland can no longer bring about a united Ireland on their own; they need not only the Irish government but the people of their neighbouring state, Ireland, to also endorse unity.

From which it's clear that both sides have to agree on unification, therefore the Republic can block it.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 11:18:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not widely appreciated or understood in the UK that in order for the Good Friday Agreement to come into force, the Irish Republic had to make major changes to its constitution by popular referendum. Specifically, the GFA required that the Irish Constitution be amended to radically revise articles 2 and 3 of the constitution to remove the claim to the territory of N. Ireland and the claim to have jurisdiction over it.

Re-unification can only take place if the constitution is again revised to include N. Ireland within the territory and jurisdiction of Ireland. As such it can only be agreed by referendum. As noted above, in practice, this means an international Treaty between the UK and Ireland to transfer sovereignty, and to deal with all sorts of transitional issues, including the costs of transition.

For the Irish Government to even agree to hold such a referendum, they would have to have a convincing plan as to how the risks of violence could be reduced, and as to how the costs could be absorbed without beggaring taxpayers in the south. We don't do vague "Brexit means Brexit" referenda.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 04:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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