Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Dr Phoenix said power sharing “is very prone to extraneous threats and difficulties” such as the Northern Ireland Protocol and Brexit, which is “the ghost that haunts the Good Friday Agreement”.Brexit the ‘ghost that haunts Good Friday Agreement’ – historian – The Irish Catholic
Dr Éamon Phoenix Photo: NICRC YouTube
Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol are challenging the Good Friday Agreement, prominent historian Dr Eamon Phoenix has said.
This comes following Paul Givan’s resignation as Stormont First Minister as part of the DUP’s escalating protest strategy against Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol.
Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Dr Phoenix said power sharing “is very prone to extraneous threats and difficulties” such as the Northern Ireland Protocol and Brexit, which is “the ghost that haunts the Good Friday Agreement”.
Dr Phoenix told this paper that the institutions which have been undermined by the DUP’s recent actions, are also “losing credibility for the 1.8 million people who live in this place”.
However, he cautioned that any “rejigging” of the agreement “would require the focused attention and, if you like, mutual respect between Dublin and London, and that’s not going to come any time soon,” as Anglo-Irish relations “are at their worst level now since 1972”.
Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown said that it’s time to review the Good Friday Agreement but warned that “Northern Ireland is not a normal country, it’s not a normal political entity and therefore you have extraordinary methods for running it.
“Mandatory coalition is not healthy in a normal society, but Northern Ireland isn’t a normal society,” Bishop McKeown said.
Dr McKeown added that he thinks “we do need to look at how the government functions,” and “we do need to be reviewing the Good Friday Agreement” on the basis that Northern Ireland has undergone significant change since the 1998 implementation of the agreement.
“There certainly are strains, but you give me a better way forward for Northern Ireland.
“It’s fine to say that there are problems, it’s really a question of how we can constantly review what we’re doing so that the policies are serving the common good and not just political ideals or agendas,” he said.