Thursday, 5 November 2009

Kennedy blasts Martin for Bill of Rights interference

Danny Kennedy has taken the Republic’s Foreign Minister, Michéal Martin, to task for ‘megaphone diplomacy’ after he intervened in the Bill of Rights debate. In a statement to the Seanad Mr Martin claimed that the proposed bill comprises ‘unfinished work’ and he deemed its implementation a necessary and outstanding part of the Good Friday Agreement.

We have revisited the original text many times on this blog and there is little point reproducing it again. The Belfast Agreement established a Commission charged with investigating the possibility of a Human Rights Act, it did not lay down a requirement that any advice should be implemented. In any case, the remit which the Agreement set out was largely ignored in the recommendations which the NIHRC eventually produced.

Danny Kennedy argues that the Republic’s government cannot reasonably advocate socio economic rights in Northern Ireland which it would not be prepared to apply to its own jurisdiction. Neither is Martin entitled to append requirements to the Belfast Agreement and demand their implementation. If it isn’t in the text, it isn’t part of the accord.

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