FF’s Smith seeks campaign against abolition of Human Rights Act

– British Govt must not be allowed to dilute Good Friday Agreement – 

– Plans to abolish Human Rights Act could have consequences for the peace deal –

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith TD has called on the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs to send a clear message to the British Government that any diminution of the Good Friday Agreement would be totally unacceptable.

Deputy Smith first raised concerns about the issue in the immediate aftermath of the British General election.  He reiterated those fears in the Dáil this week, referring to the commitment made in the Conservative Party Manifesto that, if re-elected, a Conservative Government would scrap the Human Rights Act.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD commented, “The Good Friday Agreement was overwhelmingly endorsed on this island in referenda, North and South, and through parliamentary ratification in Britain.  Both Governments are co-guarantors of the Agreement, which is an international treaty formally lodged with the United Nations. However, proposals by the Tories to abolish the Human Rights Act would see the formal link between the British Courts and the European Court of Human Rights broken, and would have very serious and negative consequences for the workings of the Good Friday Agreement.

“The Government, on behalf of the people must send a clear message that we will not tolerate any diminution in the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and what we need is the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, the St Andrew’s Agreement and indeed other associated Agreements to ensure a stable and secure future for everyone on the island of Ireland.

“I am seeking assurances from Minister Flanagan that he will make it clear to the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers that any attempts to diminish the terms of the Good Friday Agreement will not be tolerated.  This Agreement was a cornerstone of the Northern peace process, and has led to major social and economic advances.  The success of this process should not be allowed to be threatened by pre-election promises and it is imperative that the Agreement is not impacted by any decision taken by this new British Government”.