On this page, you will find all the briefings and leaflets we have produced for public consumption.

Briefing Paper: The ‘New Decade, New Approach’ deal in Northern Ireland – Governance and Identity

In January 2017, the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, tendered his resignation from the Northern Ireland Executive, citing issues around equality, trust and abuse of power on the part of the Democratic Unionist Party.

Following 3 years of institutional hiatus, during which civil servants assuming greater responsibilities ultimately prevented a return to direct rule, talks between the 5 main political parties, with a focus on negotiations between Sinn Féin and the DUP, recommenced following the Westminster General Election in December 2019. With the support of the Irish and UK Governments throughout the process, and a commitment to this being maintained thereafter, the text of an agreed document named ‘New Decade, New Approach’ was released to the general public on 9th January 2020.

This briefing presents an overview of the agreement reached and examines key aspects of its content, focusing on the elements addressing governance and identity.

The full paper is available to download below:

Briefing Document: Human Rights reform and Northern Ireland.

Discussion of the repeal of the UK Human Rights Act has intensified following the election. The Act is a complex instrument, and there would be significant implications flowing from its repeal.

Northern Ireland has a particularly important relationship with the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Good Friday Agreement (a key part of the Northern Irish peace process) enshrined a fundamental role for the ECHR in moderating the values of plurality and equality in the ‘new’ Northern Ireland.

Unpicking the terms of the Good Friday Agreement is unwise. Human rights protections were not an ‘add on’ to the peace processes but were a central feature of the reconciliation.

Beyond the effects upon the people of Northern Ireland, there are potential implications for the UK’s relationship with Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement is (at least in part) a contract between the British and Irish states. The interests of the Republic of Ireland in human rights protections in Northern Ireland should also be respected.

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