by James Quigley
It is now almost twenty years since the Good Friday Agreement or (Belfast Agreement). It came into effective in 1999 after, what some might say, was an ultimatum presented to the war weary people of Ireland, especially British colonial north - either sign or continue with the oppression, murder and mayhem.
It involved the Irish Republic amending it's constitution giving up territorial claim on the whole of Ireland and reassuring unionists that a united Ireland would not come about without consent of a majority of the Northern Ireland electorate.
The British Government of Ireland Act 1922 was amended to declare "that Northern Ireland in its entirety remains part of the United Kingdom and shall not cease to be so without the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland."
For Republicans it was presented as a victory. Deals were done behind the scene between IRA leadership, Britain and Ireland for release of political prisoners and the Republican propaganda was that a United Ireland was around the corner. Little was mentioned about the reality that the IRA campaign had reached it's end, the movement rife with informers and infiltrated with British agents.
The above link describing the Good Friday Agreement says"the vague wording of some of the provisions, described as "constructive ambiguity" (Arthur Aughey), helped ensure acceptance of the agreement and served to postpone debate on some of the more contentious issues."
No doubt one of these contentious issues is the unresolved ownership of Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough, a major ambiguity but somehow we can not describe it as 'constructive'.
In this article we are continuing the series of articles on the sovereigntyof Lough Foyle, a rich vein which gets bigger and bigger the more we dig into it. The following article appeared in Irish Republican News, June 19, 2009. It clearly shows how Sinn Féin knew all along about the problem, about the Crown Estates' claim and that the Irish Government was paying rent to them. It looks very much like all sides were economical with the truth which goes on even to this day, 'constructive ambiguity' indeed.
It is interesting to compare present day Sinn Féin's more political correctness with the more firebrand attitude in the article. It could be viewed as an analogy of Sinn Féin's role in Stormont today.
This comparison can be made between what Pádraig MacLochlainn, Sinn Féin, statement on a recent RTE Prime Time programme and the following article. There was no admission that Sinn Féin knew anything about the Irish Government paying rent, about the Crown Estate ownership, or the rent being paid. The change of direction is interesting, from attacking the Irish Government to putting the blame fully on the British Government. Of course no blame fell on the shoulders of his own party, signatory, as they were, to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Mr MacLochlainn said
"Somebody is at fault here and the Irish Government, in my opinion, aren't at fault. I think they should call out the British Government and say the difficulty is on the British side and the British Government should be honest and open about why they won't resolve ownership of this Lough"
The following Irish Republican Article Colonial rents paid for Irish Lough from http://www.epa.ie/licences/lic_eDMS/090151b28054b885.pdf Use side bar to scroll down