Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
By Ray O’Hanlon
Irish America’s tail is up over Brexit.
Following the call by the Ancient Order of Hibernians for Congress to put the brakes on any bilateral trade deal with the United Kingdom, the American Committee on Brexit and Ireland - an ad hoc group formed after last year’s UK Brexit referendum - has written to U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, asking that he express concern over the recent deal reached between Theresa May’s Conservative Party and the North’s Democratic Unionist Party.
The letter, according to a release from the committee, asks Tillerson to express his concern for “Britain’s power collaboration” between the Conservative Party and the DUP “which undermines the democratically elected Assembly in Northern Ireland.”
“Further,” the release added, “we ask the Secretary of State to seek Britain’s fulfillment of its legacy obligations” with regard to the Good Friday Agreement.
The committee stamen also highlighted Britain’s “proposed repeal of the European Convention on Human Rights as part of any Brexit legislation covered by the Conservative-DUP pact.”
The committee said it opposed the Conservative/DUP pact and criticized its “so-called ‘confidence and supply’ agreement,” this on the basis that it “ undermines the spirit and letter of the 1998 United Kingdom-Republic of Ireland Treaty (Good Friday Agreement) which America facilitated and supported, especially through the efforts of former senator George Mitchell.”
The committee, which is based out of the Manhattan law offices of former New York State Assemblyman John Dearie - a pioneering figure in the effort to involve the United States in the search for peace and justice in Northern Ireland - stated in its letter to Tillerson that the Conservative-DUP pact “inherently contradicts the UK’s obligation to act as a neutral guarantor of the 1998 Treaty.”
The committee’s statement accompanying the letter continued: “Prime Minister Theresa May intends to ask parliament to provide amnesty for all British army personnel involved in killing civilians in Northern Ireland.
“The legislation may well be the unspoken price for DUP support. It is Britain’s best chance to cover-up their collusion with loyalist killers in Northern Ireland, and to try and maintain the crumbling narrative of fighting Irish terrorism.
“As a part of Britain’s plan to leave the European Union, Prime Minister May has publicly supported the repeal of the European Convention on Human Rights incorporated into English law and the United Nations-registered peace treaty.
“We join with the Irish government in opposing any unilateral parliamentary action which violates the neutrality guarantees, disregards the rule of law, or eliminates human rights safeguards.”
Last week, the AOH, in a statement, urged Congress to signal its rejection of President Trump’s proposed free trade deal with Britain, this until the British government details a “workable plan to protect the people of the island of Ireland from disproportionately bearing the adverse consequences of Brexit.”