Congressman Tom Suozzi presented his resolution in support of the McGuinness Principles to Irish American organizations on Long Island in Glen Cove. Pictured (l-r) Peter Clines, Irish Americans in Government, Dermott Kelly, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Marty Glennon, James Connolly Irish American Labor Coalition, Congressman Suozzi, Robert Lynch, Brehon Law Society, and Tim Myles, Ancient Order of Hibernians.
By Irish Echo Staff
Congressman Tom Suozzi has introduced a House bipartisan resolution in support of the Good Friday Agreement, and which also calls for implementation of the McGuinness Principles.
The Long Island/Queens Democrat is being joined in sponsoring the resolution by Long Island Republican, Congressman Peter King.
The resolution urges the UK and EU to ensure that Brexit does not threaten peace on the island of Ireland. It strongly opposes the reintroduction of a hard border between the North and South.
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The resolution “insists” that any trade agreements between the U.S. and UK are contingent on meeting the GFA’s obligations and calls for continued dialogue between all parties in Northern Ireland “in order to overcome political challenges and get power-sharing institutions operating again.”
The resolution also expresses support for the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement “in order to fulfill the Martin McGuinness Principles: Equality, Truth, Respect, and Self-Determination.”
Said Congressman Suozzi: “Ireland is one of the oldest and closest friends on the United States…We need to ensure that Brexit and other political challenges don’t threaten the peace process by reintroducing a hard border.
“As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over any trade agreements between the United States and United Kingdom, I will fight to make a soft border and implementation of the Good Friday Agreement requirements for any negotiation.
The McGuinness Principles, meanwhile, are written in four parts.
(1) Per the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission was tasked with putting forward recommendations for an Irish Bill of Rights. In 2008, the Commission proposed official recognition of a broad range of social and economic rights in Northern Ireland, but successive British governments have failed to act on these recommendations. The McGuiness Principles affirm the urgent necessity that the rights of Ireland’s citizens in the North be protected in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement.
(2) Call for the British Government to honor its commitments in the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent St. Andrews Agreement of 2006 to “take resolute action to promote the [Irish] language; facilitate and encourage the use of the language in speech and writing in public and private life where there is appropriate demand” by establishing full statutory equality for the Irish language.
(3) Many victims of the conflict in the North and their families have waited decades to learn the full truth about what happened to them and their loved ones. The McGuinness Principles call for funding so that formal inquests into accusations by all parties be allowed to move forward.
(4) Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, the British government committed to formally “recognize that it is for the people of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent.” The Good Friday Agreement committed the British government to not making “any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people.” In light of Brexit, which was not supported by a majority of voters in Northern Ireland, the McGuinness Principles call for the British government to adhere to the terms of the Good Friday Agreement by allowing the Irish people to determine their future through a referendum on unity.