The island of Ireland is far from a perfect area of happiness, where is though to be honest?
However, it is hard to argue that the historic Good Friday agreement, which was signed 25 years ago this Easter, has brought an end to the levels of extreme violence, which was called ‘the troubles’ but to anyone else outside UK would be classed as a civil war.
Of course it is not perfect, violence and politics is still far from harmonious in Northern Ireland.
However, in an article for the Daily Telegraph, Brandon Lewis, the Conservative former Northern Ireland secretary, says it is due for an overhaul. “We must be honest about the fact that it was a brilliant framework for peace but is proving a poor foundation for effective government,” he says.
He goes on: “The question we must dare to ask ourselves is: what next? How can the agreement be evolved to better support effective and resilient government for all the people of Northern Ireland? How must the structure of Stormont be reinforced so that it is not so fragile? People deserve accountable politicians and a resilient devolved government that is able to deliver on the issues that matter to them, rather than the sporadic governance of recent years.
“It is time for us to confront difficult questions about whether the electoral system in Northern Ireland properly reflects the people and communities it is designed to serve. The growth in the vote for the Alliance party underlines the feeling that many more people now want to vote on issues, not on sectarian lines. That should be embraced as the greatest success of the Belfast/Good Friday agreement. But if the agreement does not evolve further, under current rules, if Alliance and its vote share continues to grow, it will never have the right to nominate the first or deputy first minister. Democracy cannot succeed when it is set in tram lines that can never cross.”
Maroš Šefčovič, the European commission vice president in charge of Brexit invoked the Good Friday Agreement, saying he hoped that a deal on the Northern Ireland protocol would provide the conditions for a quarter century of peace and prosperity for the region.
He said: “The Good Friday agreement contributed to 25 years of peace, and I hope with resolving these problems we are currently negotiating upon with our UK partners, we can create conditions for the next 25 years. So the Good Friday agreement will be not only about peace, but also about prosperity.”
Well, more than a few people had something to say about Lewis’ comments.