Republican revisionism and the GFA

I've just been listening to Newstalk 106, where Des Dalton of Republican Sinn Féin was briefly interviewed on the subject of that party's Ard Fheis, to be held this weekend.

In the course of the interview it was put to Dalton that the people of Ireland, north and south, voted in favour of the Good Friday Agreement. Dalton denied that this was true: "The people of the 26 Counties didn't even get a chance to vote on the Stormont Agreement," he said.

This is an allegation the GFA's opponents have been levelling for years, and it baffles me. Did they not bother to read the text of the constitutional amendment they (presumably) voted against in 1998? The very first line of it reads:

The State may consent to be bound by the British-Irish Agreement done at Belfast on the 10th day of April, 1998, hereinafter called the Agreement.

You can't get much clearer than that. Obviously the most emotive part of the referendum, for most people in the 26, was the removal of Articles 2 and 3 but it's pure historical revisionism to claim - as RSF and the others constantly do - that that is all the southern electorate voted on.

I'm not the world's biggest fan of the GFA, but I really don't see any credible argument that its passage wasn't the will of the Irish people as expressed at the time.

4 comments:

WorldbyStorm said...

IIRC they argue that since the actual wording put to the people in the 26 and the 6 was different this somehow militates against it. But that's something of a fall back, their real problem is that British withdrawal wasn't on the table.

I hate it when people argue passionately about something that isn't actually the core belief of their argument but more like a diversion. If they don't accept the GFA fair enough - I think they're wrong - but they shouldn't then complain about the vote for the GFA as if in other circumstances they'd accept it...

Wednesday said...

IIRC they argue that since the actual wording put to the people in the 26 and the 6 was different this somehow militates against it.

No, they actually do believe that the GFA wasn't in the 26 County referendum at all. I've seen a number of them state flat-out that southerners only voted on Articles 2 and 3.

And you're right, when I've had the opportunity to personally correct one of them on this, the response is always along the lines of "Oh, well, it doesn't matter anyway".

The Youngfella said...

Wednesday, while I have no doubt people would have supported the GFA, what was really being voted on was changing the constitutional claim.

Wednesday said...

Erm, what exactly do you think The State may consent to be bound by the British-Irish Agreement done at Belfast on the 10th day of April, 1998, hereinafter called the Agreement means?

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