The Belfast Agreement – still sacrosanct?


Sir, – Arlene Foster has said that the Belfast Agreement is “not sacrosanct” and needs to be changed. This view has emerged following her visit to the Tory conference in Birmingham. Here she and the DUP were pushing back hard against Theresa May’s proposal for the backstop which will soon be put forward to the EU.

Arlene Foster is playing politics here and the stakes are high. The Belfast Agreement has supported peace in Northern Ireland and brought prosperity to that region for some years now. That peace was hard fought for by politicians more gifted than the DUP leader.

Meanwhile she has been the architect of a failed renewable energy scheme that has cost a staggering £500 million when she was the minister for enterprise, trade and investment. This ultimately led to the shutting of the Northern Ireland Executive when she was its first minister. She has entered into a de facto coalition government with the Conservatives supporting Brexit, even though this goes against the expressed wishes of the people of Northern Ireland at the ballot box.

And now she is at it again by threatening the Belfast Agreement, which is something the people of Northern Ireland voted for!

It would seem that Arlene Foster is adept at sending things up in smoke, including the democratic wishes of the people she purports to represent. – Is mise,


Dublin 17.

Sir, – Arlene Foster’s comments that the Belfast Agreement is not sacrosanct do not inspire confidence.

These comments amidst the Brexit talks draw a clear line between what the DUP wants and what the electorate wants in Northern Ireland.

Would Arlene Foster and her hardliners wish to return the North to the bad old years? It seems that due to the failure of the two main parties in the North to get agreement on power-sharing and getting the Assembly up and running again, the North will be seen as a failed project because of the intransigence and one-upmanship of a few. To hold the people to ransom and the consequences of a hard Brexit will surely deepen divisions further between the extremists on both sides.

The efforts by George Mitchell, John Hume, David Trimble and others to get an agreement after many years of death and destruction will be for naught because of the tunnel vision of a few, helped by the UK government. Not only could Brexit be a disaster for the North’s economy, the UK, and the rest of Europe, but a return to the bad old days would have far-reaching consequences for everyone on this island. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – A couple of weeks ago Michael Gove suggested that Brexiteers should not worry too much if their final deal with the EU was less than perfect, as they could always break it once they were out.

Last week Dominic Raab threatened not to pay the exit bill.

This week Boris Johnson advocated chucking aside the Belfast Agreement in order to get around the promised backstop.

Jeremy Hunt (Britain’s foreign secretary, no less) compared the EU to the Soviet Union.

Not to be outdone on this side of the Irish Sea, Arlene Foster wants to consign the Belfast Agreement to one of her many furnaces.

“Look on your works, ye mighty, and despair”! – Yours, etc,



Co Westmeath.