October 13, 2022
Adoption of Brexit report at Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe ‘welcome’ – Senator Gavan

Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan has welcomed the adoption of a report at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the impact of Brexit on human rights in Ireland.

The report, endorsed by more than a two to one majority of members of the assembly, is highly critical of the British Government with regard to its stance on the Protocol, it’s so called Legacy Bill and unilateral actions that could undermine the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking after the adoption of the report Senator Gavan said: 

“The report is both timely and crucial – it sends a clear message from this Human Rights Assembly to the British Government regarding the absolute need to respect human rights, respect the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, protect the Good Friday Agreement, and refrain from taking unilateral action.

“The people of the North of Ireland did not vote for Brexit. So it is entirely appropriate that this report calls for the smooth and efficient implementation of the Protocol. 

“The report also highlights that the British government’s attempts to pursue a unilateral policy to change core elements of the Protocol is a clear breach of international law.

“The report also cites ‘serious concerns’ regarding the compatibility of the British Government’s so called Legacy Bill  with the European Convention on Human Rights. 

“This Bill of Shame which would, uniquely in the world and against all principles of domestic and international law, close down all routes to justice for people bereaved in the conflict should now be shelved without further delay. 

“There is not one single party in Ireland, north of south, who supports this appalling Bill which again constitutes a breach of the Good Friday Agreement.

“The report also makes clear calls for the immediate re-establishment of the Assembly for the North and the delivery of long promised Irish Language rights legislation.”

Senator Gavan also expressed disappointment at repeated attempts by the British Government to have the debate and vote on this report postponed. 

“I understand that British Government delegates repeatedly asked for a postponement in the run up to this debate, and even today asked for the report to be sent back to the Political Affairs Committee rather than be voted on by the Assembly.

“The British Government should heed the clear calls from this assembly, and engage with a new focus on respecting the human rights of all of the people of the North of Ireland.

“They should also recognise that a much bigger conversation is well under way about constitutional change and Irish Unity. 

“In this regard I repeated Sinn Féin’s call on the Irish Government today to broaden and deepen this conversation by establishing a Citizens Assembly on Irish Unity.”

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