Northern Ireland

Lord Hylton

I know from many visits to Northern Ireland,and from experience within our own family, that society there is still deeply divided.  Government at all levels has a responsibility to help people to heal the division.  I can make three suggestions for government action:

1:  Work on investigating and prosecuting politically motivated crimes committed before 1994 should be ended.  1994 is a significant cut-off point since it was the date of the ceasefires agreed by the main paramilitary groups then attacking each other, the security forces, and causing many civilian casualties.

2:  Integrated services for the population should be developed as much as possible where that is what people want.

This is particularly true in education, where it enables children to form friendships across traditional boundaries.

3:  Government should encourage work to develop a shared Northern Ireland identity, and to resolve conflicts that have lasted over many generations by processes that expose the underlying causes and seek agreement on solutions for the common good.

At present there is little agreement among the political parties about welfare reforms.  Perhaps all could accept that cuts and economies should not be more harsh in Northern Ireland than those affecting areas in England and Wales, where government spending exceeds local revenue

1 comment for “Northern Ireland

  1. Senex
    08/06/2015 at 11:11 am

    Hear here! This tangled web of sectarian distrust and secret societies supporting one side or the other helps no one except those that invested of division with all of its cruelties.

    The political class in NI are to be congratulated in distancing people from recent changes made by the UK Parliament. Protestants are providing an umbrella of dignity that shelters Catholics.

    NI politicians should be aware that recent constitutional changes, the removal of the Lord Chancellor from the Woolsack have changed the Queens official role. She moves from Head of State to become Religious Head of State. This is because Parliament now offers no formal mechanism to resolve conflicts of interest between State and Church.

    NI politicians are now in the unenviable position of not knowing whether the bill they processing will at some point fall within the boundaries of this conflict something that might become unacceptable to the people of NI.

    To illustrate: the Queens Secretary and Cabinet Office see no reason why the houses recent Assisted Dying bill requires or should require Royal Consent. The bill proceeds normally and at second reading Archbishop Lord Clarey consumed by compassion is willing to accept a legal technicality as a remedy to the terrible distress of the suicider. He is though blinded to the political role of weapons.

    The world is filled with the most terrible weapons but the moral justification for them is that they exist as self defence. But here is a weapon to be used for the sole purpose of killing someone. Those who manufacture or place such weapons cannot morally be absolved of their use by a Religious Head of State.

    The bill goes on to receive Royal Assent. A question therefore is asked of the Lord Speaker: “Upon whose authority did the Queen release some from their observance of Gods Sixth Commandment.”

    In reality the Assisted Dying bill stalls at second reading.

    The question is did Parliament exceed its authority under the constitution by changing the Queens role. Moreover, what can the voter do about this?

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