Section 6 : Referendum as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement

Please see below summary to Section 6 of the report “Referendum as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement” Section 6 in full is available at the link

Section 6 Referendum as Provided for under the Good Friday Agreement

High Court Justice Humphreys in his book ‘Countdown to Unity’ explains how the

‘constitutional imperative’, as outlined by Attorney General Brady (2002-2007), of

articles 2 and 3 of the constitution can be achieved by the referendum provided for in

Annex A Schedule 1 of the constitutional issues of the Good Friday Agreement.

Attorney General Brady (2002-07) goes on to explain the elements of the Good Friday

Agreement and in accepting the Realpolitik of a divided island.

“A fundamental principal of the Good Friday Agreement is that it is a settlement

based on the exercise of the right to self-determination by the people of the island

of Ireland. The requirement that the right was to be exercised, concurrently, on

both parts of the island by way of a separate referendum in each jurisdiction was

recognition of the realpolitik of a divided island. The reconciliation of the tension

between the right to self-determination and the reality of political life on the island of

Ireland is to be found in the policy of consent.”1

Attorney General Brady

In this section we look at Justice Humphreys detailed analysis of the issue of consent,

of ‘dual consent’ and the important difference between ‘a’ majority and ‘the’ majority

as referred to over the decades by various British Governments. The challenges of a

referendum being concurrent in the North & South and how that could and should be

interpreted is considered in great detail by Justice Humphreys. The options open to the

Irish Government in the event that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland refuses

to hold a referendum or hold a ‘testing the water’ referendum are explored by Justice

Humphreys. The triggering of a referendum and its likelihood of being subject to a

challenge by way of a referendum petition by unionists is also discussed. The issues

surrounding voter fraud in a referendum are outlined. In the event of the referendum

being passed the necessity of its ratification by the Irish and British Governments are

explained.

 

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