Agreement 25 – and now for the next 25 years of The Good Friday Agreement

Bernard Mulholland, The man from MENSA – 1 of 600: Mensa research (2016). #ebook #Mensa #intelligence #physics #COP #archaeology #Amazon #AppleBooks

The next twenty-five years are looking good for Northern Ireland (NI). The graphic above illustrates in simple terms how the post-Brexit NI Protocol and Windsor Agreement affect major trade flows to and from NI. NI businesses are now in the sweet spot where they have unfettered access for their goods into both the European Union (EU) Single Market, and also into Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) as well. Goods from the EU have unfettered access into NI, which means NI consumers still have access to the high quality EU produce they are accustomed to, but goods from GB are subject to EU restrictions that apply to third countries that want to supply goods into the EU Single Market.

            It’s important to observe here that this is not the Agreement originally negotiated by the DUP, which, given that the Northern Ireland Assembly did not sit for three years while the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement was negotiated, was the only unionist political party from NI at Westminster, and had signed (Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Gavin Williamson signed, observed by Dame Arlene Foster and Theresa May) a confidence and supply agreement with Theresa May’s government, and so was unionism’s sole voice throughout these Brexit negotiations. The original DUP negotiations had no unfettered trade at all from Northern Ireland into Great Britain, and NI was entirely within the EU Single Market for goods, which meant both GB-NI and NI-GB trade would be subject to import taxes.

            During the early Brexit negotiations, I placed a letter in the Belfast Telegraph to explain that one of the concerns faced by NI businesses was that goods sent into the GB market, which is still very important, would be subject to import taxes and so become prohibitively expensive. I argued that it was within the power of prime minister Theresa May’s to allow unfettered access for NI-GB trade. However, I observed that unfettered GB-NI trade flow was not necessary as, given that Westminster would be negotiating trade agreements to allow cheap goods such as food to flow into GB, for NI to be inside the EU Single Market for goods would protect our farmers and agrifood sector from this competition. Theresa May’s government adopted this position, and if you compare the text of my letter with that which appears in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement you will see that it’s almost as if it was copied and pasted across, complete with the use of ‘unfettered’ which is not commonly used in legal texts such as this.

            And, to their credit, subsequent British prime ministers have honoured that position, and this has now placed NI in an enviable position wherein it has unfettered access to not only the EU Single Market for goods, but also to GB and via that access to any third countries that Westminster negotiates trade deals with.

            In short, unless NI unionist parties unravel this sweetheart deal, the next twenty-five years look golden for NI businesses and its people. 


Author: Dr. Bernard Mulholland

Dr. Bernard Mulholland is a Byzantinist, archaeologist, historian and Patristics scholar with a Ph.D. in history (QUB, 2012). Bernard's publications include: Fiction: Bernard Mulholland, Nazareth Quest (2022). Non-fiction: Bernard Mulholland, The man from MENSA - 1 of 600: Mensa research (2016). ---, The man from MENSA - 1 of the 600: Politics 1990-1995 (2016). ---, Ratio analysis of financial KPI in the Higher Education sector: a case study (2018). ---, Early Byzantine Ireland: a survey of the archaeological evidence (2021). ---, Navan Fort, Ireland: archaeological and palaeoecological analysis (2021). ---, The Early Byzantine Christian Church (Oxford, 2014). ---, 'Identification of Early Byzantine Constantinopolitan, Syrian, and Roman church plans in the Levant and some possible consequences', Patristic Studies in the twenty-first century: proceedings of an international conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the International Association of Patristic Studies, ed. Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony, Theodore de Bruyn and Carol Harrison (Turnhout, 2015), 597-633. Mulholland, B. (2021). 'Can archaeology inform the climate change debate?' Academia Letters, Article4385.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: