DUP risking peace in Ireland with demands to scrap NI protocol, journalist warns

7 March 2021, 16:06 | Updated: 7 March 2021, 16:16

By Seán Hickey

An architect of the Good Friday Agreement claims that Arlene Foster and the DUP know that abolishing the protocol will see a return to violence in Northern Ireland.

Maggie worked alongside US Senator George Mitchell during the shaping of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. She spoke to Maajid Nawaz after news that loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland have withdrawn their support for the Good Friday Agreement which is throwing the peace process into disarray.

Maggie reminded Maajid that the DUP and loyalist paramilitaries have never shown support for the Good Friday Agreement and the news is a provocation.

"The great thing about the Good Friday Agreement is that it took a nationalist dispute and raised it to a supranational level," Maajid noted. He wondered if Maggie knew of a "creative way of addressing the problem."

The caller insisted that "in spite of what Arlene Foster has to say," the protocol and Good Friday Agreement are the best ways to ensure peace and stability in the north, adding that it is "the only logical way to do it."

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"The DUP never supported the Good Friday Agreement," she reiterated.

Revealing the views of her old colleague Senator George Mitchell, Maggie revealed that the Good Friday Agreement signatory was "disappointed by how much the Good Friday Agreement had to be diluted to accommodate the DUP."

She went on to issue a warning: "If anybody puts in the army, or recruits to man a hard border in Northern Ireland, the first thing that will happen is they will be shot, and there will be bombs, and there will be a reaction."

Maajid thought aloud when trying to discover a solution to the impasse, noting that loyalist extremists "wouldn't be so exercised if this boundary existed between the Republic of Ireland and the north, one of the things that's animating them is that it's in the Irish Sea."

The caller agreed with him, insisting that the only alternatives to what is already there is what will cause the most societal and political damage, "and the DUP knows it."