Thursday, 7 March 2013

Questions (63)

Brendan Smith


63. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the proposals, if any, he has to advance the proposed bill of rights for Northern Ireland as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12265/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government remains firmly committed to ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, including the provision relating to a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. We will continue to urge all the parties in the Assembly to engage in constructive discussion with a view to reaching agreement on the substance of a Bill of Rights. A Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland would include rights reflecting the principles of mutual respect for the identity and ethos of both communities and parity of esteem, alongside the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. A Bill of Rights drawn up by agreement between the main parties of the Assembly could set out precisely and formally the rights upon which a shared future for the people of Northern Ireland can be based. In contact with the British government we continue to stress the importance of implementation of the Agreement, including of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland which takes account of the separate and specific context of Northern Ireland.