Today, the British Government of Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50 and began the process of the United Kingdom severing its relationship with the European Union, which includes among its members the Republic of Ireland. The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) is extremely concerned for the implications this action will have for the people of the island of Ireland and repeats its call for the appointment of a U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland.
Ms. May’s decision to trigger Brexit against the backdrop of the current political crisis in Northern Ireland where recent elections have failed to produce a government only shows Britain’s continued tone deafness as regards her oldest colony. The root cause of the failure to form a government in Northern Ireland is the continued prevarications in dealing with government mismanagement, addressing justice for the victims of legacy issues and continued failures to honoring commitments that promote parity of respect such as the Irish language Act. This same culture of evasion is also seen in the British governments inability to define how Brexit, and specifically the matter of borders, is to be addressed in Ireland. To formally invoking Brexit without first defining a plan to address its implications in Northern Ireland is counterproductive and further increases the risk to a fragile peace process.
The U.S. brokered Good Friday Agreement is one of America’s great diplomatic achievements; ending proportionately one of the bloodiest conflicts in history. That achievement is now in jeopardy of being squandered with the premature triggering of Brexit. Therefore, the Hibernians renew their call for the President to appoint a Special Envoy to Northern Ireland to help ensure that not only the gains of Good Friday and its full potential realized.
The Hibernians know Irish history all too well to not realize that the well being of the people of Ireland has never been a priority with Britain until the U.S. has become involved. If America is to be great again then it is time for America to lead again in Northern Ireland.