Withdrawal Agreement Good Friday Agreement

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The overall result of these problems was to undermine trade unionists` confidence in the agreement exploited by the anti-DUP agreement, which eventually overtook the pro-agreement Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in the 2003 general elections. UUP had already resigned from the executive in 2002 following the Stormontgate scandal, in which three men were indicted for intelligence gathering. These charges were eventually dropped in 2005 because persecution was not “in the public interest.” Immediately afterwards, one of Sinn Féin`s members, Denis Donaldson, was unmasked as a British agent. The vague wording of some so-called “constructive ambiguities”[8] helped ensure the adoption of the agreement and delayed debate on some of the most controversial issues. These include extra-military dismantling, police reform and the standardisation of Northern Ireland. As part of the agreement, the British Parliament repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920 (which had founded Northern Ireland, divided Ireland and asserted territorial right to the whole of Ireland) and the people of the Republic of Ireland amended Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, which asserted a territorial right to Northern Ireland. The EU-UK withdrawal agreement came into force on 1 February 2020. The Northern Ireland Protocol (the “Protocol”) was part of the agreement. The protocol provides for the application of a long list of certain provisions of EU legislation, including tariff and aid or subsidy laws, to the trade and regulatory regime for goods in Northern Ireland, in order to maintain the smooth functioning of trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, without customs infrastructure between the two products. The desire to avoid the creation of an effective border in Ireland and to jeopardise the outcome of the Belfast/Good Friday agreement was an essential element at the basis of the protocol. The protocol stipulates that the Joint Committee must determine which goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland are “threatened” to be exported to the EU and should therefore impose tariffs on them – import taxes.

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