Thursday, 17 October 2019
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
This morning, we had the revised text of the Irish protocol for the withdrawal agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. We welcome it. We will parse it and examine it in detail to make sure it protects the Good Friday Agreement, our peace process and the all-Ireland economy, including the North–South economy.
One concern articulated in recent times was that of a unionist veto. We see from the revised text that it will be up to the British Government to notify the EU institutions in regard to the process of consent, yet it will be for the Assembly to practise that consent. The text states the consent of the Assembly is required for the provisions to continue. The Northern Ireland Act 1998 states that if 30 Members petition the Assembly expressing their concern about a matter that is to be voted on by the Assembly, the vote on the matter shall require cross-community support. This translates to a unionist veto. Can the Tánaiste assure this House that this provision will not pertain in relation to the issue of Assembly consent?