Irish Prime Minister Martin: In connection with the crisis, the system of governance in Northern Ireland should be changed.
The Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement) of 1998 put an end to the bloody struggle between Catholic nationalists seeking the unification of Ireland and Protestant Unionists advocating the preservation of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. More than 3,500 people were killed during the conflict. The Northern Ireland Act of 1998, which followed the Good Friday Agreement, created the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Parliament of Northern Ireland.
According to Martin, unionist and nationalist parties were often in a system of forced coalitions, where one side cannot govern without the other. He called for reform of the separation of powers mechanisms enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement.
“There is a reason why all this (power sharing) happened in the early years… The parties have the opportunity to think about changing the system. The system polarizes and does not meet the goal… The electoral system should not be such that it constantly increases polarization,” Martin said in an interview with the British newspaper Financial Times.
According to him, changes to the system should be considered over the next four to five years. According to Dublin, decisions on reform should be made by the parties of Northern Ireland and the governments of Ireland and Great Britain.
Last week, the British Minister for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, announced that he would call new elections to the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland amid the failure to form a local government.
The situation around Northern Ireland has worsened after the Northern Irish Sinn Fein party, which advocates unification with Ireland, won the majority of seats in the regional legislative assembly elections in May, becoming the first nationalist party to take control of the Northern Ireland Assembly in its 101-year history.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has lost support among Unionists due to its reaction to Brexit and trade agreements regarding Northern Ireland, and this has led to a vote split between the country’s three Unionist parties.
As a result, the Northern Ireland Assembly was unable to elect a new speaker and form a new government, as the Democratic Unionist Party refused to do so as part of its protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol.