Trimble's hypocrisy exposed
The myth that First Minister David Trimble is being held hostage by the anti-Agreement wing of his party was exposed last week when it emerged that, far from planning to defend the Good Friday Agreement at the crucial meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council in October, Trimble had already decided to block Sinn Féin ministers' from attending cross border meetings.
Trimble told Seamus Mallon's office the day before the meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council that he would not sign the legal papers authorising a Sinn Féin minister to attend a North/South ministerial council meeting.
In other words, David Trimble is actively engaged in wrecking the Good Friday Agreement, setting an agenda in keeping, rather than in response, to the Naysayers in his own camp. Clearly the office of First Minister plays second fiddle to Trimble's agenda as leader of the UUP.
Trimble's unilaterial action was exposed during a judical review hearing in Belfast's High Court last Friday, 15 December. An affidavit presented to the court by the Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon revealed that Trimble was informed on September 11 that he needed to sign papers authorising Sinn Féin Health Minister Bairbre de Brún to attend a joint sectoral meeting in Enniskillen on 3 November.
On 25 September, agreed nominations of those to attend the Enniskillen meeting were set down in a memo by Mallon and Trimble and on 24 October the two ministers were sent a formal nomination paper for signature.
Mallon signed the document and Trimble's office was immediately given a copy for signing. But three days later, on 27 October, Mallon's office was informed that Trimble would not be signing. It was Friday and a day before the Ulster Unionist Council meeting.
The affidavit went on to say that Mallon accepts that Trimble has breached the ``joint statutory obligation imposed by section 52(1) of the Northern Ireland Act on the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called on the Dublin government to take British PM Tony Blair to court for breaching the Good Friday Agreement. Adams told a reception in Castlebar, Co. Mayo that the Good Friday Agreement is not the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement.
``It is an all-Ireland Agreement voted for by people throughout the island,'' said Adams, ``The Good Friday Agreement is also an international treaty signed by the British and Irish governments.
``It, therefore, has a legal status in international law, a status that demands action by both governments on David Trimble's current discriminatory ban on the two Sinn Fein ministers.''
``I am calling upon the Irish government to bring the British government before the International Court of Justice for its breach of the Good Friday Agreement.''