National Delegate Conference report- Gitte Nyboe

Morning UNISON assembly at the Conference for the National Delegates in Brighton on Tuesday the 16th of June 2018.

This morning, the first point was centred around the Good Friday agreement.

As a foreigner living in the UK for the past 5+ years, I have only gotten a little insight into the current policies and political stances.  The election won by the Tories with a minority vote and the compulsory coalition they engaged in with the DUP was only one of the many unfortunate happenings.

Experiencing the atmosphere that arose due to Brexit and the xenophobia some people felt utilising the Brexiteers victory as an excuse for, have been two of the major events that I personally have not appreciated experiencing. No matter how I feel regarding these, in my opinion, sad backward steps, I still love living in the UK and have no desire to return to Denmark where I was born and grew up. I love Denmark, do not get me wrong! it’s a lovely Country, however, I have had so many wonderful experiences and met so many lovely people during my time in the UK that I am hoping for more of the same in my future.

This particular mornings debate about the Good Friday agreement struck me as increasingly important and very present despite it bringing us back to 1998 when the agreement was ratified and finally effectuated in 1999. I must, embarrassingly, admit that I had never heard of it, although the past troubles in Northern Ireland were of course, not new news to me. The horror story of Bloody Sunday that to my knowledge led to the equally horrifying Bloody Friday bombings do not need any actual refreshing in our memories. Please!…

The Good Friday agreement was and still is important for not just the peoples of Northern Ireland but also for the rest of the UK and an override of it, would be devastating in the light of continuous events in Northern Ireland. The peace that the agreement brought with it politically is unquestionable, but people in N. I. still battle with ripples from that pool of horrors even 20 years later. People being slaughtered in the streets, violence and anger and desperation are all valid descriptions of happenings and those feelings are present still this day today. That is why I am writing this piece. I do not know enough about how Brexit will affect anything or anyone precisely, but I do know enough to feel apprehensive about the coming changes on behalf of the people of and in Northern Ireland.

A hard Brexit will undoubtedly have devastating consequences for those people as it could push this agreement out and into the abyss of failed political attempts… Not because it is impossible to achieve but because the current government for whatever reason neglects the importance of the peace that has been present in Ireland for the past 20 years.

It is imperative that we do not turn a blind eye to Northern Ireland and paramount that we all work towards maintaining this regard for the peoples of Ireland and that we all ensure the freedom of choice and basic human rights within this diverse culture. Not only for the people of Northern Ireland and Eire but also to ensure that no other horrors emerge and affect the rest of the United Kingdom.

Gytte Nyboe