New Decade, New Approach – initial analysis
January 10, 2020
Late into the evening of 9 January 2020 – three years after the Executive collapsed – the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Tánaiste presented their proposals for re-establishing our devolved institutions. The New Decade, New Approach document is 62 pages long and is currently being reviewed by the political parties.
This is the Consortium’s initial response.
There are clearly a range of policy, programmatic and financial commitments that will do much to advance outstanding issues that relate to the protection of rights in Northern Ireland.
Many of these commitments are simply addressing issues which were themselves hostage to the Assembly and Executives historic inability to deal directly with rights issues. These are welcome commitments, but they do not significantly alter the framework within which decisions about human rights will be taken in the future.
Beyond provision for new languages legislation, there is little evidence of positive progress in advancing the legal protection of rights formally. In fact, the provisions for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland seem destined to create further inaction and debate.
The real challenge to come for political parties will be to ensure that these Bill of Rights proposals actually deliver a meaningful set of rights outcomes rather than being the latest delaying tactic in this long running process.
You can find more on our initial response here and more will follow in the coming days and weeks.