Principle of consent

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Principle of consent is a term used in the context of the Northern Ireland peace process and one of the key points of the Good Friday Agreement. The principle states both the legitimacy of the aspiration to a United Ireland and the current legitimate wish of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. The doctrine also underlines the right of self determination for the people of Ireland, North and South, without external interference, and with the consensus of a majority of the people in Northern Ireland.[1]

The principle of consent is now accepted by all elected parties in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It is opposed by Republican Sinn Féin, the IRSP, Éirígí and many independent republicans. Opponents of the principle regard it as a unionist veto to the nationalist goal of a United Ireland.


" is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by

agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a

majority of the people of Northern Ireland."