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Lifting of Catholic monarchy ban could be key to Northern Ireland peace

The Irish Times is speculating that British Prime Minister Tony Blair could boost the peace process in the North by lifting the ban on Catholics becoming King or Queen.

Green Party leader Trevor Sargent called on the British Prime Minister to lead the fight against sectarianism by changing the 1701 Act of Settlement that specifically bans Catholics from the monarchy.

As Greens on both sides of the border prepared to launch a joint paper on the future of the Good Friday Agreement, Mr Sargent said: "Not only does the Act of Settlement embed sectarianism but it gives the all clear to those who make sectarian comments."

"What we in the Greens are asking for is the British government to lead by example in the fight against sectarianism.

In December 2000, Scotland's late Cardinal Thomas Winning described the Act as "an embarrassing anachronism" which discriminated against Catholics and which no-one could justify.

He argued: "It is quite ludicrous to suggest that if a dashing young princess from Spain or Belgium or Luxembourg were to sweep Prince William off his feet and the young couple wished to marry, that somehow the British state would be brought to its knees."

Call to lift Catholic monarchy ban (Irish Times 17/7/04)

Blair urged to lift Catholic ban (The Scotsman 18/7/04)
British Monarchy
Green Party
Winning condemns 'grubby little secret' (BBC 10/12/00)
Act of Settlement, 1701

20 Jul 2004