By Nolwenn Rousvoal–
Parity of esteem was used as a conceptual tool in the early 1990s in Northern Ireland during the peace negotiation process in order to accommodate the aspirations of nationalists and unionists under the framework of “two traditions”. The idea behind this concept, which is enshrined in the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, was that both traditions should receive equal respect and equal recognition and that any political settlement should acknowledge these two traditions and their preferred constitutional arrangements. Yet unionist politicians and some academics soon opposed the concept of parity of esteem: firstly on the grounds that it made equal two irreconcilable aspirations, and secondly that it made equal political recognition and cultural recognition.
In 1996, Arlene Foster wrote a pamphlet published by the Friends of the Union organisation in which she claimed that the concepts of “parity of esteem” and “the principle of consent” were…
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