Time to act! Now Ireland ordered to step into tense EU row with Brexit Britain

Peter Bone discusses Chris Bryant's Brexiteer retweet

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Unionists are furious the policy, introduced as part of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, has resulted in customs checks on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. They argue this undermines British sovereignty and has caused shortages of some goods in the province.

Speaking at the North-South Ministerial Council, Northern Ireland’s new First Minister Paul Givan urged Dublin to help “fix” the dispute.

The council was created to facilitate cooperation, between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Mr Givan argued there is a “window of opportunity” to resolve the issue after the EU suspended planned legal action against the UK.

He also expressed frustration with former Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar, who in 2018 used newspaper clippings of a 1972 IRA bombing to argue against a hard Irish border.

The First Minister commented: “Obviously the Irish Government have a very important role in influencing how the European Union conducts its approach to addressing those issues.

“Nobody should be under any illusion as to the implications that the Protocol has had, the manner in which it was foisted upon the Unionist community, and the way in which there was engagement for the European Union, where we had photographs of border posts being bombed in the 1970s in order to get the European Union on side when it came to this Protocol.”

Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin claimed the meeting had been “good, relaxed, engaged and pragmatic”.

He added: “If the political will exists, I do believe that within the framework of the Withdrawal Agreement that the potential exists there to iron out and to resolve issues.”

Earlier this summer, Boris Johnson threatened to suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol unless concessions are made.

The unionist DUP has urged the Government to scrap the Protocol, the introduction of which they fiercely opposed.

In March loyalist rioting broke out across Northern Ireland, attributed in part to anger over the Protocol.

In June, the UK and EU agreed to delay introducing some checks on trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, including on the transportation of fresh meat.


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There had been fears of disorder if these came into effect during the traditional loyalist marching season.

However, they are still due to take effect later this year.

In January, the EU caused uproar by threatening to suspend the Protocol, during a row with Britain over vaccine supplies.

This could have re-imposed a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Following fury from Dublin, Belfast and London the EU agreed to back down.

The DUP campaigned for Brexit ahead of the 2016 EU referendum.

However, the party voted against Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal after it became clear this would impose inter-UK trade restrictions.

A House of Lords committee, created to look into the Protocol, recently warned Northern Ireland could become a “permanent casualty” of Brexit unless the dispute is resolved.

It argued the EU has shown a “lack of balance, understanding and flexibility” over the issue.

The committee also accused the British Government of showing a “lack of clarity, transparency and readiness”.
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