Allister: Just another ludicrous Protocol problem – British seed potatoes banned

TUV leader Jim Allister has voiced concerns for the Province’s potato farmers, saying the protocol is preventing access to the material they need.

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 5:00 am
TUV leader Jim Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister

He said nothing less than “the future of our potato sector” relies on easy access to seed potatoes from GB.

However, he said that their import now “is banned because GB is now declared a ‘third country’ and thus subject to the ban which arises under Regulation EU 2016/2031”.

Mr Allister went on to contend that on December 8 last year, the Stormont Assembly voted to back a piece of law called ‘The Plant Health and Diseases of Animals (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020’.

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He argues that by passing this law (with cross unionist/nationalist support, and only he and Jim Wells voting against), it activated a section of the protocol that in turn engaged the EU regulation mentioned earlier.

The result? That seed potatoes are now banned from being imported from Great Britain to Northern Ireland – “with devastating consequences for the potato sector”.

Specifically, this is what the EU rule says: it “establishes rules to determine the phytosanitary risks posed by any species, strain or biotype of pathogenic agents, animals or parasitic plants injurious to plants or plant products (‘pests’) and measures to reduce those risks to an acceptable level”.

It adds: “Where there is evidence that non-parasitic plants, other than those regulated under Article 4(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014, pose phytosanitary risks which would have a severe economic, social and environmental impact on the Union territory, those non-parasitic plants may be considered as pests for the purposes of this regulation.”

Mr Allister said: “Going into next year our potato sector faces severe shortage of seed potatoes – as does the Republic – because of this absurd EU law ...

“Some unionist MLAs are now protesting the adverse impact on the sector, but when it mattered they were blindly voting for this ludicrous seed ban.”

Click here>>> Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Jim Allister in war of words over NI Protocol deadline

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