Jim Allister: DUP has shown weakness to Dublin, London and Brussels by operating the North-South bodies

While the public have been told that the DUP are boycotting all North South Ministerial Council meetings except those related to health, the answers to a number of written questions reveal that the scope of the recent NSMC meeting went well beyond health matters.

By Jim Allister
Thursday, 4th November 2021, 10:53 am
Updated Thursday, 4th November 2021, 11:01 am
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s pledge on north-south was clear but, sadly, it is being trashed before our eyes, writes Jim Allister
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s pledge on north-south was clear but, sadly, it is being trashed before our eyes, writes Jim Allister

As TUV highlighted after the communique following the October meeting was published appointments were made to the Loughs Agency, InterTradeIreland, the Language Body, and Tourism Ireland.

These appointments are significant as they empower them to operate.

Now, as confirmed in response to written questions to the Minister of Health, this happened because “the First Minister and deputy First Minister considered the matter under Urgent Procedures process and asked for approval of these appointments be placed as an agenda item at the North South Ministerial Council on 14 October 2021”.

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Jim Allister QC MLA is TUV leader

Thus while our East/West relationships continue to be trashed by the Sea Border the DUP First Minister uses the cover of a North/South meeting about health to keep other North/South bodies manned and operative!

Likewise, yesterday another NSMC meeting took place on Inland Waterways. Again, this was only possible because the First Minister sanctioned it and approved the agenda. Irrespective of who attends the meeting, no North/South meeting can take place without the First Minister approving its scheduling and agenda.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s pledge was clear but, sadly, it is being trashed before our eyes. When a necessary threat is made it must be delivered.

Such weakness sends entirely the wrong signal to nationalism, Dublin, London and the EU. Why would anyone take professed danger to the institutions of the Belfast Agreement seriously when the DUP is prepared to facilitate appointments to a North/South body dealing with trade on an all-Ireland basis when our trade with the rest of the UK continues to be disrupted by the Sea Border?

Unionism can only win this battle against the iniquitous Protocol by standing resolute and firm. Wobbling and backtracking has the opposite effect.

Jim Allister QC MLA is TUV leader

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