Business groups also have questions to answer on the Irish Sea border, yet BBC discussion did not reflect that

A letter from James Martin:

Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 11:45 am
Mark Carruthers hosts BBC NI's Sunday Politics Show with guests Seamus Leheny of Logistics UK and Stephen Kelly on Manufacturing NI on January 17. It was like a cosy consensus, writes James Martin, and the guests were not grilled on how business groups would not even accept a light touch land border
Mark Carruthers hosts BBC NI's Sunday Politics Show with guests Seamus Leheny of Logistics UK and Stephen Kelly on Manufacturing NI on January 17. It was like a cosy consensus, writes James Martin, and the guests were not grilled on how business groups would not even accept a light touch land border

The Irish Sea border element of the Sunday Politics Show on January 17 consisted largely of a cosy consensus between the various interviewees and the presenter Mark Carruthers.

If those responsible for organising the programme failed (for whatever reason) to assemble a cast to provide a balanced analysis of the situation then surely the presenter should challenge the cosy consensus.

An introductory clip in the ‘60 seconds’ section showed an industry representative claiming there were structural problems with the new arrangements, there are empty shelves across Northern Ireland for everyone to see, businesses are not receiving supplies.

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Letter to the editor

The reality is that Northern Ireland’s main trade route has been choked by the introduction of a trade barrier, this is clearly an issue of gravity.

In the discussion the problem was blamed on Brexit/DUP/British government.

However, I seem to recall all business groups interviewed in the programme along with the SDLP, Sinn Fein, Alliance and UFU aligned with the Irish government and the EU to vehemently oppose even light touch controls on the border with the Republic of Ireland and thus encourage the development of the Irish Sea border (the debate after 2016 even included references to the threat of a return to violence).

I therefore would have thought that at the very least a valid question from the presenter might have been: your campaign encouraged a new border across Northern Ireland’s main trading route, did you not foresee these problems?

I thought the programme displayed lazy journalism.

James Martin, Dromore, Co Down

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