Co Down Grand Orange Lodge: Talk of mitigations to the Irish Sea border is fiddling while the Union burns

A letter from County Down Grand Orange Lodge:

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 11:58 am
Updated Thursday, 11th February 2021, 1:10 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday. The Co Down Grand Orange says: "Voting for legislation necessary for the protocol to function one week and writing to Whitehall to complain about the outworking of it the next will not wash with the unionist people" Photo: Commons/PA Wire

The officers of the Co Down Grand Lodge fully endorse the actions of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in their representations to the Westminster government on the introduction and implementation of the NI Protocol.

The Co Down Grand Lodge in representing the 19 districts within in the county place on record our full support of the views already expressed on various social media platforms by our District and private lodges and join them in our and their implacable opposition to the N.I. Protocol.

After the EU move to halt lifesaving vaccines coming to Northern Ireland no one can be in any doubt about the dangers of the Protocol to all the people of this part of the U.K., regardless of their political outlook.

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Letter to the editor

In a year when we should be celebrating 100 years of Northern Ireland’s creation and place as an integral part of the United Kingdom we find ourselves cut off from the rest of the nation by a hard border in the Irish Sea, driving a wedge between our family of nations.

This is a betrayal without parallel in the history of Northern Ireland. We have been abandoned in a foreign single market, a foreign customs union, a foreign VAT regime and find ourselves ruled in these areas by foreign laws which we cannot change and all subject to a foreign court.

Talk of mitigations, longer lead in periods or even making the best of it is fiddling while the Union burns. The Protocol is poison to the Union. We owe it to the many brethren who paid the supreme sacrifice to keep us part of the United Kingdom to take a stand in this our time of threatened calamity. Over time as Great Britain diverges from the EU the border will only get worse and the difference between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. will increase. It is self-evident therefore that the Protocol is destructive of our citizenship of the United Kingdom.

We are calling on all Unionist MP’s and our local Unionist MLAs to press the Westminster Government to immediately implement Article 16 and remove this iniquities regulation from the statue books and ensure that N.I remains an integral part of the great Union of the United Kingdom.

Finally, given that the links between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. have been destroyed as a result of the Protocol we are calling on Unionists to immediately cease their involvement in the North/South arrangements established by the Belfast Agreement.

It is imperative that all political means at our disposal are employed to derail the protocol. Voting for legislation necessary for the protocol to function one week and writing to Whitehall to complain about the outworking of it the next will not wash with the Unionist people.

Failure to do so would be a gross dereliction of duty to the Unionist people.

Samuel Walker. County Down Grand Orange Lodge

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