Why has the DUP suddenly woken up to the disaster of the NI protocol? Was it Jim Allister revealing the MLAs who voted for imposition of EU laws (‘These are the 81 MLAs who voted to ban import of soil into NI,’ Jan 25, see link below) under the protocol?
Is it pressure from grassroots unionists like the two lodges from Co Armagh? Was it the diabolical use of Article 16 of the NI protocol by the EU? This showed up the lie that they cared about the Belfast Agreement.
Whatever the reason, I am sure that the British government was expecting some sort of robust action before now.
It would have been a shame if some grassroots unionists were to get a criminal record through frustration at the lack of leadership from unionist politicians and middle and upper-class unionist inactivity.
I doubt if it had been a land border that republicans/nationalists would have been so understanding.
As the News Letter front page editorial said (‘Protocol an even bigger disaster than we feared, February 3, see link below)it is no good playing around the edges with the protocol. It must be destroyed and our free trade movement to our biggest market restored.
There now seems to be a glimmer of hope for unionists. The DUP is in a good position to stop any more building of the border at our ports and should desist from aiding and abetting its construction.
There is little doubt that the British government’s agreement with the EU and the Irish government has brought this upon unionists at the worst possible time — hoping for little response due to the pandemic.
It is time for cool heads and unionist unity as to how they should proceed. Hopefully there will be a committee of unionist politicians to plan the way ahead and to gauge the effectiveness of the unionist response to the border in the Irish Sea.
Not only does the outcome affect the position of Northern Ireland as part of the UK, but also the future of some of these politicians at next year’s Assembly election.
John Mulholland, Doagh
• Editorial: ‘Protocol an even bigger disaster than we feared,’ February 3
• DUP statement in full: Working together, unionists can make a difference in challenging the Irish Sea border
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