Jamie Bryson: The DUP is willingly implementing EU law in Northern Ireland

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Letters to editor
A letter from Jamie Bryson:

The DUP in supporting the tabling of an applicability motion to approve EU law on organic pet food, is a clear example of how they now willingly accept EU law – the very thing they once described as the “fundamental issue”.

Their defence that the EU organic pet food provisions mirrors that in Great Britain is superficially attractive but in fact deceptively conceals the DUP’s implementation and acceptance of the most egregious constitutional harm.

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Firstly, making a case that EU law is good because it mirrors GB is de-facto acceptance than NI is for all practical purposes EU rather than UK territory, and our route to having the same laws as the rest of the UK is via the EU rather than our own lawmaking. This is patently absurd.

Secondly, once accepted this EU law then forms part of Annex 2 of the Protocol (thus putting beyond all doubt the DUP’s Protocol implementing status, they are actually using the mechanisms of the Protocol to add to the EU laws applicable to NI). As part of Annex 2, amendments will then be difficult to stop, notwithstanding the Stormont Brake which far be it from offering a veto, in fact limits Parliamentary sovereignty and gives Stormont no greater role than the proverbial man on the street expressing a view.

Thirdly, the DUP is using this to re-frame their position. They are abandoning opposition to the self-described “fundamental issue”, namely NI being subject to EU rather than UK law, and instead pivoting to a position of rather than objecting to this fundamental constitutional offence, they now object only if the EU law manifests itself by creating divergence. Put simply, the new DUP position it seems is that NI being under EU law is fine as a matter of principle, so long as it isn’t practically visible via the manifestation of divergence. This is consistent with acceptance of the Protocol and its rebranding via the Windsor Framework, but entirely contrary to unionism’s collective objections to the constitutional harm inflicted on NI which formed the part of our one-time collective stand on this issue.

This is a seminal issue, and that the joint-First Minister is accepting and implementing EU law, through the mechanisms of the protocol, should cause all unionists to pause and consider the extent of the constitutional realignment taking place in regards Northern Ireland’s place in the Union.

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What is worse is that the DUP leader is a qualified barrister, a pupil of Mr Justice Scoffield no less, and the joint-First Minister is also a barrister. Therefore, they cannot credibly claim they know not what they do.

Jamie Bryson, Donaghadee