To remove Northern Ireland protocol unionists need to present a viable alternative to London and Brussels

A letter from Councillor Alan Lewis:
Letter to the editorLetter to the editor
Letter to the editor

In his book ‘The Great Betrayal Britain. The true story of Brexit’ Editor note [first published in GB 2019 by Constable] which pre-dates Boris Johnson’s Northern Ireland Protocol betrayal, the author Rod Liddle pointedly refers to Blockchain technology.

He enthusiastically suggests that Blockchain cryptography or similar are available as viable solutions for border checks.

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Blockchain is a proven commercial success acknowledged internationally and used extensively as a recognised method for registering goods travelling across frontiers.

Rod Liddle takes the trouble to divulge that technical solutions were explored during the Theresa May-Michel Barnier backstop talks. Regrettably the potential to circumnavigate the Irish/EU land border demands using technology was not forcefully pursued by the UK.

Perhaps with Dublin-Brussels intransigence and London’s willingness to sacrifice Northern Ireland, the combination of their joint chicanery contrived to put Blockchain out of sight out of mind.

The outcome of both being conveniently uninterested and ignorant in the value of an off the shelf technical solution and over anxious to exclude Northern Ireland from the final EU deal. The withdrawal agreement has served to seriously damage the Union.

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Recently, Steve Aiken MLA, leader of the UUP, called on all leaders to meet and thrash out a way forward. Unionist cooperation is a given in unionism requiring the removal of the disastrous protocol.

To succeed in the removal process there needs to be a viable alternative challenging London and Brussels.

The Ulster Unionist Party has published a number of proposals to ease the problems posed by the NI protocol to the Great Britain to Northern Ireland supply chain.

The paper outlines a number of practical measures and legislation to remove barriers currently being faced by businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland, Perhaps it would also be timely that Blockchain or similar is taken forward as an oven ready alternative to the protocol.

Alan Lewis, UUP Councillor, Newry, Mourne & Down Counci

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