NI Protocol is disastrous, yet there is still no serious unionist plan

A letter from Samuel Morrison:

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 9:20 pm
Letter to the editor

Just over a month ago the High Court found that Article Six of the Act of Union was no more because of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Just over a month ago the High Court found that Article Six of the Act of Union was no more because of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The more recent comments of the chairman of Marks & Spencer – a company which kept faith in Northern Ireland throughout the years of terror – highlighted the profound challenges this constitutional wreaking ball has created for business.

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Concerns around the protocol are not merely academic.

The government has admitted that the conditions to trigger Article 16 already exist and yet it delays. Such an approach by a self-proclaimed Conservative and Unionist government is a gross dereliction of duty.

Given the form of the government – it seems intent on following the policy of a processor which infamously said it had no selfish strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland – this is hardly surprising.

But it is the response of elected unionism which is more surprising. Surely we need to make London take note?

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson appeared to recognise this as he became DUP leader after claiming he was prepared to cut North-South cooperation unless our east-west links were restored.

Yet the recent North-South Ministerial Council meeting went ahead as planned.

Meanwhile, the UUP‘s Ian Marshall used his first outing for the party to say that the protocol is “here to stay” and offers “opportunities”.

Devolution under the terms of the Belfast Agreement was always going to be a difficult sell to the unionist electorate given that it awarded the political wing of the IRA places round the cabinet table as of right.

Nevertheless, most unionists eventually bought into it. It was sold to them on the basis that there could be no change in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland without consent.

Devolution, it was claimed, gave us control and a say on our future.

We now know that those assurances were worthless.

Yet there is no suggestion of any serious plan of political action to counter the protocol and certainly none of devolution being in danger of collapse because of how unionist concerns have been disregarded.

Samuel Morrison

TUV, Dromore