Alliance Party conference: We want to fix problems of NI Protocol, says Stephen Farry

Alliance are “protocol realists” who support moves by the UK and the EU to fix the punishing aspects of the post-Brexit trade deal, the party’s sole MP said at the weekend.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 6th March 2022, 4:26 pm
Deputy leader Stephen Farry during his speech to the Alliance Party conference on Saturday
Deputy leader Stephen Farry during his speech to the Alliance Party conference on Saturday

Stephen Farry said Alliance is committed to support measures that reduce the level and impact of the border checks down the Irish Sea.

The North Down MP said his party accepted that “new barriers bring economic friction and undermine some people’s sense of identity”.

In his speech to Alliance’s annual conference, Mr Farry said he wanted “closer alignment between the UK and the EU” as well as seeking “further mitigations, flexibilities and derogations from EU requirements”.

He identified a possible UK-EU veterinary agreement which he said would “minimise the nature and level of sanitary and phytosanitary checks across the Irish Sea”.

Alliance has also lobbied for medicines from Britain to be free from checks at ports, he said.

On the Ukraine crisis, Mr Farry said the UK’s response to the flow of refugees escaping the Russian onslaught was “shamefully falling short” of what EU countries including the Irish Republic are doing.

“Our message to the Home Office is – stop waiving flags. Waive visas,” he said.

The Alliance Party’s deputy leader called on the Northern Ireland Executive to devise its own “refugee integration strategy” to absorb thousands of Ukrainians who will seek refuge in the Province.