Edwin Poots says government should 'unilaterally protect Northern Ireland' if EU refuse to scrap NI Protocol

DUP leader Edwin Poots had reiterated his call for the Northern Ireland Protocol to be scrapped.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:42 pm

Mr Poots said the time for talking about “Protocol problems has passed”, adding it is “now time for action”.

“The engagement between Lord Frost and Maros Sefcovic has been described as ‘frank’ but more talking is not what Northern Ireland needs. We need the NI Protocol to be removed,” he said.

“The Protocol has been a disaster both politically and economically.

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Brexit minister Lord Frost, flanked by Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt, sitting opposite European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic, who is flanked by Principal Adviser, Service for the EU-UK Agreements (UKS) Richard Szostak, as he chairs the first EU-UK partnership council at Admiralty House in London.

“Even the Protocol’s early chief cheerleaders in Northern Ireland who initially called for its ‘rigorous implementation’ are now searching for the reverse gear.

“Animals with full traceability pose no threat to the single market. Checks on pets and guide dogs for diseases that have not been found in the British Isles since 1922 were equally illogical, which is why I have stepped in to stop them. Crippling bureaucracy on our medicines is downright reckless.

“The Protocol was foisted on Northern Ireland against our will and means there are two-and-a-half times more checks at our ports than at Rotterdam, one of the world’s largest ports.

“It has resulted in 15,000 checks per week, meanwhile we have neither the infrastructure nor staff to meet the EU’s demands.

“The Protocol has failed and has only delivered instability and higher prices for Northern Ireland.

“It is time to remove the internal UK barriers rather than talking about the outworkings of those barriers.”

Mr Poots is set to meet Maros Sefcovic next week.

He added: “If Brussels is deaf to the problems, then our own government must act unilaterally to protect Northern Ireland.”

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