Northern Ireland Protocol: Jamie Bryson in call for non-violent protest

Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson has called for a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience to oppose the NI Protocol after an Appeal Court ruling yesterday found that it “subjugates” the Act of Union.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 7:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 10:07 am

Mr Bryson said the judgment also demonstrates that the principle of consent enshrined in the Belfast Agreement is a “fundamental deception”.

He said the Appeal Court finding “has shone a light on a deceit at the heart of the 1998 agreement”.

Appealing for any protests to be peaceful, Mr Bryson continued: “I understand the anger, it is absolutely legitimate and justified, but we must ensure that we do not do anything that will allow the perpetrators of the subjugation of our Union to turn us into the bad guys.

Jamie Bryson

“Nevertheless peaceful protests must escalate in size and intensity, and non-violent civil disobedience will I am sure be something many will start to consider as the future of the Union hangs in the balance.”

Ben Habib, the former Brexit Party MP who joined Jim Allister and Baroness Hoey in the legal action against the protocol, said there are now two court judgments that the Act of Union can be set aside for the post-Brexit trade deal.

“It is a twist and turn of the legal system, which undermines in my view the constitutional rights of people in Northern Ireland and thereby actually the constitutional rights of people in the United Kingdom as a whole. It is an abhorrent position that the people of the United Kingdom have been put into. I do not believe for a second that there is a single parliamentarian who would support this ruling here today. The whole thing is a farce,” Mr Habib said.

Sinn Fein welcomed the court decision and said it underlined that the protocol is here to stay.

Declan Kearney, the party’s Brexit spokesperson, said the ruling highlighted the “need for stunt politics to stop”.

He added that the protocol gives local businesses “unique access to the British market and the EU single market”.

SDLP Assembly member Matthew O’Toole said the latest defeat of the anti-protocol legal challenge should prompt unionists to move on and focus on “real crises like the cost of living emergency and NHS waiting lists”.