Parties have ‘heads in the sand’ if they ignore issues

Political parties who do not acknowledge problems caused to businesses by the Northern Ireland Protocol, have their “heads stuck in the sand”, the economy minister has claimed.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 7:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 7:53 am
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons

DUP minister Gordon Lyons made the comment as he was quizzed on whether dual access to the EU and UK offered by Brexit was an advantage to NI.

During ministerial question time at Stormont SDLP MLA Sinead Bradley asked the minister: “Does he believe that dual access to the UK and the EU markets is an advantage or a disadvantage?” She also asked if he was responsible for Invest NI being “mute” to the advantages.

Mr Lyons (pictured) said: “It is not an advantage when the consequence of it is that we are cut off from one of our biggest markets, the rest of the UK.

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“There are trade barriers that are put in place, there are additional difficulties and members on that side of the House will not acknowledge that it is an issue.

“They are not listening to businesses, they are not understanding the concerns that are being expressed. This isn’t coming from me, this is businesses who are telling me about the additional bureaucracy, the additional costs, the additional hours that are needed to be spent filling out paperwork.

“If they would at least acknowledge it, it would go some way to helping us. If you fail to acknowledge there is a problem, you are never going to come up with a solution.”

Ms Bradley said: “I think history will show disappointment that we have an economy minister who does not see access to both markets as an advantage.”