IS the Government finally going to deal with the iniquitous NI protocol? It certainly appears so. At long last we have published legislation which reasserts the Acts of Union and by doing so gives primacy to the single market of the United Kingdom.
By DAME ARLENE FOSTER
18:22, Mon, Jun 13, 2022 | UPDATED: 22:09, Mon, Jun 13, 2022
The legislation is important as it is long overdue recognition by the Prime Minister and his Government that the Protocol must be replaced with arrangements that respect Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom.
As it stands the protocol endangers jobs, drives up costs for customers at a time when we are facing a cost-of-living crisis generally and reduces choice on our shelves.
Those who never accepted the UK’s decision to leave the EU will say that this legislation endangers devolution in NI.
The Remainer alliance in Northern Ireland (Sinn Fein, SDLP and the Alliance party) will tell you that they want to keep the Protocol as is, even though it is damaging cross community relations and costing our economy dearly – the Road Haulage Association for example tell us that haulage costs have risen by 27 percent as a direct result of the protocol.
In Northern Ireland we have a system of government under the Belfast agreement that only works under consensus, that is, that a majority in both communities agree on the way forward.
In January 2020, the Assembly and Executive was reconstituted after a three-year boycott by Sinn Fein under an agreement called ‘New Decade, New Approach’.
The agreement was the basis of starting devolution again and in that agreement, there was a commitment by the Government to restore Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market.
It has taken two and half years but at last the Government is taking action to do just that – and remember all the parties in Northern Ireland subscribe to the New Decade, New Approach agreement – something the Remainer alliance conveniently never mention.
Not one unionist representative in the Assembly supports the Protocol, and because we have a system of power sharing not majority rule this needs to be fixed.
Progress is only made in NI with the support of nationalists and unionists and devolution is not sustainable so long as the sea border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland remains.