The North's Agriculture Minister has ordered a stop to Brexit agri-food checks on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and Britain.
Edwin Poots had previously threatened the action as part of the DUP's ongoing opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The decision, if it goes ahead, means checks on agri-food products would be stopped at ports in the North from midnight tonight.
Mr Poots claims he’s been given legal advice supporting his move to “direct the checks to cease in the absence of Executive approval”.
He said: "I have now issued a formal instruction to my permanent secretary to halt all checks that were not in place on 31 December 2020 from midnight tonight."
Deputy First Minister, Michelle O'Neill, says it's a stunt by the DUP to "unlawfully interfere with domestic and international law".
This stunt is an attempt by the DUP to unlawfully interfere with domestic, and international law. DUP fixated on their own priorities, which are clearly at odds with where the wider community is at. Health, Jobs, Housing, Cost of living crisis is where the rest of us are focused
— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) February 2, 2022
In the Seanad this evening, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney urged Minister Poots not to pursue this course of action.
He said: “If a political decision is taken by a minister in Northern Ireland to stop all checks in ports on goods coming across the Irish Sea… that is effectively a breach of international law.
“I would remind everyone that the Protocol is part of an international agreement.”
He said such an intervention would be “really unhelpful” and would likely be “far more about politics” than an attempt to find a compromise over disagreements on the Protocol.