Northern Ireland Protocol 're-writing' part of Good Friday Agreement - DUP

Sammy Wilson claims the Brexit deal is threatening peace in the region
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.15 8 Nov 2021

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Northern Ireland Protocol 're-...

Northern Ireland Protocol 're-writing' part of Good Friday Agreement - DUP

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.15 8 Nov 2021

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The Northern Ireland Protocol is 're-writing' a part of the Good Friday Agreement around cross-community support, the DUP has claimed.

The party's Brexit spokesperson, Sammy Wilson, claims the deal is threatening peace in the region.

Earlier, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney warned Britain faces 'really significant consequences' if London suspends the protocol.


He earlier told Newstalk: "The EU has been, really, bending over backwards to try to find solutions to problems.

"They have listened to people in Northern Ireland, business leaders there and political leaders there and each time the EU comes up with solutions… the UK banks that and says 'Not enough, we need more' and introduces new areas and new problems.

"I think that's been a very successful strategy for [UK Brexit Minister] Lord Frost and for the Prime Minister, because there have been a lot of flexibilities shown on the EU side, while the UK has given nothing".

But Mr Wilson told The Hard Shoulder he sees it a different way.

"They've been bending over backwards to do as much damage to Northern Ireland and to the UK economy as they possibly can.

"And daily we hear of how the protocol's affecting trade between GB and Northern Ireland".

Quoting a recent instance, he claimed: "Only last week we had a complaint from Iceland who were delivering a load of frozen food to Northern Ireland.

"The EU official at the Larne Port demanded a certain pizza at the very front of the lorry be unloaded so that she could inspect it.

"And a whole lorry load of frozen food was lost... certainly no indication of flexibility on the EU's part, but petty rule applications which are damaging business.

"And of course the EU is still insisting that a foreign court should adjudicate on matters in Northern Ireland.

"I don't think that you would accept a British court making decisions about things in the Irish Republic: why should we accept the European Court adjudicating things in Northern Ireland, and also insisting on EU laws applying to Northern Ireland?"

'The deal is damaging peace'

Host Kieran Cuddihy pointed out that this is the Brexit deal Britain signed up to.

To this, Mr Wilson says: "It may well have been the deal that the UK signed up to, but it's quite clear that that deal is damaging peace in Northern Ireland, damaging the economy".

Asked how it is damaging peace, he claims: "It's damaging peace - well you only see the tensions there are on the streets, you can see the tensions that there are now in the [Stormont] assembly."

He also claimed there is "real danger" to constitutional and institutional arrangements under the Good Friday Agreement.

"It's because we're demanding there be some consistency - if you want to have good North-South relations, then you also have to have good east-west relations".

Mr Wilson says cross-party institutions in the North have been affected.

"The institutions are very, very balanced - they're balanced... that there should be cross-community support for controversial issues.

"The protocol actually re-writes that part of the Good Friday Agreement by removing the need for cross-community support for issues relating to the protocol.

"And secondly, the Belfast Agreement refers to not just relations between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic but also relations between Ireland and the rest [sic] of GB, and Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

"Those relationships have been, again, torn apart by the protocol".

Main image: Composite image shows Democratic Unionist Party Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson in April 2020, and a Belfast Ferry sign Birkenhead, England in July 2021. Picture by: World History Archive / Alan Morris / Alamy Stock Photo

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