Buckley – “medicine fiasco is immoral and cannot be tolerated”

Upper Bann MLA Jonathan Buckley has said the Health Minister's warnings over medicine shortages at the end of the Protocol grace period highlight the blind eye turned by some local parties to the health threats posed by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The DUP MLA tabled a debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 17th May which highlighted the importance of the UK internal market for the supply of medicines and medical devices and called on parties to resist disruption to east-west trade for these products.

The motion was opposed by Alliance, Green, SDLP and Sinn Fein MLAs.

By Jonathan Buckley MLA

Upper Bann

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Mr Buckley said,

“The threats to our supply of medicines and medical devices were very clear in May when I led the Assembly debate. The fact that 98% of these products come to Northern Ireland from Great Britain highlights the very real and serious impact the Protocol will have on supply when the grace period ends. It covers everything from penicillin to vaccines and will affect every single citizen here. It is immoral, unjustifiable and cannot be tolerated.

The Health Minister clearly recognised the seriousness of this issue then as he still does today. However that was not shared by other parties across the NI Assembly. Indeed, their demand for "rigorous implementation" of the Protocol was not retreated from even in the face of medicine shortages.

A border down the Irish Sea is not just some theoretical or constitutional debate. The imposition of the Protocol impacts and harms every single person in Northern Ireland. It should be opposed by everyone. There can be no spurious 'best of both worlds' arguments to harming the health of our citizens.

Those who opposed this motion and turned their heads from the reality of the Northern Ireland Protocol need to explain why they have ignored this threat. The wider message however is that tinkering at the edges of the Protocol will not work, the Irish Sea border must be removed for these threats to be fully lifted from Northern Ireland.”

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