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Economy Minister Diane Dodds was joined by DAERA Minister Edwin Poots today at a virtual meeting with the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets; BEIS, Paul Scully MP and NIO Minister Robin Walker MP to discuss the damaging impact of the Northern Ireland protocol.

Commenting, Minister Dodds said,

“The actions on Friday have completely exposed the hypocrisy of the European Commission, and the disingenuous nature of their public pronouncements in relation to the Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland border over the course of the past five years.

As many of us suspected, Northern Ireland was little more than a bargaining chip used during the European Union’s negotiations with the United Kingdom. For the EU, the interests of the institution always come first. They will, above all else, protect the ‘project’ and the EU single market.

Once the EU had the opportunity to invoke or threaten to invoke Article 16 for their own gain, they seemingly disregarded any previous concerns they had about the impact on people in Northern Ireland. These actions have effectively set the bar for when and in which circumstances Article 16 could be invoked.

The question for our national Government is what they will do in order to protect the UK internal market.

I used the opportunity today to raise a number of issues that have been causing concern over the past few weeks and relayed stories from businesses who have been negatively impacted as a result of the protocol. Issues for consumers not able to receive deliveries, haulage companies facing unreasonable and new impediments to moving freight and others having to look to new supply chains to avoid disruption.

The DUP has consistently opposed the protocol and has been proven right that it would severely impact trade with our largest and most important market in Great Britain. Other parties of course called for the full and rigorous implementation of the protocol.

It is now clear that the protocol has resulted in significant economic and societal impacts to people across Northern Ireland. The UK Government should now act now to protect the economic and societal impacts on people in Northern Ireland and use whatever means necessary to resolve these issues and has any number of case studies to back up their position.”