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DAERA Minister and DUP Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots has welcomed the release of four ponies to their owners following a court judgement.

Mr Poots said,

“The four ponies have been released this morning and reunited with their owners. The common-sense outcome.

This example shows the silliness that is going on at our ports. I don’t blame the staff, I blame the Northern Ireland Protocol and those who placed it in law.

The Protocol was imposed against our will, but London, Brussels and Dublin pressed ahead, cheered on by Sinn Fein, Alliance and the SDLP. Today we have two and a half times more checks taking place at our ports than at Rotterdam, the 11th largest port in the world.

These excessive checks are not only impacting ponies, but I am increasingly concerned from an animal welfare point of view that pets are being put through unnecessary veterinary procedures just to comply with the NI Protocol. Dogs are undergoing checks for rabies whilst the British Isles has been rabies free for decades.

It is time for Brussels and the Government to recognise the Protocol is flawed and has not worked.”