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DUP Leader & First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster MLA represented the Northern Ireland Executive, as part of the UK delegation, during the fourth ordinary meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee this morning.

Speaking after the virtual meeting Mrs Foster said,

“The Committee is an opportunity to articulate the views of consumers and traders alike and ensure that Northern Ireland is not disadvantaged.

The Committee must recognise that industry most of all need certainty. With the clock ticking down to the end of the year, companies are spending thousands of pounds investing in safeguards which may not be needed. I urged the Committee to recognise the importance of providing certainty.

I also reminded the meeting that the Belfast Agreement is at its core about consensus and that the Northern Ireland protocol drives a coach and horses through that principle. The repeated references to the Belfast Agreement by some elements stretch the core meaning of the document and lift the veil on their ignorance about how violence was ended.

Finally, it was important for the Committee to recognise that Great Britain is our biggest market both by volume and value. Our access in both directions to that market is absolutely critical for our core industries. We will continue to press both in London and Brussels to ensure that a sensible and workable solution is found.”