Forsythe – Protocol not acceptable to unionists

DUP South Down MLA Diane Forsythe met with the Republic of Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheál Martin when he visited her constituency on Friday morning. Ms Forsythe emphasised the need for the Protocol to be replaced with arrangements that unionists can support.

By Diane Forsythe MLA

South Down

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Ms Forsythe said,

“As the only Unionist MLA in South Down, it was a useful opportunity to impress upon Micheál Martin the need for the Protocol to be replaced. No unionist elected representatives in South Down support the Protocol.

Whilst we were discussing cross border investment, it must be noted that the Trader Support Service which exists to help businesses with Protocol paperwork cost the UK Treasury £15,000 per hour in the first six months of this year. That’s £375,000 per day. Imagine the impact funding like that could have on public services along that border region.

Whilst the negotiations are between the EU and the UK, I encouraged the Taoiseach to understand the concerns of unionists and use his position in the EU to push for a sensible resolution which unionists and nationalists can support.

Progress is only made in Northern Ireland when there are agreements that unionists and nationalists can support. We operate powersharing, not majority rule.”

Ms Forsythe continued,

“We also discussed the good work that can be achieved by cross-border cooperation. Mr Martin was there to announce progress on the Irish government side of the Narrow Water bridge project. I believe there are much better ways to spend public funds in the area than this bridge and I took the chance to raise these today.

I highlighted that there are many other opportunities for cross-border cooperation to boost local industry. I mentioned the huge opportunities for boosting Warrenpoint Harbour with further investment with potential for great economic by looking at the plans for expansion of the old dock with marina facilities.

It was good to meet him and establish a working relationship as a representative of this border constituency with our southern neighbours.”

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