THE WINDOW OF chance for the UK Federal Government and European Union to make changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol before the DUP collapse Stormont is closing, the region’s First Minister has cautioned.
Recently, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson threatened to withdraw his ministers and reduce the power-sharing organizations if his needs over the protocol were not fulfilled.
Answering concerns at Stormont, his celebration associate Paul Givan said there was no consensus for the procedure in Northern Ireland and stated it had actually triggered economic and political damage.
The procedure was agreed by the UK and EU as a way to maintain a free-flowing land border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.
Unionists in Northern Ireland have been vehemently opposed to its terms, which see extra checks on items showing up to the area from the remainder of the UK.
At the first ministerial concern time at Stormont following the summer break, First Minister Mr Givan was questioned on his celebration’s dedication to implement fully the New Years, New Approach (NDNA) arrangement, which permitted the power-sharing organizations to return after a 3 year suspension.
He stated: “Within NDNA there is a dedication by the UK Federal government that when it concerns the internal market, Northern Ireland will be an important part to it.
” The Northern Ireland Protocol, however, has actually triggered damage financially, damage to our wider society, it has produced political stress and therefore that has to be dealt with.
” The Belfast Agreement is really clear on where the fragile balance was struck in between unionists, nationalists and others and whenever one aspect of that is damaged it triggers damage throughout all others.
” The east/west relationship has been harmed by the Northern Ireland Protocol which has an effect when it concerns north/south.
” I wish to see these issues dealt with, I want to see these institutions working because I believe that we are best positioned to represent individuals who choose us in regards to how we run a nation, that we can do that better than other jurisdictions.”
He added: “However we have to address the basic issues which have now happened as an outcome of the Northern Ireland Protocol and I hope that the UK Government and the European Union take the window of chance that exists; however that window of chance is closing.”
Democratic Unionist Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson delivers a crucial note speech on the Northern Ireland Procedure to senior party members recently.
Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan stated that the DUP was “completely accountable” for the Northern Ireland Procedure, since the party backed Brexit.
Givan reacted: “When it comes to the problem of where did it all go wrong in respect of Brexit, it has been the outworking and application of that by the UK Government.
” We were extremely clear that Northern Ireland must be treated just as the remainder of the UK.
” There was no approval of any person in Northern Ireland for the changes which flowed from the Northern Ireland Procedure.
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” It is crucial when you are going to make these sorts of changes that it is performed in a way which has agreement.
” The procedure doesn’t.”
He added: “In our meetings with Maros Sefcovic (European Commission vice president) I made it clear that I want both communities and our whole community to have the best of both worlds, where you have access to the European single market and you have access to Great Britain’s market in an unfettered way.
” We do not have that.”
SDLP MLA Colin McGrath stated the risk to lower Stormont was “negligent” in the middle of a pandemic.
He added: “What message do you have for the businesses, for the communities, for individuals out there, if the message from your party leader is that this place can be reduced and decisions won’t have the ability to be taken?”
Givan said: “Our celebration is very clear, we desire this Executive to continue work, we want this Assembly to continue to operate and to take the kind of decisions that we are taking.
” But the basis on which we restored these organizations is in New Decade, New Method and it was dedications made by the UK Federal Government that Northern Ireland would have unfettered gain access to on an east/west dimension and that the internal market of the UK would be brought back.
” The principles on which the Executive is formed have to be ideal and that is why there is a window of chance for both the UK Government and the European Union to make sure that the changes which require to be made, are made.”