“We are fed up with protocol,” says DUP chief Donaldson
Democratic Unionist leader Jeffrey Donaldson said it was “high time” for Dublin, London and Brussels to “start listening” after threatening to do away with power-sharing institutions in a few weeks if the Northern Ireland Protocol does not was not deleted.
Last week Mr Donaldson announced his party’s immediate withdrawal from cross-border political institutions established on the island of Ireland as part of the Good Friday deal.
“No one with a touch of honesty could say with a straight face that the protocol protects peace and stability. No one can seriously say that the protocol protects the Belfast Accord. Rather than cementing progress, it has undermined progress, ”he told the Independent Sunday.
“The Belfast Accord was about finding a compromise on three sets of relationships. The internal relationship to Northern Ireland, the North-South relationship and the East-West relationship. The protocol, without any democratic results in Northern Ireland, tore the East-West dimension. “
The protocol is part of the UK government’s Brexit deal with the European Union, which keeps Northern Ireland aligned with the EU’s single goods market to ensure free trade across the border . However, it led to additional checks on certain goods.
Mr Donaldson, who recently met Taoiseach Micheál Martin to discuss his concerns, said he wished to have “good neighborly North-South relations but they must be based on mutual respect”.
“Imagine the EU telling the people of Dublin that they have to place a customs border between themselves and the rest of the country in a kind of 21st century ‘Pale’. Every time they order from Amazon, their package price is inflated due to additional customs clearance. It would not be tolerated, ”he said.
Likewise, the people of Northern Ireland, and not just trade unionists, should not have to tolerate a border in the Irish Sea between one part of the UK and another, which drives up prices and makes lower the choice.
He added that “trade unionism will no longer tolerate the implementation of the protocol”, saying it “harms Northern Ireland both constitutionally and economically and is costing the Northern Irish economy £ 850million “. [€995m] per year”.
“I have set a schedule of several weeks before we have to let the people of Northern Ireland have their say in an election. People are fed up with protocol and it is high time that London, Dublin and Brussels started listening.
Fine Gael TD and former Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “The EU and Dublin are listening and will continue to engage. Stormont’s crash will only worsen the crisis. The EU has recognized that there are supply chain issues between Britain and Northern Ireland and will continue to seek solutions to these issues. The Northern Ireland executive can be at the heart of problem solving rather than moving away from it.
“Jeffrey Donaldson has a real opportunity to get the executive to make their voice heard, which is far more preferable than bringing down the house. “