The UK Government’s ‘reckless’ plan to override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol breaches international law, doesn’t have the support of the majority of people or business in the north and is a disaster for the agri sector according to Fine Gael’s Colm Markey.
The Midlands-North-West MEP, who sits on both the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, said the legislation creates a whole new set of challenges.
“It’s clear that unilaterally overriding parts of the Protocol breaches international law which will be music to the ears of Vladimir Putin who will seize on divisions within the Western alliance. It’s severely damaging to the UK’s global reputation and its relationship with Ireland and the EU and will lead to a major problems on the ground in Northern Ireland.
I’m particularly concerned about the impact a ‘dual regulatory regime’ could have on the dairy industry. Some 800 million litres of milk from Northern Ireland that is processed annually in the south could be at risk as well as products used as inputs into goods produced in the south and then sold into the single market. This type of system is ill-thought-out and the introduction of a ‘milk border’ would have devastating consequences for the agri sector and the all-island economy.
This action does not have the consent or support of the majority of people or business in the North. For the most part, the Protocol is working. As outlined in recent figures from the UK Office for National Statistics, Northern Ireland was second only to London in UK regions where GDP exceeded pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter. It’s also worth remembering that the EU set out a range of proposals in October, which would have removed 80% of checks on goods moving from GB to NI, but the British side dismissed them.
Once again, internal Conservative Party division is put before everything else and we all are forced to deal with the fall-out. I hope common sense prevails and reasonable MPs and Lords from all parties can come together to put a stop to this madness”, he concluded.