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British Government proposals create more problems than solutions – Richmond

13th June 2022 - Neale Richmond, TD

A Fine Gael TD has slammed new legislation announced by the British Government that seeks to unilaterally override the Northern Ireland Protocol through domestic law.

Party spokesperson on European Affairs, Neale Richmond, has said British Government proposals to override the Northern Ireland Protocol create more problems than solutions.

Deputy Richmond said: “This new legislation from the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, is quite simply baffling in its disregard for international law, the people and businesses of Northern Ireland and the EU.

“The contents of these proposals beg the question – has the UK Government been listening to any of the concerns raised by the EU or Northern Ireland over the past six years? That the British Government believes that it is acceptable to remove the role of the CJEU in governing the Protocol, that they can go as far as t, ‘choose’ between adhering to EU or UK rules, is absolutely staggering.

“Adding insult to injury, the UK Government has also claimed it respects the EU’s intention to protect the Single Market. This is pure and simple gaslighting; if the UK truly cared about protecting the Single Market, they would be taking a very different course of action today.

“If passed and enacted, this clear breach of the Withdrawal Agreement and of international law will lead to a wide range of consequences; none of which will be positive for the UK or EU.

“The UK Government seems blind to this. They claim that the Protocol is causing a ‘chilling effect on trade’ – when compared to the collapse of the Withdrawal Agreement, the status quo is vastly superior.

“Both the UK Government and the European Commission recognise there are problems with the implementation of the Protocol. Solutions have been proposed by the EU, but the UK Government has consistently refused to engage with them.

“Just because the UK Government claims something to be true does not make it so. Claiming that there is a democratic deficit with the Protocol, when Maroš Šefčovič spent months engaging with businesses and the people of Northern Ireland, is insulting.

“Quite frankly, this move is pure fantasy more suited to Willy Wonka than a serious politician. We are harkening back to the time of ‘alternative arrangements’ and technological solutions with proposals for ‘green’ and ‘red’ lanes with different levels of checks, which are clearly not feasible or easily monitored.

“What we are now seeing is the UK Government blatantly ignoring the will of the people of Northern Ireland, negating their responsibilities and risking their reputation on the international stage all for the sake of internal party politics. After six years of Brexit shenanigans, this is the most disappointing move yet”, Deputy Richmond concluded.

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