INTL NI Unionist Party ( The DUP Party) aims to undermine Northern Ireland Protocol [EU having a meltdown] not a dup but new story

Melodi

Disaster Cat
And here we go..." Victims of Loyalist Murders" would translate as Catholic (Republican) folks killed during the Troubles by Protestant (Unionist) type folks (often really thugs on both sides, the general public didn't tend to go around murdering each other). But this shows tensions are escalating quickly and I'd been waiting for "IRA" pushback - Melodi
Calls for calm as police try to break up commemoration to victims of loyalist murderers
PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said a review into the incident is ongoing.
38 minutes ago 7,108 Views 16 Comments
Share2 Tweet Email
A memorial to Jack Duffin, Willie McManus, Christy Doherty, Peter Magee, and James Kennedy who were killed during the Sean Graham Bookmakers shooting attack on 5 February 1992.

A memorial to Jack Duffin, Willie McManus, Christy Doherty, Peter Magee, and James Kennedy who were killed during the Sean Graham Bookmakers shooting attack on 5 February 1992.
Image: PA
POLICE IN THE North have appealed for calm after they broke up a memorial to the victims of a loyalist shooting.
The PSNI said its community team came across a group of “30 or 40″ people outside the Sean Graham bookmakers on the Ormeau Road in Belfast.
They were attending a memorial for the five innocent people who were shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) in 1992.
One of the survivors of the atrocity was arrested after he allegedly became embroiled in a scuffle with police.

The PSNI had tried to disperse the group due to coronavirus restrictions.
PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said a review into the incident is ongoing and investigation into the behaviour of the police officers has also started.
He said: “As the event concluded, two officers approached a person to talk to him about a breach of the Health Protection Regulations.
“The situation quickly escalated and a man was arrested for disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest. He was taken to Musgrave Police Station and was released at 4.04pm. In the course of the incident a police officer sustained a minor injury to his face.
“We are now reviewing all footage of the incident including our officers Body Worn Video and have notified the Office of the Police Ombudsman, and we are carrying out an assessment of the conduct of the officers involved.”


#OPEN JOURNALISM No news is bad news Support The Journal
Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you
SUPPORT US NOW

Byrne said he full recognises the sensitivities of this incident and “just how difficult a day this would have already been for the families who lost loved ones in the atrocity. That should not be forgotten”.

He said the force is acutely aware that this is the latest incident to raise concerns about the enforcement of coronavirus regulations and illustrates there are no easy answers.
“I would appeal for calm at this time,” he added.


Short URL
 

Old Gray Mare

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Anyway.......
I just don't care. We have enough problems on this half of the globe.
While there's not much I can do but pray, it's important to know what's going on elsewhere especially in the UK.

Back when the earth had almost finished cooling and I was in college, my finance teacher told us to keep an eye on the UK. That what was happening there was a foreshadowing of what would happen in the US. He said by about ten years. It appears we've caught up.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Well this should be interesting...
Inspection staff at Larne Port return to work after threats
Updated / Friday, 5 Feb 2021 20:23

Inspections on produce arriving into Northern Ireland from Britain are required under the post-Brexit trade protocol

Inspections on produce arriving into Northern Ireland from Britain are required under the post-Brexit trade protocol
By Tommie Gorman
Northern Editor

Local authority staff who suspended their inspection work at Larne Port in Co Antrim earlier this week after claims of intimidation are returning to work this evening.

The decision follows a PSNI risk assessment given to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

On foot of the local authority move earlier this week, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots replicated the action that affected both Larne and Belfast ports.

The Borough Council statement said: "Mid and East Antrim Borough Council staff will return to their inspection duties at Larne Port this evening following the completion of a PSNI threat assessment and subsequent risk assessment by the Council.

"The health and safety of our staff remains our top priority."



The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has not yet made a decision on the return of its staff.

A spokesperson said: "The department has received the findings of the formal threat assessment from the PSNI and is currently considering it alongside its own internal risk assessment.

"Any decision to recommence full checks will be informed by both documents."

European Union officials overseeing the implementation of the new checks were also withdrawn from duties on Monday.



Inspections on animal-based produce arriving from Britain, which are required under the contentious Northern Ireland protocol, were suspended at Belfast and Larne ports after menacing graffiti appeared.

Police blamed the graffiti and online comments on disgruntled individuals and small groups and have made clear there is no evidence of wider paramilitary involvement in threats.

The council workers' return to duties was announced as the European Commission said it was exploring all "flexibilities" available within Northern Ireland's post-Brexit trade deal.

Read more:
Some food checks suspended at NI ports as staff withdrawn
NI port safety issue 'a sinister and ugly development' - Taoiseach
EU asks NI staff not to attend work, condemns threats at ports


President Ursula von der Leyen said she recognised particular concern around the health certification of imported food products.

The DUP has vowed to scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol following disruption to some supplies from the rest of the UK earlier this year.

Ms von der Leyen told Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey: "I can assure you that the Commission has been exploring all flexibilities available under the applicable rules of Union law and within the framework of the protocol, in order to facilitate the implementation of the protocol, whilst fully protecting the integrity of the Union's single market and customs union."

First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster has said unionist frustrations at the trade border in the Irish Sea must be channelled through constitutional means.

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne warned of a "febrile" atmosphere.

Mrs Foster's sentiment was echoed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin who said parties needed to "dial down the rhetoric" over the protocol amid rising tensions.

Ms von der Leyen said: "In some areas of particular concern (e.g. as regards the health certification required for the import of food products into Northern Ireland, import of meat products subject to a ban on imports from third countries and export procedures for goods moving from Northern Ireland into Great Britain), the Union has accepted specific practices, set out by the UK in unilateral declarations issued at the Joint Committee meeting of December 17 2020.

"These unilateral declarations provide for the undisrupted supply of goods and a smooth start to the application of the protocol, subject to conditions, also set out in these declarations of the UK, which are meant to ensure that such flexibilities in the immediate time after the end of the transition period do not create risks for the integrity of the single market."

Empty shelves in Sainsbury's in Bangor, Co Down
Supermarket shelves were partially emptied of fresh goods at the start of the year and some businesses based in Britain were ill-prepared for the extra paperwork required when shipping goods to Northern Ireland.

Some parcel deliveries have also been affected and a grace period light-touch regulation of supermarket goods and surrounding the use of customs declarations is due to end later this year.

Mrs Foster said more than 100,000 people had signed her petition to parliament in London calling for unfettered trade from the rest of the UK.

She added: "We have made the case to the prime minister and now the people have made a very public appeal to the government of their country to act.

"This is not the time for more words and drawn-out processes.

"This is time for affirmative action to ensure that there is an unfettered flow of goods within the UK single market."

Sinn Féin's Caoimhe Archibald welcomed the commission president's commitment.

She said: "This shows that the EU is willing to work on practical solutions to the remaining problems which have resulted from Brexit and our exit from the EU.

"While we condemn the events of last week relating to Article 16, we are assured that the EU have learned lessons and are committed to making the protocol work.

"We call on the British government to show the same resolve by committing to proper solutions to the practical issues."
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
This is thankfully taking a lot longer to go hot than I expected but it is warming up - basically, the Northern Unionists (who control the local legislature) have stopped construction of permanent customs inspection points at Northern Irish ports saying the situation isn't workable and they want the agreement scrapped (which would create a hard border on the Island). This IS affecting shipping all over the Island and it is becoming a serious issue even here in the Republic. Many UK and even European suppliers are simply refusing to ship to the Island at all - tick tick...Melodi

Decision to stop work on border control posts can only be overturned by courts - Foster
Arlene Foster has rejected the suggestion that DUP Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons could be overruled by the wider Stormont Executive.
5 hours ago 13,533 Views 9 Comments
Share1 Tweet Email
2.57862801
Source: PA Images
ARLENE FOSTER HAS insisted the decision of her party colleague to stop work on building permanent Irish Sea trade checks can only be overturned by a court.
Foster rejected the suggestion that DUP Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons could be overruled by the wider Stormont Executive on the issue.

Lyons sparked controversy on Friday night when he announced he had ordered officials to halt work on planned permanent facilities to carry out inspections on GB goods required under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

His decision, taken as part of the wider DUP strategy to undermine the protocol, did not impact ongoing checks that are being carried out at temporary facilities at Northern Ireland ports.
Foster disputed that contention yesterday when asked about the issue at a Stormont press conference.
“Gordon has taken the decision based on evidence and law that he has looked at and the decision still stands until it is overturned by a court,” she said.

“I know that others take contrary views in relation to that, but that has been the position when other decisions have been taken by ministers in the past which have had to be taken to court and given the determination there.
“The decision still stands until it is overruled by a court.”

Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill offered a very different interpretation.
O’Neill said Lyons’s announcement was ineffective because it did not have the endorsement of the wider Executive.
She insisted he required Executive approval and said he had made no formal proposal to fellow ministers.

“The Executive’s position remains that it’s our duty to implement the protocol. It’s clear that any move to change that position would require an Executive decision,” she said.
2.58379068
Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons.Source: Liam McBurney/PA
Rival politicians have accused Lyons of stunt politics and have insisted he does not have the authority to act unilaterally on issues considered significant or controversial.
Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Alliance parties have made clear such decisions can only be taken by the Executive as a whole.

“The agriculture minister has yet to bring a proposal to the Executive to change the status quo. And if he does so then clearly we will engage in that.

“But as things stand, the protocol’s here to stay. That’s been rehearsed now repeatedly by the British Government and the EU side and what we need to get on with now is actually providing stability and certainty to our local businesses, to be looking at how the protocol can be made simpler where it can, where we can achieve flexibilities where we can, and that’s where all efforts should be.”

O’Neill added: “I am yet to understand if anything has happened apart from an instruction being given by a minister. I don’t believe that any action has changed in terms of the current workings of what’s happening at the ports.”
Early yesterday there were robust exchanges on the issue during an Executive meeting.
Northern Ireland is continuing to follow the EU’s trade rules to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland as part of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

That has disrupted some trade from Great Britain since Brussels requires extra checks on the Irish Sea to ensure compliance with Europe’s single-market standards.

Permanent checking facilities are due to be built at Belfast, Larne, Warrenpoint and Foyle ports.
Physical construction has not begun at any of the sites, with work still in the design and preparatory phases.

The DUP and other unionist parties in Northern Ireland are pushing for the protocol to be ditched, claiming it has driven an economic wedge between the region and Great Britain which undermines the union.
Lyons was pressed on the issue during Assembly question time on Tuesday.

“A lot of people want to put their heads in the sand,” he said. “We do face fundamental questions, we have fundamental concerns and challenges.”

He listed a series of problems with the protocol, including:

– Red tape and additional bureaucracy.

– Reduction in consumer choice.

– Problems facing hauliers transporting goods from Great Britain.

– Creation of barriers within the UK’s internal market.

– Businesses in Great Britain feeling they are not able to trade because of extra costs.

– Restrictions on livestock movements.

– Problems bringing guide dogs across the Irish Sea.

– Challenges transporting machinery.

Lyons added: “It is so, so important that we get an alternative to the protocol.

“No amount of tinkering with it is going to make it work. It needs to go.”
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Note: The EU has not agreed to this and may not do so....tick tick...
UK government unilaterally extends grace period on checks for GB agri-foods going to Northern Ireland
The UK formally requested that the EU extend this grace period, which would waive new checks and required paperwork for agri-foods.
1 hour ago 3,891 Views 9 Comments
Share2 Tweet Email
Lorries driving off the European Highlander P&O ferry at the Port of Larne.

Lorries driving off the European Highlander P&O ferry at the Port of Larne.
Image: PA
THE UK GOVERNMENT has announced that it is to unilaterally extend a grace period that was given to supermarkets in Great Britain exporting agri-foods to Northern Ireland.

Under the trade agreement the UK and EU struck on Christmas Eve, decisions around the Northern Ireland Protocol must be taken jointly between both sides.

But the UK has said today that it will extend the grace period due to expire on 1 April, until 1 October this year – a six-month extension.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, health export certificates are required for agri-foods being sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

But out of concern that this additional paperwork and checks would hamper the North’s food supplies, a grace period was given to major supermarkets in order to keep shelves stocked.

On 3 February, the UK formally requested that the European Commission extend this grace period, which would waive new checks and required paperwork for agri-foods, along with a number of other sectors, until 1 January 2023.
But today, it announced that it was unilaterally making the decision to extend it for six months.

A UK government spokesperson for Northern Ireland said today: “For supermarkets and their suppliers, as part of the operational plan the UK committed to at the UK-EU Joint Committee on 24 February, the current Scheme for Temporary Agri-food Movements to Northern Ireland will continue until 1 October. Certification requirements will then be introduced in phases alongside the roll out of the Digital Assistance Scheme.

RELATED READS
01.03.21Tonnes of new ferry routes have helped to Brexit-proof Irish trade - but choppy waters could yet be ahead
28.02.21Irish hauliers: 'French officials treat us as if we’re coming from England – we’re not'
18.01.21Volume of trucks arriving in Ireland is 50% lower than expected due to Covid restrictions and Brexit

“In addition, further guidance will be provided later this week on parcel movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to provide necessary additional time for traders beyond 1 April. Guidance will also be set out to help address practical problems on soil attached to the movement of plants, seeds, bulbs, vegetables and agricultural machinery.”

The issue of GB-to-NI parcel deliveries was one of the other issues that the British government had requested an extension of grace periods over, along with the extending the six-month grace period of the ban on chilled meats.

A request to extend the adjustment period for medicines to be sent from GB to Northern Ireland was also made.
As it stands, here is the plan for more Brexit checks that the UK still need to introduce:
  • 1 April/1 October: End of a grace period for supermarkets, which will now need health certificates to move agri-food goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
    Irish hauliers driving through the UK to use the landbridge will require them from 1 April
  • 1 July: End of a six-month grace period for Great Britain-Northern Ireland trade on chilled meat products, which aren’t permitted to be imported to the EU at all.
  • 31 December: End of a 12-month adaptation period for British businesses to implement new EU regulation on to the flow of medicines to Northern Ireland.
Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said in response to the UK government’s announcement:

#OPEN JOURNALISM No news is bad news Support The Journal
Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you
SUPPORT US NOW

“There will be very serious concerns about this, not with the ends but the means. Given the Brexit [trade agreement] still isn’t ratified, how will this build trust and allow for a positive reset of relations?”

The British government announced this measure amid a busy news day for the UK: the Budget was unveiled at 12.30pm in the House of Commons by Chancellor Rishi Sunak; and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave evidence over the Scottish Government’s handling of the Alex Salmond misconduct allegations.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
And The Republic of Ireland Responds...
'Deeply unhelpful': Coveney strongly critical of UK's unilateral extension of grace period on Brexit checks
The UK formally requested that the EU extend this grace period, which would waive new checks and required paperwork for agri-foods.
1 hour ago 7,566 Views 20 Comments
Share3 Tweet Email
Lorries driving off the European Highlander P&O ferry at the Port of Larne.

Lorries driving off the European Highlander P&O ferry at the Port of Larne.
Image: PA
Updated 24 minutes ago
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN Affairs Simon Coveney has criticised the UK’s “unhelpful” decision to unilaterally extend a grace period that was given to supermarkets in Great Britain exporting agri-foods to Northern Ireland.
He said that it “clearly undermines” previous commitments given last week.

Under the trade agreement the UK and EU struck on Christmas Eve, decisions around the Northern Ireland Protocol must be taken jointly between both sides.

But the UK has said today that it will extend the grace period due to expire on 1 April, until 1 October this year – a six-month extension.

In a statement this evening, Coveney said: “A unilateral announcement is deeply unhelpful to building the relationship of trust and partnership that is central to the implementation of the Protocol”.

Coveney has also told the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and the new Cabinet minister responsible for EU-UK relations David Frost of his “regret that the UK had moved in a unilateral way”.
He said that the British Government’s decision “clearly undermines” made in joint statements issued on 11 and 24 February.
I am well aware of the practical challenges Brexit has caused for business and citizens in Northern Ireland and have strongly supported efforts to ensure that issues are addressed within the existing framework of the Protocol.
“This includes in respect to modest extensions to grace periods being agreed between the UK and the EU in a spirit of partnership.”
European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič said that he would be speaking to Frost tonight to raise the EU’s “strong concerns” about the UK’s decision.
What the grace period means
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, health export certificates are required for agri-foods being sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
But out of concern that this additional paperwork and checks would hamper the North’s food supplies, a grace period was given to major supermarkets in order to keep shelves stocked.

RELATED READS
01.03.21Tonnes of new ferry routes have helped to Brexit-proof Irish trade - but choppy waters could yet be ahead
28.02.21Irish hauliers: 'French officials treat us as if we’re coming from England – we’re not'
18.01.21Volume of trucks arriving in Ireland is 50% lower than expected due to Covid restrictions and Brexit

On 3 February, the UK formally requested that the European Commission extend this grace period, which would waive new checks and required paperwork for agri-foods, along with a number of other sectors, until 1 January 2023.
But today, it announced that it was unilaterally making the decision to extend it for six months.
The UK statement
A UK government spokesperson for Northern Ireland said today: “For supermarkets and their suppliers, as part of the operational plan the UK committed to at the UK-EU Joint Committee on 24 February, the current Scheme for Temporary Agri-food Movements to Northern Ireland will continue until 1 October. Certification requirements will then be introduced in phases alongside the roll out of the Digital Assistance Scheme.
“In addition, further guidance will be provided later this week on parcel movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to provide necessary additional time for traders beyond 1 April. Guidance will also be set out to help address practical problems on soil attached to the movement of plants, seeds, bulbs, vegetables and agricultural machinery.”
The issue of GB-to-NI parcel deliveries was one of the other issues that the British government had requested an extension of grace periods over, along with the extending the six-month grace period of the ban on chilled meats.
A request to extend the adjustment period for medicines to be sent from GB to Northern Ireland was also made.

#OPEN JOURNALISM No news is bad news Support The Journal
Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you
SUPPORT US NOW

As it stands, here is the plan for more Brexit checks that the UK still need to introduce:
  • 1 April/1 October: End of a grace period for supermarkets, which will now need health certificates to move agri-food goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
    Irish hauliers driving through the UK to use the landbridge will require them from 1 April
  • 1 July: End of a six-month grace period for Great Britain-Northern Ireland trade on chilled meat products, which aren’t permitted to be imported to the EU at all.
  • 31 December: End of a 12-month adaptation period for British businesses to implement new EU regulation on to the flow of medicines to Northern Ireland.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that today’s “solo run from the British government was completely unnecessary, totally undermines the work of the Joint Committee and puts it on an immediate collision course with the EU.”
Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said: “There will be very serious concerns about this, not with the ends but the means. Given the Brexit [trade agreement] still isn’t ratified, how will this build trust and allow for a positive reset of relations?”
The British government announced this measure amid a busy news day for the UK: the Budget was unveiled at 12.30pm in the House of Commons by Chancellor Rishi Sunak; and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave evidence over the Scottish Government’s handling of the Alex Salmond misconduct allegations.
As the clock ticks down, get all the best Brexit news and analysis in your inbox:
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Things are hitting the fan this morning - this is one article, the next is that the Ulster Loyalists (para militaries) have Withdrawn support for the Northern Ireland Agreement from 1999! I have to talk to Nightwolf as soon as I see him...

EU negotiating with partner it cannot trust - Coveney
Updated / Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 09:05

Senior sources say the Commission has made genuine efforts to find workable solutions to the problems surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol

Senior sources say the Commission has made genuine efforts to find workable solutions to the problems surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol
By Tony Connelly
Europe Editor

The Minister for Foreign Affairs said the EU is negotiating with a partner it simply cannot trust following yesterday's move by the British government to unilaterally change how the Northern Ireland Protocol is implemented.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Simon Coveney said the difficulty is that the British government has changed its approach.

He said said progress was being made on the protocol and the time of the UK move could not be worse.

"That is why the EU is now looking at legal options and legal action which means a much more formalised and rigid negotiation process as opposed to a process of partnership where you try to solve the problems together."

Mr Coveney said he does not favour legal action but favours engagement based on trust between both sides.

"If the UK cannot simply be trusted because they take unilateral action in an unexpected way without negotiation, well then the British government leaves the EU with no option and that is not where we want to be," he said.

The UK move is really unwelcome and it is the "British government essentially breaking the protocol" and its own commitments again, he added.

The EU is now having to consider how to respond to that, Mr Coveney said.

The British decision to act unilaterally is "clearly in breach of the protocol" and the commitments that were made a few weeks ago, he added.


In a strongly worded statement last night, the European Commission said the UK was in breach of the good faith provision of the Withdrawal Agreement, and was set to breach international law for a second time.

Last September, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told the House of Commons that the UK would breach international law by taking unilateral action on the protocol through the Internal Market Bill.

Yesterday he said the UK would unilaterally extend the three-month grace period which exempts British suppliers from providing certain paperwork when shipping food to Northern Ireland supermarkets.



Read more: Latest Brexit stories

The UK suggests this is merely a technical and operational necessity because the grace period is running out at the end of this month, and because a plan for supermarkets to put in place a hi-tech traceability system will not be ready on time.

However, senior EU figures see this as a political exercise designed, once again, to bounce the EU into yielding to UK demands on how the protocol should be implemented.

Senior sources say the Commission has made genuine efforts to find workable solutions to the problems surrounding the protocol, but these have been swept aside by a British solo run.

Furthermore Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, London's EU interlocutor, was not warned in advance.

It is understood the EU will now examine its options.

There could be an infringement procedure taken against the UK, as was the case with the Internal Market Bill, or the Commission believes it could use the arbitration mechanism within both the Withdrawal Agreement, and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, concluded just last December.

Either way, the mood in Brussels is one of anger, and it may well dampen the appetite of member states to show more flexibility when it comes to the operation of the protocol.

The European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union said the Commission is disappointed with the UK's decision and that the UK is unilaterally negotiating itself a solution, rather than negotiating with the European Union.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mairead McGuinness said that while the UK painted this as a "simple solution to get over a problem" it is "very, very unusual" that one side would step outside negotiations and make a decision that impacts on a partner without discussion.

She said the EU is in the process of ratifying the trade and cooperation agreement and had hoped dates would be agreed today, and said she is not sure how the parliament will view this particular move by the UK.

There is no lack of will on the EU side, she said, and talks will have to continue but they will now continue "in a more difficult atmosphere than prior to this decision."

The commissioner said that the EU wants to address the problems that businesses have in Northern Ireland, adding that these problems were created by the type of Brexit that the British Prime Minister pursued.

However, she added, the response would be measured and the EU will be the adults in the room despite this "most unhelpful" development.

Ms McGuinness also said the EU is fully aware of the difficulties in Northern Ireland and will respond appropriately, adding that decisions will be made with the United Kingdom, "not without them".

However, she said, that they have to be clear when something happens that is not appropriate, and in their view breaches trust and an international agreement, they have to "call it out".

"It does open a question mark about global Britain if this is how global Britain would negotiate with other partners," the commissioner said.

She said their experience has not been an easy one "to put it mildly."
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Loyalist groups withdraw support for Good Friday Agreement
Updated / Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 07:15

Loyalist groups said they were temporarily withdrawing their backing of the peace accord

Loyalist groups said they were temporarily withdrawing their backing of the peace accord

Loyalist paramilitary organisations have told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson they are withdrawing support for the Good Friday Agreement.

The groups said they were temporarily withdrawing their backing of the peace accord amid mounting concerns about the Northern Ireland Protocol.

However, they stressed that unionist opposition to the protocol should remain "peaceful and democratic".

The 1998 agreement that loyalist paramilitaries endorsed 23 years ago ended decades of violence and established devolved power-sharing at Stormont.

British MPs are facing a backlash from unionists who fear the post-Brexit protocol threatens Northern Ireland's place in the UK internal market.

The DUP and other unionist parties are pushing for the protocol to be ditched, claiming it has driven an economic wedge between Northern Ireland and Britain which undermines the union.

A letter sent to Mr Johnson by an umbrella body representing the paramilitaries said their stance in respect of the Good Friday Agreement would continue until the protocol was amended to ensure "unfettered access for goods, services, and citizens throughout the United Kingdom".

It added: "If you or the EU is not prepared to honour the entirety of the agreement then you will be responsible for the permanent destruction of the agreement."

The development came as the UK government took unilateral action yesterday to extend a grace period that has been limiting the volume of red tape associated with moving agri-food goods from GB into Northern Ireland.

The EU has criticised the British government move to extend the exemption period, which was due to run out at the end of the month, until October, claiming it risked breaching the terms of the protocol.

RTÉ News understands the EU is considering legal action following the decision.



Read more: Latest Brexit stories

The letter to the Mr Johnson was written by David Campbell, chairman of the Loyalist Communities Council.

Mr Campbell has penned a similar letter to Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

The LCC represents the Ulster Volunteer Force, Ulster Defence Association and Red Hand Commando, which were responsible for many deaths during the Troubles.

The main loyalist and republican armed groups signed up to principles like commitment to non-violence during discussions which led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in exchange for early release of prisoners.

The letter states: "We are concerned about the disruption to trade and commerce between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom that is occurring, but our core objection is much more fundamental."

It said during the Brexit negotiations the British government and the EU said it was paramount to protect the agreement and its built-in safeguards for the two main communities in Northern Ireland.

The letter said the operation of the protocol "repeatedly breaches those objectives".

Mr Campbell insisted the LCC leadership is determined that opposition to the protocol should be "peaceful and democratic".

"However, please do not under-estimate the strength of feeling on this issue right across the unionist family," he adds.

"The only time I can remember such unanimity of opposition was following the imposition of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985.

"Accordingly, I have been instructed to advise you that the loyalist groupings are herewith withdrawing their support for the Belfast Agreement until our rights under the agreement are restored and the protocol is amended to ensure unfettered access for goods, services, and citizens throughout the United Kingdom.

"If you or the EU is not prepared to honour the entirety of the agreement then you will be responsible for the permanent destruction of the agreement."

Police have noted growing discontent in unionist communities.

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne previously warned of a "febrile" atmosphere and urged people to step back from the brink of violence.

Inspection staff at ports were temporarily withdraw from duties earlier this year in response to sinister graffiti, but they later resumed their work after police insisted their was no credible threat against them.

Last week, Stormont's DUP Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons stopped preparatory work on building permanent Irish Sea trade checks at the ports.

That move, the legality of which has been disputed by executive colleagues, did not impact ongoing checks, as those are happening at temporary port facilities.


More stories on
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Coveney had 'blunt' conversation with UK government over move to extend NI Protocol grace period
The minister said the EU is seeing now it is negotiating with a partner it can’t trust.
1 hour ago 6,475 Views 15 Comments
Share1 Tweet Email

Image: PA
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN Affairs Simon Coveney has expressed his frustration this morning at the UK’s decision to unilaterally extend a grace period that was given to supermarkets in Britain exporting agri-foods to Northern Ireland.
Coveney has said the European Union member states now see that “they are negotiating with a partner they simply can’t trust” and this is why legal options are now being considered.

“This is really unwelcome,” Coveney told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland. “It’s the British government essentially breaking the protocol, breaking their own commitments – again – and the EU having to then consider how they respond to that.”

Under the trade agreement the UK and EU struck on Christmas Eve, decisions around the Northern Ireland Protocol must be taken jointly between both sides. But the UK yesterday said that it will extend the grace period due to expire on 1 April, until 1 October this year – a six-month extension.

The minister said the Irish government had been given no indication ahead of time that this action was to be taken.
He said he had a “blunt but detailed” conversation yesterday with the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis.

“I strongly advised them not to do it because I felt this would really damage the relationship with the European Union and with Vice President (Maroš) Šefčovič in particular,” he said.

“And the relationship between Lord Frost and Vice President Šefčovič is a really important one for Ireland and for our future on this island in terms of the pragmatic implementation of the protocol and what’s been agreed in international law.
And before Lord Frost had even spoken in detail to Maroš Šefčovič in his new role, this was announced in a written statement by the British government in Westminster. To say that is disrespectful would be an understatement.
RELATED READS
04.03.21Loyalists paramilitaries write to Johnson to temporarily withdraw support for Good Friday Agreement
03.03.21Brexit: EU says UK's unilateral move to extend NI Protocol grace period 'breaks international law'

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, health export certificates are required for agri-foods being sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

But out of concern that this additional paperwork and checks would hamper the North’s food supplies, a grace period was given to major supermarkets in order to keep shelves stocked.

On 3 February, the UK formally requested that the European Commission extend this grace period, which would waive new checks and required paperwork for agri-foods, along with a number of other sectors, until 1 January 2023. Then yesterday the government announced it was making the decision to extend it for six months.

Coveney said he does not favour legal action and instead favours “engagement on the basis of trust on both sides”.
“But if the UK simply cannot be trusted, because they take unilateral action in an unexpected way without negotiation well then, the British government leaves the EU with no option. This is not where we want to be, but it’s where the British government is driving us towards.”

- With reporting by Gráinne Ní Aodha
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Loyalists paramilitaries write to Johnson to temporarily withdraw support for Good Friday Agreement
A letter was sent by an umbrella body representing the paramilitaries
3 hours ago 31,396 Views 41 Comments
Share90 Tweet Email
UVF mural in support the of Ulster loyalist paramilitary group, on the wall of a property on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast

UVF mural in support the of Ulster loyalist paramilitary group, on the wall of a property on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast
Image: PA Images
LOYALIST PARAMILITARY ORGANISATIONS have told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson they are withdrawing support for Northern Ireland’s historic peace agreement.

The outlawed groups said they were temporarily withdrawing their backing of the Belfast/Good Friday accord amid mounting concerns about the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol governing Irish Sea trade post-Brexit.
However, they stressed that unionist opposition to the protocol should remain “peaceful and democratic”.

The 1998 agreement that loyalist paramilitaries endorsed 23 years ago ended decades of violence and established devolved powersharing at Stormont.

UK ministers are facing a backlash from unionists who fear the post-Brexit protocol threatens Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market.

The DUP and other unionist parties are pushing for the protocol to be ditched, claiming it has driven an economic wedge between the region and Great Britain which undermines the union
.
A letter sent to Johnson by an umbrella body representing the paramilitaries said their stance in respect of the Belfast Agreement would continue until the protocol was amended to ensure “unfettered access for goods, services, and citizens throughout the United Kingdom”.


It added: “If you or the EU is not prepared to honour the entirety of the agreement then you will be responsible for the permanent destruction of the agreement.

The development came as the UK government took unilateral action yesterday to extend a grace period that has been limiting the volume of red tape associated with moving agri-food goods from GB into Northern Ireland.

The EU criticised the government move to extend the exemption period, which was due to run out at the end of the month, until October, claiming it risked breaching the terms of the protocol.

Goods arriving into Northern Ireland from GB have been subjected to added processes and checks since the Brexit transition period ended on 31 December.

That bureaucracy is set to intensify significantly when the grace period ends, as from that point supermarkets and other retailers will require EU export health certificates for agri-food products brought in from GB.
embedded258398167
Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) mural in support the of Ulster loyalist paramilitary group, on the wall of a property on the Lower Newtownards Road in east BelfastSource: Victoria Jones via PA Images
The letter to the Prime Minister was written by David Campbell, chairman of the Loyalist Communities Council. Campbell has penned a similar letter to Irish premier Micheal Martin.

The LCC represents the Ulster Volunteer Force, Ulster Defence Association and Red Hand Commando, which were responsible for many deaths during 30 years of conflict.

The main loyalist and republican armed groups signed up to principles like commitment to nonviolence during discussions which led to the signing of the Belfast Agreement in exchange for early release of prisoners.

RELATED READ

03.03.21Brexit: EU says UK's unilateral move to extend NI Protocol grace period 'breaks international law'


The letter says: “We are concerned about the disruption to trade and commerce between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom that is occurring, but our core objection is much more fundamental.”

It said during the Brexit negotiations the government and the EU said it was paramount to protect the Belfast Agreement and its built-in safeguards for the two main communities in Northern Ireland.

The letter said the operation of the protocol “repeatedly breaches those objectives”.

Campbell insisted the LCC leadership is determined that opposition to the protocol should be “peaceful and democratic”.
“However, please do not underestimate the strength of feeling on this issue right across the unionist family,” he adds.
“The only time I can remember such unanimity of opposition was following the imposition of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985.

“Accordingly, I have been instructed to advise you that the loyalist groupings are herewith withdrawing their support for the Belfast Agreement until our rights under the agreement are restored and the protocol is amended to ensure unfettered access for goods, services, and citizens throughout the United Kingdom.

“If you or the EU is not prepared to honour the entirety of the agreement then you will be responsible for the permanent destruction of the agreement.”

The protocol is designed to prevent the imposition of a hard border on the island of Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland following EU trade rules.

#OPEN JOURNALISM No news is bad news Support The Journal
Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you
SUPPORT US NOW

It has caused disruption to some goods travelling from the rest of the UK as suppliers have struggled to overcome extra red tape.
Police have noted growing discontent in unionist communities.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable Simon Byrne previously warned of a “febrile” atmosphere and urged people to step back from the brink of violence.


Inspection staff at ports were temporarily withdrawn from duties earlier this year in response to sinister graffiti, but they later resumed their work after police insisted there was no credible threat against them.

Last week, Stormont’s DUP Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons stopped preparatory work on building permanent Irish Sea trade checks at the ports.

That move, the legality of which has been disputed by executive colleagues, did not impact ongoing checks, as those are happening at temporary port facilities.


Short URL
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
This just keeps better and better, I'd may need some new comic book curses before this is over...
Brexit: EU says UK's unilateral move to extend NI Protocol grace period 'breaks international law'
The UK formally requested that the EU extend this grace period, which would waive new checks and required paperwork for agri-foods.
17 hours ago 38,586 Views 56 Comments
Share30 Tweet Email
Lorries driving off the European Highlander P&O ferry at the Port of Larne.

Lorries driving off the European Highlander P&O ferry at the Port of Larne.
Image: PA
Updated 15 hours ago
IRELAND AND THE EU have both strongly criticised the UK’s decision to unilaterally extend a grace period that was given to supermarkets in Great Britain exporting agri-foods to Northern Ireland.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was “disappointed” by the decision while Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that it “clearly undermines” previous commitments given last week.

Under the trade agreement the UK and EU struck on Christmas Eve, decisions around the Northern Ireland Protocol must be taken jointly between both sides.

But the UK has said today that it will extend the grace period due to expire on 1 April, until 1 October this year – a six-month extension.

In a statement this evening, the Taoiseach said:
I am disappointed that the British Government has today announced unilateral action relating to the Protocol. Issues relating to the Protocol should be resolved by the UK and EU working together, through the Joint Committee.
“We have worked continuously in support of efforts to find sensible means of implementing the Protocol that respond to challenges identified. We will continue to do so, but unilateral action undermines the trust necessary to reach agreement.”
“I call on the British Government to engage urgently with the European Commission, and to work towards agreed outcomes.”

Coveney similarly criticised the unilateral decision, saying that such an approach “is deeply unhelpful to building the relationship of trust and partnership”.

Coveney has also told the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and the new Cabinet minister responsible for EU-UK relations David Frost of his “regret that the UK had moved in a unilateral way”.

He said that the British Government’s decision “clearly undermines” made in joint statements issued on 11 and 24 February.
I am well aware of the practical challenges Brexit has caused for business and citizens in Northern Ireland and have strongly supported efforts to ensure that issues are addressed within the existing framework of the Protocol.
“This includes in respect to modest extensions to grace periods being agreed between the UK and the EU in a spirit of partnership.”

European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič tweeted that he would be speaking to Frost tonight to raise the EU’s “strong concerns” about the UK’s decision.[what write a strongly worded letter - Melodi]

In a statement ahead of that phonecall, Šefčovič said that the UK’s unliteral actions would “breach international law”.

“This amounts to a violation of the relevant substantive provisions of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement. This is the second time that the UK government is set to breach international law,” he said.
This also constitutes a clear departure from the constructive approach that has prevailed up until now, thereby undermining both the work of the Joint Committee and the mutual trust necessary for solution-oriented cooperation.
What the grace period means
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, health export certificates are required for agri-foods being sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

RELATED READS
01.03.21Tonnes of new ferry routes have helped to Brexit-proof Irish trade - but choppy waters could yet be ahead
28.02.21Irish hauliers: 'French officials treat us as if we’re coming from England – we’re not'
18.01.21Volume of trucks arriving in Ireland is 50% lower than expected due to Covid restrictions and Brexit

But out of concern that this additional paperwork and checks would hamper the North’s food supplies, a grace period was given to major supermarkets in order to keep shelves stocked.

On 3 February, the UK formally requested that the European Commission extend this grace period, which would waive new checks and required paperwork for agri-foods, along with a number of other sectors, until 1 January 2023.

But today, it announced that it was unilaterally making the decision to extend it for six months.
The UK statement
A UK government spokesperson for Northern Ireland said today: “For supermarkets and their suppliers, as part of the operational plan the UK committed to at the UK-EU Joint Committee on 24 February, the current Scheme for Temporary Agri-food Movements to Northern Ireland will continue until 1 October. Certification requirements will then be introduced in phases alongside the roll out of the Digital Assistance Scheme.

“In addition, further guidance will be provided later this week on parcel movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to provide necessary additional time for traders beyond 1 April. Guidance will also be set out to help address practical problems on soil attached to the movement of plants, seeds, bulbs, vegetables and agricultural machinery.”

The issue of GB-to-NI parcel deliveries was one of the other issues that the British government had requested an extension of grace periods over, along with the extending the six-month grace period of the ban on chilled meats.

A request to extend the adjustment period for medicines to be sent from GB to Northern Ireland was also made.
As it stands, here is the plan for more Brexit checks that the UK still need to introduce:
  • 1 April/1 October: End of a grace period for supermarkets, which will now need health certificates to move agri-food goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

  • Irish hauliers driving through the UK to use the landbridge will require them from 1 April
  • 1 July: End of a six-month grace period for Great Britain-Northern Ireland trade on chilled meat products, which aren’t permitted to be imported to the EU at all.

  • 31 December: End of a 12-month adaptation period for British businesses to implement new EU regulation on to the flow of medicines to Northern Ireland.

The British government announced this measure amid a busy news day for the UK: the Budget was unveiled at 12.30pm in the House of Commons by Chancellor Rishi Sunak; and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave evidence over the Scottish Government’s handling of the Alex Salmond misconduct allegations.
Political reaction
In addition to his claim that the UK’s move was a breach of international law, Šefčovič said that it risked the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.


“The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is the only way to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions, and to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland,” he said.
Throughout last year, we worked tirelessly to find practical workable solutions, based on the Protocol, to minimise disruption caused by Brexit and to help facilitate the everyday life of communities in Northern Ireland.
In Ireland, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that today’s “solo run from the British government was completely unnecessary, totally undermines the work of the Joint Committee and puts it on an immediate collision course with the EU.”
Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said: “There will be very serious concerns about this, not with the ends but the means. Given the Brexit [trade agreement] still isn’t ratified, how will this build trust and allow for a positive reset of relations?”

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Foster says EU approach to NI Protocol is 'very belligerent'
Updated / Friday, 5 Mar 2021 10:22

Arlene Foster said she is 'not entirely surprised' by the EU threat of court action

Arlene Foster said she is 'not entirely surprised' by the EU threat of court action

The European Union has taken a "very belligerent approach" to the difficulties caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol post-Brexit, according to DUP leader Arlene Foster.

Stormont’s First Minister also said that "something had to give" and the UK had to take action to extend a grace period limiting red tape associated with the movement of goods from Britain into Northern Ireland.

Ms Foster also said she is "not entirely surprised" by the EU's threat of court action following the British government's decision on how the Northern Ireland Protocol is implemented.

She said the EU's actions have shown that its priority is protecting the trading bloc, not the peace agreement.

"What they're only interested in is protecting their bloc, they're not interested, as they claim to be, in protecting the Belfast agreement. If they were, they would not be taking the action that they're taking at present," the DUP leader told BBC radio.

The EU promised legal action on Wednesday after the British government unilaterally extended a grace period for checks on food imports to Northern Ireland, a move Brussels said violated the terms of the Brexit deal.

Since then, loyalist paramilitary groups have said they are temporarily withdrawing support for the 1998 Good Friday agreement due to concerns over the Brexit deal.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said yesterday that the EU is negotiating with a partner it "simply cannot trust" following Britain's move.



Latest Brexit stories

Ms Foster said it was clear to her that there would not be "a meeting of minds" between the EU and the UK.

"We were told yesterday by our Chief Vet here in Northern Ireland that when the supermarket grace period ends [at the end of this month] the number of agri-food checks needed to be processed in NI for goods coming across from Great Britain would be close to the number currently processed by the EU as a whole."

She said the number of checks that are occurring between GB and NI are "so disproportionate" to the risk to the EU single market that it has become out of step with what the protocol was meant to do and the British government had to act to protect the UK internal market.

Ms Foster said they are now dealing with "a real and tangible problem" for the people of Northern Ireland where they cannot even buy a pot plant from England.

In challenging the protocol, she said, there are fundamental issues with it.

"The action that has been taken by both governments in the UK and Brussels is totally disproportionate to the risk to the single market and therefore it has to be changed."

Meanwhile, Co-Operation Ireland CEO Peter Sheridan said the tensions around the protocol are not insurmountable and require politicians on all sides to resolve the tensions.

Mr Sheridan, who is a former PSNI assistant chief constable, said the trade border in the Irish Sea needs to be made "as invisible as possible" as it is seen by the unionists as a constitutional border.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said while there is palpable anger about the issue, there is no immediate threat of violence.

Mr Sheridan said the border down the Irish Sea was only intended to impact lorry drivers, but is affecting every household with delays in the supply of goods.

He said that as soon as people realise there are "opportunities here" for Northern Ireland to "look in both directions to GB and to the EU" it will benefit the situation.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
The latest Brexit row: UK's solo run has left the EU in a tricky position
This is Brexit: so expect to see more rows between the UK and EU, particularly over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
1 hour ago 6,740 Views 25 Comments
Share Tweet Email

Image: PA
THE LATEST BREXIT row is not entirely surprising, as we have had hints that this would be a hostile partnership between the EU and UK – remember the Internal Market Bill?
But when the UK unilaterally announced that it would extend one of the several grace periods in place, waiving certain Brexit checks required between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it raised concerns about how this latest row could escalate.
Despite an EU-UK Joint Committee set up to encourage dialogue to avoid this exact problem, the UK decided on Wednesday to go on a “solo run”.

The next stage of this saga will see the EU taking legal action “very soon” for a breach of the Northern Ireland Protocol; while the UK could take more ‘unilateral’ actions as soon as this week.

Northern Ireland, meanwhile, is left caught in a technical quandary about how its trade should flow, all to the backdrop of its own heated, historical, political debate.
What are these ‘grace periods’?
A ‘grace period’ in this context is an agreement to waive customs or regulatory obligations for a limited amount of time.
These were agreed to because of the last-minute nature of the Brexit trade deal – but only on the basis that the UK would implement a number of measures in return, such as giving the EU real-time access to its IT systems. It’s understood many, if not all of these, haven’t yet been put in place.

Although the grace period that was extended by the UK government this week only relates to the requirement of health export certificates for agri-food products being sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, there are other checks that have been waived.

As it stands now, Northern Ireland checks on the following have been waived until:
  • 1 April/1 October: End of a grace period for supermarkets, which will now need health certificates to move agri-food goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
  • 1 April: End of three-month grace period waiving custom declarations needed for parcel deliveries going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
  • 1 July: End of a six-month grace period for GB-NI trade on chilled meat products, which aren’t permitted to be imported to the EU at all. This means chilled meats, like sausages or pre-prepared meals like lasagna, can’t be sent from GB to NI.
  • 31 December: End of a 12-month ‘adaptation’ period for British businesses to implement new EU regulation on the flow of medicines to Northern Ireland.

The UK has requested that several of the above grace periods be extended, however.
Dear Maros
Source: UK Government
On 2 February, in the wake of the EU’s rescinded suggestion that Article 16 be triggered to protect the bloc’s Covid-19 vaccine supply, British minister Michael Gove wrote to European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič asking for the grace periods for agri-food checks, parcel deliveries, chilled meats, and medicines to be extended until “at least” 1 January 2023.

He also made requests relating to problems with the trade of seed potatoes and plants, professional qualifications, pet travel, and steel trade to Northern Ireland.

Although the agri-food health certificates are the only sector of the above to receive an extension by the UK, the statement released on Wednesday by the UK government also said that ”further guidance will be provided later this week” on parcel deliveries and for problems with soil attached to trading plants, seeds, bulbs, vegetables and agricultural machinery.
It’s understood that a meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee was suggested for mid-March, where an extension of the grace periods would have possibly been discussed.
Where did these ‘grace periods’ come from?
On 8 December
, Gove and Šefčovič agreed to a grace period for “trusted” supermarkets and retailers exporting agrifoods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland as well as the other grace periods listed above.
brexit
European Commission Vice-President Maros SefcovicSource: PA
In essence, this was in response to concerns raised from businesses and hauliers about how late in the day the Brexit trade deal was being left, putting them in an awkward position to change how the region’s trade flows.

The EU-UK trade deal was finally agreed to on 24 December, which meant that both sides avoided tariffs being added to customs and regulatory checks that result from the UK leaving the Single Market and Customs Union.

This gave businesses, workers, and hauliers a matter of days to read and understand the document – though they would have known the UK was leaving the Customs Union and Single Market for some time.

RELATED READS
05.03.21EU taking ‘very belligerent approach’ to issues caused by NI Protocol, Arlene Foster says
04.03.21NI Protocol issues can be resolved with goodwill and common sense, Boris Johnson says
04.03.21Coveney had 'blunt' conversation with UK government over move to extend NI Protocol grace period

A few months earlier in June, the UK had refused to extend the transition period by six months, arguing that this time pressure would speed negotiations with the EU up. It could be argued that these grace periods are mini extension by another name.
What’s going to happen next?
The UK’s latest decision has left the EU in a bit of a bind. If they reject the UK’s extension of the grace period, it will court no favours with the people of Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has welcomed the extension of the grace period “even if it is unilaterally, to allow us to continue to give NI households the choice and affordability”.

It’s not yet clear whether the European Commission’s planned legal action will mean them challenging the extension itself, or the way in which it was done.

The European Parliament has also postponed its vote on ratifying the Brexit trade agreement, which was due to happen on 26 March. The trade agreement is being applied in principal at the moment – again, due to the last-minute nature of the deal.
brexit
Source: PA
If the EU accepts the extension of six months, it may give the UK more of an inclination to do something similar again, and the longer these checks are put off being implemented, the greater a threat it is to the EU’s valuable Single Market.
This is despite this being a row of the UK’s own choosing: Theresa May announced in a 2017 speech that Brexit meant leaving the Single Market and Custom Union – seemingly against the wishes of those in her own party – and a UK negotiation decision to pursue and agree to this arrangement, that has landed Northern Ireland in this position.

As trade expert David Henig said: “The UK government chose to minimise regulatory alignment with the EU in the full knowledge this would mean greater checks on Great Britain – Northern Ireland food trade”.

This also raises concerns for the future dialogue between the EU and UK - Šefčovič is no longer in discussions with Michael Gove, who reportedly got on well together.

In the past week, former Brexit negotiator David Frost has been appointed to the role and has been suggested as the driving force that “upped the ante” through Wednesday’s unilateral decision.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Brexit: EU to launch legal proceedings against UK 'very soon'
Threat of action follows UK moves to unilaterally delay implementation of part of deal relating to Northern Ireland
The European commission vice president, Maroš Šefčovič

The European commission vice president, Maroš Šefčovič, said the UK move had come as a ‘very negative surprise’. Photograph: John Thys/AP

PA Media
Fri 5 Mar 2021 00.33 GMT


Brussels has warned it will launch legal action “very soon” following a move by the UK to unilaterally delay implementation of part of the Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland.

The European commission vice-president, Maroš Šefčovič, said the announcement by the government on Wednesday had come as a “very negative surprise”.

David Frost, the Cabinet Office minister, said the UK was extending a series of “grace periods” designed to ease trade between Northern Ireland – which remains in the EU single market for goods – and Great Britain while permanent arrangements are worked out.

It provoked a furious response in Brussels, with the EU accusing Britain of going back on its treaty obligations in the Brexit withdrawal agreement intended to ensure there is no return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Šefčovič - who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the agreement - said the European commission was now working on “infringement proceedings” against the UK.

“We are currently preparing it and it would be really something coming to our table very soon. The most precise term I can give you is really very soon,” he said.

His warning came after Boris Johnson had sought to play down the dispute, saying the government was simply taking some “temporary and technical measures” to ensure that trade kept flowing.

“I’m sure with a bit of goodwill and common sense all these technical problems are eminently solvable,” he said on Thursday.

However MEPs in the European parliament have already taken steps to delay formal ratification of the wider trade and cooperation agreement between Britain and the EU pending the outcome of the latest row.

The Northern Ireland protocol in the withdrawal agreement means keeping Northern Ireland aligned to various EU rules, requiring checks on goods arriving into the region from Great Britain.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
British government unilaterally relaxes more trade rules between Britain and NI amid EU fury

The European Commission is taking legal action against the UK government for its latest moves regarding the Northern Ireland protocol.
1 hour ago 9,713 Views 11 Comments
Share7 Tweet Email
Boris Johnson on a visit to Teeside yesterday.

Boris Johnson on a visit to Teeside yesterday.
Image: Scott Heppell/PA Images
THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT has moved to unilaterally ease another element of the contentious Brexit arrangements governing trade to Northern Ireland.

A ban on importing plants potted in soil from Great Britain to the region has been temporarily lifted.


While most agri-food goods are, or will be, subject to extra regulatory processes to enter Northern Ireland under the terms of Brexit’s NI Protocol, some have been banned altogether.

That prohibited list includes plants or vegetables potted in British soil or with traces of soil still attached to them. This has caused problems for many businesses in Northern Ireland, particularly garden centres.

It has become somewhat of a touchstone issue in the public debate over the merits of the protocol, with its critics citing the ban on pot plants as evidence of excessive and disproportionate bureaucracy.

The British government has now relaxed the prohibitions related to soil.

The move comes in a week when London has also unilaterally extended grace periods that currently limit regulatory checks on imports of agri-food retail goods and customs declarations on GB parcels sent to the region.

Although the agri-food health certificates were the only sector of the above to receive an extension by the UK, the statement released on Wednesday by the UK government also said that ”further guidance will be provided later this week” on parcel deliveries and for problems with soil attached to trading plants, seeds, bulbs, vegetables and agricultural machinery.

The European Commission is taking legal action against the British government for those moves, accusing it of breaching the protocol.

The latest easements will allow bulbs or vegetables with soil attached to be moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
It will also allow plants grown in soil to be moved with soil attached, provided they are from an authorised business that meets GB plant passporting requirements.


Plants can also be moved in containers with growing medium attached if the containers meet the conditions required under GB plant passporting purposes.

The protocol has also imposed tight rules on the movement of agricultural and forestry machinery from Great Britain into Northern Ireland, preventing vehicles and equipment with soil attached from entering.

The British government has told traders they can now move machinery without the need for certification, as long as excessive soil and plant debris is removed.

That will enable equipment with same amounts of soil attached to enter the region.

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “We are committed to meeting our protocol obligations in a pragmatic and proportionate way, but some challenges are having a direct, and often disproportionate, impact on lives and livelihoods, including an unacceptable disruption to the flow of critical goods.

“These temporary, practical arrangements recognise the need to ensure biosecurity on the island of Ireland is not compromised whilst addressing barriers which stop goods moving into Northern Ireland.”

RELATED READS
05.03.21The latest Brexit row: UK's solo run has left the EU in a tricky position
05.03.21EU taking ‘very belligerent approach’ to issues caused by NI Protocol, Arlene Foster says

Legal action
Brussels has warned it will launch legal action “very soon” following the unilateral moves to delay full implementation of the protocol.

European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said the initial announcement by the British government on Wednesday had come as a “very negative surprise”.

The British government has insisted its actions are temporary and have been taken to allow time for permanent solutions to be worked out.

It has provoked a furious response in Brussels, with the EU accusing the UK of going back on its treaty obligations in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement intended to ensure there is no return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

In an interview with today’s Financial Times, Sefcovic – who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the agreement – said the European Commission is now working on “infringement proceedings” against the UK.

“We are currently preparing it and it would be really something coming to our table very soon. The most precise term I can give you is really very soon,” he said.


In response, Northern Ireland First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster accused the EU of belligerence.

The number of checks that are occurring between Great Britain and Northern Ireland are so disproportionate to the risk to the EU single market that it has become completely out of step with what the protocol was meant to do,” she told BBC Radio 4.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson sought to play down the dispute with the EU, saying the Government is simply taking some “temporary and technical measures” to ensure that trade keeps flowing.

“I’m sure with a bit of goodwill and common sense all these technical problems are eminently solvable,” he said.
 

Orion Commander

Veteran Member
Being an American my government tells me this can all be laid at the feet of racism and far right white extremism.

Seriously I don't know enough about this to have an opinion. Ireland seems to have had problems ever since King Richard gave Ireland to John Plantagenet and she was ruled with an iron fist.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
I think I'm going to check with a mod to see if we can get the title of this thread changed to "Main Northern Ireland" thread or something because I don't think this situation is going away - note July is the traditional "Marching Season" when things used to get "ugly." Melodi
Irish dissident republican urges armed groups to forgo violence
Killings turn people away from cause, says former hardline leader Des Dalton
Des Dalton, former president of Republican Sinn Féin.

Des Dalton, former president of Republican Sinn Féin, has urged an end to violence. Photograph: Stephen Barnes/Northern Ireland News/Alamy

Henry McDonald
Sun 7 Mar 2021 06.15 GMT


A leading political voice in Irish dissident republicanism has urged all the armed paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland to call ceasefires and end their violence.

Des Dalton, the former president of the ideologically hardline Republican Sinn Féin, has become the first figure to emerge from dissident republican groups to advise those like him opposed to the Good Friday agreement that “armed struggle” should be suspended. His call for a dissident republican ceasefire comes at a time of increasing tension within Northern Ireland, particularly inside Ulster loyalist paramilitary factions.


An umbrella body representing the illegal Ulster Volunteer Force, Ulster Defence Association and Red Hand Commando groups has withdrawn its support for the Good Friday agreement. The loyalists say the imposition of a “border” along the Irish Sea economically decoupling Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK has forced a rethink of their pro-agreement position.

The Observer understands that this does not mean any of these terror groups’ ceasefires are under threat in the short to medium term, although relations between the loyalists and the Irish government are said to be severely strained.

In an interview for a University of Liverpool project on Ireland’s constitutional future, which has been obtained by the Observer, Dalton stresses that his ceasefire demand is made on a personal basis and not on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin (RSF). The RSF national executive member says he believes the current armed campaigns cannot be justified strategically and morally. He adds that the suspension of “armed struggle” will create better conditions for all Ireland dialogue about reunification to take place in the post-Brexit era.

Republican Sinn Féin and its military allies in the Continuity IRA (CIRA) are the oldest of the dissident republican organisations. RSF was founded in 1986 after a split in Sinn Féin over the latter’s dropping of the traditional policy of boycotting the Irish parliament, Dáil Éireann.

The CIRA has been responsible for a small number of armed attacks since its inception. In March 2009 a CIRA sniper shot dead Constable Stephen Carroll, the first serving member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland to be killed by paramilitaries.
Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee, who was killed during riots in Derry in April 2019. Photograph: Jess Lowe/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

While emphasising that he will always support “the principle, the right to engage in armed action when necessary”, Dalton says: “This is a personal view, not the view of Republican Sinn Féin, but I would feel that the present climate, in the moment we are in, it is not conducive to armed actions. From the viewpoint of advancing republican goals it is counterproductive. Look at the actions of the last couple of years and none of them have advanced the cause of traditional republicanism. If anything, they have set back that cause.”

He points to the killing of the young journalist Lyra McKee two years ago in Derry as an example of armed actions that have held back traditional republicanism. The reporter was shot dead during a botched New IRA gun attack on police lines in the city in April 2019.

“My experience is that when traditional republicans are making some advances in gaining support there have been armed actions where all that has been lost. Armed action swings against and drowns out any message that we traditional republicans try to make. One only has to look at the aftermath of the tragic death of Lyra McKee and the way it turned so many people against traditional republicans,” he said.

Controversially from a hardline republican stance, Dalton says there is no proper armed campaign by the various dissident groups presently, but rather a series of what he calls “sporadic actions”. He continues: “From a moral point of view there are two aspects to all of this. There is the immorality of sending out young men and women either to take a life or else lose their own. Or topossibly face spending, 10, 15, 20 years in jail. I think morally that is not justifiable at this present moment in time.I just think that it can’t be justified when the reality is there is no campaign and more so because those armed sporadic actions are working against traditional republicanism.


Will Brexit reopen old wounds with a new hard border in Northern Ireland?
Read more

“I look at the jails and see young people facing down 10 or 20 years of their lives and then I think about something that is not an effective campaign, that isn’t something leading towards some kind of significant breakthrough. In those circumstances I don’t think it’s justifiable to ask people to make those kinds of sacrifices and, obviously more significantly, to take a life.

“In 1923 and 1962, ceasefires were called even though there was no slipping back from traditional republican ideology. They were done purely on practical terms for the movement to stand back and reassess. I don’t see my call being any different from then.”

Asked by the Observer if he believed his ceasefire call might be heeded within the ranks of the Continuity IRA and other factions such as the New IRA, Dalton said: “Frankly I don’t know, but all I can do is offer my view and if it is not reflective then I will have to see where I am from there. But I very much remain a traditional republican and Republican Sinn Féin’s position reflects my own outlook.”


Topics
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Food scarcity fears prompt plan to ease post-Brexit checks on EU imports
Ministers considering ‘lighter touch’ regime to avoid disruption to supplies from bloc
Cargo trucks in Dover heading to the EU.

Trucks in Dover heading to the EU in January. Ministers want to avoid similar disruption affecting food imports from the EU. Photograph: James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock

Toby Helm
Sun 7 Mar 2021 02.41 GMT



Ministers are preparing to relax post-Brexit plans for border checks on food and other imports from the European Union because of fears that they will further damage trade and could lead to severe shortages in UK supermarkets.

The Observer has been told by multiple industry sources that Boris Johnson’s new Brexit minister, Lord Frost, is considering allowing “lighter touch” controls on imports from 1 April than are currently planned, and scaling back plans for full customs checks, including physical inspections, which are due to begin on 1 July.


One source said he had been told that Frost was preparing to put the plans, which could mean imports being allowed in even if clerical errors have been made by European companies, before fellow cabinet ministers this week, as evidence grows of how Brexit has hit trade with the EU.

A Downing Street source confirmed on Saturday night that Frost had already ordered “a review of the timetable to ensure that we are not imposing unnecessary burdens on business” but added that it was “early in the process and no decisions have been made”.


With UK exporters to the EU having been severely hit by new rules, regulations and costs of operating under the post-Brexit regime, business organisations and senior figures in Whitehall now fear that EU exporters to the UK – particularly those involved with food – could be even less prepared than their UK counterparts were at the start of this year.

A big worry is that delays resulting from checks could hit food supplies including the “just in time” delivery network.


One senior industry figure said: “The worry is that if we go ahead with more checks and move to checks on imports, then exporters will not be prepared and on this side we are not ready for that either. There is not the infrastructure in place yet or the number of customs officials necessary to carry all this out. We have already seen exports badly affected. The next nightmare could be imports.”

While the Cabinet Office, run by Michael Gove, has attempted to downplay the effects of Brexit on UK trade, a survey last week by the Food and Drink Federation of its members that send goods to the EU found a 45% drop in exports since 1 January.

Asked by the Observer on Friday if he was confident that plans for more checks on imports from the EU could go ahead from 1 April and 1 July, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said: “We are working through these things with the joint committee and I think we are looking at everything. If there are problems we are trying to address them. The systems and IT are all on track but we are keeping everything under review to make sure it is all as smooth as possible.”
Depleted shelves in Sainsbury’s at the Forestside shopping centre in Belfast

Depleted shelves in Sainsbury’s at the Forestside shopping centre in Belfast. Photograph: David Young/PA

While a key claim of Brexiters was always that Brexit would mean “regaining control of our borders”, doing so has proved hugely problematic since the UK left the single market and customs union on 1 January.

In order to give businesses time to adapt the government decided that imports into the UK from the EU could operate as normal until 1 April. From that date, under current plans, all items of animal origin such as meat, honey, milk or egg
products, as well as regulated plants and plant products, will require full documentation and, where necessary, veterinary certificates to be sold in the UK. From 1 July, all companies exporting to the UK will be required to fill out full customs declarations and goods could be subjected to physical checks at new UK customs centres.

Richard Burnett, the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said: “We are hearing from government that they are going to take a ‘light touch’ approach to the next phase, or perhaps even an extension of the grace period. Although this is sensible to continue the uninterrupted flow of food products from the EU into Great Britain, I am concerned that it weakens the government’s negotiating leverage when asking for similar easements from the EU for UK businesses attempting to trade with them.”

In a further sign of post-Brexit problems, Gove last week announced that grace periods to allow lighter enforcement on EU rules over supermarket goods, pharmaceuticals, chilled meats and parcels from Great Britain into Northern Ireland should be extended to January 2023.

Some of the current waivers are due to cease at the end of March, raising fears about further border disruption. The issue of the new border in the Irish Sea has caused renewed tensions in Northern Ireland, while also worsening already poor relations with Brussels, which is considering legal action against the UK for breaking Brexit agreements.

Frost, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, has called on Brussels to “shake off any remaining ill will” towards the UK for leaving and argued the government is acting legally to protect the everyday lives of people in Northern Ireland. “I hope they will shake off any remaining ill will towards us for leaving, and instead build a friendly relationship, between sovereign equals.”
In its report accompanying last week’s budget, the Office for Budget Responsibility repeated its view that the additional trade barriers caused by Brexit would reduce UK productivity in the long run by about 4%.

On Saturday night the shadow Cabinet Office minister, Rachel Reeves, wrote to the OBR’s chair, Richard Hughes, asking him to publish details of its assessment of the economic effects of the trade deal with the EU, including its effect on exports and different regions of the UK.

Referring to the OBR’s estimate of a 4% fall in productivity, Reeves told Hughes: “This is extremely concerning and that concern is compounded by the government’s lack of response in addressing or even acknowledging this gap.”
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Being an American my government tells me this can all be laid at the feet of racism and far right white extremism.

Seriously I don't know enough about this to have an opinion. Ireland seems to have had problems ever since King Richard gave Ireland to John Plantagenet and she was ruled with an iron fist.
Some of this goes back to King John Lackland, but the simple version for the Northern Situation is about 300 years ago England decided to move "good" Scottish Peasants to Northern Ireland. They did this sometimes by force and sometimes by getting "volunteers."

They did this because Ulster had the best resources in Ireland but also the most restless and "difficult" to "govern" the population of native Irish on the Island.

So, much of what goes on in Northern Ireland today depends on who your many times great grandpappy was 300 years ago, a Native Irishman going back at least a couple of thousand years or a Scotsman (Ulster Scotts) who was dragooned out of the Highlands (or Lowlands) and forced to be a peasant for the English Crown in Northern Ireland.

It got "defined" by religion because most of the Native Irish 300 years ago (and today) are/were Roman Catholics (at least at Christmas Even Mass) and the majority of the Ulster Scotts were mostly Protestants. Scotts Catholics existed of course, as did Irish Protestants but the majority of those who moved to Northern Ireland were Protestants.

In the Irish Republic, the situation was less strained, and both Catholics and Protestants were involved in revolutionary movements from the start, which is why the Irish flag has both green (Catholic) and orange (Protestant) on it.

Hope that helps - my view is that everyone has to sort this together, the "Scotts Invaders" have been in Ulster as long as most Europeans have been in America. Historically the English did support them with better schools, health care, incomes etc; but that is all stuff people have worked very hard for 23 years to sort out.

But the old hatreds run very-very deep (I used to spend a lot of time in Belfast with an American friend who married in) and something like this could rip them wide open again.
 

WalknTrot

Veteran Member
Melodi - thanks for keeping this line of news up to date. I try to check in with UK headlines every couple of days, but don't catch the stuff you do. :)
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Your welcome, I live here so it is easier and the Northern Irish stuff affects us directly; there are already rumors the EU may stop letting Irish trucks come into the EU without massive paperwork as well (even though we are apart of the EU).

My housemate said: "Well they will still let goods come in" and I said,

"Yeah but part of the problem in Northern Ireland is the trucks won't go there now because they can't take anything back to the EU or the UK so companies are just not sending trucks which is leading to food shortages and other shortages."

Our family should be OK for some time, but a lot of people are going to be in a world of hurt if the EU amps things up that way and punishes the Republic for the UK's problems with BREXIT.
 

Squid

Veteran Member
So let me try from very far to understand what started this.

A remote overly bureaucratic group of politicians (EU) tried to use vast convaluted rules to punish England and their supporters in Northern Ireland. The massive new rules created logistical chaos including disruption of food and medicines during a pandemic.

The 2 major sides on N. Ireland side still hold resentments and controlled hatred that the plotters in EU (did I say remote) either failed to consider or actually considered and dismissed or considered and grossly miscalculated.

The ‘good news’ is that the US State department will be duty bound to follow their Ivy League textbooks and Marxist teachings with no leadership or control from 1600 will, I am sure screw up the US response and add to the chaos of the Biden/Harris/Soros foreign policy.

Welcome to the Progressive Brave New World. Coming soon to a country near you.

Good luck world..,
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Squid you are not wrong, but it is somewhat more complicated even than that, but you've got the idea.

I am not sure how the US position will be in all this Joe Biden (or his handlers) are 100 percent behind the Good Friday Agreement (actually so am I) but that may or may not help things when push comes to shove.

Basically, the only way I can see out of this mess is one of two options:

The UK signs up to an agreement similar to Switzerland and Norway where they accept EU customs rules and other regulations (but are not part of the EU) or eventually things totally fall apart and the Civil War in Northern Ireland starts up again.

At which point the UK and The Republic of Ireland will have some decisions to make, in some ways the Republic has some cards of its own it can play, mainly because the EU is so fragile right now.

If the EU made The Republic mad enough to think about pulling out of the EU or making some "decisions" of their own that would force the EU either to accept them or throw Ireland out, then the EU knows the Scots, the Poles, the Hungarians, the Italians and probably the Greeks would be "next" out the door.

At that point, the EU breaks into "blocks" if not individual nations, like a "Northern League" a "Southern League" and an "Eastern League" or something like that.

I have no idea what will actually occur (and that is rare for me, usually I can guess) except that I'm pretty sure the riots and violence will start up again in July if something isn't sorted by then.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Oh, I should add that Scotland of course isn't in the EU right now but the majority of people want to be, but that could change if the EU really bungles things.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Yes folks this is heating up again, I had hoped that the Friday Riots were a one-off, but they seem to be starting to be a nightly thing. Remember this time it is the Ulter-Unionionst "side" that is starting things up. They are furious both because goods are not being shipped to Northern Ireland due to extreme paperwork insisted on by the EU, so UK shippers just won't go there. And they are upset because 20 plus politicians from the "other" Republican (formerly Catholic) "side" will not be punished for breaking COVID rules by attending an IRA Funeral last year. The no charges were announced last week, which seems to have been the final spark to set this off - I have no idea where it is going.
Police attacked in further loyalist disturbances in Northern Ireland
Updated / Monday, 5 Apr 2021 10:24

PSNI officers in Carrickfergus near Belfast last night following the unrest

PSNI officers in Carrickfergus near Belfast last night following the unrest

Police have come under attack as violence flared during another night of sporadic disorder in parts of Northern Ireland.

Petrol bombs and bricks were thrown at officers in loyalist areas in Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus.

It was the second night in a row that trouble broke out at the Cloughfern roundabout in Newtownabbey on the outskirts of Belfast, although the violence was not as prolonged as on Saturday night.

There was also disorder in the North Road area of nearby Carrickfergus last night.

On Saturday, 30 petrol bombs were thrown at officers in Newtownabbey in what police described as an "orchestrated attack".

On Friday, there were violent scenes in the Sandy Row area of Belfast as well.

While in Derry, police have been subjected to sustained attacks across several nights in the last week in loyalist areas of the Waterside part of the city.



Some 27 police officers were injured on Friday night across Belfast and Derry.

Derry City and Strabane Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones said: "Last night we saw further disorder on our streets in the Waterside area, which started shortly after 9pm.

"Again, we saw our officers targeted, pelted with petrol bombs and masonry in the Dungiven Road area where pallets were placed on the road and set alight. This saw the main road closed for a time, causing disruption for local drivers.

"Thankfully, last night none of our officers were injured as they worked to bring the disorder to an end."

He said it was "shocking that some of those involved in last night's disorder were children, some as young as 12 years old along with others up to 18 years old and a mix of male and females.

"It is totally unacceptable, and it is crucial we send out a message to those responsible that such behaviour cannot be tolerated. People deserve to feel safe within their own homes and be able to walk the streets without fear."

Local people walking past a fire on North Road in Carrickfergus last night
Tensions have risen within the loyalist community in recent months over post-Brexit trading arrangements which have been claimed to have created barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Anger worsened further last week following a contentious decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Féin politicians for attending a large-scale republican funeral during Covid-19 restrictions.

All the main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell, called for calm and an end to the attacks on police but he also criticised Sinn Féin, accusing it of "arrogance".

Reacting following the violence in Newtownabbey on Saturday, he said: "Those attacking the police should stop.

"Rioting and injuring rank and file officers will only result in young people being criminalised."

He criticised Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly for comments on Saturday about the disorder.

Mr Kelly claimed the disturbances were "a direct consequence of the actions of political unionism" and accused "DUP rhetoric" of sending a "very dangerous message to young people in loyalist areas".

Mr Campbell accused Mr Kelly and Sinn Féin of "arrogance" and "not recognising the major part they played in creating" anger in the community.

"Sinn Féin helped organise an IRA man's funeral where 2,000 people attended when other people couldn't even have some of their own children at the funeral of a loved one.

"Gerry Kelly and co need to get real. People aren't taps that some politician can turn on or off.

"Riots on the streets, just as they must be condemned, it also has to be realised that they are a symptom of the manner in which Sinn Féin has played fast and loose with the Covid rules whilst zealously demanding everyone else obey them."

Meanwhile in Co Antrim, a recent series of drug seizures against the South East Antrim UDA - a renegade faction of the main grouping - have caused particular ill-feeling towards police.

The faction is believed to have been behind some of the weekend disturbances.

The PSNI's North Area Commander Chief Superintendent Davy Beck said 30 petrol bombs were thrown at officers and three cars set alight in Newtownabbey on Saturday.
 

zeker

Veteran Member
The latest Brexit row: UK's solo run has left the EU in a tricky position
This is Brexit: so expect to see more rows between the UK and EU, particularly over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
1 hour ago 6,740 Views 25 Comments
Share Tweet Email

Image: PA
THE LATEST BREXIT row is not entirely surprising, as we have had hints that this would be a hostile partnership between the EU and UK – remember the Internal Market Bill?
But when the UK unilaterally announced that it would extend one of the several grace periods in place, waiving certain Brexit checks required between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it raised concerns about how this latest row could escalate.
Despite an EU-UK Joint Committee set up to encourage dialogue to avoid this exact problem, the UK decided on Wednesday to go on a “solo run”.

The next stage of this saga will see the EU taking legal action “very soon” for a breach of the Northern Ireland Protocol; while the UK could take more ‘unilateral’ actions as soon as this week.

Northern Ireland, meanwhile, is left caught in a technical quandary about how its trade should flow, all to the backdrop of its own heated, historical, political debate.
What are these ‘grace periods’?
A ‘grace period’ in this context is an agreement to waive customs or regulatory obligations for a limited amount of time.
These were agreed to because of the last-minute nature of the Brexit trade deal – but only on the basis that the UK would implement a number of measures in return, such as giving the EU real-time access to its IT systems. It’s understood many, if not all of these, haven’t yet been put in place.

Although the grace period that was extended by the UK government this week only relates to the requirement of health export certificates for agri-food products being sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, there are other checks that have been waived.

As it stands now, Northern Ireland checks on the following have been waived until:
  • 1 April/1 October: End of a grace period for supermarkets, which will now need health certificates to move agri-food goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
  • 1 April: End of three-month grace period waiving custom declarations needed for parcel deliveries going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
  • 1 July: End of a six-month grace period for GB-NI trade on chilled meat products, which aren’t permitted to be imported to the EU at all. This means chilled meats, like sausages or pre-prepared meals like lasagna, can’t be sent from GB to NI.
  • 31 December: End of a 12-month ‘adaptation’ period for British businesses to implement new EU regulation on the flow of medicines to Northern Ireland.

The UK has requested that several of the above grace periods be extended, however.
Dear Maros
Source: UK Government
On 2 February, in the wake of the EU’s rescinded suggestion that Article 16 be triggered to protect the bloc’s Covid-19 vaccine supply, British minister Michael Gove wrote to European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič asking for the grace periods for agri-food checks, parcel deliveries, chilled meats, and medicines to be extended until “at least” 1 January 2023.

He also made requests relating to problems with the trade of seed potatoes and plants, professional qualifications, pet travel, and steel trade to Northern Ireland.

Although the agri-food health certificates are the only sector of the above to receive an extension by the UK, the statement released on Wednesday by the UK government also said that ”further guidance will be provided later this week” on parcel deliveries and for problems with soil attached to trading plants, seeds, bulbs, vegetables and agricultural machinery.
It’s understood that a meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee was suggested for mid-March, where an extension of the grace periods would have possibly been discussed.
Where did these ‘grace periods’ come from?
On 8 December
, Gove and Šefčovič agreed to a grace period for “trusted” supermarkets and retailers exporting agrifoods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland as well as the other grace periods listed above.
brexit
European Commission Vice-President Maros SefcovicSource: PA
In essence, this was in response to concerns raised from businesses and hauliers about how late in the day the Brexit trade deal was being left, putting them in an awkward position to change how the region’s trade flows.

The EU-UK trade deal was finally agreed to on 24 December, which meant that both sides avoided tariffs being added to customs and regulatory checks that result from the UK leaving the Single Market and Customs Union.

This gave businesses, workers, and hauliers a matter of days to read and understand the document – though they would have known the UK was leaving the Customs Union and Single Market for some time.

RELATED READS
05.03.21EU taking ‘very belligerent approach’ to issues caused by NI Protocol, Arlene Foster says
04.03.21NI Protocol issues can be resolved with goodwill and common sense, Boris Johnson says
04.03.21Coveney had 'blunt' conversation with UK government over move to extend NI Protocol grace period

A few months earlier in June, the UK had refused to extend the transition period by six months, arguing that this time pressure would speed negotiations with the EU up. It could be argued that these grace periods are mini extension by another name.
What’s going to happen next?
The UK’s latest decision has left the EU in a bit of a bind. If they reject the UK’s extension of the grace period, it will court no favours with the people of Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has welcomed the extension of the grace period “even if it is unilaterally, to allow us to continue to give NI households the choice and affordability”.

It’s not yet clear whether the European Commission’s planned legal action will mean them challenging the extension itself, or the way in which it was done.

The European Parliament has also postponed its vote on ratifying the Brexit trade agreement, which was due to happen on 26 March. The trade agreement is being applied in principal at the moment – again, due to the last-minute nature of the deal.
brexit
Source: PA
If the EU accepts the extension of six months, it may give the UK more of an inclination to do something similar again, and the longer these checks are put off being implemented, the greater a threat it is to the EU’s valuable Single Market.
This is despite this being a row of the UK’s own choosing: Theresa May announced in a 2017 speech that Brexit meant leaving the Single Market and Custom Union – seemingly against the wishes of those in her own party – and a UK negotiation decision to pursue and agree to this arrangement, that has landed Northern Ireland in this position.

As trade expert David Henig said: “The UK government chose to minimise regulatory alignment with the EU in the full knowledge this would mean greater checks on Great Britain – Northern Ireland food trade”.

This also raises concerns for the future dialogue between the EU and UK - Šefčovič is no longer in discussions with Michael Gove, who reportedly got on well together.

In the past week, former Brexit negotiator David Frost has been appointed to the role and has been suggested as the driving force that “upped the ante” through Wednesday’s unilateral decision.
wow . looking the price of them sausages makes me drool

they are the same price here

but by the lb, not the kg

waaay cheaper there
 

MinnesotaSmith

Has No Life - Lives on TB
wow . looking the price of them sausages makes me drool
they are the same price here
but by the lb, not the kg
waaay cheaper there
Don't be envious of their sausage situation. I've had Brit sausages a few times, during the months I spent there in 2010-11. Their best are third-rate. (Think "Red Hots" without the dye or cheap hot spice.) I like even average sausage. I quickly learned to avoid their sausages if I had any other meat choices.
 

WalknTrot

Veteran Member
wow . looking the price of them sausages makes me drool

they are the same price here

but by the lb, not the kg

waaay cheaper there
Don't forget the exchange rate. It will cost $1.48 of your Canadian dollars to cover one Euro. $1.75 CAD to cover a Brit pound sterling.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
And things are heating up even more, this is so not good -
Bus petrol-bombed in further Belfast violence
Updated / Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 21:37

Police have urged the public to avoid the Shankill Road area of Belfast

Police have urged the public to avoid the Shankill Road area of Belfast
By Vincent Kearney
Northern Editor

Police officers have again come under attack in Northern Ireland tonight.

A crowd of loyalist youths in the Shankill Road area of Belfast petrol bombed and then hijacked a double-decker bus.

The youths also threw a variety of objects at PSNI vehicles.

A press photographer working for the Belfast Telegraph newspaper was assaulted and had his cameras damaged.


Police have urged the public to avoid the area and appealed to anyone with influence "to help restore calm".

In a tweet, Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill condemned "disgraceful scenes of criminality tonight including a potentially lethal attack on bus driver and assault on journalist".


Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond tweeted: "More dreadful scenes in Belfast tonight, who is encouraging these kids out on the streets? Need calm voices calling for this to stop."

Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster also condemned the trouble. In a post on Twitter the DUP leader said: "There is no justification for violence. It is wrong and should stop."
 

Plain Jane

Has No Life - Lives on TB
My first inclination is to say that getting these young guys back to work would take out some of the steam in this situation. But I don't see that happening anytime soon.

There are probably logical solutions to this but I also don't see anyone in the UK or the EU willing to take the time to think this through. George Mitchell died years ago and no one else seems to care.

In fact with everything else happening in Europe right now you would think someone would try to get this very combustible situation settled.
 

mzkitty

I give up.

Uhhmmm...

Veteran Member
Any excuse for a Party...

A Sinn Féin funeral was the spark but loyalists in Northern Ireland have been throwing petrol bombs and burning cars partly because they fear political marginalization.

The union flag no longer flutters daily over Belfast city hall, a trade border separates the region from the rest of the UK and the police are allegedly beholden to Sinn Féin. Add to this a criminal gang’s resentment at recent arrests and you have the context for three consecutive nights of rioting in several towns that have left dozens of police officers injured, including five on Sunday night.
Full Article Here
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Taoiseach condemns unrest as NI leaders to meet
Updated / Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 08:07

Violent scenes including attacks on police, petrol bombings and rioting have taken place

Violent scenes including attacks on police, petrol bombings and rioting have taken place

The Northern Ireland Executive is to be briefed on the ongoing unrest seen in Belfast and Derry over the last week.

Leaders will meet for the briefing at 10am, an hour before the Stormont Assembly is to be recalled to discuss the recent scenes of violence in mainly loyalist areas.

Violent scenes including attacks on police, petrol bombings and rioting have taken place repeatedly on the streets of Belfast and Derry throughout the past week.

Last night saw a bus hijacked and set on fire, a press photographer assaulted and clashes between loyalists and nationalists at a peace line street that links the Shankill Road with the Springfield Road in west Belfast.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has condemned the violence, saying the only way forward is to address issues of concern through peaceful and democratic means.

In a statement, Mr Martin said the attacks yesterday evening on a journalist and a bus driver were "deeply concerning and in no one's interest".



He said: "Now is the time for the two governments and leaders on all sides to work together to defuse tensions and restore calm.

"My Government has listened to and will continue to listen to and engage with the views of all communities in Northern Ireland. But the way to address genuine issues of concern is through peaceful and democratic means."


Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster described the unrest as "vandalism and attempted murder", saying the actions of those involved "do not represent unionism or loyalism".



In a tweet, she said: "This is not protest. This is vandalism and attempted murder. These actions do not represent unionism or loyalism. They are an embarrassment to Northern Ireland and only serve to take the focus off the real law breakers in Sinn Fein. My thoughts are with the bus driver."

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly criticised Mrs Foster's tweet.

Mr Kelly described the statement as "dangerous, worrying and embarrassing all in one", and he said it "encapsulates so much what the DUP priorities really are".


Bus petrol-bombed in further Belfast violence

News of the Executive meeting was confirmed late last night as disturbances continued on the streets of Belfast.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said the disorder is "causing huge distress in local communities at this time.

"Those involved in violence, criminal damage, manipulation of our young people and attacks on the police must stop."


The scenes of violence last night flooded social media and prompted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to appeal for calm.



He tweeted: "I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist.

"The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality."

The unrest has been attributed to tension in loyalist communities over the Northern Ireland Protocol on Brexit and the PSNI's handling of alleged coronavirus regulation breaches by Sinn Féin politicians at the funeral last year of republican Bobby Storey.


Plans to recall the Assembly were already under way after Alliance Party leader and Justice Minister Naomi Long secured the required support of 30 members to force a return to debate a motion condemning the recent attacks on police.

Ms Long said it is her party's intention to get all parties at Stormont to "unite around a call for calm and the cessation of violence".

Around 41 police officers had been injured and 10 people arrested over the disturbances, prior to the events of last night.

Ms Long said yesterday that she also wants to hear all elected representatives express confidence in policing structures and in the rule of law.



"Over the last number of weeks we have heard increasingly inflammatory public comments around policing in Northern Ireland, political comments that have been deeply and profoundly unsettling and we have then seen this spill over into violence on the streets," she said.

"These situations and intentions of course then will be exploited by those in paramilitary organisations, so it is incumbent on all of us who are in leadership at a time like this to come together and to speak with one voice to say that this violence must stop and irrespective of our various political views, that we do not support it, that we do not want to see it continue but more than that, that we are absolutely committed to the rule of law and to fair and equitable policing across our society."
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Mods are there any way to change this thread title to something like "The Main Northern Irish Thread" or something? This situation really is heating up and the title is just for the first story I posted - I can start another thread if I need to but we might as well keep this one going - Melodi
Loyalist anger at post-Brexit trade rules among factors in Northern Ireland disorder
It took an event unrelated to the Irish Sea border furore to set a match to simmering tensions
27 minutes ago 3,125 Views 12 Comments
Share Tweet Email
Nationalists and Loyalists clash with one another at the peace wall on Lanark Way in West Belfast last night.

Nationalists and Loyalists clash with one another at the peace wall on Lanark Way in West Belfast last night.
Image: Peter Morrison/PA
THE STREET DISORDER that has flared in various parts of Northern Ireland for more than a week can be attributed to a multitude of factors.

At its heart is loyalist anger at post-Brexit trading arrangements that have created economic barriers between the region and the rest of the UK.


For loyalism, Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol has undermined their place in the Union.

But it took an event unrelated to the Irish Sea border furore to set a match to resentment that has been simmering since the consequences of exiting the EU became a reality at the start of January.

The announcement by prosecutors last week that no action would be taken against 24 Sinn Fein politicians, including deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, for attending a huge republican funeral during the pandemic sparked outrage among some loyalists
.
In several loyalist working-cla
ss areas, many still in the grip of the malign influence of paramilitary gangs, sporadic rioting has since flared.

Belfast, Derry, Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus and Ballymena have all witnessed scenes of violence that many hoped had been consigned to the history books.

There have also been bouts of disorder within republican areas in recent days. In the most stark, youths on both sides of a west Belfast peace line pelted petrol bombs and other missiles at each other through last night.

For loyalists, the funeral of former IRA leader Bobby Storey last June hardened a long-standing perception held by many within their community that the institutions of the state afford preferential treatment to republicans.

For apparent confirmation, they pointed to police engagement with the Sinn Fein funeral organisers prior to an event that saw around 2,000 people take to the streets of west Belfast when tight limits on public gatherings were in place.

This interaction with the planners was one reason why senior prosecutors concluded any prosecution of O’Neill and her colleagues was doomed to fail – the other being the “incoherent” nature of Stormont’s Covid-19 regulations at the time.
britain-northern-ireland-unrest
Police separate Nationalists and Loyalists near the peace wall in West BelfastSource: Peter Morrison/PA
Criticism of the PSNI approach was not confined to hard-line elements within loyalism and all the main unionist parties subsequently called for chief constable Simon Byrne to resign, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.
DUP First Minister Arlene Foster has said she will no longer engage with Byrne.

RELATED READS
05.04.21Northern Ireland is more than green and orange now - as new communities enter the debate
17.03.21The myriad ways Brexit has permanently shifted the course of Northern Ireland's future

Her lack of communication with the region’s police chief during a time of escalating street violence, and coming only weeks after she met with representatives of loyalist paramilitaries to discuss the Brexit fall out, has drawn sharp criticism from political rivals.

Non-unionist parties have accused Foster and other unionist political leaders of stoking up tensions, not only in relation to the Storey funeral but also in respect of the Irish Sea border.

The DUP leader and other prominent voices within unionism and loyalism insist they are only reflecting genuinely held concerns they say must be addressed – specifically by way of Byrne’s resignation and the binning of the Protocol.

Amid the current unionist clamour for Byrne’s head, and claims of “two tier” policing, it is worth noting that two months ago the PSNI chief constable was facing similar claims of discriminatory behaviour from within nationalism.

Those were prompted by a controversial police operation in Belfast that saw a man badly injured in a loyalist gun massacre during the Troubles arrested at the scene of a commemoration event after officers intervened to probe suspected Covid regulation breaches.
britain-northern-ireland-unrest
Nationalists from the mainly Catholic Springfield road area of West Belfast clash with police, Wednesday.Source: Peter Morrison/PA

Following that incident at the site of the 1992 Ormeau Road betting shop murders, Ms O’Neill claimed there was a “crisis in confidence” in the PSNI among nationalists, albeit she stopped short of calling for Mr Byrne to quit.

The Protocol and funeral controversy have not created the loyalist perception that the system is weighed against them, but have built upon a narrative articulated by an increasing number within loyalism that the peace process – particularly the Good Friday accord of 1998 – has handed them a raw deal.


They cite underinvestment and deprivation in loyalist working class areas as further proof that they have missed out on the gains of peace.

Nationalists and republicans reject this premise, insisting their communities have experienced just has many problems with poverty and unemployment since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Paramilitary elements are undoubtedly involved in much of the disorder witnessed across the region in recent days – either directly or by orchestrating young people to riot on their behalf.

However, in Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus an added factor is at play.

In those areas, the PSNI believes paramilitary involvement is less motivated by Brexit or the Storey funeral and more to do with a rogue faction – the South East Antrim UDA – reacting to recent police operations targeting its criminal empire.
 

mzkitty

I give up.
I posted this tonight about all the violence, Melodi. Don't think I saw this thread before.

 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Johnson condemned for 'total disinterest' in Northern Ireland amid loyalist violence

The UK PM was accused of contributing to the toxic environment through “mistruths” regarding Brexit regulations.

PSNI tactical support officers in attendance at the Loyalist Nelson Drive Estate in Derry.PSNI tactical support officers in attendance at the Loyalist Nelson Drive Estate in Derry.
Image: Liam McBurney

UK PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson is being accused of showing a “total disinterest” in Northern Ireland amid several consecutive nights of violence by loyalist protesters that has left dozens of police officers injured.

Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader Colum Eastwood called for leadership from across the political spectrum but said Johnson’s silence was particularly galling.

He accused the Conservative of significantly contributing to the toxic environment in Northern Ireland through “mistruths” regarding Brexit regulations.

“41 police officers have been injured in seven consecutive nights of violence. If this was happening in Durham or Leeds, there would be COBRA meetings, emergency resource allocations and senior politicians would be tripping over themselves to get involved,” Eastwood said.

But when it’s Derry or Newtownabbey, the British Government appears happy to ignore it.
“The silence of Boris Johnson, in particular, is galling. The British Prime Minister’s policy of lying about the impact of economic and regulatory borders in Northern Ireland has contributed, in a significant way, to the toxic political environment that has created space for young people in working class communities to be manipulated by paramilitary groups,” he said.

NI-22Bins are set ablaze at the Cloughfern roundabout in Newtownabbey.
Source: Liam McBurney/PA

Loyalist communities, in particular, clearly feel an immense sense of betrayal. The least Johnson can do is address those concerns.
Tensions have soared within the loyalist community in recent months over post-Brexit trading arrangements, which it is claimed have created barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Anger ramped up further last week following a decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein politicians for attending the funeral of prominent republican Bobby Storey during Covid-19 restrictions.

#OPEN JOURNALISM No news is bad news Support The Journal Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you
SUPPORT US NOW
All the main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.

The Stormont Assembly is set to be recalled tomorrow morning for an emergency debate following the violence.

With reporting by Press Association

Short URL
 
Top