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So are we any the wiser as to who actually made the decision to invoke A.16 of the Protocol? If Mairead McGuinness wasn't aware of it, it can't have been a full meeting of the Commission. So was it a Commission sub-committee on the covid-19 response? Who were the Commissioners present and who chaired the meeting? Or was it a decision made below Commission level, which would be extraordinary, as invoking a Treaty provision is not exactly a routine matter.

I get the decision was made in a rush, and the primary focus was on obtaining "greater transparency" on vaccine exports. Somebody probably mentioned N. Ireland as a potential backdoor, but said they could invoke A. 16 to prevent that.

But anyone involved in the Brexit negotiations would have been aware of how difficult that protocol had been to negotiate, and subsequent pressure from Loyalist sources on the British government to invoke it as a means of ending "the border down the Irish sea". Some staff policing that border have had to be withdrawn following threats of violence from loyalist sources.

This could be the spark to re-ignite the N. Ireland Troubles in a small way. I don't think anyone should resign over this, as the decision was quickly reversed, but somebody goofed in a big way, and we need to ensure that M. Barnier or some such knowledgeable person is included in future discussions on the issue.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 1st, 2021 at 11:23:09 PM EST
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