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Northern Ireland halts construction of inspection facilities for post-Brexit checks
LONDON -- The construction of permanent inspection facilities in Northern Ireland for post-Brexit checks on agri-food goods arriving from mainland Britain has been halted following an order from the devolved government's agriculture minister.

Gordon Lyons told the PA news agency on Friday that he has ordered a stop to construction works and recruitment of inspection staff for port facilities. He has also told ports not to levy charges on traders bringing goods from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.

Lyons, a Democratic Unionist Party politician, said the decision responds to the "practical difficulties" caused by the Northern Ireland protocol, a key part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement regulating the trading relationship with the EU single market.

"We don't know what the movement of retail goods from Great Britain into Northern Ireland is going to look like, we don't have the support in place through the digital assistance scheme yet either, and all of the SPS [sanitary and phytosanitary] issues around the end of the grace period are just so uncertain and it's a real nightmare for us and it's going to be causing us an awful lot of problems," Lyons was quoted as saying.

His order will not disrupt ongoing trade checks at existing repurposed port buildings and other temporary facilities.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Feb 27th, 2021 at 12:32:10 PM EST
The Treaty and Protocol are between the UK and EU and it is not for the devolved administration to frustrate it as it is the UK government which will be held accountable. How does not building decent facilities for inspectors fix any of the problems Lyons claims to be identifying?

But the EU has little leverage in N. Ireland as it is relying on the UK to implement the protocol. It can, however retaliate in Calais and make life v. difficult for UK exporters. I think Gove recognises this and is trying to make it work, but the DUP don't want it to work.

However if the DUP end up damaging UK interests in Calais etc. they will be sold down the river against faster than you can say Vos papiers s'il vous plait...

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 27th, 2021 at 02:06:47 PM EST
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