Inspections of agri-food products imported into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK should continue until the case is fully resolved in March, a Belfast court ruled on Friday.
Thus, the court suspended the order to suspend such inspections, issued on Wednesday evening by the Minister of Agriculture of Northern Ireland Edwin Poots. And the order on the suspension of powers, and the resignation of the first Minister (Prime Minister) Northern Ireland’s Paul Givan on Thursday are protests by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), against the Northern Ireland protocol requiring such checks.
According to Poots’ order, the inspections were supposed to be suspended at midnight from Wednesday to Thursday, but it did not come to that, because, as explained in his ministry, officials “are considering the broader consequences of fulfilling the minister’s requirement.” Two separate complaints were filed with the court against the decision to suspend the inspection. The ruling Sinn Fein Republican Party in Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Ireland said that the suspension of control would be a violation of protocol and, therefore, a violation of international law.
The Northern Ireland Protocol is part of the Brexit Agreement and it was created to ensure that the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland remains open, since its absence was considered a precondition for the continuation of the peace process in the British province. To this end, Northern Ireland has remained in the EU single market in terms of trade in goods. But this means that at the same time a de facto customs border has been established between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, and some of the incoming goods, especially agri-food products, must be checked in Northern Ireland for compliance with EU standards. This, however, disrupts the supply of goods to Northern Ireland.
PSP believes that the revision of the document to solve these problems, which the British government and the European Commission have been working on for several months, is not enough, and the government in London should completely terminate the protocol, since it undermines the status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.