17/05/2021

Poots: Removing NI Protocol Is Top Priority

The incoming DUP leader has said getting rid of the Northern Ireland Protocol will be his top priority in the coming months.

Edwin Poots is planning to meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Taoiseach Michael Martin within to try and resolve the post-Brexit trade arrangements.

He also told the Sunday Life newspaper that he will not attend north-south ministerial meetings until the protocol issue is resolved.

Mr Poots defeated the DUP's Westminster leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson in the battle to replace Arlene Foster.

In an exclusive interview with the newspaper he said: "For me, this is not a unionist issue. This is a Northern Ireland issue. At the end of the grace period we are looking at 15,000 checks being applied on goods coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
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"On supermarket goods and the food that ends up in your corner shop, that is going to affect every consumer in Northern Ireland.

"Ninety-eight per cent of our drugs and medical devices come from Great Britain. Those are going to be subject to these checks after the scrutiny period and problems with getting things in, including cancer drugs.

"It is just entirely unacceptable that our health service could be hit with additional cost, and indeed with maybe not having certain material that is needed as a consequence of it.

"We need to find a solution which overcomes all of this. We need the EU to recognise this protocol is not fit for purpose. It isn’t working and it cannot work and therefore we have to go back to the drawing board.

"We have more checks taking place between Great Britain and Northern Ireland than all of the eastern border of the EU."

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