Speaking in response to today’s British government announcement that they intend to unilaterally extend the supermarket grace period under the Irish Protocol, Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard said:
“The first meeting of the Joint Committee after the end of the Brexit transition period was held on 24 February. Coming out of that meeting both co-chairs, Michael Gove and Maroš Šefčovič acknowledged the importance of joint action to make the Protocol work.
“Sinn Féin has been extensively engaging with the supermarket retail sector and so we fully understand their real concerns around the grace period ending sharply at the end of March, and the difficulties this presents.
“Michelle O’Neill in fact presented those concerns to the British government and European Commission at the joint committee last month.
“However while the British Government indicated their intention to bring forward new operational guidance on supermarkets, it’s hardly acceptable to do so in this manner, through unilateral action by the British Government.
“The Joint Committee is the body with overall responsibility for managing the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and has specific responsibilities relating to the Protocol.
“Today’s announcement by Brandon Lewis is not in the spirit of the joint action which is clearly required to build trust and confidence in the implementation of the Protocol.
“However, nobody will be at all surprised given the British government’s track record on its Brexit fiasco.”