January 11, 2021
DUP attacks on Protocol are cynical diversion from reality – Hazzard

Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard MP has said the DUP are cynically exploiting a ‘trading adjustment shock’ in a desperate attempt to placate their support base who are increasingly calling into question their unwavering support for a hard Brexit.  In doing so, the South Down MP says the DUP are conveniently ignoring a number of Brexit realities. 
Mr Hazzard said:”First and foremost, what we are witnessing is largely a trading adjustment shock and the appearance of empty shelves in some supermarkets is an illustration of the British Government’s failure to allow sufficient time for businesses to get ready for the biggest rupture in trading procedures in decades. “Businesses in Britain were simply not ready for the new trading realities and many have found themselves having to use these first few weeks in January trying to get up to speed – indeed local business leaders have stressed this repeatedly in recent days. “The DUP are also wrong to suggest this is a problem unique to the north of Ireland and the fault of the Protocol. If this was the case why then has there been significant additional disruption at British ports, with many British and EU supermarkets experiencing the same difficulties as their counterparts in Belfast? “Indeed, a British Government spokesperson acknowledged that the flow of goods between Britain and the north of Ireland has been generally “smooth” and the arrival of freight “continuing to increase substantially” as the last week has progressed. “The DUP’s cynical narrative is also blind to the obvious impact of Covid19 on supply chains – including the ripple effect of many hundreds of hauliers caught in Kent in late December; and of course the practical ongoing human resources impact of Covid19 on staffing levels. “So in reality then, the main reason why we are facing this trading adjustment shock in recent days is a direct consequence of the fact that the transition period for businesses to familiarise themselves with trading compliance was stolen from businesses as the British Government’s negotiating strategy ran down the clock in 2020. “Instead of a transition and implementation period, 2020 became a prolonged negotiating period. “With an eventual Brexit deal signed in the mouth of Christmas, the Tory’s ate up valuable time for business across these islands to prepare for the new trading environment at the end of the transition period. It is no surprise then, in tandem with the effects of a global pandemic, that we are encountering teething problems and a lack of familiarity with new customs arrangements. 

“In the time ahead the adults in the room will continue to identify and address the teething problems with the new trading environment – my advice to the DUP would be to stop trying to create needless panic and work constructively with others in finding practical and pragmatic solutions to whatever issues arise.” 

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