Speaking today on the announcement by the British government that it intends to legislate to provide a legal basis for the construction of post-Brexit checks at ports of entry, Sinn Féin Brexit Spokesperson, Declan Kearney MLA said;
“This announcement by the British government is long overdue, but also necessary.
“The EU and British government negotiated the Protocol recognising a solution was necessary to help mitigate against the worst impacts of Brexit on the island of Ireland, and to avoid a hard border.
“In February 2021 former DUP Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons asked his officials to pause work on the procurement and building works necessary for post-Brexit checks on agri-food goods arriving from Britain to our local ports of entry.
“Sinn Féin insisted at the time that this political stunt very seriously departed from agreed Executive policy, and that the legal requirements imposed on the Minister arose as a matter of domestic law, European law and international law, irrespective to whether he agreed with this obligation or not.
“I have been encouraged in recent weeks by the intensified engagement between the EU and British Government. It is not without significance that in person meetings have become regularised between the lead British Minister and the European Commission Vice President
“Prior to Christmas both Rishi Sunak and Ursula Von Der Leyen asserted their shared determination to find a joint solution to the Protocol and one that protects the Good Friday Agreement. In a further confidence building measure the EU has now addressed the issue of access to veterinary medicines.
“Sinn Féin support a joint solution and a pragmatic, durable outcome.
“The onus rests clearly on this British Government to demonstrate its commitment to implementing the Protocol it negotiated as part of this ongoing process. Providing a legal basis for the construction of post-Brexit check facilities is a requirement. Our local businesses need certainty and stability; that means a final end to Tory procrastination and DUP political obstruction.”