Northern Ireland protocol problems ‘foreseeable’, says Foster

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Problems with the Northern Ireland protocol were predictable and had been foreseen, the First Minister said.

Hauliers have faced difficulties transporting stock to Northern Ireland from Great Britain and pet owners have to organise veterinary procedures for rabies if they want to bring their animals across the Irish Sea.

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Northern Ireland is continuing to follow some of the EU’s rules to prevent the establishment of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The DUP leader told the BBC’s Radio 4: “It is most definitely a structural problem in the Northern Ireland protocol.

“We warned about that last year when people voted to bring in the protocol, that there would be difficulties moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

The protocol is designed to allow Northern Ireland to follow the EU’s customs rules and has caused delays at the ports because of new declarations and checks.

The DUP has been vociferous in opposition to the protocol’s operation.

Ms Foster said: “The prime minister promised us that there would not be any difficulties, but given the protocol and all the difficulties we have seen on the ground it was very clear that this was going to happen – it was all foreseen.”

She accepted that there would be opportunities for businesses in Northern Ireland to trade freely with the EU and the rest of the UK due to its special status.

She said she was committed to making the best of the current arrangements.

Ireland

Brexit: Protocol gives North ‘significant market a…

Goods are flowing effectively between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the UK government has said.

The end of the Brexit transition period has produced deep-seated structural problems which will not be quick to resolve, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) warned earlier this week.

The UK government must intervene with extra cash before jobs are lost at freight companies, the industry said.

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