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DUP member resigns from board position on cross-border body due to Northern Ireland Protocol

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DUP councillor Kim Ashton.

DUP councillor Kim Ashton.

DUP councillor Kim Ashton.

A DUP councillor on a cross-border trade body has resigned from its board due to the difficulties surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mid Ulster councillor Kim Ashton, who is a former Stormont special advisor, said her position on the board of InterTradeIreland was “conflicted due to the ongoing disruption” by Irish Sea border checks.

Ms Ashton, along with former DUP MP David Simpson, have not been attending meetings since taking up their posts in January.

However, Mr Simpson remains on InterTradeIreland’s board.

It comes after the DUP were accused of boycotting the North South Ministerial Council in protest against the protocol.

InterTradeIreland is a cross-border trade body funded by Stormont and the Irish government. Board members from Northern Ireland receive an annual wage of £5,500 regardless of their attendance.

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Ms Ashton told Belfast Live she resigned last month and asked not to receive any money during her absence.

"As an elected representative of the DUP my position was conflicted due to the ongoing disruption caused by the NI Protocol,” she said.

"I have not been in attendance at any meetings since January 2021 and did instruct InterTradeIreland to stop all remuneration with immediate effect from February 2021.

”As I have not been in a position to attend the board it was wrong of me to continue to hold onto this position and therefore I took the decision to step down and allow the party leader to make a new nomination.”

Former DUP special advisor Tim Cairns, another party nominee on the board, has been attending meetings and said he was “unaware of any DUP boycott of north-south bodies”.

Both the DUP and InterTradeIreland did not provide any comment.


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