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Jim Allister: Discontent of EU’s ‘little Hitlers’ evident after report on Brexit checks


TUV leader Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister has said it's evident the "little Hitlers" of the European Union are discontented after officials said the system for checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is "not fit for purpose".

It follows the publication of a draft report, compiled following an audit carried out by the European Commission in June last year, criticised the current system of agri-food checks and recommended a series of changes.

But Mr Allister said it's further evidence that the Northern Ireland Protocol does not work.

"This is an insight into what the rigorous implementers would subject the people of Northern Ireland to, with no regard to their interests or needs, simply with regard to worshipping at the shrine of EU sovereignty and domination," he said.

EU officials said in the report the UK Government has "failed to ensure that sufficient resources - human and structural - have been made available to the responsible competent authorities in Northern Ireland".

But Mr Allister said if this is the case, he has "no criticism to make" of the government. "The implementation which was demanded by Europe is outrageous, it treats Northern Ireland and Great Britain as foreign countries from each other whereas we're supposed to be an integral part of the United Kingdom."

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He added: "It just underscores for me how ludicrous the protocol is, how unworkable it is and how destructive of the integrity of the United Kingdom it is."

Since the UK left the EU, new trade arrangements have created economic barriers on the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland through the protocol, with the aim being to avoid the creation of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

That has been achieved by effectively keeping Northern Ireland within the EU's single market for goods, which has led to the checks on products crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain.

The report is highly critical of the implementation of these checks, noting: "The system is not fit for purpose, does not comply with EU rules and cannot provide sufficient assurances that only compliant animals and goods are permitted to enter the EU SPS [sanitary and phytosanitary] area through the designated border control posts in Northern Ireland."

Staffing was cited as a major issue, with EU officials bemoaning an insufficient number of "suitably qualified staff so that official controls and other official activities can be performed efficiently and effectively".

Earlier this week, First Minister Paul Givan said his party colleague Edwin Poots will order a stop to the controversial checks after a failed bid to secure the wider approval of the Stormont Executive to continue them - in a move branded a stunt by other parties in Northern Ireland.

The other Executive parties insist Mr Poots does not have the authority to prevent checks required under the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

Unionists parties and loyalist groups are opposed to the post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland, arguing that they damage the union between the region and Great Britain.

The UK and the EU remain in talks, as both sides attempt to reach a deal on the protocol.

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