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UK Government unilaterally extends NI Protocol grace periods

The DUP has vowed to overthrow it over fears it damages the integrity of the UK internal market and Northern Ireland’s place in it.

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A sign by Unionists against the NI Protocol in Larne (Liam McBurney/PA)

A sign by Unionists against the NI Protocol in Larne (Liam McBurney/PA)

A sign by Unionists against the NI Protocol in Larne (Liam McBurney/PA)

The UK Government has unilaterally extended some grace periods associated with the NI Protocol in a bid to avoid a cliff-edge plunge into extra paperwork.

The protocol is a post-Brexit arrangement designed to keep the Irish border open by ensuring Northern Ireland continues to follow the EU’s trading rules.

The DUP has vowed to overthrow it over fears it damages the integrity of the UK internal market and Northern Ireland’s place in it.

Graffiti with the word “Traitors” has been sprayed on DUP offices in the port town of Larne shared by East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson and the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera), Gordon Lyons.

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Graffiti with the word ‘Traitors’ has been sprayed on the shared DUP offices in Larne of Sammy Wilson MP and the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Gordon Lyons (Liam McBurney/PA)

Graffiti with the word ‘Traitors’ has been sprayed on the shared DUP offices in Larne of Sammy Wilson MP and the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Gordon Lyons (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Graffiti with the word ‘Traitors’ has been sprayed on the shared DUP offices in Larne of Sammy Wilson MP and the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Gordon Lyons (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Wilson has been a vociferous critic of the protocol while Mr Lyons has suspended construction on permanent border posts required as part of the UK’s withdrawal deal from the EU.

Other graffiti in the unionist town of Larne said “DUP Out” and “RIP GFA”, a reference to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement peace deal.

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A number of anti-protocol signs have also been erected around the town.

The Jewish community is struggling to get kosher meat in time for the Passover festival due to the Northern Ireland Protocol, the DUP has said.

The post-Brexit trade arrangements have also disrupted supplies of specialist cricket soil known as loam from Great Britain.

Northern Ireland has a small Jewish community centred around north Belfast and a central part of the Passover meal is lamb.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “This is something which is very concerning.

“We have a very small Jewish community here in Northern Ireland. The fact that they cannot access kosher meat is something that would cause me a great deal of concern.”

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First Minister Arlene Foster (Liam McBurney/PA)

First Minister Arlene Foster (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

First Minister Arlene Foster (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Jewish Passover festival begins towards the end of this month and it is one of the most important dates in the faith’s calendar.

Mrs Foster told the Stormont Assembly the protocol was affecting wider trade and identity for those who view themselves as unionists.

“There is a need not just to tinker at the edges, there is a need to have a replacement of the protocol.

“There is a need to deal with that urgently because there is damage happening to the economy in Northern Ireland.”


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