EU protocols on Northern Ireland trade are 'nutty' says expert
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Former Irish diplomat Ray Basset has mocked the European Union over the “nutty” manner in which the Northern Ireland protocol was implemented. Trading arrangements for Northern Ireland have become a sticking point in talks between Brussels and London after Brexit. While Brussels claim to be protecting the integrity of the EU single market from goods entering the Republic of Ireland, Mr Basset told Express.co.uk the Protocol had been interpreted in a “very pedantic” way.
Mr Bassett told Express.co.uk: “Now, quite clearly the European Union implemented the Protocol in a way which I don’t think even the Irish Government expected.
“It was very pedantic, they went for a maximalist position.
“Some of the regulations are just nutty.
“You know, Sainsbury’s, Sainsbury’s has stores in Northern Ireland, they don’t have them in the south.
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“The lorries coming in to supply in Northern Ireland’s supermarkets were being checked on every item even though there was no possibility that this was going south.”
The former Irish diplomat added: “We have a Protocol, it would be very difficult to abolish it totally and it would probably go in the face of the majority opinion in Northern Ireland.
“Which now probably supports a watered-down version of the Protocol which didn’t interfere too much with the trade and commerce.
“But the real issue of the Protocol now is the political issue.”
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He continued: “And the fact that the Unionist community is alienated, and it’s alienated in a different way than ever been before.
“Because they don’t have a majority in Stormont, they don’t have majority of MPs.
“So there’s a feeling inside the Unionist community of, I wouldn’t say desperation, but they are very, very agitated politically, and you know, that has to be dealt with.
“You can’t just wish that away in the community, which is alienated, you have to move in some direction towards meeting any legitimate grievances.”
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The former Irish diplomat also alleged to Express.co.uk that the Irish Government is “very worried” about the UK’s threats to triggering Article 16 in talks over the Protocol breakdown.
Mr Bassett said: “On the overall picture Ireland is very worried and I saw the Taoiseach last night was very worried that the UK was going to invoke Article 16.
“Which would place us in a very, very bad position.
“There’s also a feeling quietly in Dublin that you know, we brought some of this ourselves.”
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