Brexiteer blasts EU for ‘neocolonial attitude’ towards Northern Ireland – ‘Betrayal!’

EU 'unwilling' to resolve Northern Ireland issue says MP

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Brexiteer Kate Hoey claimed that the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, will never work. Her comments come after the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) wrote to the Prime Minister to withdraw its support for the Good Friday Agreement.

The group, which includes representatives of loyalist paramilitaries, said its temporary withdrawal was due to concerns over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The protocol has forced Northern Ireland to remain in the EU’s single market, meaning goods from Great Britain have to face EU import procedures.

Unionists have claimed that the protocol damages trade and threatens Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.

Writing in the Telegraph, Ms Hoey said: “Ridiculous rules like not being able to move soil from Birmingham to Belfast may sound laughable but to ordinary, decent pro-Union citizens of Northern Ireland this represents the UK Government abandoning them to a foreign rule maker and a foreign court.”

She claimed that “those of us who opposed” the Northern Ireland Protocol “saw that it would never work and we are being proved right”.

Ms Hoey went on to describe how graffiti “proclaiming betrayal” has been appearing on walls in Northern Ireland.

She said the LCC’s letter to Boris Johnson over its withdrawal from the Good Friday Agreement “is a significant sign of growing anger”.

The Brexiteer claimed that the EU’s “facade” of being concerned about the people of both Northern Ireland and the Republic has been “shattered”.

She wrote: “Not least by the jaw-dropping decision to invoke Article 16 of the Protocol, an emergency measure that allows for the restoration of the land border in extreme circumstances, over supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“The Commission’s hasty U-turn did nothing to reassure us about the EU’s intentions.”

Ms Hoey added: “Yet even the EU’s neocolonial attitude to Northern Ireland pales in comparison with how abominably the Irish government has acted.

“It was Varadkar who took a newspaper cutting to Brussels of bomb damage at a border post and claimed that this would be the result if there was any border at the frontier.

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“The fact that he got his way while loyalists were left high and dry has left many asking if the EU only pays attention when violence is threatened.”

In the letter sent to Mr Johnson, LCC chairman David Campbell said the group’s leadership is “determined that unionist opposition to the protocol should be peaceful and democratic”.

But he stressed that the Prime Minister should not “underestimate the strength of feeling on this issue right across the unionist family”.

Mr Campbell told the BBC that Mr Johnson has “reneged on the clear promises he made to the people of NI that there would be unfettered access”.

He added: “So we are asking him and holding him to account and through this letter showing him that it is not just rhetoric from our parliamentary spokespersons that he has to be mindful of, but the strong grassroots anger that is palpable throughout the ground in Northern Ireland.”

When asked about the loyalist paramilitaries withdrawing support of the Good Friday Agreement, Mr Johnson told reporters: “I haven’t seen which groups you’re talking about.

“But what I can say is we are taking some temporary and technical measures to ensure that there are no barriers in the Irish Sea, to make sure things flow freely between GB and NI and that’s what you would expect.

“Obviously these are matters for continuing intensive discussions with our friends.

“I’m sure with a bit of goodwill and common sense all these technical problems are eminently solvable.”

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