O’Toole: Grace period dispute is unnecessary provocation

brexit europe protocol trade

Social Democratic and Labour Party Brexit Spokesperson Matthew O’Toole MLA has said that the UK Government’s unilateral decision to extend the grace period for checks on products arriving from Britain without consulting with EU partners is an unnecessary provocation that has needlessly raised the political temperature.

The South Belfast MLA said that all parties need to reduce tensions and work collaboratively in the best interests of people and businesses in Northern Ireland.

Matthew O’Toole MLA said:

“The new trading relationships that exist across these islands demand partnership working in the best interests of people here. If the UK Government or the European Commission fails to take their obligations to work collaboratively to address challenges seriously, the only people who will suffer are people and businesses in Northern Ireland.

“It’s deeply frustrating that the UK Government has decided to act unilaterally on the issue of grace periods for checks on goods travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland. This is genuinely an issue that could have been resolved through cooperation and dialogue using the mechanisms of the protocol. Acting in the way they has resulted in a totally unnecessary provocation, placing Northern Ireland in the middle again.

“It’s time to take the political temperature down. We have hardliners in the DUP winding things up and loyalist paramilitaries withdrawing support for a twenty year old peace accord. The UK Government, the Irish Government and the European Union have a moral obligation to act in a way which eases tensions and resolves difficulties. It’s time we all started talking like partners again.”

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