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McSlaggart

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Jim Allister: Trade funding for business shows scale of coming Irish Sea border, yet DUP opposition to the betrayal has evaporated
The announcement by Michael Gove and Brandon Lewis yesterday far from being good news for Northern Ireland business is confirmation that the commitments from the Tories that there would be no border impeding internal UK trade were worthless.

The scale of support required to help firms deal with the paperwork is testament to how serious the barriers to trade and business will become now that Northern Ireland is to be left behind as a colony of the EU, semi-detached from the rest of the nation.



As for Mr Gove’s claims that this package underscores Westminster’s “absolute commitment” to Northern Ireland those who heard him and other members of the government loudly and repeatedly deny that an Irish Sea border would ever be accepted will understandably treat the comments with contempt.
Yesterday’s announcement is bad news for everyone in Northern Ireland. Regardless of your stance on the constitutional question, the erection of a border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain means you will be hit in the pocket in the months and years ahead.

In 2016, for example, the total purchases from Great Britain in goods was £10,989 million while the purchases of services from Great Britain was £2,432 million.


By way of contrast, the total imports from the Republic of Ireland in goods was £1,995 million while the purchases of services from the Republic was £293 million.
In fact, the total purchases in goods from Great Britain (£10,989 million) dwarfed the total purchases in goods from the Republic and the rest of the EU combined (£3,959 million) (see Table 2 here).
Yet this deal prioritises EU trade over internal UK trade. It makes no economic sense.
Far from yesterday’s announcement displaying a commitment to Northern Ireland it underscores a historic betrayal of this part of the United Kingdom.


The fact that the DUP DAERA minister, despite his previous affirmations to the contrary, is now overseeing the imposition of the Irish Sea Border infrastructure at our ports, adds to the sense of betrayal that I as a unionist feel.
The evaporation of opposition to the Betrayal Act by those in a position to take a stand, through the governmental positions they hold, is a great disappointment and disservice to future generations.
Just last week we saw north/southery turbocharged while the wedge of an Irish Sea border Is driven through the east/west links.
Arlene Foster declared her sanguinity to the Dublin government’s ‘shared island unit’ while the Republic’s Prime Minister made clear today its purpose is to anticipate a break-up of the UK.


History, from a unionist perspective, will not judge kindly those at both a national and local level who facilitated and whitewashed the catastrophic consequences of the Betrayal Act.
Jim Allister QC MLA, Stormont


 

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