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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

First Minister’s petition calling for the triggering of Article 16 reaches over 100,000 signatures

An online petition calling for the UK Government to trigger Article 16 of the NI Protocol has now reached over 100,000 signatures. The petition was started yesterday (Thursday 4 February) by First Minister Arlene Foster.

The details of the petition reads:

‘Her Majesty's Government must immediately remove any impediment or barrier to unfettered trade within the United Kingdom.

‘After just one month, Northern Ireland is suffering real economic and societal difficulties as a consequence of the Northern Ireland Protocol operating and creating new barriers to unfettered trade within the United Kingdom and disrupting supply lines of goods to Northern Ireland. ‘The Government should use all the powers it has to move urgently to protect UK trade and to ensure all UK goods and produce can freely flow to and from every part of the United Kingdom.’

The petition comes as pressure continues to build on the Government to act over a number of issues that have been

arising with the flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Now that the petition has reached 100,000 signatures, it will now have to be considered for a Parliamentary debate.

The maps above showing the % of petition support from different areas of Northern Ireland

Responding to the overwhelming response to the petition, the First Minister said:

“Yes! We did it! In less than 36 hours. People power and politics in action together. Thanks to all who signed from across our U.K. People do care. Please keep promoting and signing - it will magnify our voice in the Parliamentary debate.”

TUV Leader and North Antrim MLA Jim Allister has continued to voice his criticism and concerns over the NI Protocol.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Mr Allister said:

"Rereading the small print of the Protocol has confirmed me in the view that the North-South institutions must be a key target in effective political protest against the Protocol.

"Art 1 of the Protocol sets out its objectives. These include ‘to maintain the necessary conditions for continued North-South cooperation’.

"Article 11 says the Protocol shall be implemented and applied so as to maintain the necessary conditions for continued North-South cooperation .

"So, to disrupt the North-South bodies is to derail this key objective and bring home the unworkability and self-defeating nature of the Protocol.

"It is only if and when the Protocol is rendered unworkable - and here continued refusal to man the border posts is vital - will it be reviewed.

"To those who claim it can never be overcome, I point to Art 13 paragraph 8 which expresses provides that a subsequent agreement between the EU and U.K. can supersede the Protocol.

"So, it is not irreplaceable, but only political action which renders it unworkable will get us to that point. Thus there must be no weakening in resolve or straying into the bypath meadow of easements and extended grace periods. TUV has no interest in salvaging or patching up a Protocol which is so fundamentally incompatible with British sovereignty and our constitutional position.

"Of course, there are huge adverse economic consequences with the Protocol but for me the overriding issue is constitutional. Thus grace periods to help bed it in is nothing more than palliative care for the demise of the Union."


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