Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

Members' Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:15 pm on 8th November 2021.

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Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice 12:15 pm, 8th November 2021

I join other Members in offering my best wishes and condolences to our colleague Peter Weir.

Thirty-four years ago today, one of the most appalling acts of IRA terrorism took place: the Poppy Day massacre in Enniskillen. Today, I think of the families of the 11 people who were killed immediately and the family of Ronnie Hill, who died some 13 years later. In that context, I was utterly appalled to read the comments of the Secretary of State in an interview with the PA news agency at the weekend, when he proclaimed, in support of an amnesty, that Troubles deaths were different. Troubles deaths were murder. Murder is murder. Amnesty, sadly, is, therefore, validation of murder. I utterly condemn those comments. On this day, I join in sympathy and thought with the many who are grieving in the Enniskillen area.

Last night, we saw a totally different level of violent incident at Rathcoole. That was utterly wrong. Violence is self-defeating, although it comes from within the community of Northern Ireland that saw a reward for violence through the Belfast Agreement. However, it is wrong. It is clear to me that the consequential burden on unionist politicians, I include myself, to ensure that there is no room or vacuum for such violence, is to pursue relentlessly the dismantling of the iniquitous protocol, which has wrought constitutional change. The High Court has decreed that it is incompatible with article 6 of the Act of Union 1800 in its denial of unfettered trade and is, therefore, impliedly repealed. There is no point in people like Mr O'Toole pretending that it has not made the constitutional change that it has made. It has transferred lawmaking powers from the United Kingdom to a foreign jurisdiction that is overseen by a foreign court. Of course it has made constitutional change.

Fundamentally, the flames have now been fanned by the belligerent, bellicose utterances of an EU official, when he talked about being:

"ready for peace but prepared for war."

Some time ago, the EU was the party lecturing everyone about how an international agreement could not be breached. It now threatens to set aside an international trade agreement when someone says that they might exercise a power already in the protocol, that of article 16.

Photo of Alex Maskey Alex Maskey Sinn Féin

The Member's time is up.

Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice

The sooner that article 16 is activated, the better. Not that it is the whole answer —

Photo of Alex Maskey Alex Maskey Sinn Féin

The Member's time is up.

Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice

— but it would at least be a declaration of proper intent to defend the —

Photo of Alex Maskey Alex Maskey Sinn Féin

The Member's time is up.

Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice

— integrity of the United Kingdom.