Jeffrey Donaldson Says DUP Will ‘Block’ Port Checks or Quit in Protest at Northern Ireland Protocol
09:13 GMT 09.09.2021 (Updated: 09:28 GMT 09.09.2021)
© REUTERS / CLODAGH KILCOYNEJeffrey Donaldson, who became leader of the DUP on 22 June 2021
© REUTERS / CLODAGH KILCOYNE
Arlene Foster stepped down as the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party earlier this year. Her successor Edwin Poots was ousted after 21 days in the job and was replaced by veteran MP Jeffrey Donaldson.
The leader of the Democrat Unionist Party, Jefrey Donaldson, has said he is withdrawing immediately from North-South bodies which were set up after the Good Friday Agreement.
Donaldson also said he would "seek to block additional checks at ports" and would withdraw from power-sharing at Stormont if that was unsuccessful.
The DUP is furious at the Northern Ireland Protocol, which installs new checks on trade between Ulster and the British mainland, effectively creating a new border in the Irish Sea.
In a speech in Belfast on Thursday, 9 September, Donaldson said: “The political, economic and constitutional difficulties created by the protocol threaten our prosperity in Northern Ireland and the quality of our status within the United Kingdom. Most fundamentally the constitutional guarantee which has underpinned political progress in Northern Ireland has been fundamentally undermined.”
He added: “The so-called consent principle has been reduced to the final transfer of sovereignty and provides no protection against any creeping erosion of Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom. This was not the basis on which the Belfast Agreement, and subsequent agreements, were agreed, nor was it the basis on which it was sold to the people of Northern Ireland.”
Donaldson said he welcomed the British government extending the grace period earlier this week but added: "Long term solutions are required and political stability secured."
© REUTERS / JASON CAIRNDUFFLoyalists protest against the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol at Belfast Harbour Estate, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 3, 2021
Loyalists protest against the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol at Belfast Harbour Estate, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 3, 2021
© REUTERS / JASON CAIRNDUFF
The speech was delivered as European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič arrived in Belfast for a two-day visit to Northern Ireland during which he will meet political and business leaders.
Northern Ireland was created 100 years ago, during the Irish War of Independence, to keep the Protestant unionist majority inside the UK.
The IRA fought a long terrorist campaign in a bid to unite Ireland but the 1998 Good Friday Agreement ended that conflict and introduced power-sharing. Currently the DUP and Sinn Fein share power at Stormont.