A few comments on the ‘Protocol’ issue may be in order since new legislation may well be announced by Westminster today.
The roots of the controversy are buried beneath the ‘soil’ of much incomprehensible comment and argument over the last couple of years.
This is no attempt at an analysis of the legal aspects of the ‘Protocol’ but rather a seeking to remind us all of that out of which the whole matter has sprung.
Sincerely in Christ’s name,
JOE BIDEN IS SINN FEIN’S WILLING ‘POODLE’
Poor old Joe Biden! It is not enough that he must toe the line laid down by that political ‘Harpy’, fellow Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, but now he has to dance to the tune of Sinn Fein’s ‘terrorist aficionado’, Mary Lou McDonald!
“SINN Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has warned the UK Government can expect considerable backlash should their new Northern Ireland Bill impact the Brexit deal aspects safeguarding the Ireland peace agreement.”
So a ‘Daily Express’ article begins.
This is bullying of the same ilk as that practised by the IRA – the threat of ruthless retaliation if their demands were not met!
For years the IRA went about Northern Ireland, mostly at night, and by the threat of slaughter by the bomb and bullet forced from a weak and contemptible Westminster government a surrender deal yielded to by compliant and self-seeking Unionist politicians. It was a surrender which gained a place in the government of Northern Ireland for Sinn Fein/IRA.
This is in truth what the odious ‘Stormont Executive’ is! It is the IRA’s ‘reward’ for decades of terror and murder.
The newspaper article goes on to report that Mary ‘Ludicrous’ McDonald then arrogantly claims to act as ‘spokeswoman’ for the international political community: “The Sinn Fein leader warned the international diplomatic community is committed to protecting the peace arrangements in Ireland regardless of the UK’s Brexit objectives . . . . But Mary Lou McDonald said Boris Johnson can expect significant resistance from the United States should the Belfast Agreement come under threat because of his new bill.”
Her outburst was prompted by the fact that: “The Uk Government is set to unveil new legislation that would allow London to unilaterally override aspects of the current Northern Ireland Protocol.”
An Irish newspaper has reported that when it was claimed by the NI Secretary of State that what the British Government proposed to do in order to resolve the ‘Protocol’ mess, was perfectly legal, Mary ‘Ludicrous’ McDonald let rip again!
“Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has said the Northern Ireland Secretary is “talking through his hat” by insisting legislation giving ministers powers to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland protocol will not breach international law. Brandon Lewis is talking through his hat, and not for the first time,” she said.”
“Mr Lewis has said the Northern Ireland protocol bill, which is being published today, was based around “protecting the integrity” of the Belfast Agreement. He insisted that when people saw the legislation they would understand it did not breach international law.”
The ‘Protocol’ controversy stems from the Irish republican campaign mounted by a coalition of politicians from the Irish Republic and the various republican ’torch-bearers’ in Northern Ireland, to stop the re-establishing of the international border between the United Kingdom and the EU when ‘Brexit’ took place and the UK withdrew from the EU.
Such a border should have followed the line of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. The removal of the border was a chief objective of the IRA terrorist campaign. It was also the intention of the more subtle and likely more dangerous campaign mounted by John Hume, the Roman Catholic Church, money-loving businessmen who felt that a ‘resurrected’ border was a possible impediment to the swelling of their coffers and the pro-republican British Government.
It was argued that it would be economically disastrous to have a ‘hard border’ re-instituted. The protocol keeps Northern Ireland inside the EU’s single market for goods. It prevents a real border with the Republic of Ireland and results in ‘means checks’ on some goods arriving from other parts of the UK. To a real degree, the border had gradually been made ‘redundant’ by the various ‘free trade’ arrangements within the EU and the blind compromises of half-asleep Unionist politicians who saw nothing of the danger the demise of the border entailed!
Sadly, in surrender to the pleas of the business community, who cared for little other than profit, the beguiled DUP also took up the plea of ‘No hard Border’ back when the ‘Brexit’ arrangements were being negotiated with the EU some two years ago.
At that time the IRA had publicly threatened to recommence its terrorist campaign if a ‘hard border’, with border customs posts, was re-established. This cry was taken up by the Ecumenists who joined the fray with the cry, ‘Save the Good Friday Agreement’! It was the devious agreement endorsed by those itching to see the goal of the IRA terrorist campaign achieved; those so overtaken with a greed for ‘normal’ money-making business activities to resume and also those who had eyes only on a return to socialising, dancing and drinking without fear again established as the order of the day or the night — that they paid little or no heed to just what it was they were signing up to!
As it was, the GFA basically ensconced the gains made by republican terrorism and intrigue and conceded by weak, beguiled Unionists. Thus the border became little more than a line on a piece of paper that no one took any notice of.
However, the EU demanded a line of demarcation between its territories and the UK. If it was not going to be where it should be, the true border between the foreign Irish Republic and the territory of the United Kingdom, then it had to be a border around the WHOLE of Ireland, thus making Northern Ireland, an integral part of the United Kingdom, a part of the EU and effectively uniting it with the Irish Republic and removing it from the UK.
The EU, with its Roman Catholic, pro-republican ethos, readily supported the demands of Dublin and Irish republicans generally, for no ‘hard border’. Not surprisingly, the USA joined in the chorus. This UK government acceded to the EU and the ‘Protocol’ was born. On paper Northern Ireland would still be part of the UK but in reality, in commercial trading terms, it was part of the EU.
The utter commercial isolation of Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK is highlighted in this headline which appeared in the May 30th 2022, edition of the London newspaper, ‘The Telegraph’.
When even Jubilee edibles can’t be delivered, the integrity of the UK single market is clearly being undermined’
When we are banned from having ‘jubilee biscuits’ sent to us from the mainland, then we are indeed cut off from our rightful and legal place within the UK!
We have little hope that the new legislation being brought forward to supposedly ‘fix’ the ‘Protocol problem’ will achieve that. Given that Brandon Lewis has stated that the Northern Ireland protocol bill”, which is being published today, was based around ‘protecting the integrity’ of the Belfast Agreement (or the GFA). He seems to be planning to cure the wrong by preserving it!
What he is saying is the equivalent of Winston Churchill saying of his plan to resist Nazi Germany, “We shall go on to the end, . . . we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be” and then adding “but we will protect the integrity of Hitler’s conquests throughout Europe and make sure he is allowed to hold on to them!”
The Agreement Lewis intends to protect amounts to the consolidating of the conquests republicanism made in the wake of the IRA terror campaign.
Time will tell if the DUP, belatedly awakened to the true nature of the GFA and also the ‘Protocol’, will be deceived again by Westminster’s chicanery and intimidated by Sinn Fein’s bellicose threats.
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
13th June 2022