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Squandering opportunity for certainty and stability around Protocol would be act of folly, says Farry

It would be an act of folly for opponents of Northern Ireland Protocol to squander the opportunity to provide certainty and stability given by the EU’s proposals, Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP has said.

Dr Farry was speaking after the EU published papers focusing on medicines, food, customs, and governance and oversight. He said they had the potential to address concerns expressed by local businesses and other stakeholders.

“We welcome these proposals and look forward to engaging on the details. We hope they can form the basis for agreement between the UK and EU to address the practical issues around the Protocol in a pragmatic way,” said the North Down MP.

“The challenges facing Northern Ireland come from Brexit – the Protocol is the symptom of the problem, not the cause. We didn’t want to see any new borders and friction anywhere across our islands. 

“Alliance will be as pragmatic as possible. We should make the implementation of the Protocol smooth and obtain as many derogations and flexibilities as we can. We have been working for many months towards that across all of the matters addressed in the EU proposals. 

“A lot of time has already been wasted in seeking mitigations due to the delusions and confrontational approach of the UK Government. Trust is central to maximising flexibility. These proposals have the potential to address many of the practical issues raised by local businesses and other stakeholders.  

“Short of the UK returning to the Customs Union and Single Market, the Protocol is not going to be scrapped. Opponents of it now have the opportunity to climbdown from unrealistic and undeliverable demands and to provide much need stability and certainty, both for the business community and the political structures. 

“It would be an act of supreme folly to squander this chance to move on and indeed to impose even more delusional red-lines.”