New Brexit deal prompts calls for DUP to 'end blockade’ and restore Northern Ireland Executive

New Brexit deal prompts calls for DUP to 'end blockade’ and restore Northern Ireland Executive

POLITICANS across Northern Ireland have welcomed the new deal reached between the EU and UK on Brexit regulations in the region and called for a return to power-sharing.

Announced yesterday afternoon, the new Windsor Framework replaces the controversial NI Protocol element of Britain’s Withdrawal Agreement, with problems around the trade of goods, tax policies and EU legislation being imposed in the North all seemingly ironed out under the new guidelines.

Among them, the Framework allow the free-flow trade in goods between Britain and Northern Ireland by removing border checks for goods staying within the UK, which will travel on a new green lane.

All goods destined for the EU will now use the red lane.

The new deal also replaces more than 1,700 EU laws with UK legislation placing Northern Ireland under the same tax policies on food and drink, medicines, and parcels, as the rest of the UK.

And a new Stormont Brake will allow the UK to veto any new EU goods laws if they are not supported by both communities in Northern Ireland.

Following the announcement, made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and EU Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen last night, Sinn Féin Vice-President Michelle O’Neill welcomed the breakthrough.

“I welcome the joint announcement from the European Commission President and the British Prime Minister that negotiations have now concluded and a joint agreement secured,” she said.

“I listened to what they said and will now assess the full detail of the Agreement, and what effect it will have in practice.”

She added: “Sinn Féin has impressed upon the Prime Minister and Commission President throughout this process that the fundamental principles we wanted to safeguard were no hard border on the island of Ireland, protecting the Good Friday Agreement, and safeguarding access to the EU single market for the whole island.

“Most people’s minds will now be on restoration of the Executive and other political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement so that we can get back to work and together make politics work. This means that the DUP must end its blockade.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen pictured as they announced their Windsor Framework

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has also encouraged political leaders to approach the terms of a deal between the European Commission and the British Government in good faith and with a determination to restore the democratic institutions in Northern Ireland.

“The SDLP will study the legal text of the agreement between the European Commission and the British Government in detail over the coming hours,” he said.

“Our primary goals have been to retain the benefits of dual market access for businesses in Northern Ireland, restore the democratic institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and to send politicians back to work in the interests of all our people.”

He added: “My appeal to political leaders is to approach this moment in good faith and with a common determination to restore our Assembly and Executive.

“People have been badly let down with no government for far too long. It is time to abandon the politics of division and deadlock.”

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson also made a statement following the announcement of the Windsor Framework, claiming it contains some “issues of concern” but confirming that they would take their time to study it in detail.

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

“We welcome the publication of the outcome of the Government’s negotiations with the EU which ends a period of speculation and spin, often from those who know little about Northern Ireland,” he said.

“In broad terms it is clear that significant progress has been secured across a number of areas whilst also recognising there remain key issues of concern.

“There can be no disguising the fact that in some sectors of our economy EU law remains applicable in Northern Ireland.”

He added: “The DUP will want to study the detail of what has been published today as well as examining the detail of any and all underpinning legal texts.

“Where necessary we stand ready to engage with the Government in order to seek further clarification, re-working or change as required.”