Excerpt from Lord Trimble’s foreword
The Northern Ireland Protocol Undermines the Good Friday Agreement
The Northern Ireland Protocol not only has subverted the main safeguards within the GFA, causing civic unrest and political uncertainty, it also is damaging the NI economy – disrupting supply chains, inflating prices, and diverting trade from our main market in Great Britain.
The central pillar of the GFA was the principle of consent. For Unionists, the assurance given was that “ANY change in the status of NI could only be made with the consent of the majority of the people of NI”. Those who aspired to a United Ireland knew that, if they could persuade the majority that such a constitutional change was desirable, then the UK government would not stand in their way. Furthermore, in the meantime, any controversial issues that impacted adversely on either community would have to be subjected to a cross community vote so neither community could have a policy or decision that impacted negatively on them imposed without their support.
The Northern Ireland Protocol totally destroyed this consent principle, to the detriment of the Unionist community. First of all, it represents a massive change in the constitutional status of NI. No longer will laws applicable in NI relating to agricultural practices, product standards, environmental codes, labour regulations be made by the UK parliament or even the NI Assembly. They will be made by the EU and imposed by the European Court of Justice. This monumental constitutional change has been imposed on the people of NI without seeking their consent and against the manifest opposition of every Unionist party and politician in NI. The result has been political unrest and violence and threats of further violence on our streets because the political promises of the GFA have been dismissed flippantly through the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Furthermore, the delicate consent mechanism of a cross community vote on these issues in the NI Assembly has been removed on the basis that Unionists would never vote to give their consent to them. The Biden administration is on record as saying that the primary aim of its administration is to defend and support the GFA when, in fact, defending the Northern Ireland Protocol does the exact opposite and damages community relations within NI, undermining the good work that John Hume and I achieved at great personal sacrifice.
Click here to read the report in full.
Click here to read the press release.