Brexit: Lord Adonis issues warning over shellfish exports
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show trade between the UK and Ireland fell 65 percent in January 2021 compared with the previous year. This compared with an average decline in EU trade of 41 percent.
During the EU exit negotiations, Brexiteers accused then Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of taking a hard line with Britain.
The deal resulted in some restrictions on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK which has infuriated unionists.
Taking to Twitter former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib said: “This was always going to happen.
“The Irish have Leo Varadkar and his ilk to blame.
“They falsely weaponised the Irish border issue.
“Ireland will rue the day they backed the EU over the UK.”
During the negotiations, Dublin rejected British suggestions for high tech solutions to keep checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland minimal.
Instead, they demanded the border was in the Irish Sea, with the Northern Ireland protocol, which Northern Irish first minister Arlene Foster is now trying to reverse.
According to Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) trade in food and live animals with the UK fell 75 percent in January compared to the previous year.
In total exports from Britain to Ireland fell from £1.2bn in January 2020 to £427 million this year.
Speaking to The Guardian CSO statistician Orla McCarthy said some companies had “challenges complying with customs requirements”.
However, she added the fall in trade was also due to “traders stockpiling goods in preparation for Brexit, substitution with goods from other countries and a reduction in trade volumes due to the impact of Covid-19 related restrictions”.
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The EU has launched legal action against Britain after the UK Government unilaterally decided to postpone additional checks on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, who grew up near the Northern Irish border, strongly condemned the decision.
She commented: “I remember borders and barriers and soldiers and checkpoints from my past.
“It’s very difficult for people of a younger generation to realise that there were these barriers and being part of Europe got rid of barriers and borders.
“Brexit brought them back. It brought them back to a place in the Irish Sea where at least we felt, and the UK agreed, there could be accommodations.”
While the UK formally left the EU in January 2020 until the end of December it remained closely tied to the bloc via the Brexit transition period.
Britain has now regained its status as an independent trading nation and no longer has to pay into the Brussels budget or impose EU laws.
Speaking to the Guardian a UK official warned the current arrangement could threaten the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
They said: “The EU needs to take a more look pragmatic approach and keep in mind that the protocol depends on cross-community consent and confidence if it is to work.
“It needs to protect the Belfast [Good Friday] Agreement in all its dimensions.
“We agree on the importance of getting around the table and are committed to discussing the issues within the joint committee in a constructive fashion.”
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