NIRC advises retailers to continue with Protocol paperwork

NIRC advises retailers to continue with Protocol paperwork

Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has advised retailers moving goods to continue completing their paperwork, despite an order by DUP agriculture minister Edwin Poots for checks along the Irish Sea border to stop.

Downing Street has said that checks are continuing on goods along the Irish Sea border despite the DUP move. A spokesman said “We are reviewing the legal position”.

Mr Poots has said he made the move after receiving legal advice. Inspections of products from Great Britain into Northern Ireland are part of the post-Brexit protocol agreement between the UK and EU to ensure free movement of trade across the Irish border after Brexit.

Under the deal, checks on goods from Great Britain must take place at Northern Ireland’s ports to ensure they comply with EU laws.

Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, Aodhán Connolly said: “These checks are just one part of the GB-NI process that was agreed by the UK Government and the EU. As well as customs, there is still a responsibility on traders who are moving goods to complete the paperwork required for movement under the Scheme for Temporary Agri-food Movements to Northern Ireland (STAMNI) Compliance Declaration if they wish to continue being part of that scheme.

“Even if the checks are not in place there is a requirement to have the correct authorisations.  To put it another way, even though the likelihood of getting stopped on the roads is small, we still all have valid insurance.

“Our meetings with the EU, the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for State have shown that both sides want a negotiated solution. What business needs is stability, certainty, simplicity and affordability. That must be the focus for our politicians so we can keep choice and affordability for NI households.

“We will continue to work with both sides to deliver a solution but any long term, workable solution must be a negotiated solution between the EU and UK that removes friction GB-NI.”

Belfast City Council, which employs staff at the port’s border control post, said it will “engage with representatives and statutory partners” on Thursday and “assess the situation at that point”.