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Naomi Long says the UK government has used Northern Ireland as a ‘game’

Naomi Long says the UK government has used Northern Ireland as a 'game'

Leader of the Alliance Party Naomi Long said UK Government sometimes used Northern Ireland as a “little game” that “spoils” relationships and the transfer of power.

“I understand [the DUP’s] lack of confidence in the UK government because I think sometimes the UK government has used Northern Ireland as a game when it comes to maintaining a complaint about Europe“Ms Long told Sky News’ Sophie Ridge The program is on Sunday.

“They are ready to continue to have these ongoing complaints to the European Union, and Northern Ireland is a useful lever for them.

“But it’s very detrimental to public relations and good governance in Northern Ireland.”

What we need to do now is build trust with the European Union

Naomi Long, leader of the Alliance Party

To break the deadlock over the Northern Ireland Protocol, Ms Long said trust was needed.

She said: “What we need to do now is build trust with the European Union. We ask them, in effect, to transfer the protection of the UK single market to allow us to have a green channel for goods coming from the UK to Northern Ireland that will not go any further.

“But in order for them to do that, they have to believe that the UK government will do what it says it will do.”

The East Belfast MLA said it understood why the DUP did not trust the UK government and that the friction at the border was “severe” for the unions, but added that it was “inevitable as a consequence of Brexit”.

“Unfortunately, Brexit has put borders and border frictions back on the agenda, and it is very difficult to fight this very subtle ecology of Northern Ireland,” she said.

“The protocol was an attempt, although, I would say, a pretty tough attempt to deal with these border frictions and ensure that across the border on the island of Ireland there will still be free flow and no hard border, but it eventually led to additional levels of friction in the Irish Sea ”.

Naomi Long said Brexit “returns to the agenda of borders and border frictions” (PA)

(PA Archive)

The protocol is a post-Brexit trade agreement for Northern Ireland that was concluded between the UK and the EU as part of an exit agreement.

To avoid the return of checkpoints along the Irish border, after years of intense negotiations, London and Brussels have essentially agreed to move the new Brexit regulatory and customs processes to the Irish Sea.

This meant some additional checks on trade between the UK and Northern Ireland, rather than goods moving north and south within the island of Ireland.

The DUP refused to elect a Speaker of the Assembly to put pressure on the UK government to change the way the protocol works.

With regard to the deadlock in Stormont, Ms Long said that an alternative to the Alliance’s proposal for a non-sectarian division of powers was a “stop-go” system “if most of the time we do not have a current transfer of power”.

Ms Long said the “cycle of crisis and collapse” was not “sustainable”.

“The only way we can stop this is to lift the veto that these parties can now exercise over the institutions and allow all the votes in the Assembly to be considered equal, because my vote is not currently considered equal. the amount, like other colleagues, because I will not call it trade union or nationalist, ”she said.


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