Judge Suspends Order to End Northern Ireland Minister’s Maritime Border Check

A judge in the High Court of Northern Ireland has suspended an order from the Union Minister to end the port checks required under the UK-EU agreement on UK post-EU trade.

Northern Ireland’s Minister of Agriculture Edwin Poots, a member of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), issued a one-sided order on February 2, instructing authorities to stop testing agricultural products for goods arriving from mainland England.

This was part of DUP’s escalating protest strategy against the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit Treaty, which created an economic barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Epoch Times Photo
Northern Ireland’s Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots acted unilaterally to suspend port inspections in Belfast on February 2, 2022. (NiallCarson / PA)

EU Commission member Mairead McGuinness said on February 3 that the decision was an “absolute violation of international law.”

Civil servants have not followed the minister’s instructions and port inspections continue until the obligations are legally clarified.

Judge Colton, a judge in the Belfast High Court, said on February 4 that he had issued a provisional order to suspend the decision until the judicial review of the decision of the Minister of the Democratic Union was fully heard. rice field.

Judge Colton granted permission to apply for judicial review of the Minister’s decision, which was challenged in two separate applications in the High Court.

He said “provisional relief” was needed, saying “there should be no confusion for civil servants.”

Unionist dissatisfaction with the Northern Ireland Protocol put the British state in a political crisis after DUP Prime Minister Paul Givan resigned on February 3. Paralyzed Northern Ireland executives.

A fully functioning government in Northern Ireland can only be formed if the status of the First and Deputy Prime Ministers is met by the largest unionists and the largest nationalist parties.

Therefore, Giban’s resignation automatically removed Sinn Féin’s Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill from her position.

Other Staumont ministers can stay in the post, but the executive branch can no longer meet and make important policy decisions.

Democratic Unionist leader Jeffrey Donaldson resigned on February 4 because “despite the clear promise and promise that the prime minister will deal with, the issue of the protocol has not been addressed.” Stated.

He told BBC Radio Ulster that it would be difficult for his party to return to executive branch if issues related to the Northern Ireland Protocol were not resolved.

“We have the opportunity to step up towards our goals and reach an agreement that can quickly resolve these issues,” Donaldson said for the UK government and the EU.

The Sinn Féin party has blamed the Democratic Unionist Party’s move as an election stunt aimed at strengthening support for the Democratic Unionist Party in the face of recent slumps in polls.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald called the Democratic Unionist tactic “humiliation” and called for the upcoming parliamentary elections in May.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan