Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to debate a motion on the NI Protocol that, if approved, will see Council write to Boris Johnson and implore him to invoke Article 16.
The motion, put forward by DUP Councillor, Darryn Causby and seconded by his party colleague Alderman Stephen Moutray will be debated on Monday (February 22) at February’s monthly meeting of Council.
The motion reads: “We propose that this Council acknowledges the negative and unnecessary impact on businesses and consumers in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council as a result of the NI Protocol.
“We further stress the importance of trade within the UK market particularly as Great Britain is Northern Ireland’s largest market.
“Furthermore, we propose that this Council writes to our Prime Minister and the UK Government to implore them to remove any barrier or impediment to unfettered trade, including through the use of Article 16 of the Protocol.”
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Councillor Causby explained how he feels it is a “straightforward motion” that he fully expects Council to support.
“The motion sets out how the NI Protocol is adversely impacting businesses here and calls on the Prime Minister and the UK Government to remove barriers to unfettered trade in the United Kingdom,” said Councillor Causby.
“It is a straightforward motion that underlines the importance of East – West trade. It is important trade with Great Britain is protected and it is important, we as a council, play our part in doing that.
“This protocol is a disaster for the country. This motion is short, sweet and to the point and I don’t see how, with the best interests of the businesses and people of this borough in mind, Council would fail to support it.”
Councillor Causby also expressed concern about the willingness of the EU to trigger Article 16, only to reverse its decision hours later.
“Look at how the EU have already used Article 16,” said Councillor Causby. “They invoked it and then they didn’t. Essentially, they threatened to cut off supply for the people of Northern Ireland on a whim.
“That is the position they adopted and we should be wanting to make sure they never do that again or have the ability to.
“We know the protocol and it’s difficulties, it is not good for Northern Ireland. It is putting great pressure on our supply chain and is resulting in rising costs for daily items.
“We know for sure that it is causing significant difficulties for our haulage companies and our second hand car dealers.
“Simple things are proving quite difficult as a result of the NI Protocol and it is time that we, as a Council, ratchet up the pressure to get something done to make life easier for our businesses and constituents.”
Councillor Causby also claimed he is eager to avoid the debate on the motion descending into traditional orange v green divisions.
“We are trying to avoid a discussion that becomes orange v green,” said Councillor Causby. “This is about the economic welfare of Northern Ireland.
“The protocol is also in stark contrast to the Good Friday Agreement that states Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom until the people say otherwise.
“The people have not said otherwise, yet we are being treated differently and that is not in keeping with the Good Friday Agreement.
“Those who argued that Brexit would break the Good Friday Agreement have ignored the damage the NI Protocol is doing, they seem content to ‘cherry pick’ in order to suit their agenda.
“We are essentially being subjugated by Brussels and anyone who calls themselves a democrat should be ashamed of what is going on here.”