‘It is simply unacceptable that a sea border is putting our animal welfare at risk’

An MP has described the impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol as “ludicrous” and highlighted ongoing issues surrounding the importation of trees from GB and concerns over future supplies of veterinary medicines.
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Upper Bann representative, Carla Lockhart, has cited these as “sound reasons” for the government to act to override the Protocol with legislation in Westminster.

The DUP MP commented: “This week we have had the usual suspects lining up to defend the Protocol.

“They continue to call for the full implementation of the Protocol, all whilst ignoring the ludicrous impact it is having on a whole range of issues here already, even with the range of grace periods still active.

Upper Bann MP Carla LockhartUpper Bann MP Carla Lockhart
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart

“It is worth remembering that the Protocol continues to ban the importation of some trees from GB to Northern Ireland, and place unfair administrative demands on anyone bringing plants in from GB or, indeed, those selling into NI.”

Mrs Lockhart said the Woodland Trust has stated that the ban will have a “major impact” on biodiversity in the province, with minor species now “effectively banned in Northern Ireland because of the Protocol”.

“This week we heard that Northern Ireland must be more ambitious with tree planting targets to meet climate change targets, yet this ban will hinder that agenda,” she added.

“It is ironic that those championing the Protocol are some of the most vociferous when it comes to climate change – their hypocrisy will not be lost on people.”

Another very serious issue is the supply of veterinary medicines from GB to Northern Ireland.

The MP continued: “It is simply unacceptable that a sea border between GB and NI is putting our animal welfare at risk, yet some parties here continue to demand the full implementation of the Protocol, whilst opposing initial steps by the government to override these ludicrous rules.

“Farm animals and family pets need medicines, and the free flow of these medicines between GB and NI must be brought about.

“The DUP will continue to press our government to act in these areas, and I know my colleague Edwin Poots is very much pressing these matters with DEFRA and the Foreign Office.

“We would hope that other parties would join us in the pursuit of a better outcome for Northern Ireland.

“They still have time to change course and to join us in batting for Northern Ireland, not the EU,” Mrs Lockhart ended.