Union breakup feared as Northern Ireland shifts closer to Dublin ‘We don’t have a voice!’

Union breakup could happen under EU plans says DUP MP

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Northern Irish unionist Sammy Willson has pinpointed two alarming trends flowing from the Brexit Protocol which could see the province sucked closer and closer to Dubin by European Union rules. Mr Wilson is concerned that post-Brexit trading arrangements have left unionists in Northern Ireland “without a voice” while businesses are forced to build ever closer trade links with the Republic of Ireland. 

Mr Wilson told Express.co.uk: “It is easier to buy from the Republic [of Ireland] than it is to buy from Great Britain.

“But why did people not buy from the Republic in the first place? They didn’t buy because the goods were not as good or the goods were dearer.

“So we are being forced to actually divert trade to purchase goods which are inferior to what we were purchasing previously.”

“The other big worry is that as Brussels starts to introduce more and more measures that will apply to Northern Ireland and we don’t have a voice in Brussels. 

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“The danger is people will seek to use the Irish Government as a voice, now that is not always going to work for us of course.

“Because people call it the all-Ireland economy, the truth of the matter is the Irish Government are in huge competition with Northern Ireland.

“I mean they cut our throats when it comes to tourism…when it comes to attracting foreign investment they undercut us all the time with subsidies etcetera because they want the jobs in the Republic.”

He added: “I think what you will find is that the Irish Government will not always be acting in Brussels in the interest of Northern Ireland, they may well be acting in their own narrow interest.”

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“So there are those two dangers, first of all, diversion of trade to have more and more trade links, and secondly people may look to the Irish Government to be our voice in Europe.

“Because we don’t have a voice,” continued Mr Wilson.

“That will then lead to a trend where we get closer and closer to the Republic.”

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has urged the Government to act on unionists’ concerns around the post-Brexit trading arrangements, criticising them as harmful to the union and calling for Northern Ireland’s position in the UK internal market to be protected.

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The DUP withdrew First Minister Paul Givan from the Stormont Executive in February in protest at the protocol, a move which left the institutions unable to fully function.

Sir Jeffrey has made his call for action against the protocol a key part of his party’s campaign for the Stormont Assembly election which is taking place on Thursday.

He said his party will not enter a future Executive unless the government takes action on the protocol.

Sir Jeffrey has addressed a series of rallies which have taken place across Northern Ireland in recent months against the protocol which is regarded by unionists as a border in the Irish Sea.

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