Northern Ireland news

Lawyers instructed on possible legal challenge to Internal Markets Bill

Pádraig Ó Muirigh and Michael Mansfield on their way into court during inquest hearings into the 1971 Ballymurphy killings

LAWYERS last night said they have been instructed to consider pursuing a legal challenge to the British government's Internal Markets Bill.

Ó Muirigh Solicitors in Belfast and Hampshire-based Hackett & Dabbs LLP said they had been approached by "concerned citizens" over concerns the legislation will override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

High-profile QC Michael Mansfield, who has previously represented Bloody Sunday and Birmingham Six families, is to head the legal teams in possible actions at the High Court in Belfast and London.

A crowdfunding appeal may be launched to support the case.

Pádraig Ó Muirigh, director of Ó Muirigh Solcitors, said the Internal Markets Bill "is a direct challenge to the rule of law and the British government's obligations under public international law".

"The Irish Protocol found a way maintaining a frictionless border in Ireland which is a key component of the peace process and the proposals in this Bill, if enacted, could jeopardise the gains made by the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

"We have been instructed by citizens from unionist and nationalist backgrounds, in particular, concerned members of the business sector and residents of the border communities who will adversely affected by the creation of a hard border on the island.

"This bill has been widely condemned by civil society, the legal profession, and the international community, in particular, the EU and USA.

"These citizens do not intend to stand idly by whilst the rule of law and the fragile peace process is undermined and will not hesitate to challenge the British government if the bill is passed in its current form."

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