Northern Ireland news

Irish Sea border checks remain suspended in Larne and Belfast

DAERA has temporarily suspended regulatory inspections at its site at Duncrue Street site in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann.
Connla Young

IRISH Sea border checks remained suspended yesterday at several northern ports.

Physical checks were suspended at Larne Port and Belfast on Monday after council and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) staff were withdrawn.

Under the Brexit agreement between the EU and British government some vehicles carrying certain goods are subject to physical checks.

The development, which effectively suspended the Northern Ireland Protocol, came as the DUP announced measures aimed at thwarting the international agreement.

Goods such as meat, fish and dairy products are all normally subjected to the inspections.

Physical checks were suspended at he Larne Port on Monday after Mid and East Antrim withdrew 12 environmental health staff amid fears for their safety.

Later that day the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) also suspended physical checks at ports in Larne and Belfast.

A spokesman for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council last night confirmed that its officials are continuing to carry out documentary and physical checks at Warrenpoint Port.

“Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has Environmental Health Officers deployed at Warrenpoint Port whose duties include documentary checks and physical inspections as part of the NI protocol," he said.

"This function has not been suspended and none of the council’s staff have been withdrawn from the port.”

However, a spokesman for DAERA last night said "Warrenpoint has also suspended physical checks on goods at the minute on a temporary basis".

He said that officials are continuing to "liaise with the PSNI and other partner organisations in considering when physical checks may resume," he said.

"Any decision will be based upon a formal threat assessment," the spokesman added.

It is understood that documentary checks and physical inspections continue to take place for live animals and plants.

Officials from Mid and East Antrim council had not returned to Larne Port yesterday.

 

A spokesman for Belfast City Council confirmed its staff had not been withdrawn yesterday and that they were carrying out "documentary checks" at Belfast Harbour.

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